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Archive for the ‘therapy’ Category

Government crackdown on autism ‘therapies’

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

From the Chicago Tribune, ABC News, Washington Post

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned eight companies to stop marketing unproven over-the-counter chelation”therapies” as treatments for autism, cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer’s and other conditions. The products’ distributors have claimed they cure a range of diseases by removing heavy metals from the body.

“These products are dangerously misleading because they are targeted to patients with serious conditions and limited treatment options,” said Deborah Autor, director of the Office of Compliance in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “The FDA must take a firm stand against companies who prey on the vulnerability of patients seeking hope and relief.”

A series of articles in the Chicago Tribune found widespread evidence that parents of children with autism were using chelation on their children, even though it has not been found to be safe and effective.

Obit: Stanley I. Greenspan, creator of ‘Floortime’ method

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

An excerpt from the Washington Post‘s obituary, by Emma Brown:

Stanley I. Greenspan, 68, a child psychiatrist who wrote more than a dozen parenting books and developed the popular “floor time” method for reaching children with autism and other developmental disorders, died April 27 at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda of complications from a stroke.

In a career spanning 40 years, Dr. Greenspan drew praise for his early research on infant development and later found a wide following as an author and public speaker. At the time of his death, he was a professor at George Washington University’s medical school.

… Trademarked as “D.I.R./Floortime,” Dr. Greenspan’s method focused on developing children’s underlying ability to form relationships and react to new situations. It received widespread attention as an alternative to more traditional methods that use rewards and punishments to shape specific behaviors.

“What he did was give us a way to begin to reach these children early and give them a chance to develop to their potential,” said T. Berry Brazelton, a noted pediatrician, author and Harvard professor who wrote “The Irreducible Needs of Children” with Dr. Greenspan in 2000.

Mind like a pinball machine? Maybe it’s adult ADHD

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

From the Wall Street Journal:

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has often gone undiagnosed in adults, according to government figures, but that is beginning to change. It’s estimated that some ten million American adults have the disorder, but fewer than a quarter are aware of it.

Experts say adult ADHD often accompanies depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder, and it’s difficult for clinicians to determine which came first. In the absence of treatment, adults with ADHD have a heightened risk of substance abuse, auto accidents and employment problems. Yet adults with ADHD can also be highly intelligent, energetic, creative and focused.

Experts recommend that people who suspect ADHD should have a thorough evaluation and, if diagnosed, should consider both medication and behavioral therapy.

With a reading list, internet links and a quiz: Do you have adult ADHD?

Op-ed: MD is wary of relying on drugs to fight autism

Monday, December 14th, 2009

Writing in the Boston Globe, pediatrician Claudia M. Gold says she’s worried about the potential for over-reliance on drugs for the treatment of autism. Already, she says, children with ADHD are getting too much medication. A recent study in the journal Pediatrics found that intensive and focused play, with parent, child and therapist participating together, brought significant improvement in behavior, language and IQ. An excerpt:

Aggressive marketing tactics have made second-generation antipsychotics among the highest-selling classes of drugs in the United States. A study published this fall showed that these drugs cause rapid weight gain in children. Add to these facts an epidemic of childhood obesity and a culture that looks for a quick fix over a long-term solution, and we have a potentially dangerous mix.

The Pediatrics study points in the direction of devoting resources to nurturing relationships in treatment of autism.

When considering medication, I hope all who care for these children will exercise extreme caution.

PA governor pushes tax hike for autism treatment

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell, a Democrat, warned voters yesterday that budget cuts would reverse years of progress in autism treatment unless state lawmakers hike income taxes by 16 percent for three years.

Speaking at an autism rally at Bryn Mawr, Rendell urged voters to lobby their lawmakers.

One theme emerged: Services for autistic children, though expanded in recent years, virtually disappear once the children turn 21. As the disorder is diagnosed in more and more people, the need for state programs to back up hard-pressed parents will only grow.

Republicans responded that there was “zero” chance of getting approval for a tax increase during an economic downturn, and said the cuts to autism services would not affect treatment.

See also: NJ senate passes bill expanding coverage for developmentally disabled children — [NJ] Star-Ledger

“Countless families with an autistic child are bankrupting themselves to give their child the potential for a brighter future,” said Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts (D-Camden), one of the bill’s sponsors whom families credited for driving the bill’s success. “Autistic and disabled adults who have not received the proper treatment will leave our families, communities and state with new and more expensive challenges.”

Michigan insurer to begin offering autism coverage

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

From the Detroit News:

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has announced plans to offer coverage for Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) for children with autism who are between 2 and 5 years old.

The announcement comes as the insurer is being sued over its previous refusal to cover ABA claims. The company had maintained that ABA is unproven.

The coverage will consist of 60 sessions per child, and will be available for purchase by groups that already cover outpatient mental health coverage. The insurer plans to begin offering the coverage July 1, pending regulatory approval.

‘Autism culture’ movement seeks acceptance, not cure

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

‘I am not a puzzle, I am a person’

By Elizabeth Svoboda in Salon.com:

A growing group of advocates say people with autism should be valued and celebrated for their uniqueness, not aggressively treated in hopes that they will become “normal.”

Proponents are skeptical of therapies that force people with autism to behave like typical peers, whom they call “neurotypicals,” and say therapists should instead focus on helping them deal more effectively with the non-autistic world.

… the rhetoric [used by autism advocates] is often as strident as anything out of the deaf-pride movement. Some autistic people even use the pejorative term “curebie” to refer to people who hope for a cure for the condition. Organizations like Autism Network International view efforts to cure autism as similar to misguided efforts to cure homosexuality and left-handedness.

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More than 50 million people in the United States have disabilities, a number that is growing rapidly as the population ages. Experts say disability will soon affect the lives of most Americans. This website attempts to aggregate news and commentary about disability, and to document the efforts of people who are seeking new ways to address familiar challenges.

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