Archive for 2014

Common Questions about Medication and Autism

1) Is there a particular medication or medications to treat autism (to address the core deficits of autism)?

No, currently there is no medication that treats the core deficits or characteristics of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), (such as speech delays, poor social skills, repetitive behaviors). Medication is aimed at reducing associated symptoms (such as hyperactivity, impulsivity, inattention, anxiety, depression, irritability, tantrums, aggression, self-injury) that interfere with functioning.

2) How is the decision made to try medication?

The decision to try medication should be made carefully and involve thorough discussion and assessment. The first step is to identify the target symptoms and determine their impact on daily functioning. If the symptom/behavior is new, it is important to first rule out a medical cause for the behavior (such as illness, headache, constipation, reflux, Read full post »

Autism and Gastrointestinal (GI) Issues

What if you were granted one wish to change one thing for your child with autism?

However, the wish could not be taking away autism?

What would you wish for?

Better sleep? Better skills in communication? Better mood or behavior regulation?

For us, it would be resolving the GI issues that are a daily source of discomfort and an ongoing hindrance to progress in so many areas of her life. Be warned: this blog may sound like the television commercial that begins with that perky lady, asking “anyone here have constipation, diarrhea, gas?”  Read full post »

Improving Dental Visits for Children with Autism

brushing teethParents of my patients tell me that haircuts, blood draws, and dental visits can be some of the most challenging experiences for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The underlying themes here are unfamiliarity, unpredictability, and physical invasiveness. I don’t have a lot of experience trying to get a child to sit for a haircut or a blood draw, but I see a LOT of children with ASD in the dental office. To me it is no wonder kids with ASD can have a hard time sitting for a dental exam. Unfamiliar faces, bright lights, funny smells, strange tastes, and a chair that moves can make this appointment really tough.  Read full post »

Let’s Celebrate a Huge Public Health Accomplishment

vaccineThis past weekend, catching up on emails as I do, I came across a blog from Seattle Mama Doc. All that showed from my inbox was a partial subject line: “The Link Between Vaccines and …”. Now, we have worked with Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson on several occasions and know her as a pro-vaccinator— so needless to say my curiosity was piqued. What are vaccines linked to? What breaking news did I miss? Eagerly, I followed the link.  Read full post »

Thanks to Barbara and Charlie Burnett for a Life-Changing Opportunity

Last summer I was asked to speak at the annual fundraiser, Unspoken Angel Golf Invitational. At this event an announcement was made that Seattle Children’s was the recipient of a most generous gift and that Children’s would open and manage the new Alyssa Burnett Adult Life Center in Bothell. As a parent of a teen who has but a few years left in the school system, the opening of a center focused on providing lifelong learning was exciting news.

Opened in January of this year, the center with a long name is also affectionately known as “The ABC”, “Alyssa’s Center” and the “Burnett Center”. Last week we had my daughter’s intake meeting there and once again, I found myself feeling very grateful to the people behind this life-changing opportunity.

Today, I share with you the words I had for them last summer. Read full post »