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.. ternal pleasure. Another theory is that sudden episodes of self-injury may be caused by sub-clinical seizures. An infection of the middle ear is thought to be a cause of the head banging or ear hitting. The last theory is that some forms of self-injury may be a result of over arousal (such as frustration).

It acts as a release, and lowers arousal. The social theorists have a different perspective on self-injurious behavior. They believe that the autistic individuals engage in these behaviors to obtain attention from other people. Research on how to treat autism is a continuous process. It also makes it difficult because each child reacts differently to the various treatments. There is no cure, and probably never will be because of autism being a brain-based disorder.

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It has not yet been discovered how to restore the brain back to normality. All they can do now is find ways to relieve the symptoms and to help the child and its family cope better. Sometimes the symptoms do lessen as the child ages, and can do so to the point that the average person would not be able to tell the person is autistic. This is rare though, and most show some signs of autism throughout their life. There are many different treatments that people try: Diet intervention, medications, auditory training, behavior modification, educational programs, music therapy, occupational therapy, sensory and/or vision therapy and vitamin therapy to name a few.

The treatments have a better chance of working the earlier you start your child on them. It has been proven that it could be crucial to their language and social skills. It is also extremely important for the parent to research the different types of treatments and decide which is best for their child. One type of treatment is diet intervention. This proves to help drastically because autistic individuals are more apt to have allergies and food sensitivities. A believed reason for this is their impaired immune system.

The most common food allergies tend to come from grains and dairy products. Also strawberries and citrus fruits. Consuming these foods could lead to headaches, nausea, stomachaches, bedwetting, stuttering, whining and crying, insomnia, hyperactivity, aggression, ear infections, and possibly a seizure. A way to test if a child is having a reaction to a type of food is to remove the item from their diet for a week or two, then feed it to them on an empty stomach. If there is a reaction, it will take place in 15-60 minutes. Another way to test it would be to give them the food every so many days.

If they have a reaction on those days, then there is an allergy to the item. The reason for the bad reaction to grains and dairy is because of the gluten found in wheat, oats, rye, and barley and the casein found in milk and other dairy products. Most autistic people have a damaged intestine. It may be damaged at birth, but more likely is from an immunological injury, like a bad reaction to an immunization. This is called a leaky gut.

Because of this, not all the food proteins are completely digested, particularly the gluten and casein. These partially broken down proteins form peptides that act like opium. Like the drug, the peptides harm the brain, which causes or magnifies the autistic symptoms. Many times, parents who do not know of the opium affect don’t want to take their child off of dairy and grain-based foods because that is all their children eat and they do not want them to starve. They do not realize that these foods are actually addicting to them and they will have to go through withdrawal and will then learn to eat other foods. To test the level of peptides, a urinary test can be done. Since gluten and casein cause such bad reactions, many autistic people are on Gluten-Free, Casein-Free diets.

Gluten is not only in food, it is also in some medications, so it is very important that the pharmacist makes sure all over-the-counter and prescribed drugs do not contain it. Another type of treatment is the use of megavitamins as nutritional supplements. There has been a drastic behavioral change from large doses of Vitamin B6 and magnesium. They must be used together though because magnesium helps the body to use B6 effectively. In some cases, these vitamins have helped to normalize brain waves and metabolism.

Other supplements that have helped reduce symptoms are Vitamin C, which reduces rocking, spinning, and hand flapping, Dimethylglycine (DMG), a nontoxic chemical, which has aided eye contact and speech, and reduced hyperactivity. These all lead to an overall better emotional health. The other popular form of treatment is medications. There are medications for all different aspects of the disease. The most prescribed medication is Ritalin.

Ritalin is a stimulant and is used to control or reduce hyperactivity and attention deficit. A newer antidepressant that has come into use is Zoloft, which helps to stop racing thoughts, obsessions, and reduces anxiety. Using a more natural, alternative medication, some people have started using secretin. This hormone that naturally aids in gastric functions is either injected or given in pill form. Most parents are extremely thrilled with the results and report behavioral and social improvements, willingness to use language, increase in affection level and attention span, and a better understanding of meanings.

But, there have been a minute number of seizures while the child was being given the injection or shortly afterward. Enzyme Potentiated Desensitization (EPD) is a method of immunotherapy that is still being looked at by the FDA, but has been found to treat many immune and auto immune disorders and cuts down on the affects of allergies. There have been some problems with this though and it is questionable whether or not it will become widely used. As the research shows, there are numerous ways to find treatments for autism. It is also important to keep up with the medical research because they seem to be finding and approving new treatments quite often.

The most important part is finding out what is best for the individual and going from there. Works Cited McClannahan, Lynn E. (1999). Activity Schedules for Children with Autism. New York: Woodbine House Inc. Kranowitz, Carol M.D.

(1998). The Out of Sync Child. NewYork: Skylight Press. Pierangelo, Roger Ph.D. (1996). Special Education Guide.

New York: The Center for Applied Research in Education. Schopler, Eric. (1995). The Autistic Survival Manual. London: Plenum Press. Psychology Essays.


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