Check out this tool used to aide children and adolescents with AD/HD in improving their attention to task: http://habitchange.com/education/index.php It does the job of verbally cueing your child to stay on task so that you don't have to!
Dr. Liz's article, entitled "On the Spectrum: Defining Autism and Other Developmental Disorders" is featured in NJ Family Magazine, March 2012 issue: http://www.njfamily.com/NJ-Family/March-2012/Defining-Autism-and-Other-Developmental-Disorders/!
An article from Schaefer Autism Report, February 17, 2012By Nancy Walsh, Staff Writer, MedPage Today
Reviewed by Robert Jasmer, MD; Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco and Dorothy Caputo, MA, RN, BC-ADM, CDE, Nurse Planner
Low-level mercury exposure is unlikely to contribute to autism, although further work will be needed for a definitive conclusion to this controversy, a new British study suggested.
Mercury levels in urine did not differ between children with autism and controls, regardless of whether values below the limit of detection, which was 0.07 µg/L, were counted as zero (P=0.162) or as 0.07 µg/L (P=0.156), Barry Wright, MD, of the North Yorkshire and York Primary Care Trust in York, and colleagues reported online in PLoS One.
Exposure to environmental mercury in high doses can be highly toxic, and even lethal.
Certain groups have persistently argued that mercury in thimerosal-containing vaccines also could exert neurotoxic effects on young children, with the result that vaccination rates have fallen and the incidence of measles and mumps has risen.
"This was proposed despite the fact that the mercury compound in vaccines, ethylmercury, cannot easily pass through the blood-brain barrier as methylmercury can and is associated with few central nervous system problems in environmental health research," wrote Wright and colleagues.
Further arguing against the mercury-autism link is the observation that rates of autism have continued to increase even after thimerosal was dropped from vaccines more than a decade ago.
Nonetheless, some researchers have hypothesized that autistic children have an impairment in the ability to excrete mercury, after analysis of hair revealed low concentrations of various heavy metals.
To examine this possibility, the researchers enrolled 54 children with autism spectrum disorders, 121 healthy children attending mainstream schools, 34 who attended special schools for learning disabilities, and 42 siblings of autistic children.
Because some degree of mercury exposure could be expected in children who had amalgam fillings in their teeth, Wright's group controlled for the number of fillings, which was slightly lower in the autism group.
They also adjusted for urine concentration and body mass by correcting for creatinine, and as with the unadjusted analysis, found no difference among the groups of children in urinary excretion of mercury.
Further adjustment for age, sex, and number of fillings once again revealed no differences, whether values below the limit of detection were calculated as zero or 0.07 µg/L (P=0.56).
Tests for other heavy metals such as lithium (P=0.344), manganese (P=0.613), and copper (P=0.391) also turned up no differences.
The investigators noted that their findings should be interpreted with caution, however, because of the possible effects of a small number of children in the autism and special school groups whose levels were considerably higher.
They also noted that the study population was somewhat small, and that 24-hour urine collections were not done because of difficulties undertaking this in children with difficulties such as autism.
"This study does not lend support for widespread mercury metabolism problems in autism, but given small numbers of outliers it does suggest further research is warranted to better understand whether a subgroup with autism and/or learning disabilities have mercury poisoning or excretion difficulties," they wrote.
An article for Schaefer Autism Report, February 17, 2012
The early signs of autism are visible in the brains of 6-month-old infants, a new study finds, suggesting that future treatments could be given at this time, to lessen the impact of the disorder on children.
Researchers looked at how the brain develops in early life, and found that tracts of white matter that connect different regions of the brain didn't form as quickly in children who later developed autism, compared with kids who didn't develop the disorder.
"The way the wiring was changing was dampened" in the children with autism, said study researcher Jason Wolff, who studies developmental disabilities at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. "It was a more blunted change over time, in how the brain was being wired,"
In contrast, in the brains of infants who did not later develop autism, white matter tracts were swiftly forming, Wolff said. "Their brains were organizing themselves in a pretty rapid fashion."
The findings suggest that during a child's first year, "there is a potential to intervene, to disrupt autism before it becomes entrenched," Wolff said. "There are a lot of possibilities to improve outcomes for these children."
The study is published today (Feb. 17) in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
A crucial time The first year of life is an important time in brain development, and is also when the first symptoms of autism start to appear, Wolff said.
In the study, the researchers looked at the brains of 92 infants, when they were 6 months, 1 year and 2 years old. All of the children had a sibling with autism; research shows such children have a higher risk of developing the disorder themselves.
The researchers used a brain scan called diffusion tensor imaging, a type of MRI scan which allowed them to see changes in the brain's organization over time.
When the kids were 2 years old, 28 had developed autism, while 64 had not. The researchers looked back at the early brain scans, to see if there were differences between the groups.
"We looked at pathways that connect brain regions to each other, and 12 out of 15 were different in kids with autism," Wolff said.
Previous studies had found differences in brain volume in infants of this age, and other researchers had looked at white matter tracts in older children with autism, and adults, but the structures had not been examined before in infants so young, Wolff said.
The fact that so many of the tracts were affected shows that autism is a "whole-brain phenomenon," Wolff said. "There are widespread differences" in the brains of people with the disorder, he said.
What's causing the brain differences? As to what might be causing these brain differences, it's too early to say, Wolff said. But the findings are consistent with what researchers suspect about what triggers autism's development, he said, "there's a complex interaction between genes, and a child's experiences with the world."
And while the brain scans of the two groups of children certainly revealed their differences, those scans are not at the point where they could be used to diagnose the disorder in a 6-month-old, Wolff emphasized.
But the findings help researchers better understand how the disorder develops.
"It was really important to see that this was an evolving process," Wolff said. Kids don't just suddenly become autistic, "getting there is a journey," he said.
The researchers will continue to follow some of the children in the study until they are 3 years old, and will continue to enroll more children in the study, Wolff said.
I am happy to announce that I will be presenting on the topic of "Aligning Parenting Styles" through the Morris Plains Municipal Alliance on Monday February 27, 2012 from 11:30-12:30.
The presentation will be held at the Learning Center of the Borough School on 500 Speedwell Ave, Morris Plains NJ. Register today: http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07e5lbgyyz93020898&llr=rwrdmkeab
Looking forward to seeing you!
Check out this link to free writing tools:http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/9365-2.html
Often times, students with ADHD child struggle with writing or spelling, making it hard to get his/her thoughts on paper. These high-tech solutions could help her use her words — and let her great ideas shine.
check out this great article and related links: http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/9365.html
In the interest
The Theater Development Fun (TDF) is presenting an autism-friendly performance of Mary Poppins on Sunday April 29, 2012 at the New Amsterdam Theater in New York City! Check it out: http://www.tdf.org/emailimages/ati/eamp-jan12/savethedate.htm
Dr. Liz Matheis is featured in Parent Guide News Magazine, February 2012 issue: http://www.parentguidenews.com/Catalog/SpecialNeeds/MomsKnowBest
Question: How can I help others who have a special needs child? Check out Dr. Liz's answer - http://www.parents.com/advice/parenting/relationships/how-have-can-you-help-others-with-a-special-needs-child/
Dr. Liz Matheis
Dr Liz Matheis is licensed Clinical Psychologist who specializes in assisting children and their families with Autism, AD/HD, and other learning/behavioral disorders.