Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder, refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences. Researchers have found that there is not one form of autism but many types, caused by different combinations of genetic andenvironmental influences. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates autism’s prevalence as 1 in 68 children in the United States, which include 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls. Nearly a quarter century ago, the Autism Society launched a nationwide effort to promote autism awareness, inclusion, and self-determination for all to and assure that each person with ASD is provided the opportunity to achieve the highest possible quality of life. We outline just a few challenges below not only the educational challenges but health challenges, as well – and how chiropractic helps.
Each year an estimated 50,000 teens with autism become adults and lose school-based autism services. Autism schools are equipped to deal with the social and mental development associated with autism students. Their teachers are trained to work with the students and help them develop normal social interactions helping the students learn to organize their lives the same way they organize their things in the classroom. Unfortunately, this special training commonly ends upon high school graduation. This is one of the things Autism Societies would like to change by furthering the education of these students which could decrease the one-third of young adults with ASD that never get a job or continue their education after high school. The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act is legislation that would support career and technical education (CTE) programs and help students with autism gain skills necessary for employment by reauthorizing the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006. The U.S. House of Representatives approved the legislation 405-5 and the bill is now being considered by the U.S. Senate.
In addition to challenges in education, certain medical and mental health issues frequently accompany autism. They include gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, seizures, sleep disturbances, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, phobias, and decreased immune responses. We know that the nervous system is so intimately linked with the digestive and immune systems by adjusting the spine and realigning the misalignments in those areas, proper neurological “signaling” into and out of the central nervous system can be achieved. This can help with sensory processing, social interaction and behavioral and learning processes as well. Relieving the nervous system’s state of stress and in more general terms applying the ”breaks” to the overactive nervous system, therefore allowing it to function at its optimum level. A quote by Dr. Bruce Lipton summarizes this calming of the nervous system best; “You can’t be in growth and protection at the same time.”
One way to assess the nervous system is to get it evaluated by a trained Pediatric Chiropractor. Pediatric Chiropractors are the only professionals that have this focus and have training and technology to analyze and detect any interference to the function of the nervous system. This type of chiropractic, as done in our office, offers diagnostic testing that has no difference from the technology you would see by going to a specialist or any other health care professional. The results of these tests help us decide the best way to treat the patient and thus improve the overall function of the nervous system.
Autism Awareness Month is the whole month of April. To bring awareness to this amazing cause let us all support the Autism Society by putting on a puzzle piece! The Puzzle piece is the autism awareness symbol that comes in the form of ribbons, magnets, t-shirts, and social media pictures. Please join us in raising support to help further the research for the cause and cure of autism, the education of individuals affected by autism, and the overall improvement of the quality of life for these individuals!
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