Sunday, September 7, 2008

Coping with the Diagnosis

This post is for parents, parents, who, until now is in denial of their childs condition. I can relate to this, I've been there, and God knows how much I was hurt, (and still hurting) how my heart, my whole being suffered for my daughter, but I tell you, give yourself some time, its hard, yes I know, but one day you'll see and realized life is not over. Accepting your child and the condition will ease the pain, it took me 6 months to finally learn, tears, pity, hatred are not the answer and will never help my daughter. Let me share how I conquered Autism. On January 03, 1998, my daughter was 27 months old, the day she was diagnosed having autism, on this date and 6 months after was the darkest time of my life, one night I found myself playing with her like we used to do, and I saw my daughter, my princess, she's still my Michaella which I thought I have lost because of autism. We didnt lost our children, maybe they are different from other children but what they need is the same with the so called normal kids all we need to do is to love them more, try to be in thier said "world" and be patient as we can with them. In one seminar the speaker said... WE ARE SPECIAL IN GOD'S EYES THATS WHY WE HAVE SPECIAL KIDS.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Talking to Autistic Child

Since communication is one of the main problems of Autism, parents, guardians and nanies should learn a strategy or style on how to talk to them. Use simple words like sit, come, eat, walk and also some gestures to help the child understand. Facial expression and intonation can also be used to clarify meaning.


With my daughter, I always use the word "look" for the eye contact. If your child does not respond with it, hold the childs face on his both cheeck facing him and say "look", once she did look at you even for just a second, say "good looking". Start with the childs name, look and whatever the command is, example... ella, look, command. Pointing at the object can also help her understand what the command is, with my daughter I "introduce" things to her, I always ask her "what is this?" if she does not respond then I tell her what the thing is called. Then I ask again until she understand and remember.


To a non-verbal child it is not easy or even impossible to explain why things are like this or like that, but this does not mean if your child is verbal it will be different, maybe easier in some point. Since my daughter is considered non-verbal (although she is trying to express herself on her own way) we, always make a point to talk to her and explain why we cannot buy certain things she wanted, in shortest sentence we can possibly do...

examples:

asking for things for boys or men... "for kuya not for ella"
"for daddy not for ella"

asking for very expensive toy.... "no money"

asking to go to a mall..... I schedule when we are going. then I ask her "ok?" but if you promised you will go on that date just make sure you will.

asking for junk food.... eat rice and chicken then chips

The key to this is be creative, and learn how to cope with your child, your child is not the one who will adjust for you, you and your family should understand his moves, his weakness, his tantrums. He will not tell you what he wants so we as parents should know even without the words.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Babbling Autisic Child

Babbling (also called twaddling) is a stage in child language acquisition, during which an infant appears to be experimenting with uttering sounds of language, but not yet producing any recognizable words. Babbling begins at approximately 5 to 7 months of age, when a baby's noises begin to sound like phonemes. Infants begin to produce recognizable words usually around 12 months, though babbling may continue for some time afterward.

Seminars are offered to parents to help us how to deal with autism. Problems that occur one after the other. One those is the communication, communicating with an autistic child is very hard since most of them are non-verbal. If your child starts to babble, you should always pay attention to the words or sounds they emit, example if the child says " dada" then take him to his daddy, do the same with "mama". If the child is saying "bol, bol" then show a ball. Be creative always find a thing with his "words"

Echolalia on Autism (echolalic)

Speech delay... the most common sign of Autism. Although some children are speaking before they reach the age of 18 months, eventually it will disappear. My daughter was starting to talk at the age of 1, but then it was all gone by the age of 18 months, everything she learned disappear.

This post is about how to teach a child to communicate, its not easy but with patience and love everything is possible... children with or without autism start to talk by babbling... with autism it can be very hard for the child since they dont know how to imitate, but when they learn to imitate they tend to display another problem being an echolalic. Echolalia - is like this, the child is talking but only repeats all the words she/he hear, example.. if they are ask "how are you?" she/he will reply with the same question. This can be corrected... you will need somebody to whisper in her ear, when you talk to the child make sure someone is there to tell her the right words to reply, example.. if you ask the child "what is your name?" then the 3rd person should whisper the name of the child to the child. This should be done everytime you are speaking to the him/her, that means 24/7. Until she/he gets the point.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Disability Week (Autism Society of the Philippines)

It was celebrated at SM Molino Bacoor, through the effore of Autism Societyof the Philippines. The event was a success, the children and the teenagers who participated in this was so great. In this kind of event no body is making a remark with the wrong move or wrong turns, everybody apprciates what these kids can do and not what they cannot do. Most of the time these kids surprised their parents with their hidden talents, my daughter is doing beyond my expectations.




This is my daughter Michaella




Michaella with school mates and teacher Veron from HOPE (Heart of Peace)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Dance Number




hey, hey.. that's my baby


this is bubuy (little one) with his big brother
these singers took our breath away, they sang very very well, the little one is the who has the disability... how I wish I had a cam during the event
this boy is from the Holy Nazarene School in Tanza, Cavite... sings well too
This dance group with little kids and grown ups, sad to say I forgot from what SpEd school they came from... sorry

This group of teeners came from Phil Sta ( I hope I wrote it correctly)


This is Shun, he is blind but can play the organ and sing at the same time, very talented boy. He is from HOPE, Noveleta











children having fun on the stage while the one who is holding the microphone is singing "Ako si Mr. Suave"





Monday, July 28, 2008

How to Teach Sitting to Autistic Children


Many activities that we want to do, requires sitting. At home, at school, seeing a movie, eating in a restaurant etc.

An autistic person generally does not like to sit except when they chose to, and while they are involve in an activity they have chosen. This inability to sit at other times, severely limits the activities and experiences they can involve in.
Children need to be able to sit, so they can learn toiletting, writing, academic skills and eating in a mannerly way.


HOW TO TEACH SITTING


- ascertain the rewards for the child-- toys, activities

- have the reward ready and with you

- say clearly and firmly "SIT" and prompt by tapping the chair

- immediately sit him in the chair. The initial demand is only 10 secs. hold the child in the chair for that time, ignore the tantrum and keep telling him "good sitting"

- reward him immediately with the chosen reward and let him leave the chair while saying "Good Sitting"

- Begin to move him to other chairs in other parts of the house, have him sit for the same amt. of time, 10 secs. and reward him immediately.

- when he can sit for 10 secs. begin to increase the time for 20 secs.

- continue with increasing the time, very gradually, and practicing the sitting in different chairs and different places.

- Begin to generalize, have the other member of the family do the sitting program.

- Notice and praise "good siting" when it is naturally occurring.



Toiletting Pragramme for Autistic Children



Most children affected by Autism exhibit difficulties or delayed in all general areas of functioning, including that of toilet training. Here are some tips to toilet train your child, these tips are proven effetive, I can attest to this.

It is not easy you will experience resistance from sitting or waiting, resistance to be touched, resistance to having preffered activities interrupted, screaming, crying but in time your child will get the point and eventually learn. Remember, be firm and consistent.


1.Say "Pants Down"

Everyday bring your child to the toilet every 15 mins. (whole day everyday basis) guide his/her hand on how to unzip or pull down the pants if she's a girl sit her on the bowl or if he's a boy let him hold his pennis and

2. Say "Do Wee-wee"

3. "Good-boy/girl" or "Oh! no wee-wee - sounding disappointed

4. "Pants-up"
if she/he doesnt respond guide the hand to pull up the pants or zip up.

5. "Flush"
if she/he doesnt respond guide the hand.

6. "Wash Hands" - children are expected to:
turn tap on
take soap
wash hands
replace soap
rinse hands
turn tap off
wipe hands with towel
Some children will need to be:
a) verbally prompted through these stages or
b) patterned through these steps.

7. "Finish, go and... play, sit or whatever is happening next.


It took a year for my daughter to finally go by herself, so I recommend not to use potty trainer. If you use the potty trainer then you will have to do the work again for the use of toilet bowl. for convenience you should get one of those toilet seats for toddlers. Like this for girls...


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

"Wala"

Wala (nothing, none) is a short word, but just a week ago my daughter learns to say the word, i can feel she's excited with her new tagalog word, before she used to pronounce it "lam" but now she is very proud to say "wala". She's 12 but Iam very happy with her improvements, I can never go back to the days when she was 2, 3, 4 years old... and I was'nt expecting she will be like she is today...

Monday, June 30, 2008

Innocence

As I stare at my 12 year old daughter, I cant help but wonder what's in her mind? Since she cannot express herself very well because of her Autism. I always pity her because of her condition but on the other hand I envy her, why? Autistic people as always described as in their shell, for me they are lucky in the sense that they dont have to deal with intriguing issues people do to each other, they dont care or worry about anything, their happiness is so shallow, my daughter is happy with fried chicken, she's having a goodtime staring with her labelled bottles, watching movie over and over again. So that's why they are SPECIAL, they are too special that God never let them see nor hear the harshness of Humanity. Us? what are the things that can make us happy? "Normal" people are the ones who are hard to please, normal people are the ones who are hard to get along with, normal people are the ones who gives burden to the people around them. So, what's wrong with these people so called "NORMAL"?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

School for Mainstreaming

Abraham's Flock School accepts special children who is qualified for mainstreaming that is through Hope (Heart of Peace). The Program will start this July the schedule will be 3 times a week, 1 hour a day.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

HOPE ( Heart of PEace)

HOPE is a Special School located in Noveleta, Cavite. This school offers early intervention, accepts children with Autism, Down Syndrome, ADHD, Mental Retardation, and some other related disorders. This school also accepts older person with those mentioned disorders. The tuition fee is affordable compared to other. Contact # 046-438 0462

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Free Special Education in Cavite

I have seen many special children who does not have any early interventions, this is because of expensive tuition fees the parents should pay. There is a school situated in Cavite city that offers FREE services for the children this school is the JULIAN FELIPE ELEM. SCHOOL, this is a public school, for those who are looking for school maybe you should check it out... NOW!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Understanding Autism - Cause

What Causes It?

Autism has more than one cause. Because autism runs in families, most researchers think that certain combinations of genes may predispose a person to autism. It's currently thought that there may be several different causes of autism. This suggests that there may be several different subtypes of autism.
When a pregnant woman is exposed to certain drugs or chemicals during pregnancy, her child is more likely to be autistic. These risk factors include the use of alcohol and the use of antiseizure drugs during pregnancy. In some cases, autism has been linked to untreated phenylketonuria (called PKU, an inborn metabolic disorder caused by the absence of an enzyme), rubella (German measles) and celiac disease (an inability to tolerate gluten in grains).
Exactly why autism happens isn't clear. Research suggests that it may arise from physical problems in parts of the brain that interpret sensory input and process language. Imbalances in brain chemicals also appear to play a role.
Researchers have no evidence that a child's psychological environment -- such as how caregivers treat the child -- causes autism.

Some of the different types of autism

  • Autistic disorder - This is what most people think of when they hear the word "autism." It refers to problems with social interactions, communication and imaginative play in children younger than 3 years.
  • Asperger's syndrome - These children don't have a problem with language -- in fact, they tend to score in the average or above-average range on intelligence tests. But they have the same social problems and limited scope of interests as children with autistic disorder.
  • Pervasive developmental disorder or PDD -- also known as atypical autism. This is a kind of catchall category for children who have some autistic problems but who don't fit into other categories.
  • Rett's disorder - Known to occur only in girls, Rett's children begin to develop normally. Then they begin to lose their communication and social skills. Beginning at the age of 1 to 4 years, repetitive hand movements replace purposeful use of the hands.
  • Childhood disintegrative disorder - These children develop normally for at least two years, and then lose some or most of their communication and social skills.

SYMPTOMS

Autism - Symptoms
Core symptoms

The severity of symptoms varies greatly between individuals; however, all people with autism have some core symptoms in the areas of:


Social interactions and relationships. Symptoms may include

  • Significant problems developing nonverbal communication skills, such as eye-to-eye gazing, facial expressions, and body posture.
  • Failure to establish friendships with children the same age.
  • Lack of interest in sharing enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people.
  • Lack of empathy. People with autism may have difficulty understanding another person's feelings, such as pain or sorrow.

Verbal and nonverbal communication. Symptoms may include:

  • Delay in, or lack of, learning to talk. As many as 50% of people with autism never speak.1
  • Problems taking steps to start a conversation. Also, people with autism have difficulties continuing a conversation once it has begun.
  • Stereotyped and repetitive use of language. People with autism often repeat over and over a phrase they have heard previously (echolalia).
  • Difficulty understanding their listener's perspective. For example, a person with autism may not understand that someone is using humor. They may interpret the communication word for word and fail to catch the implied meaning.

Limited interests in activities or play. Symptoms may include:

  • An unusual focus on pieces. Younger children with autism often focus on parts of toys, such as the wheels on a car, rather than playing with the entire toy.
  • Preoccupation with certain topics. For example, older children and adults may be fascinated by train schedules, weather patterns, or license plates.
  • A need for sameness and routines. For example, a child with autism may always need to eat bread before salad and insist on driving the same route every day to school.
  • Stereotyped behaviors. These may include body rocking and hand flapping.

Symptoms during childhood

Symptoms of autism are usually noticed first by parents and other caregivers sometime during the child's first 3 years. Although autism is present at birth (congenital), signs of the disorder can be difficult to identify or diagnose during infancy. Parents often become concerned when their toddler does not like to be held; does not seem interested in playing certain games, such as peekaboo; and does not begin to talk. They also may be confused about their child's hearing abilities. It often seems that a child with autism does not hear, yet at other times, he or she may appear to hear a distant background noise, such as the whistle of a train.
With early and intensive treatment, most children improve their ability to relate to others, communicate, and help themselves as they grow older. Contrary to popular myths about children with autism, very few are completely socially isolated or "live in a world of their own."

Symptoms during adolescent and teen years

During the teen years, the patterns of behavior often change. Many teens gain skills but still lag behind in their ability to relate to and understand others. Puberty and emerging sexuality may be more difficult for adolescents and teens with autism than for others this age. Teens are at a slightly increased risk for developing problems related to depression, anxiety, and epilepsy.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Day She Arrived

It was in October 1995 when the big day happened... i gave birth to a baby girl, my only girl after 2 boys. Ive been praying for a girl when I learned that I was pregnant for the 3rd time and the prayer was granted! It took a week just to pick a name for her.... and finally Ive decided to call her Michaella... my princess.

For me, she was the most beautiful baby girl Ive ever seen, I cant wait to buy her bathing suits, I cant wait to buy gowns for her for "Flores de Mayo", I dont let her wear clothes bought from the market it should be from SM, as I look at my daughter everyday, who seldom cry, who doesnt scream at night, even learn to walk at 10 months old, and at 12 months she is starting to say some words like airplane (word with 2 syllables) never in my wildest dream there was something wrong with her.... after 1 1/2 years, everything has changed, all the things she knew and learned disapppeared, the signs are being noticed, no eye contact, does not talk she only screams, cry, bite, throw everything inside the house. Well at that time I thought it was normal and as a defense... she was late. On Christmas Day 1997, a relative told me to have her check by a doctor they were suspecting she's deaf, I know shes not, even without the doctors opinion but I also know there was a problem... deeper problem.

On January 1998 she was diagnosed having AUTISM a lifelong disability... that day was indescribable the pain was so intense my whole world collapsed... my tears flowed like a river I cannot believe that my daughter, my only daughter is autistic. I prayed like I never used to, if I did something wrong Iam very much willing to do it all over again, but nothing happened and to top it all up.. she was getting worst. Desperately seeking for help, I even pray to satan, I prayed to him like he is my God, no body knows about this, but yes I did, once in my life, for my daughter, I did made satan my God. At that time I dont believe on anything anymore, no God, no Satan... Iam on my own I have to deal with this all by myself.

I went to seminars listen to the speakers very carefully... I bought books about it. Went to Special School and enroll her, she was only 2 years 8 mos. when she was enrolled. We went from school to school, therapist to therapist. I met Maricon, her husband is a preacher and his son was diagnosed with a "global disability" meaning everything about him is wrong, the teeth, the eyes, his balance and everything about him, then I ask her.. dont you hate God for what he did to your son? she answered me calmly... why blame God for human nature??? it shook me... right there, at that very moment I cried and realized she was right, I dont pray that much and I dont even go to church, do I have the right to question him?

Now, she's 12 years old, I have accepted the disability, his brothers learned how to deal with her and I can proudly say she has improved beyond my expectations, her self help is excellent, she feeds herself (even cooks simple dishes) she uses the computer (shes always on youtube) she can read, she can do simple math, she speaks some words but cannot express herself fully.
The only thing that is bothering me... How will she be if Im gone?