Tag: autism

Judo holds promise for reducing sedentary behavior among children with autism

Judo may be just the right sport to increase the physical activity level among children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and holds promise for reducing sedentary behavior, which is linked to obesity and diabetes, according to a new study from the University of Central Florida.

The pilot study found increases in moderate to vigorous physical activity among participants during and beyond the study period and a reduction of sedentary time, although researchers say the amount was not statistically significant. However, the children in the study were eager to continue judo lessons beyond the scope of the study and the few who did not continue failed to do so because of scheduling or transportation problems, rather than lack of interest. More research is needed to see if the reduction in sedentary time will last.

Full article at News-Medical.net

Autism Rates Show a 30% Rise in 2 Years

In a report that could inform how physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) approach their work with children, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has cited a nearly 30% rise in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) rates in the US since 2008. Current CDC estimates raise the prevalence of ASD from 1 in 88 children to 1 in 68 children, with a growing number of children diagnosed with ASD who have average or above-average intellect.

The CDC findings were widely reported in major media outlets including the Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and the Associated Press, each highlighting different features of the report, which pointed out variations in prevalence among ethnicities, sex, and geographic location.

Full story of Autism rates rising at APTA

Sensory Therapy Might Work for Kids With Autism

Children with autism can benefit from a type of therapy that helps them become more comfortable with the sounds, sights and sensations of their daily surroundings, a small new study suggests.

The therapy is called sensory integration. It uses play to help these kids feel more at ease with everything from water hitting the skin in the shower to the sounds of household appliances.

For children with autism, those types of stimulation can be overwhelming, limiting them from going out in the world or even mastering basic tasks like eating and getting dressed.

“If you ask parents of children with autism what they want for their kids, they’ll say they want them to be happy, to have friends, to be able to participate in everyday activities,” said study author Roseann Schaaf.

Sensory integration is aimed at helping families move toward those goals, said Schaaf, an occupational therapist at Thomas Jefferson University’s School of Health Professions, in Philadelphia.

It is not a new therapy, but it is somewhat controversial — partly because until now it has not been rigorously studied, according to Schaaf.

Full story of sensory therapy for autism at US News Health

Occupational therapy can benefit children with autism

In one of the first randomized control trials studying an intervention for sensory problems in children with autism, researchers found that occupational therapy using the principles of sensory integration (OT-SI) provided better outcomes on parent-identified goals than standard care, according to results published November 10th in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

OT-SI therapy for autism is based on the premise that difficulty interpreting sensory information affects the ability to participate fully in everyday activities including eating, dressing, learning and play activities. Typical sensations are often perceived as distracting or distressing for children with Autism. “Some children will scream and hold their hands over their ears when the toilet flushes, or can’t tolerate certain textures of clothing,” says Thomas Jefferson University occupational therapist and neuroscientist Roseann Schaaf, Ph.D., from, the lead investigator on the study. “Others don’t use sensation from their body to guide movements and thus have difficulty participating in active play and other movement activities. When we get improved processing of sensation, the children are often better able to participate in everyday tasks,” she says. Schaaf and colleagues collaborated with Children’s Specialized Hospital in New Jersey where the children were treated.

The current standard of care is behavioral training, which reinforces properly completed tasks, but can take up to 25 to 40 hours per week for up to 2 years to see a change in behavior. Instead, Schaaf and colleagues used sensory integration strategies, a form of treatment that is frequently requested by parents. This intervention identifies the type of sensory difficulties and then designs playful activities to help make sense of the sensation. Significantly less time consuming, the intervention was performed three hours per week for 10 weeks.

Full story of occupational therapy and autism at News Medical

The week in health: 5 things you need to know

This week we learned that trans fats in processed foods are a lot like Blockbuster stores: they still exist, but probably not for long. Here’s what you need to know about that and all the health headlines:

The Food and Drug Administration has not banned trans fats – yet. But the agency really wants to rid the food supply of artificial fats that health experts say are artery-clogging killers. The stuff is still used in some baked goods, canned frostings, stick margarines, coffee creamers and microwave popcorns, but “there really is no safe level of consumption,” FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg says. The public has 60 days to comment on a proposal that would remove trans fat from a list of ingredients “generally recognized as safe.” But consumers should expect any phase-out to take years and, meanwhile, keep reading labels for telltale signs of “partially hydrogenated oil.”

Federal health authorities also have their eyes on e-cigarettes. Manufacturers say these newfangled nicotine-delivery devices may be able to help smokers quit more dangerous conventional cigarettes. But the FDA is looking at ways to regulate them. And, in an interview with USA TODAY’s health staff this week, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Thomas Frieden said he’s worried about their potential to hook kids on nicotine and turn them into smokers.

Full story of the week in health at the USA Today

BioHug offers hug therapy in an automatic vest

BioHug Offers Hug Therapy for PTSDBioHug’s Israeli pressure garment provides custom soothing for people with autism, PTSD and others prone to high stress.

Most of us have moments when we could really use a hug – when we’re sad, lonely, scared or stressed. The therapeutic value of a good squeeze for emotional wellbeing is well documented.

For people affected by autism, post-traumatic stress and anxiety or attention disorders, research has shown that hugging is an especially effective soother.

That is the scientific fact behind the development of the BioHug Vest by Haifa-based BioHug Technologies. Already in use and soon to roll out to a wider market, the vest provides an effective, portable, non-restraining stress-relief solution using deep, hug-like pressure.

“We’re all familiar with stress, which is associated with lots of health problems,” says BioHug CEO Andrew Schiffmiller. “For some populations it can be associated with much more severe symptoms – someone with autism under stress may injure himself or others, while someone with ADHD under stress may be unable to stay on task.”

Full story of BioHug at Isreal 21

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