Archive for May, 2008

New England Center for Children

The New England Center for Children is a school for children with autism, located in Southborough, Massachusetts. They are a private, nonprofit autism education center dedicated to bringing out human potential and creating productive lives for children with autism. There mission is, “Providing state-of-the-art autism education and individualized treatment for children with autism spectrum disorder, pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), and Asperger’s Syndrome.”

The NECC is not just a school, but they are internationally recognized as a leader of autism research with nearly three decades of experience. Their research focuses on the basic learning processes of children with autism, teaching techniques for children with severe learning problems, managing challenging behavior, communication training strategies, early intervention practices, and the generalization and maintenance of treatment gains.

At the school, children are engaged in learning new behaviors and helped to change disruptive or harmful ones, by constant positive reinforcement. The curriculum at the NECC ranges from the most basic language and social skills to academics and vocational training. “We plug them into that wherever they’re at,” says Rebecca MacDonald, PhD, director of the preschool program, which includes kids aged 3 to 7.

MacDonald is studying what is called “joint attention,” an important early step in relating to others. If you were to turn and look at something, a typical child observing you would probably turn to look at it, too. A child with autism would not notice. “It’s one of the hallmarks of autism,” MacDonald tells WebMD. “They tend not to care what you are looking at or thinking.”

The NECC is dedicated to help children with autism and other developmental disabilities reach their full potential. The goal of their treatment research is to help chidren with autism increase their abilities to function and communicate successfully with as much independence as possible.

Add comment May 31st, 2008

Sensory Integration Therapy

The concept of sensory integration therapy is based on research in the areas of neuroscience, developmental psychology, occupational therapy, and education. Research suggests that sensory information received from the environment is critical. The interactions between a child and his environment shapes the brain and influences learning.

An increasingly amount of parents of children with autism are turning to sensory integration treatment to help their children.  A new study from Temple University researchers, presented at the American Occupational Therapy Association’s 2008 conference, found that children with autism who underwent sensory integration therapy exhibited fewer autism mannerisms compared to children who received standard treatments. Such mannerisms, including repetitive hand movements or actions, making noises, jumping or having highly restricted interests, often interfere with paying attention and learning.

Children receiving sensory integration therapy typically participate in sensory-based activities to enable them to better regulate their behavioral responses to sensations and situations that they find disturbing or painful. A child who is oversensitive to light touch may enjoy rolling and playing in a giant foam pillow, after which he might be more able to calmly explore, touch and play with other textures. This in turn can make self-care such as dressing and washing and classroom activities that require touch more manageable.

Add comment May 30th, 2008

Vitamin Therapy for Autism

One treatment for autism is vitamin therapy. While no patient has been cured with the vitamin therapy, there have been many instances where remarkable improvement has been achieved.

Dimethylglycine (DMG), is a food substance and is most often used vitamin therapy. Reports from parents giving their child DMG indicate improvements in the areas of speech, eye contact, social behavior, and attention span. Studies have shown that vitamin B6 may help control hyperactivity, and improve overall behavior. Vitamin C has been shown to have a calming effect on behavior in humans. 

Although improvements vary considerably among children with autism, other possible improvements that have been seen are speech improvements, improved sleeping patterns, lessened irritability, increased attention span, decrease in self stimulation, and overall improvement in general health.

Add comment May 29th, 2008

A Clean Room to Treat Autism?

Doctors at the Children’s Institute in Pittsburgh are proposing to house children with autism for weeks at a time in a pollutant-free “clean room,” in an attempt to detoxify their bodies. Although no cause for autism has been found some doctors believe it is caused in part by environmental factors, including air and food-borne chemicals.

Scott Faber is a pediatrician at the Children’s Institute. He has several hundred patients with autism and a waiting list six months long. He is one of the believers in toxic causes and the institute is trying to back him with a multimillion dollar test of this theory. The pediatric “clean room” plan would be the first of its kind in a mainstream American hospital environment.

At the beginning, the plan would be to have severe cases of children with autism that have not responded to other treatments. They would stay six to 12 weeks, allowing an estimated four to six children to be treated per year. Furniture, paints, toys and floor coverings would be designed to be toxin-free, and food, clothing and water organic and clean. Doctors would seek to rid patients’ bodies of chemicals and boost their immune systems through natural means such as nutritional supplements and dietary changes. After leaving, spaces at each patient’s home would be equipped with lower-level clean technology, such as ultraviolet lights and air filters, and children would continue with special diets.

Basically, it would be pushing a “reset” button on the child’s body, with the hope of wiping any symptoms away. “What we would like to do is have kids live in this wonderful environment where they are exposed to almost none of the Industrial Revolution. And we wonder, if the chemicals come out and the heavy metals come out, will the children start improving?” Faber said.

“We’re not saying this is the full cause” of autism and related illnesses, Faber said. “Obviously there are multiple causes, and there are going to be found many genetic causes, many environmental causes and many genetic-environmental interactions. But we wonder — we speculate — that it’s possible if we have children living in a unique environment that has not (previously) been created scientifically that we can make a difference.”

Add comment May 27th, 2008


May 2008
« Aug   Jun »

Posts by Month

Posts by Category