Saturday, April 28, 2012

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or acid reflux, is a condition that is a chronic problem for those affected by it. Common symptoms of GERD are heartburn (a burning feeling in the chest), a feeling of food being stuck behind your breast bone, nausea after eating a meal, a cough, a voice that is horse sounding or a sore throat. Symptoms can worsen at night when lying down. GERD is caused by stomach contents leaking back out of the stomach into the esophagus (the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach). Gastric or stomach acid, food and drink, and/or pepsin (a digestive enzyme that’s main function is to break down proteins that have been eaten) may leak out of the stomach. The impact of these substances on the lining of the esophagus can be harmful because they are caustic and the continuous back flow irritates the esophagus and can cause GERD.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Special Needs: Diagnostic Differences between Educational and Medical Diagnosis of Autism

In Part 2 of this Autism Primer, Dr. Wilkinson offers introductory answers to frequently asked questions about identification and educational planning for ASD. Resources are also provided that will guide you to further information. The content is intended to be informational only and does not constitute professional advice. 
Question: What is the difference between DSM-IV-TR and IDEA?
Answer: It is important to recognize that there is a difference between the clinical and the educational definitions of autism. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA) and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) are the two primary systems of classification. The DSM-IV is considered the primary authority in the fields of psychiatric and psychological (clinical) diagnoses, while IDEA is the authority with regard to eligibility decisions for special education in our schools. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) entitles all students with special needs to a free appropriate public education (FAPE). According to the IDEA regulations, the definition of autism is as follows:
(c)(1)(i) Autism means a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age 3, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences. The term does not apply if a child’s educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the child has an emotional disturbance, as defined in this section.
(ii) A child who manifests the characteristics of ‘‘autism’’ after age 3 could be diagnosed as having ‘‘autism’’ if the criteria in paragraph (c)(1)(i) of this section are satisfied.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Children With Autism DD: Special Needs: Suffer More Severe Symptoms When Born Either Preterm Or Post-term

Children With Autism Suffer More Severe Symptoms When Born Either Preterm Or Post-term

For children with autism, being born several weeks early or several weeks late tends to increase the severity of their symptoms, according to new research out of Michigan State University.

Additionally, autistic children who were born either preterm or post-term are more likely to self-injure themselves compared with autistic children born on time, revealed the study by Tammy Movsas of MSU's Department of Epidemiology.

Though the study did not uncover why there is an increase in autistic symptoms, the reasons may be tied to some of the underlying causes of why a child is born preterm (prior to 37 weeks) or post-term (after 42 weeks) in the first place.

The research appears online in the Journal of Autism and Development Disorders.
Movsas, a postdoctoral epidemiology fellow in MSU's College of Human Medicine, said the study reveals there are many different manifestations of autism spectrum disorder, a collection of developmental disorders including both autism and Asperger syndrome. It also shows the length of the mother's pregnancy is one factor affecting the severity of the disorder.

While previous research has linked premature birth to higher rates of autism, this is one of the first studies to look at the severity of the disability.

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