Engagement in meaningful activities is essential to development and is often reduced in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who have limited engagement in activities or relationships. A multiple-baseline design was used with 7 children with ASD ages 4-8 yr to assess the effect of including a horse in occupational therapy intervention on task engagement. The children showed improvements in engagement. Including horses in occupational therapy sessions may be a valuable addition to conventional treatments to increase task engagement of children with ASD. Factors related to the environment, therapeutic strategies, and individual participation need to be considered in understanding why this intervention may be effective and developing a theoretical basis for implementation.
Copyright © 2016 by the American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.
More and source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/27767943/
New research confirms that individuals with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often have significant sensory deficits that influence social interactions.
Investigators determined the brains of individuals with ASD appear to lack feedback loops that help to process tactile information. This faulty processing results in social challenges.
Belgium researchers explain that many individuals with ASD are over- or undersensitive to sensory information. Some feel overwhelmed by busy environments such as supermarkets, others are less sensitive to pain, or dislike being touched.
Prior research has found that the severity of daily social difficulties of individuals with ASD is strongly related to the extent to which they are sensitive to touch. In fact, the sensory challenges impact function more so visual or auditory sensitivities.
To determine why this is the case, doctoral researcher Eliane Deschrijver and her colleagues investigated how the brain of individuals with and without ASD uses own touch to understand touch sensations in the actions of others.
Prof. Marcel Brass clarifies: We think that the human brain uses the own sense of touch to distinguish one’s self from others.
For example, when I perform an action that leads to a tactile sensation, for instance by making a grasping movement, I expect to feel a tactile sensation that corresponds to this.
If my own touch tells me something else, the tactile sensation will probably belong to the other person, and not to me. The brain can thus effectively understand others by signaling tactile sensations that do not correspond to the own sense of touch.”
In a series of experiments with electro-encephalography (EEG) conducted at Ghent University, the scientists showed that the brain activity of adults with ASD differs from that of adults without ASD while processing touch.
Physical activities are often overlooked in autism therapies. Parents usually put emphasis on training their autistic child to communicate verbally, establish eye contact, and how to behave in social situations. Experts, however, said that exercise plays a huge part in providing a better quality of life to people with autism.
Meghann Lloyd, an associate professor of health sciences at the University of Ontario in Canada, said that it's important for autistic children to be physically active "so they can gain all the other skills that they need," according to a report from Spectrum, a news and expert opinion site on autism research. Past studies found that aside from boosting motor skills, movement-based autism therapies also improve autistic children's attention and social communication skills, behavioral problems, and academic performance.
Every parent and caregiver knows from first hand experience that babies calm down when they are picked up, gently rocked, and carried around the room. New research published in the journal Current Biology on April 18, 2013 shows that this is a universal phenomenon. Infants experience an automatic calming reaction when they are being carried, whether they are mouse pups or human babies.
More and source: http://www.cnbc.com/id/102473744#
Washington, D.C., March 3, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Physicians and public health officials know that recently vaccinated individuals can spread disease and that contact with the immunocompromised can be especially dangerous. For example, the Johns Hopkins Patient Guide warns the immunocompromised to "Avoid contact with children who are recently vaccinated," and to "Tell friends and family who are sick, or have recently had a live vaccine (such as chicken pox, measles, rubella, intranasal influenza, polio or smallpox) not to visit."1
A statement on the website of St. Jude's Hospital warns parents not to allow people to visit children undergoing cancer treatment if they have received oral polio or smallpox vaccines within four weeks, have received the nasal flu vaccine within one week, or have rashes after receiving the chickenpox vaccine or MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine.2
The University of British Columbia is defending two of its researchers who have published vaccine-related studies discredited by the World Health Organization and described by several medical experts as weak and misleading.
Organizations that promote messages about the dangers of vaccines, such as the Children’s Medical Safety Research Institute (CMSRI), have used the results of the UBC research as evidence that vaccines cause autism and other serious harm. The front page of the CMSRI website states that in a “landmark” 2013 paper, the two UBC researchers show that “the more children receive vaccines with aluminum adjuvants, the greater their chance is of developing autism, autoimmune diseases and neurological problems later in life.” In that study, the researchers note that the rate of autism spectrum disorders increased along with the number of pediatric vaccines that contain aluminum.
Last week,a report by the University of San Diego School of Law found that about 686,000 children were victims of abuse and neglect in 2013. Traumatic childhood events can lead to mental health and behavioral problems later in life, explains psychiatrist and traumatic stress expert Bessel van der Kolk, author of the recently published book, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. Children’s brains are literally shaped by traumatic experiences, which can lead to problems with anger, addiction, and even criminal activity in adulthood, says van der Kolk.Sound Medicine’sBarbara Lewis spoke with him about his book.
Sound Medicine:Can psychologically traumatic events change the physical structure of the brain?
Dr. Bessel van der Kolk:Yes, they can change the connections and activations in the brain. They shape the brain.