Monday, July 31, 2017

5 Handful Tips for Autistic Teens

It's important to keep in mind that autistic teenagers and adults can be workers as capable as any other person.

Growing up is a challenge on its own. Kids in their early years get to enjoy the freedom of just being themselves and let their imagination loose. But as they grow up, responsibilities appear and things that used to be fun turn into serious activities. Before you know it, you have become a teenager, and another phase is in front of you.
Autistic teens do not have it easier, facing society and the future workplace you'll be at can pose difficulties because of others lack of understanding. If you feel like you could use a hand, here’s a handful of tips to help you out:

1.- No one knows you better than yourself
Accepting who you are is the main defense against people who don’t understand autism. If you’ve been through therapies before, you know it’s not easy, but you made it! You’re here now, ready to go out there and do things you didn't think you would.
Don’t let others discourage you from trying new experiences only because of their own misconceptions. You know very well what you’re capable of doing!
2.- There are good people out there
This is the first thing that could daunt you from going out there, the feeling that people won’t be as friendly or aware as you thought. It might feel like you’re going out there all by yourself, but it turns out it’s not that way.
By good, I’m not only referring to communities and people willing to help you but autistic folks that are already facing the world just as you are. Don’t let the fact that only a 1% of people have autism let you down. You’ll be surprised when you notice 1% will be enough. You are not alone.
3.- School isn’t that bad
Perhaps this is the most common fear of teenagers, mainly because school represents a significant part of their lives. Don't fear secondary or high school. There’ll be people who will accept you for who you are. Bullies are a general concern, of course, but if you manage to deal with their bad intentions and focus on your grades and friends, they’ll mean nothing to you.
After leaving school, it will just be another challenge accomplished and lots of lessons learned. If you build strong relationships, you will have some good companions for life. On the contrary, if you didn’t manage to get friends, there’s always the chance of meeting new people in the future (your workplace, for example).
4.- Keep up the pace, but your own
Imagine life as it was a race, but not one you need to get first or second. Just a race where, no matter which position you get, you’ll win. Autistic or not, each person has its own way of doing things. At this point, you know what you’re capable of as an individual, so you should never try to follow someone else’s pace.
Life’s not hurrying you to go and do everything in one day. This is your life, so you might as well just enjoy it at your rhythm.
5.- Hone your skills. Prepare yourself
Autistic people have a unique set of skills and capability, like any other person, and sometimes even more. But as much as you’re good at something, there’s always room for improvement. Find a place where you can use your capabilities while also improving them.
People often believe that academics are everything (math, English, and science), but when it comes down to the value you have as an individual, your grades mean nothing but a number in a piece of paper.
Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t study or prepare at school, it means that, if you work in what you’re good at, there’ll be more value to it.
Nowadays, people are starting to become more aware of what it means to be autistic in society. Even though there’s much work to be done yet, there’s a definite improvement. If you feel like fitting in it’s still hard for you, remember there’ll always be people willing to help you.
Autism Soccer stands today as an important asset for autistic children to develop their skills, grow and become a new voice for those who are still not heard. If you’re a parent looking for a friendly space for your children to improve, you’ve just found it!
It may take time, but most stigmas around autism are starting to fade away.

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Young-Onset Parkinson’s

Essential tremor is among the early signs of Parkinson's. If you ever experience it, make sure you go see a doctor and discard any possibility!
In this blog, there’s a tendency to focus on children who have any disability (ASD, most of the time), and advising their parents how to help them grow as individuals for their future. But it is also important to inform parents and members of the community regarding their own health so they can get support. This time, I’ll discuss a disease that can affect parents in their early years: Young-onset Parkinson.
Before anything, it’s necessary to clarify what Parkinson’s disease is. According to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation: “Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and progressive movement disorder, meaning that symptoms continue and worsen over time. Nearly one million people in the US are living with Parkinson’s disease.”
It is widely believed that the primary risk factor for this disease is aging, showing a 2-4% risk for people among their sixties. This might sound reassuring for parents and people on their 40s or 50s, but Young-onset Parkinson’s disease is a potential disease for them too.
Those who are affected by this disease at a young age will find difficulties in dealing with their responsibilities: like parenting, daily routine activities, and work. Depending on how the disease advances, there will be a moment where they’ll have to do less than they normally did, creating a significant amount of distress.
A person with this disease needs to keep in mind that the younger the person is, the disease is more likely to have root on genes. Identifying a potential case of young-onset Parkinson could be determinant to slow it before it’s worse, meaning that the patient could get an early treatment and its brain could be more responsive to it.
Be cautious before dismissing the possibility of having this disease. The percentage of people who have it might be low (only 2% out of 1 million), but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen to you. Be sure to have regular checkouts and ask about this diagnosis if you feel you have symptoms that could lead to Parkinson’s.
Parents need to remember that they need to take care of themselves as much as they care for their children. Be responsible for your health, and you’ll be able to protect those you hold dear.  If you ever get to face complications to help your children, you can contact the people of Autism Soccer. They will lend you a friendly and prepared hand. And if that’s not reason enough, they will also help your children develop soccer and communicational skills!
Parkinson's disease is a condition that causes tremors, muscles stiffness and sudden changes in speech.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Oxytocin and Autism: The Benefits of this Treatment

Oxytocin, often called the "love hormone", has shown some benefits in a subset of people with autism.

In the understanding of ASD, many misconceptions and conditions have been clarified just recently. For example, it was just in 2013 that Autism became a part of a subcategory of conditions that include Asperger’s and PDD-NOS (Pervasive Development Disorder Not Otherwise Specified). This means that not only we’re far from knowing it all, but we're also just starting. Around this discoveries, there’s a recent study that says
oxytocin could be an alternative way to help young children with autism.

Oxytocin is commonly known for being produced in the organism during childbirth (both during and after). However, the called “love hormone” also plays a role in social bonding. So the question now must be: what role it plays in helping children with autism? As a naturally occurring hormone, oxytocin can help them to create bonds and communicate with others.

According to a research in Molecular Psychiatry, a five-week treatment with nasal oxytocin spray can improve emotional, social and behavioral difficulties children with autism have in their early growth. Nonetheless, the results have inconsistencies when compared to long term studies. The long-term use of this hormone has shown to be detrimental to children, as it decreases the brain’s natural production of oxytocin. Also, another research has shown that oxytocin levels are not lower on people with autism, compared to non-autistic.

The next step for researchers is to understand the true effects of oxytocin and how it improves social behavior on the brain circuitry. This study might lead them to understand to what extent autistic children respond to oxytocin and the possible development of oxytocin-based medicines, not for individuals cases but a major spectrum.

It’s important to keep track of all the alternatives, such as this one, as they could lead to a better understanding of autism and how the autistic people's brains function. But remember to be wise and cautious about treatments, and never decide before consulting a specialist. Feel like your children could use some extra help? Then Autism Soccer could be the initiative that’ll change their life. Access their website and see it yourself!

Oxytocin used as a medication for autistic children might help with the treatment of the disorder.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Eye Contact in Autistic Children: Its Relationship with Genetics

According to studies, the root of autistic's tendency to avoid eye contact could be in genetics.

Most of the traits that are considered part of the Autism Disorder are associated with social behavior and communication skills. Among the signs of ASD, kids often show difficulties in learning, attention deficit, anxiety disorder or repetition of words and behaviors. But curiously, there’s one of these traits that could have a genetic explanation: the tendency to
avoid eye contact.
A study suggests that genetics could provide an answer for this tendency, which could lead to believe that social gaze patterns are heritable. However, these researchers did not look at autistic children. The study was based on neurotypical identical twins, and to their surprise, they found out twins share similar gaze patterns when watching videos or by interacting in general. But still, these results must be compared to cases of identical twins with autism to confirm this theory.
This study’s been out for long, and the first results were presented at the 2016 International Meeting for Autism Research in Baltimore. According to John Constantino, these results are “absolutely striking,” as they might unravel some secrets behind autism and ways of identifying it early. Studies such as these are of vital importance to understand more about this disorder, as many things are not completely understood yet. Gaze is only the first step into comprehending traits that define the way autistic people communicate.
There’s much to be done on the subject, but researchers continue to unravel mysteries behind autism as time passes. As for today, it remains as the main goal to continually look for ways to help those with the disorder. If you’re willing to support this cause or need assistance for your children, Autism Soccer might be the best option to help them out. Access their website, and you’ll see why!
Social attitudes like avoiding eye contact have a high chance of being heritable.

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Monday, July 24, 2017

An Inside Look to Understand Disabilities

There are many misconceptions about disabilities nowadays, due to the lack of information, consciousness, and understanding.

There’s an undeniable misconception about disabilities out there, and it involves the way people that live with these disabilities are perceived. It is often claimed that disabilities are something people “overcome” or just “adapt to." But people with disabilities actually need to go through their daily lives trying to fit in with their condition. It is not something they’ll get “cured off,” as if there was some way to mend certain disabilities. It’s entirely the opposite.
Firstly, people with disabilities did not choose to be that way: being born with a disability and growing not being able to do things people normally do (such as social interactions and physical activities) is not easy at all. Those who end up with a disability later on, due to an accident or a disease, also take part in this, as it affects them equally. Problems such as the inability to access certain places or just being labeled as “different” are factors that end up affecting their growth and self-perception in the long term.
Parents need to identify and name things correctly, not because of some idealized vision of disabilities, but to avoid people from perceiving their children as “special” only because of their needs. Aren't we all “special” for that matter? What they need is to be understood, respected and, most importantly, supported in their development as individuals.
Note that the intention of avoiding the word “special” is because the adjective just fails to express what’s going on with the individual. Saying your children has a disability (not that it "suffers," which implies something else) will address things as they are: neither as a label nor a limitation, but the truth.
This understanding demands a high level of awareness of what it means to live under these circumstances and which are the challenges, in a world that’s not yet shaped for them. It’s not easy to change this way of perception, but some people are working on this positive change of view. If you’re willing to change your perspective, you should check this article about ableism as well, as it might shed some light in the comprehension of this whole topic.
There’s much to be done on the subject, but there’s a chance of making a positive change in the way people see those who were born with a disability, and even for those with ASD. With the help of initiatives such as Autism Soccer, the odds for change are even greater!
There's no one to blame! Understanding disabilities require awareness, and the matter should be dealt with responsibility.

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