Saturday, August 25, 2007

Newsday article on autism

This link was sent to me by another mom whose daughter has autism. You may have seen it already, but if not, here's the link:

New Understanding of Autism

I read the article, and I intend to read it again. While it's confirming what I've suspected for a while now, that there's a genetic component to autism, it's a bit disturbing that the 'blame' seems to be shifting to mothers. The article mentions how mutated genes get transferred by moms. Great, thanks. Because I don't beat myself up enough every time my son does something like throwing a video game across the room (which he just did two seconds ago) because he's frustrated instead of asking for help.

I'm sure that the researchers and the writer aren't really attacking mothers, and the more answers are uncovered, the better. I'll work on not taking articles like this personally, but at the moment, it's not making me feel too good.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A trip to the zoo

We took the kids to the zoo today and Gus did surprisingly well, even compared to our last trip there a few months ago. Last time we were there for his school trip, he had some trouble waiting for the group to assemble and for lines to move, etc. There was about the same level of crowdedness. Today he didn't try too hard to run off, he didn't have a single meltdown in the zoo, and we were even able to go in some of the houses: the monkey house and the nocturnal animal house. We also stood in line to wait for a carousel ride, which was a major feat. He still wanted to race through each exhibit, but when asked to wait for his sister to catch up, he did. I could see him starting to lose his self-possession after about three hours, but that's a pretty big stretch of time, all things considered. He sat for lunch and a story hour (which was really awesome) as well. They had a great time.

A couple of things that I did to try and make sure we didn't have a disaster - I made sure to pack plenty of snacks - grapes, watermelon, apples and some animal crackers that are very low in sugar (three grams). The kids only had water to drink - no juice. I think those things made a big difference for us.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Study - an update

Five full days after we've started our little private study, we've seen an interesting occurrence, and have also had our first heated discussion on how to interpret what we're finding.

First, the good news: I've noticed a definite reduction in hyperactivity over the past five days, even on the days that Gus didn't really go out and burn off any energy. He hasn't been lethargic, and there have been brief, minor spurts of bounciness. Then yesterday, we gave him one of those fruit bars (like a Nutrigrain Bar, but with unprocessed sugar) that had about fifteen grams of sugar and just before that he had two oatmeal cookies with about nine grams of sugar. We were at the beach and the kids have gotten into the habit of having cookies for their snacks when we're there (not provided by me, by the way). About two hours later, he was zooming through the house like the Concorde, and that lasted for at least an hour.

I took this as a pretty clear indication that the large amount of sugar revved him up to that manic state, but my husband seems to think that it's inconclusive and we'd need to give him a big dose of sugar again to see if we get the same results. I can see the logic in that, but I don't think that getting Gus excessively worked up, just to see what will happen, is an acceptable idea. Hubby thinks that an hour of manic behavior (which by the way can also be dangerous for Gus - he often runs and slams himself into the wooden or glass doors, or starts jumping and climbing on chairs) isn't the end of the world. Maybe not, at least until he breaks the glass or goes sprawling on his face and ends up in the emergency room.

so, we continue to observe. I've got to find some snacks to take with us later this week for our visit to the water park, because I know it will be a challenge to keep him from all the crap that will be available. Wish me luck.