occupational therapist & child development specialist

Tag: autism (Page 2 of 2)

Recent study links autism to an immune system protein

According to a study in the April 2012 International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience, children diagnosed with Autism have a significantly lower level of an immune system protein, called cytokines. This conclusion supports earlier research that revealed a link between the immune system functions and autism. Genetic factors have also been found to have biological basis in autism. What does this mean? By building on this study, researchers hope to eventually be able to identify risk factors for autism, and also have the ability to diagnose autism at earlier ages, which would result in earlier intervention.

Autism is a term that describes a group of complex developmental brain disorders known as Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD). Parents and professionals refer to these diagnoses as Autism Spectrum Disorders. Recent research suggests that one child in every 88 will be diagnosed with Autism, with the diagnosis being 3 to 4 times more common in boys than girls.

Handwriting Without Tears is a Great Program for Handwriting Instruction

Handwriting Without Tears is a wonderful multisensory writing program for children with special learning needs. This post will share some information about the program and the specific products that I use as a pediatric occupational therapist with my students in the school system.

Workbooks 

The Handwriting Without Tears workbook that you will want to use with preschool and kindergarten students is the “Get Set for School” workbook. It’s great because it uses music, movement, building, coloring, and other activities to help children develop color and shape awareness, fine and gross motor control, letter and number recognition and counting skills.For kindergarten students, the “Letters and Numbers for Me” workbook is a must! This workbook teachers correct upper and lower case letter formation as well as number formation. First grade students will move on to “My Printing Book”, and second graders should use “Printing Power”. Finally, there is a cursive handwriting workbook for third graders that is excellent. For more information  on the program visit their site, and to learn more about fine motor skills and handwriting, visit my blog @ http://drzachryspedsottips.blogspot.com/.

Child Vaccinations and Autism?

As parents, how many of you worry about vaccinating your baby due to fears related to autism? Over the past 10 years, there has been a sharp decline in infant immunizations, and unfortunately, there has also been an evident increase in disease outbreaks, all due to concerns about a relationship between child vaccinations and autism. The small study that sparked all of the fear and concern has now been debunked. The study suggested that there was a connection between the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism. However, in January 2011, the British Medical Journal revealed that the study was flawed and described how the head researcher actually fabricated evidence to confirm the results of his study. He subsequently lost his medical license. In fact, research that has taken place since the original study has not been able to confirm a connection between the MMR and autism.

Yet, many parents continue to be skeptical, especially those who already have one child diagnosed with autism, and there are alternatives to not vaccinating at all. Pediatrician, Robert Sears, MD, outlines two alternatives to the traditional vaccine schedule in his book The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child. The “Selective Vaccine Schedule” omits particular vaccines, while the “Alternative Vaccine Schedule” stretches out the traditional one. Still, a recent article in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, disputes many of Dr. Sears’ opinions and the AAP continues to recommend the traditional vaccine schedule.

What to do? That’s an extremely difficult question. First and foremost, do your research. Then, consult with your pediatrician. Obviously, as a parent, it is important to take an active role in making vaccination decisions, and by working closely with your pediatrician, together you can decide what is in the best interest of your child.

Newer posts »

© 2022 Dr. Anne Zachry

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑