Saturday, November 21, 2009

Do You Know What Causes Down Syndrome?

Down syndrome children are a lot of work. Parents will need a team of doctors, including a cardiologist, a gastroenterologist, a pediatrician and other specialists, like speech therapists. Babies with Down syndrome may have trouble learning to roll over, sit up, feed, walk or talk. However, the temperament of these children is often extremely loving, loyal and gentle, which is why some doctors say raising a child with Down syndrome can be a rewarding experience. What causes Down syndrome boils down to genetics, although there is no way to prevent it.

An error in cell division is what causes this chromosomal disorder, experts say. Typically, human cells have 46 chromosomes; half from the sperm and half from the egg. Occasionally, extra genetic material builds up on the 21st chromosome when cells divide improperly and chromosome 21 becomes a trio, rather than a standard pair. In fact, another name of Down syndrome is "Trisomy 21." The triple chromosome will then continue to replicate improperly in each growing cell.

Doctors found that what causes Down syndrome environmentally may be the parents' age. For example, a 25-year-old mother has a 1/3,000 chance of having a baby with Down syndrome. By age 35, her risk will have increased to 1/365 and by 45, it will be a 1/30 chance of having a baby with the genetic condition! The latest Down syndrome research suggests that older fathers are now responsible for the 50% rise in risk, when the mother is also over 40.

Even though the odds get worse as the parents age, 80% of these babies are born to women who are 35 or younger. However, that statistic can also be explained because younger women are having many more babies. Younger mothers who smoke and have a meiotic II error or who smoke and take oral contraceptives are at increased risk for having a Down child as well.

During pregnancy, there are several screening tests to examine what causes Down syndrome. Some people get blood tests like the quad screen, which reveals chromosomal disorders between the eleventh and fourteenth weeks of pregnancy. Doctors look for plasma protein-A and the human chorionic gonadotropin hormone.

This test is about 87% effective in making a Down syndrome diagnosis. Ultrasound is another method to check for abnormalities. While these tests may give parents peace of mind, they may also set off a false alarm. Even though 1/20 women test positive, most will go on to deliver healthy babies anyway.

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Learning About the Down Syndrome Disability

Down syndrome is the most common developmental disability in the US. A Down syndrome baby is noticeable by the small ears, small head, small eyes, slightly upturned nose, flat facial features and round head. They will require more time developing, learning to breast feed, rolling over, walking, talking and dressing themselves. However, parents of babies with Down syndrome often say, if given the choice, they wouldn't change a thing and that raising their unique child was one of the greatest things they could have done with their lives.

When learning about Down syndrome, you will discover there is a build-up of additional genetic material on the 21st chromosome. Doctors aren't 100% sure what causes this abnormality, but they do know that parental age increases the risk. Eighty percent of Down syndrome babies are born to parents under 35, which is probably because more people in that age bracket are having children.

Statistically speaking, a 25-year-old woman has a 1/3,000 chance of having a baby with Down syndrome, while a 35-year-old-woman has 1/365 odds of having a Down syndrome baby. By 45 years of age, her baby has a 1/30 chance of having downs! It is very rarely passed down genetically and it is estimated that only 3-4% of all downs cases are caused from inherited translocation of genetic material, while the rest appear to be caused by random, abnormal chromosomal activity.

There are some common medical conditions that people with this chromosomal disorder may face. Half of Down syndrome babies are born with heart defects and increased susceptibility to illnesses. Often, they are born with a hearing impairment or poor vision, and will likely encounter a speech impediment, sleep apnea or chronic ear infections later down the road. As a parent, you'll need to find a trusted, specialized, medical practitioner. You may find local resources through the National Down Syndrome Society at "Ndss".

A support net is waiting for you; one mouse-click away. You can meet with other parents who have already gone through raising a child with Down syndrome. You can learn coping and teaching techniques or find an inspirational book that fills your heart with joy. Your life will be forever changed when any baby enters your life and you find that love can help you overcome anything. By participating in one of the many local community programs, you'll find greater strength.

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Is My Child Autistic? The Top 10 Signs of Autism

The recent rise in publicity is causing more people to become aware of Autism and to wonder if their child may be Autistic. No one wants to imagine something could be wrong with their child. But then they see a news story or hear someone talking about a child that has Autism and they start to imagine that their own child may have signs of Autism.

The characteristics of Autism are many and they differ in each child. Even if you see some Autism symptoms in your child it does not mean they are Autistic. There are many medical conditions that have the same warning signs. Some children may be slower in their developmental milestones. Remember that each child develops at their own tempo and just because your child is not talking by the time they are twelve-months-old does not mean they have Autism.

If you worry about your child's progress speak to their Pediatrician. Only they can tell you if further testing should be considered. Many parents try to self diagnose their children. This can be a huge blunder. It takes a number of qualified medical specialists to diagnose Autism signs in a child. This Autism symptoms checklist cannot be done with one appointment, with one pediatrician. You will need a team of professionals evaluating your child. Remember, the earlier you have your child assessed the greater the chances of treatment helping the child.

Finding out if your child is Autistic can take time. It can be a life changing occurrence for both you and your child. Only when you find out if your child is Autistic can you begin the recommended course of action or continuing to see what is causing your child's problems if it is not Autism.

Signs of Autism that your child may need further evaluation include:
1. No eye contact
2. No communication at all; sounds or words.
3. No show of emotions.
4. Does not pretend play.
5. Use of repetitive movements.
6. If they show a hard time with schedule changes.
7. Do not respond to you when you are speaking to them; either with looks or words.
8. Doing things over and over again.
9. Loss of skills they knew.
10. An attachment to a certain food, or smell. These are sensory problems.

If you notice these signs in your child speak to your Pediatrician about them. Receiving a proper diagnosis and treatment plan are very important. But again; do not worry over every little thing. Remember, some children just take a little longer to reach their milestones.

If you have more questions and would like to learn more, take a look HERE today.

All About Autism - Definition, Diagnoses, and Symptoms

Autism, or Autistic Disorder is a severe and devastating psychological mayhem in which the patient suffers serious difficulties in interacting and communicating with other people. Autism affects your social, emotional and behavioral development, often starting in childhood, and many times lasting well into adulthood.

Because there is no known cure for the disorder at this time, you may end up living your entire life with it, experiencing little or no improvement.

When you suffer from autism, a professional is often able to tell from the time when you are only three years old. Because of all kinds of autism research that is ongoing, there are now better ways to even diagnose the disorder at this time. As a matter of fact, they can see if you have symptoms of autism as an infant today by just watching you closely to see if you have warning signs of the disorder.

Symptoms of autism exhibit themselves in three major aspects of your life, which are social difficulties, communicative difficulties, and restrictive interests. Social symptoms of autism include the inability to respond to others, make gestures, or even make friends because you do not really recognize the feelings of others.

The common communicative symptoms include speech and language difficulties, which may cause you to repeat the exact same thing you have heard back to the person who spoke it. And the most basic of your restrictive symptoms may have you sitting in the same way on the same spot all day, playing with the same toy all the time, lining things up, and generally hating any changes to anything around you.

You may not have autism, but you want to observe to see if your child does, because if they do you need to get them help, and you need to get some help yourself on how to care for your autistic loved one.

Autism in Your Child - Causes and Prevention

It has been confirmed through various tests, experiments and researches that there is a genetic link to the susceptibility of a child to suffer from autism, although the link itself has not been determined.

The Refrigerator Mother idea was postulated at one time also, suggesting that bad parenting may have caused the disorder in some way. This was greatly misleading at the time, and was rather overwhelming for several families. Thankfully, the notion of it has been disproved and families now know that it is most likely due to no fault of theirs that the child suffers.

It is also believed that several environmental factors have the potential to cause a child to have autism. Factors such as pollutants and chemicals in the surrounding area, illness that the mother of the child suffered from during pregnancy or medication that was taken then, and the likes, were thought to have been culprits.

These have not been proven by any kind of research results and thus remains highly speculative, although researchers are almost certain that high metal content in diets certainly have a contribution to it all.

No, they do not know what causes autism or how it can be cured, except that it is something that could have been avoided. You can best prevent autism by living a healthy a clean life, free of as much toxins and poisons as possible, and full of activity and exercise that will keep you in good physical and medical shape. These can reduce the genetic maladies you can pass on to your offspring, including, probably, autism.

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Autism in Children

Autism causes problems with behaviour, communication and social skills. People with the disorder may have abnormalities in the way the brain developed that causes the behavioural quirks associated with it. But there are some people who believe it should not be classified as a mental disorder, arguing that autistic people are simply at the extreme end of a behavioural scale.

An autistic child usually starts exhibiting symptoms before the age of three, although the parent may only realise this with retrospect. A child with autism can be almost robotic in their behaviour. They will not interact in a normal manner with their parents - for instance, if they fall over they may not seek comfort - and they are likely to have very poor eye contact. If the autism is quite severe it may seem like they are almost unaware of the world around them. The child might react in a surprising manner to a seemingly innocent trigger, for instance many children with autism are very sensitive about people touching them. Sometimes they will spend long periods of time repeating certain motions over and over again, such as rocking or even a form of self harm.

The child will lack empathy with those around them. They cannot comprehend the feelings of other people and have no apparent interest in seeking out company. Their speech development is likely to be poor as a result. Not only will an autistic child not play with their peers, they may not even play on their own, or at least not in a manner which most people would define as play. Instead they tend to become rather fixated on specific things, for instance they may become singularly interested in trains, and obsessed with carrying out routines.

Autism is extremely difficult to treat as the condition is so complex and very little is known about its causes. Behavioural therapy can have a degree of success, but it is very dependent on the individual and the degree of their autism. Therapy can help them understand the behaviour and emotions of those around them, so that they can interact in a more normal manner. Apparently small actions can actually be a huge step for the child, such as spontaneously reaching out to their parents for a hug.

Raising a child with autism has its rewards, but it can also be a big emotional challenge. There are organisations available who will offer much needed support to the families of autistic children.

Leanne is particularly interested in the subject of health, but she also writes product reviews such as the top 10 vacuum cleaners and best bagless vacuum cleaners.

Acupuncture and Autism

Autism is on the increase around the world, with current estimates ranging from one in a thousand to one in five hundred children affected. No one knows exactly why the numbers are going up. The old theory of vaccines causing the problem has been largely discounted, while other theories encompassing viruses, antibiotics, nutrition and environmental pollution wax and wane.

Because autism is a baffling and difficult problem to treat, many parents are turning to alternative therapies to try and help their children. The western orthodox approach to treating children with autism has ranged placing them in care to working on improving their social and communication skills. There is no ‘cure’ as yet for Autism, leading some parents to try alternative therapies for symptomatic relief and possible improvement in the condition of their children. One popular recent approach is acupuncture, even though autism as defined by western medicine is not recognised by Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Anecdotal and preliminary medical evidence suggest that children with autism can benefit from acupuncture. While a cure is not to be expected, acupuncture seems to give symptomatic relief to children.
Though it may be a challenging experience for the child and the parents in the beginning, the results seem to suggest that it is helpful in the long run. Traditional acupuncture requires the patient to lay still for long periods, to endure the close contact of a stranger and the invasive insertion of needles, all of which could prove to be exceptionally difficult for a child, particularly one on the severe end of the autistic spectrum. But Paediatric acupuncture addresses some of these issues. Acupuncture for young children doesn't require them to lay still as with adults. It's just a quick prick (with super thin needles) at pressure points. Acupressure is an alternative for those who would prefer a less invasive treatment.

A study was done in the US to observe the effect of acupuncture on the brains of children with autism. The acupuncture treatment was given once every other day, for four months. After acupuncture treatment; of the 22 cases, 20 had remarkable improvement and 2 had significant in cerebral blood flow. Before the treatment there were significant differences in blood flow between the left and right cerebrum and between the left and right frontal lobes, however, after treatment, no differences were found between them

Preliminary clinical trials have been conducted in Hong Kong to establish the effectiveness of tongue acupuncture – a relatively new treatment method that is thought to be particularly effective for children on the autistic spectrum. Traditional acupuncture has been practiced in China for over 5000 years, but tongue acupuncture has developed only over the last two decades.

Based on the traditional Chinese view that the tongue and heart are connected through meridians that spread to all the organs of the body, it is believed that points on the tongue influence the state of the body’s organs and it is through this that relief of autism’s symptoms occurs.

Most agree that a combined approach to diet and alternative therapies can offer symptomatic relief to suffers of autism, improving mood and communication skills in children. Though it will always be on a scale of improvement, rather than cure.

Michael Russell
Your Independent guide to Acupuncture []

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Learning Disabilities and Sibling Relationships - 10 Rules to Avoid Rivalry

It is natural for some degree of sibling rivalry to exist in any family. However, families containing a child with a learning disability run a far higher risk of rivalry, given that the learning-disabled child consumes a lot more of the parent's attention. Here are ten rules to stave off rivalry:

1. Read the book Children: The Challenge by Rudolph Dreikurs, M.D. The book is based on the theory of "logical consequences" and helps with almost any behavioral issue. When my kids were young, I kept it at my bedside so it was available at a moment's notice.

2. Let your children know that a sibling relationship is to be cherished. Friends may come and go, but a sister is always a sister.

3. Let your children settle their own petty squabbles. Tell them you trust that together they can come to a fair resolution (self-fulfilling prophecy). Interfere only if the disagreement becomes physical.

4. Make it apparent you value each child's opinions.

5. Never compare siblings (at least not within earshot). Although you may be tempted, never say, "I wish you were neat like your sister", etc. This only instills resentment and promotes rivalry.

6. When you are alone with each child, say something positive regarding how he/she related to a sibling (i.e. "You were so kind to your brother- I saw how generously you shared your toys. Justin certainly is lucky to have a brother like you." Or, "I admired the way you dealt with Sara and compromised when you were arguing. Sara is certainly fortunate to have you as an older role model."

7. Encourage a positive relationship by eliciting a child's help with a sibling. For example, you might say "Can you please come with me and wheel Jason in the stroller while I walk the dog? I know he likes when you do that, and I love when you help me."

8. Find a talent in each child to compliment in front of family or friends. Be careful to do this equally for each sibling. To avoid rivalry, you need to let each child know they are appreciated and loved for their individuality. If everyone were alike, the world would be a boring place.

9. When the time is right, be honest with your children about a sister's or brother's difficulties. You might say, "Although Anna is smart, she learns differently than you do. Everyone has different strengths. When you play Scrabble, it's unkind to laugh at her when she misspells a word."

10. Try to have fun together as a family and laugh as often as you can. In our family, we used to play a game in the car called "Who Would Say This?" Each person thought of something unique that another family member typically says. For example, "Who would say, 'Get those blankety-blank roller skates out of the hallway. I almost killed myself!'"

These suggestions are not meant to imply that your kids will never argue or cause you to lose your cool. But be careful what you say when tension arises. Once words are spoken, they cannot be taken back. Children imitate what they see. If parents set the standards of respect and kindness within the family and find the positive in each child, your children will likely to do the same with each other.

There is a lot more to learn about achieving success in college with a learning disability. If you would like more information, please go to and sign up for a free copy of "Learning Disabilities: 10 Tips for High School Students with College Aspirations".

Joan M. Azarva, Ms.ED is an expert college Learning Specialist and most recently worked in this capacity at a local community college. She has nearly 35 years of experience working with students with LD/ADD. Joan currently teaches "Conquer College with LD/ADD" online in webinar format. You can read more about Joan's course at

Pengenalan Masalah Pembelajaran

Tidak semua kanak-kanak dapat menerima dan menguasai pembelajaran seperti yang diharap dan dirancang. Terdapat beberapa golongan kanak-kanak yang tidak bernasib baik sehingga menghalang proses pembelajaran berlaku dengan baik dan cemerlang. Antara golongan itu adalah kanak-kanak bermasalah pembelajaran.

Kanak-kanak bermasalah pembelajaran adalah mereka yang mempunyai masalah neurologikal hingga menjejaskan pemahaman, penggunaan bahasa, pertuturan, penulisan, berfikir, membaca, menulis, mengeja dan bermatematik (Mohd. Sharani, 2004).

Kanak-kanak bermasalah pembelajaran mempunyai masalah kognitif atau kerencatan mental yang dianggap boleh diajar dan boleh mendapat manfaat pendidikan secara formal. Istilah ‘bermasalah pembelajaran’ telah diketengahkan oleh Samuel Kirk pada tahun (1963). Beliau berpendapat, masalah pembelajaran sebagai kelewatan perkembangan dalam satu atau lebih daripada proses pertuturan, pembacaan, penulisan atau mata pelajaran sekolah lain.

Mereka tidak mempunyai kebolehan bagi mengikuti pelajaran secara formal seperti pelajar lain. Justeru itu, mereka tidak mempunyai kebolehan untuk maju dan bergerak secara normal di sekolah. Manakala prestasi mereka pula, menunjukkan bahawa mereka tidak dapat membuat kerja-kerja kelas yang sesuai dengan umur mereka. Jika dibandingkan dengan murid lain dalam lingkungan umur yang sama, mereka menunjukkan kelemahan yang nyata dalam pelajaran.

Mereka biasanya tidak dapat mengikuti pelajaran yang diajar oleh guru yang menggunakan kaedah dan prosedur pengajaran yang biasa disebabkan oleh jangka penumpuan yang pendek dan kurang kebolehan memindahkan perkara-perkara yang dipelajari. Mereka juga memerlukan lebih dorongan dan benda-benda yang nyata ketika belajar.

Pelbagai kategori kanak-kanak bermasalah pembelajaran telah dispesifikasikan oleh Kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia (KPM) antaranya sindrom down, autisme ringan, hiperaktif, terencat akal minima, lewat perkembangan, disleksia dan pelbagai kategori lain yang menjadi tanggungjawab kementerian ini. Kanak-kanak ini akan berada di bawah satu program pendidikan yang khusus di sekolah-sekolah integrasi yang terpilih.