Archive | November, 2012

Making the best of it

For a long time in my life, I was very depressed. I wasn’t going anywhere, doing anything, I had no goals and worst of all, I felt that my life simply had no chance of ever getting better than what it was at the time.

Then I got married.

Strange huh? To go from depressed to married. Well, there was a lot that happened in between but those stories aren’t what’s important right now.

What is important is the vow I made. You know, the vows we all make through marriage… “good times and in bad, in sickness and in health”… I took those vows seriously. More so than that, I paraphrased them and made them my own new life motto: “Make the best of it.”

When my son was diagnosed with autism, I made the best of it. When my wife was pregnant with our second child and had to spend 6 months of it on bed rest, I made the best of it. When my wife was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and could barely get off the couch, I made the best of it.

People told me I would crack, have a nervous breakdown or worse, leave… I didn’t. When people asked how I handle the stress, I told them that I just take one day at a time and I, of course, make the best of it.

Now those days are behind me and my wife is gone. Our children are being split between us 50/50 where I get them for one week and she gets them for one week.

I’ve been with my kids almost every day since their birth and even more so in the last 5 months. With their mother working extra hard, my boys and I were glued together (other than school) every single day.

And after 5 months of that, they’re gone for the week. And this house feels ever so quiet now. No wife. No kids. Not even the dog.

So what do I do?


Shrimp = Great snack food!

Well, I’ve been eating some foods that I haven’t had in years, due to the wife’s healthy diet, my son’s gluten free diet and our lack of budget. I’ve been watching movies I have been dying to see. I’ve been playing video games that I haven’t touched in almost a year. I’ve been reading and learning new skills in my field of expertise to better myself.

I posted some pictures on Facebook to which one person replied “you’re not supposed to be enjoying this! lol”

And I got to thinking.

She’s right. I’m not supposed to be enjoying this. What I’m supposed to do is feel alone and quiet and maybe even sad. After all, I do miss my boys tremendously right now. My wife too, but more so my boys since we were together so often for the last 5 months… just the 3 of us.

But why? Why do to that to myself just because I’m “supposed to?”

I thought back to the bed rest, the diagnosis, the struggles with money, the decisions and sacrifices we’ve made and I thought to myself… no, I’m not going to do what I’m supposed to do.

I’m going to make the best of it.

I have the house to myself, I’m going to keep myself busy in the best way I know how and when the week is up, my boys will come back to me. And again, during that short week that I get them… I’m going to make the best of it again.

happy cat

My cat – making the best of an empty house

The way I see it is, when times get hard or life throws mud in your face, you have 2 choices:
1. Do what you’re supposed to do and let it get you down.
2. Make the best of it.

It’s kind of like that whole “when life gives you lemons…” cliché, except, I’m going to make myself a steak and watch a good movie with my lemonade.

Because life is to short to do what you’re supposed to.

Instead, make the best of it.

One day you’ll look back on your life and be glad that you did.


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What are the Recommended Therapies for Autism?

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that can affect social and communication skills in children. The onset of autism is at birth or in infancy and symptoms usually appear before the age of three. Children with autism are mostly unable to form normal social interactions, show delays in communication and language, and have repetitive behaviors such as rocking, hand flapping and spinning. Often, they isolate themselves from others and act in an unusual manner. As the child grows older, the patterns of autism also change. Experts suggest that autism may have biological causes including genetics, heredity, infections, and complications during pregnancy, or at birth.

therapies for autism

Association with Other Disorders

The following disorders can occur with Autism.

Mental Retardation

About 75 to 80 percent of people with autism are mentally retarded.


Seizures are a result of abnormal, electrical brain activity. Almost one third of people with autism experience seizures; onset is usually between early childhood and adolescence.

Fragile X Syndrome

Fragile X Syndrome is a genetic disorder caused by a defective area of the X chromosome. It occurs in about 10 percent of people with autism – most of them are male.

Diagnosis of Autism

There is no specific diagnostic procedure for autism. In arriving at this diagnosis, specialists, such as pediatric psychiatrists, neurologists or child psychologists, may use the following methods of evaluation.

Medical History

In a medical history, the doctor obtains a detailed history of all family members’ health conditions, including the history of the mother’s health during pregnancy.


Over a period, doctors observe the development of the child’s social ability, behavior, and motor and language skills.

Assessment Examination

The doctor may administer an examination to evaluate the child’s development in areas such as speech, language and social behavior.


The American Psychiatric Association publishes the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM); it gives standard criteria for classifying mental disorders, including autism.

What are the recommended therapies for Autism?

Over decades, different approaches have been developed to deliver more effective treatment programs.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy assists people with autism to become independent in all aspects of life, by learning to accomplish common and necessary tasks. Therapists modify tasks to make them more manageable for the individual. Activities include handwriting, tying shoelaces, and buttoning clothes. Another function of Occupational Therapy is to provide people with autism with the skills necessary for work, social life and leisure.

Physical Therapy

Nearly 80 percent of people with autism exhibit decreased muscle tone and impaired motor planning. Physical Therapy provides activities that promote muscle strength, coordination and motor skills (including basic skills such as: standing, rolling and sitting).

Speech Therapy

Speech Therapy aims to treat problems with speech and communication, using a variety methods and interventions such as: formal assessment, play-like therapy and speech training. Non-verbal communication also forms part of this therapy and can include gestural communication, and the use of picture exchange cards or electronic talking equipment. This therapy must be performed by a licensed speech and language pathologist.

Social Skills Therapy

Social Skills Therapy achieves effective communication with others and increases social competence by improving verbal and non-verbal behavior.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Cognitive Behavior Therapy focuses on the relationship between thoughts, emotions and behavior. It is a very useful method for managing the symptoms of this disorder. Through Cognitive Behavior Therapy, people with autism learn techniques for coping with, and managing, their emotions in stressful situations.

This post is contributed by Ellen Park, a travel occupational therapist. She previously worked as an occupational therapist at a rehabilitation center and found the benefits of becoming a travel therapist after looking into Travel Therapy Jobs at Advanced Medical.

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Casein and Gluten Free Diet May Not Be Effective in Improving Autism Symptoms

A study conducted in Rochester, New York reveals doubts over the effectiveness of casein free and gluten free diets on improving the symptoms of autism. According to the study, there are no demonstrable improvements in the small group of children studied following the autism diet.

A Look at the Autism Diet

Impaired communication, social interaction and restrictions on activities, due to repetitive behavior, are some of the characteristics of autism spectrum disorder. The condition also involves gastrointestinal conditions such as celiac disease (a disease where the small intestine becomes damaged when gluten is consumed). The cause is a complex combination of factors and how they co occur still remains a mystery.

Autism can be a debilitating condition and treatment usually focuses on lessening the symptoms by managing every aspect of the child’s life. Diet is one of them. Managing autism through dietary intervention is based on two hypotheses: the first one states that allergies in food can exacerbate the symptoms of autism, second one states that vitamin and mineral insufficiency may cause some of the symptoms.

The autism diet involves choosing foods that are gluten free and casein free. Gluten is found in foods such as wheat, barley, rye and oat, while casein is the major protein found in milk. 27% of parents with autism claim that following this diet is helpful.

What Research Says?

A small study done by an associate professor of pediatrics at the Golisano Children’s Hospital in New York reveals otherwise. The study involved 22 children with autism spectrum disorder. 14 of the children went on the study. All the participants were placed under strict gluten free and casein free diet for a span of four weeks. After undergoing the strict autism diet, the children were given a challenge snack of either: wheat flour, evaporated milk, both or placebo.

The practice continued until all children received a snack three times for 12 weeks. Children’s behavior, sleeping pattern, bowel movement, socialization and communication skills were observed before and after the snack challenges and they found no difference between those given the snacks and those given just placebos.

Though the results show no significant difference, the researchers still recommend further studies on the aspect of diet and autism symptoms be conducted. Another co-researcher also suggests that a study that is more inclusive, or those including children with apparent GI issues should be done.

What Other Researchers Suggest?

While the New York study suggests that the autism diet may not be as effective, other studies reveal that there are certain diets that might work. Research is taking an interest in autism diets that have been popular among parents for a long time. This is according to the Center of Autism Research in Philadelphia.

In an effort to improve their child’s condition, parents are going beyond medical management and are beginning to explore alternative and complementary medicine. Some researchers say that the scientific community tends to ignore what parents actually use to lessen their child’s symptoms.

The length of the clinical trials and the studies involving diet and autism patients might also be an issue. 18 weeks of study, according to critics, may not be enough to produce real results. This is compared to six months and even one year of experience of parents with a certain dietary intervention, and some parents suggest it takes this much time to see results.

Despite the studies casting doubts on the effects of the autism diet, some experts still suggest to try it, though parents are advised to approach it with skepticism.

Guest Author Bio:

Alapati Amarendra is a doctor and he blogs about recipes, conditions like autism. He is a middle eastern recipes lover and he recently browsed an awesome website which contains various diet recipes.

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