Archive for January, 2007

Finding a Doctor who Understands Autism

Posted in Health & Fitness on January 26th, 2007

Even if bedwetting isn’t a challenge for you, finding a doctor who understands autism may be an obstacle you’ll need to overcome. Why? Unless a doctor has had experience with autism, it will be unlikely that they will be able to help effectively diagnose and treat the condition. Autism is not a simple pervasive development disorder that can be fixed with medication or a few trips to the psychiatrist. It is a serious disorder that affects people differently, making each case specific to the individual.

Therefore, regardless if you or your child’s pediatrician suspects autism, it is imperative to your child and their future that they are referred to someone who specializes in diagnosing and treating autism spectrum disorders. This means your child may require more than one medical professional who specializes in autism.

The following is a list of medical professionals that might make up the multidisciplinary assessment team an autistic child requires:

• Child psychiatrist – Can help determine the initial diagnosis, prescribes medications, and helps an autistic deal with social relationships and developing emotional behavior.
• Clinical psychologist – Specialist who understands the impact and nature of autism and other development disability disorders. They may conduct a psychological assessment test and assist with the training of social skills and modifying behavior.
• Development pediatrician – treats children with health problems related to handicaps or delays in development.
• Language/speech therapist – Helps to improve communication skills, focusing on language and speech.
• Occupational therapist – Focuses on helping those with disabilities develop daily practical and self-help skills such as eating and getting dressed. They may also focus on fine motor skills, sensory integration and coordination of movement.
• Physical therapist – Helps a child improve their coordination and motor skills by strengthening muscles, joints, nerves and bones
• Social Worker – Can help arrange treatments and services and can provide counseling services.

Once you find the professionals your child needs, it is imperative that you work closely with them. The reason is because although professionals have experience with autism, you are the most experienced when it comes to the specific information regarding your child’s needs and abilities.

To effectively work together with professionals you need to:
• Educate yourself – Learn as much as you can about autism
• Prepare yourself- Write down any questions or concerns you have regarding your child, autism or treatment and address them with the professional(s)
• Open communication – You don’t have to agree with everything a professional says. If you disagree with a recommendation voice your opinion.

If you are unsure where you can find the right professionals that specialize in autism, the following are some helpful suggestions:

• In your community – Visit your health care provider, hospital, or pharmacist and ask them if they know anyone who specializes in diagnosing and treating autism. You can also contact your government’s health department. Just remember, even if you are referred to someone, this may not be the specialist you are looking for. Don’t be afraid to find out their experience before making a commitment.

• Internet resources – The internet is a fantastic resourced and has plenty of useful and helpful information about autism, understanding and effectively helping autistics, and how to get help in your community. Some excellent websites you can check out include:
o Autism Society of America (
o Autism Treatment Services of Canada (
o National Autistic Society (

• Support group – Getting involved in a support group that is designed to reach out to autistics and their families can be extremely helpful for finding a professional, as you can ask fellow members for recommendations. Support groups also provide you with encouragement when times are tough, and allow you the opportunity to discuss autism with others who know what you are experiencing.

For more help and advice regarding autism treatment or subscribe to a free newsletter on the autism resources site.

Five Relaxation Techniques for Fibromyalgia

Posted in Health & Fitness on January 16th, 2007

One of the biggest problems fibromyalgia sufferers face is the escalation of their fatigue and painful symptoms, which is caused by the emotional and physical stress of their condition. Thus, since stress can worsen symptoms, to help control the way you feel, try engaging in relaxation therapy techniques.

Relaxation therapy helps a person achieve emotional, spiritual and physical relaxation. Most of the techniques for this therapy involve the simultaneous use of the mind and body. The goal is to attain deep relaxation by combining concentration with breathing exercises or specific body movements.

Relaxation helps reduce the affects of stress which can cause a rise in blood pressure and heart rate. Relaxation also helps encourage oxygen flow through the entire body, which heals damaged muscles.

Relaxation therapy can be extremely effective when it comes to reducing fibromyalgia symptoms. In fact, it has been proven that relaxation can reduce depression and anxiety, as well as the duration and intensity of migraines.
The following are 5 relaxation techniques you can try to help alleviate the symptoms of fibromyalgia:

1. Deep Breathing – This is an exercise that helps eliminate stress by providing your body with more oxygen. Without sufficient oxygen, your body cannot function with efficiency and will increase pain. Deep breathing relaxation techniques are about focusing on inhaling and exhaling.

You can do these exercises on your own either sitting or standing. Begin by slowly inhaling through your nose and continue until your stomach expands. Hold your breath for 3 seconds and then slowly exhale through your mouth. It’s best to repeat this exercise three times per day for ten minute sessions.

2. Meditation – Meditation allows the body and mind to achieve relaxation simultaneously. There are different types of meditation, but one of the more popular types is focused concentration. This meditation involves the repetition of a sound or word, or focusing on breathing to clear the mind.

To begin, sit on the floor or chair and close your eyes. Focus on repeating a positive word you like, or breathing (inhaling/exhaling). Do your best to remain as still as possible as you concentrate, and remain in the meditative state for 20 minutes.

3. Progressive Muscle Relaxation – Progressive muscle relaxation is an easy technique that works on every major muscle group in the body. It aids in decreasing tension in your muscles while it strengthens them. It can be done while sitting down or lying in bed.

Begin by tensing the muscles in your feet and hold it for a count of 8. Release the contraction and relax your muscles. Continue this same contraction method for all your major muscle groups in your body all the way to your head. When you have finished, your entire body with be totally relaxed.

4. Yoga – Yoga is a popular exercise that involves a combination of physical and mental practices to help attain total relaxation. Yoga teaches you to control your breathing while you focus on stretching and relaxing your body’s major muscle groups.

As far as fibromyalgia is concerned, the best form of Yoga is Hatha yoga. This is a form of Yoga that concentrates on particular movements and poses to center the body and mind. You can choose to do Yoga on your own with the aid of video or books, or you can attend a local class.

5. Personal Sanctuary – Escaping to a positive stress-free environment when you are tense is a great way to induce relaxation. You can create your own “personal sanctuary” in your home. This may mean going to your garden, or creating a special corner in your bedroom that is filled with all of the colors and happy items you like and enjoy.

By simply spending a few moments in your special space, you’ll be amazed at how rejuvenated you will feel.

If you are looking for more ways to experience Fibromyalgia relief please go to where you can sign up for a free newsletter.

What You Should Know Before Using Aloe to Manage Crohns Disease Symptoms

Posted in Health & Fitness on January 12th, 2007

Although many people who receive an ileostomy find that their Crohn’s disease successfully goes into remission, when a person has a Crohn’s flare up, they experience inflammation within their digestive track which leads to pain, discomfort, diarrhea, constipation, and many other unpleasant symptoms. If flare ups happen often, many people try to find different ways to naturally treat the disease instead of relying on drugs. One natural treatment method for treating stomach disorders is aloe vera.

It has been scientifically proven that aloe vera is a natural anti-inflammatory. It is the belief of many medical and scientific researchers that a natural anti-inflammatory is safer and has a better effect on the body than a synthetic anti-inflammatory. The reason is because natural anti-inflammatory treatments appear to target various inflammatory responses, instead of only targeting one as is the case with many synthetic types.

In addition, a natural anti-inflammatory is usually gentler on the body and does not wreak havoc on the immune system causing the negative side effects often resulting from prescription anti-inflammatory meds that are typically recommended for Crohn’s disease.

What is aloe vera?
Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis) is the most common form of the aloe plant and it has been used as a medicinal treatment for centuries, starting with the Ancient Egyptians. The only part of the aloe plant that is used for medicinal purposes is the sap and the gel located within the leaves. The sap is better known as aloe latex.

How is aloe used as a treatment?
Aloe can be used in two different ways. The first, and most common, is to externally treat skin wounds caused by dryness, cuts or burns. Gel is applied to the injured area and provides pain relief, sooths the skin and promotes healing.

The second form of treatment is when aloe is ingested to treat internal problems such as constipation, stomach disorders, diabeties, and many other problems. Sometimes aloe vera is even used to aid in digestion. When taken internally, aloe is available in powder and liquid forms.

Aloe latex and Crohn’s disease – Although aloe is generally safe when used externally as a gel, ingesting aloe, especially aloe latex when you suffer from Crohn’s disease is contraindicated. Aloe latex is an extremely powerful laxative and is contraindicated with Crohn’s because it decreases the effectiveness of any medication that is taken with it simultaneously.

Aloe latex will cause other medications to move through the digestive track far too quickly to have any effect as treatment. In addition, aloe latex is not generally used as a laxative to treat constipation due to the fact that it often causes painful cramps in the abdomen.

Aloe latex has other risks including:
• It is habit-forming
• Prolonged use of aloe latex will require higher doses to work effectively which eventually leads to permanent damage to the intestinal muscle.
• Large doses result in kidney damage
• Aloe latex is not safe for pregnant women or mothers who are breast feeding.

Even though aloe latex is not an ideal treatment for Crohn’s, ingesting another form of aloe, such as aloe gel may be an alternative. Nevertheless, always check with your doctor before using aloe vera to treat Crohn’s disease. Furthermore, you can always ask your doctor about other alternative treatments that may be effective.

If you are looking for more help for Chron’s Disease symptoms please visit and sign up for a free newsletter.

5 Ways to Minimize the Negative Impact of Change for Autism

Posted in Health & Fitness on January 9th, 2007

Extreme change can be difficult for the average human being to deal with, but for a person with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), even the littlest change can be overwhelming. It is not uncommon for autistics to have trouble adjusting to a different schedule that breaks from a daily routine. Therefore, imagine the impact a dramatic change such as moving house would have on them.

Autistics have a hard time regulating their behaviour, so when they finally become accustom to a routine and are faced with change without warning, they may express their distress through:

• Verbal outburst
• Crying
• Self-injury
• Aggression
• Extreme withdrawal

The following are 5 ways in which you can minimize the negative impact of change by helping an autistic person become aware, prepared and involved in the moving process:

1. Calendar – Creating a calendar to help them become aware and prepared for moving can be helpful. Once you know the definite day you are moving, give notice months before moving day. You can cross off each day that passes, so they can see how many days are left until moving day. Make sure you Write “Moving Day” on the actual date so they can always see it.

If your child has difficulty understanding time with a standard calendar, use visual supports to help them understand time. For instance, if he or she relates time with day, creating a visual of a sun for each day and then a visual of a house on the actual moving day, will tell them how much time is left before the move.

2. Story books – Depending on your child’s level of comprehension, another helpful familiarizing tool is to read story books focused on moving home themes.

3. “Social Stories” – This is a specific learning program that helps autistics understand the reasons for situations they may find confusing or difficult. Social stories describe a specific situation in detail and focuses on a few key factors such as vital social cues, the actual event, and the reactions a person may expect during the situation and why. Social stories not only help to increase a level of understanding, they can also help an autistic child feel more comfortable when experiencing an event, and provide them with clues on how to react.

4. Creative Story – Create your own moving story to make the change more personal and easier for your child. In your story you can include different sections such as:

• Photos – Take photos of the new home, especially of their new room and the outside.
• Layout – Draw up a layout of the new home to show where their bedroom is located
• Maps – Show a map of where the house is and include important landmarks such as where the school, park, shopping mall, etc. is located from the home, and make sure to write down directions to each place.
• Similarities – Explain what will stay the same, such as the items in their room that will be coming along.
• Visits – Take them to visit the new home
• Questions – at the end of the story, take the time to answer questions.

5. Moving day - Moving is stressful on everyone. Therefore, when it comes to the day, you will need to decide if you would rather have them with you and provide tasks during the move, or keep them involved in their regular daily activities until moving is complete. Regardless of your decision, it is a good idea to make sure your autistic child’s room is set up first to help them feel more relaxed in the new environment.

Rachel Evans has an interest in Autism. For further information on Autism please visit understanding autism or autism resource blog posts.

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Posted in Uncategorized on January 5th, 2007

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