Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in an effort to aide children with autism gain building blocks creativity, they filled a toy box with legos. The building of lego structures in new and different ways, aided children with autism in learning to use creativity, a vital skill which researchers state they have witnessed a very challenging before the study.
Dr. Deborah Napolitano, PhD, BCBA-D, lead researcher and professor of pediatrics at the university, stated people in every day need to react to new situations. If a child has only one routine set of skills it becomes difficult to be successful.
A great number of children with autism become agitated and uncomfortable when asked to go beyond their repeated activities and create something new. By applying Applied Behavior Analysis(ABA), the science of working out how to aim and consistently alter a certain behavior. The researchers had managed to achieve in teaching all six children with autism in the study to play with legos in a more creative way. The children who desired to create the exact 24-block lego structure repeatedly at the beginning of the study, began going outside their comfort zone to create new structures which consisted of different color or shape patterns.
Connecting a yellow lego onto a blue when only red blocks had touched blue ones in the prior structure, as an example, was a huge step in aiding a child in the study handle new situations which are met in everyday life. Just like learning to say hello when they see someone that they know but expecting to see them, learns to greet them.
Dr. Napolitano states that the children really can learn just about anything as long as it is organized.
At the end of the study, all six children had accomplished in making changes to every lego structure they had worked on. The children in the study age range was between six and ten and five of them had moderate problems in the area of restrictive or sameness behavior, this was determined by a behavior scale assessment that was completed by each child’s parent or teacher. The one on one sessions with the legos had taken place in the schools of the children in a room setting that had the fewest distractions. The names of the children were changed in the study.
When each child had began building with legos, the instructor praised the child with “good job” from time to time, in order to obtain baseline information and in order to decide if the child seemed apt to change the color pattern or structure of the legos. After obtaining the baseline information about the children’s favored choice such as changing color patterns as opposed to structure changes, researchers than started the intervention stage.
In the first phase of the study, a set of sessions occurred over a few months. An instructor asked a child to building something new at the start of each session. If the child appeared puzzled over what was being asked, the instructor had shown the child how to build something different then inspired the child to build something different. If the child understood and achieved in building something new, such as trying different color patterns, the child was given a small reward prize, like playing with a favorite toy.
For the next phase, the instructor asked the children to build something new with wooden blocks, rather than the legos they had become use to. This was to observe if they could use their new skill to a slightly different situation from the one they had learned. Once again, the children were handed the legos but did not obtain teaching sessions and the only reward was a “good job”. The instructor wanted to observe if the children would still experiment with the legos. In the last phase of the study, the children once again were rewarded a prize.
A couple months after the study, researchers did a follow-up on the children and had discovered that the children still were creating new structures in different colors and shapes.
The findings of this study could make way for new studies testing interventions that aim at improving a vast assortment of social and behavior skills among people with autism. Dr. Napolitano closing remarks noted are that by using positive reinforcement and teaching sessions, like taking part in new conversations, presenting new questions and developing new ways to play could be within grasp for children with autism.
In May of this year, one in five parents use alternative treatments to aide their autistic children.
Here are a few alternative treatments being used:
A few of the important nutrients and vitamins autistic children may need supplemented:
Vitamin A to activate the immune system, support immune memory, guard against viruses, sensory perception, language process and important for vision.
Vitamin B12 lack of this vitamin can produce problems with mental functioning which includes thinking slowly, confusion and forgetfulness.
Zinc for brain development and immune system support.
Omega Fatty Acids associated to many areas of neurological health.
Many chiropractors have reported good results with manipulative therapies showing good improvement of symptoms.
One case study indicates that chiropractic treatments done on 26 children with autism over a nine month period. Twelve of the children had left atlas laterality(when the center of the skull tilts towards the lateral edge of the x-ray film, the atlas frontal plane may be level by one or two millimeters below level)and fourteen on the right side. The results did vary however, they all included normalizing deep tendon reflexes and dermatomal subjective sensation, increased cervical range of motion and reduced health problems in other areas. A great number of the children treated no longer needed Ritalin, improvements were seen in bladder and bowl control, some children started speaking along with eye contact and attention span improving. Hyperactivity and aggressive behavior also had improved. Some children could even attend mainstream classrooms.
Researchers believe that neurological interference adds to autism diagnoses. The chiropractic treatments correcting the subluxation improves neurological functions.
According to Chinese medicine autistic persons endure a heart imbalance that halts associating on a emotional level with other people including family.
Children with autism may have digestive abnormalities being associated to Spleen Qi Deficiency.
Chinese medicine indicates that the imbalances come from three different sources, internal, external and miscellaneous factors.
Chinese medicine will use different therapies that consist of herbal medicines, acupuncture, Tui Na (massage) and nutrition.Sources:
Medical News Today
Special Needs Families