It is in Mahayana, the dominant Buddhist tradition of East Asia, that the Medicine Buddha first appears. The Medicine Buddha embodies the healing aspect. He is the dispenser of spiritual medicine that cures spiritual, psychological, and physical disease.Through the energy of this deity, one can generate enormous healing power for self and for the healing of others. Incidentally, as Mahayana Buddhism spread throughout the Far East, it involved the practice of Ayurveda, the sacred medical system of India meaning the “science of long life,” and the worship of the Medicine Buddha.
Astrologically, the day of the Medicine Buddha is the eighth day of the lunar month. At that time, the healing energy of this deity is said to be especially strong. This is when rituals for healing and for making medicines are performed.
Autism is a neurobiological disorder. Incidentally, children that show the signs of autism do not like changes and tend to follow certain routines or patterns. They also usually suffer from a learning disability. Subsequently, parents, some grandfather’s, extended family, and pediatricians usually do not take these symptoms seriously as they think that their children would improve soon. But, specific methods should be implemented by parents from the child’s early age to help him overcome his inabilities. Again, there are no medical tests that can show that a child is suffering from this disorder. So, it is important that parents keenly observe their toddlers behavior and development, as this is a main source in which autism can be diagnosed. Autism is a disorder that affects development of the brain, due to which a child shows lack of interest in socialization and communication. Children with autism or one of the other disorders on the autism spectrum can differ considerably with respect to their abilities, intelligence, and behavior.
Early detection of autism is up to parents.
- Monitor your child’s development.
- Take action if you’re concerned.
- Don’t accept a wait-and-see approach. Many concerned parents are told, “Don’t worry” or “Wait and see.” But waiting is the worst thing you can do. You risk losing valuable time at an age where your child has the best chance for improvement. Furthermore, whether the delay is caused by autism or some other factor, developmentally delayed kids are unlikely to simply “grow out” of their problems. In order to develop skills in an area of delay, your child needs extra help and targeted treatment.
- Trust your instincts.
If autism is caught in infancy, treatment can take full advantage of the young brain’s remarkable plasticity. Although autism is hard to diagnose before 24 months, symptoms often surface between 12 and 18 months. If signs are detected by 18 months of age, intensive treatment may help to rewire the brain and reverse the symptoms.
Early signs of autism in babies and toddlers
Doesn’t smile when smiled at.
Doesn’t respond to his or her name or to the sound of a familiar voice. (now imagine being called by a different name at this stage of development. It’s not a healthy choice to not call a child by their given name, if signs of autism are showing!)
Doesn’t follow objects visually.
Doesn’t point or wave goodbye or use other gestures to communicate.
- Doesn’t follow the gesture when you point things out.
Doesn’t make eye contact (e.g. look at you when being fed).
Doesn’t initiate or respond to cuddling.
Doesn’t imitate your movements and facial expressions.
Doesn’t reach out to be picked up.
Doesn’t play with other people or share interest and enjoyment.
- Doesn’t ask for help or make other basic requests.
Doesn’t make noises to get your attention.
The following delays warrant an immediate evaluation by your child’s pediatrician.
By 6 months: No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions.
By 9 months: No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions.
By 12 months: Lack of response to name!!!!!!!!!!!! again, call them by their GIVEN name!
By 12 months: No babbling or “baby talk.”
By 12 months: No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving.
By 16 months: No spoken words.
- By 24 months: No meaningful two-word phrases that don’t involve imitating or repeating.
First Signs of Autism
No Eye Contact
Failure in Responding to Their Name
Absence of Language
Resistance to Touch and Lack of Interaction
Again, I would like to STRESS: Children start responding to their name when they are 6-8 months old. However, autistic children do not respond at all when they are called by their names. Many times, it happens that children are engaged in some other activity and they do not respond when someone calls them. But, if this occurs frequently, it should definitely be a cause of concern for parents. And, call the child by their given name. Don’t let intrusive family members tell you otherwise!!!!!!!!!!!!
Methods for Teaching Autistic Children
It is a general observation that autistic children do not understand verbal language. Instead, non-verbal or picture language is easy for them to understand. Hence, parents or teachers should demonstrate pictures of all concrete things to autistic children. Photographs can also be used for this purpose. They should also demonstrate various actions so that it is easier for children to understand. For e.g., to make a child understand what is an apple, show the picture of the fruit. Similarly, to make a child understand the difference between stand up or sit down, demonstrate those actions. This way, the child will learn faster. I home-schooled for 10 years and this method was very effective.
Autistic children take all words in their literal meaning. Hence, do not speak in sarcastic or taunting manner. Also, avoid asking vague questions to autistic children. Instead they should be very specific and direct. For e.g., do not ask an autistic child as to why has he done a certain thing. they will not be able to answer. Instead, tell the child not to do a particular thing. This way,s/ he will be able to differentiate between right and wrong.
Parents should keep in mind, not to force anything on their children. Children can be helped to overcome autism with the joint effort of parents, family and teachers. There are many autistic adults leading a normal life. The only thing that parents and teachers should remember is, ‘Patience is the key to success’.
What are the Specific Disorders on the Autism Spectrum?
There are five disorders classified under the umbrella category officially known as Pervasive Developmental Disorders, or PDD. As shown below, these are:
childhood disintegrative disorder; and
- Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (often referred to as PDDNOS).
The five conditions are defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) of the American Psychiatric Society (2000).
In early 2010, the American Psychiatric Association released draft revisions to its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) and invited comments from both professionals and the general public. The final and official fifth revision of the DSM is expected to be published in May 2013.
When published, the DSM-5 is expected to affect how autism and associated disorders are diagnosed. Among the proposed revisions are:
changing the name of the diagnostic category to Autism Spectrum Disorders;
including Asperger Syndrome, Childhood is integrative Disorder, and PDDNOS under the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders, rather than defining them separately and a bit differently, as is now the case;
- removing Rett Syndrome from the DSM entirely (and, thus, from the autism spectrum).
I would like to note here that having depression and or being on the spectrum does not warrant a “label” of having a “mental-disorder” or illness. This wording is a problem and needs to be changed.
Signs and symptoms of speech and language difficulties in autism
Children with autism spectrum disorders have difficulty with speech and language. Often, they start talking late. (Jocque started to really speak at around 5 years old. His speech consisted of the following:)
Speaks in an abnormal tone of voice, or with an odd rhythm or pitch (e.g. ends every sentence as if asking a question).
Repeats the same words or phrases over and over.
Responds to a question by repeating it, rather than answering it.
Refers to themselves in the third person.
Uses language incorrectly (grammatical errors, wrong words).
Has difficulty communicating needs or desires.
Doesn’t understand simple directions, statements, or questions.
- Takes what is said too literally (misses undertones of humor, irony, and sarcasm).
Prenatal factors that may contribute to autism
Taking antidepressants during pregnancy, especially in the first 3 months (Incidentally, I have NEVER taken any medication for my depression!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Nutritional deficiencies early in pregnancy, particularly not getting enough folic acid (I was an intensive health-nut at that point in my life. I was 29 when I became pregnant with him.)
The age of the mother (children born to older fathers also have a higher risk of autism)
Complications at or shortly after birth, including very low birth weight and neonatal anemia(There were major complications with his birth, that is explained later in this post.)
Maternal infections during pregnancy (I had none.)
- Exposure to chemical pollutants, such as metals and pesticides, while pregnant (Unfortunately, when I was pregnant with Jocque his father and I were renovating a 100 year old family home. Consequently, I’m sure that is considered a toxic environment. However, at this point in my life, I can’t continue to beat myself up for that occurrence.)
Reducing the risk of autism: Tips for expectant mothers
Take a multivitamin. Taking 400 micrograms of folic acid daily helps prevent birth defects such as spina bifida. It’s not clear whether this will also help reduce risk of autism, but taking the vitamins can’t hurt.
Ask about SSRIs. Women who are taking an SSRI (or who develop depression during pregnancy) should talk with a clinician about all the risks and benefits of these drugs. Untreated depression in a mother can also affect her child’s well-being later on, so this is not a simple decision to make. (I’ve always taken a NATURAL approach to my depression. Again, I don’t take medication.)
- Practice prenatal care. Eating nutritious food, trying to avoid infections, and seeing a clinician for regular check-ups can increase the chances of giving birth to a healthy child.
Source: Harvard Health Publications
You don’t have to wait for a diagnosis to start helping your child
The attachment bond is the unique relationship between your baby and yourself as his or her primary caretaker. This instinctual bonding relationship draws the two of you together insuring that the needs of your helpless and vulnerable infant will be met. The attachment bond, is a key factor in your infant’s social, emotional, intellectual and physical development.
Incidentally, research has also shown that the genetic changes that contribute to autism don’t have to be inherited — they may also arise spontaneously.
Some other factors are as follows:
Exposure to pesticides has also been linked to autism. Some studies have found that pesticides may interfere with genes involved in the central nervous system. Scientists think that chemicals in pesticides may adversely affect those who are genetically predisposed to autism, leading them to develop the full-blown disorder, according to research.
Babies that have been exposed to certain pharmaceuticals in the womb, including valproic acid and thalidomide, have been found to have a higher risk of autism. Valproic acid is a medication prescribed for seizures, mood disorders and bipolar disorder, according to the NIH. Again, I have never taken such medication.
Thalidomide is a drug that was first used in the 1950s to treat morning sickness, anxiety and insomnia. The drug was withdrawn from the market after it was linked with birth defects, but is currently prescribed for a severe skin disorder and as a treatment for cancer. ( I didn’t have morning sickness with my first or second child. However, I had morning sickness very bad with my third child. I lost 20 pounds from not being able to hold down any food. I took a natural remedy known as SYMPHORICARPUS. It comes in a spray form by Liddell Laboratories, called Msi. It’s a homeopathic oral spray. I also had a water-birth with her. Therefore, I avoided any medical induced births with my third. The first two children were induced, with the encouragement of the doctor.)
Which leads me to the following section of this post:
Birth Injury Causing Autism (medical malpractice)
The mis-information about the “safety” of induced labor. One has to factor in the drugs used in this process, such as Cervidil and pitocin. Jocque was an induced labor birth, that went very bad. I had a 42 hour labor with him. He was born at UCLA medical center. The entire experience was a domino effect. Jocque was induced early. And, had the doctor been on time for the birth, I do not believe I would have been encouraged into the possibilities of a c-section. Incidentally, Jocque’s father and I refused a c-section. Why, well because I wanted a vaginal birth. Nevertheless, through the process, Jocque became breech and the cord was wrapped tightly around his neck within the womb; thereby reducing his oxygen. During his birth, even though I was exhausted and full of medication that the hospital staff had given me, I was told, aloud, either forceps or vacuum were used. Though looking through his birth records, I see that occurrence isn’t listed. My son was blue and had to be put on oxygen for a short time. He also was jaundice. I was also given papers to sign that would prevent any further medical malpractice.)
Unfortunatly, There is no scientific evidence supporting a theory of birth injuries as a cause of autism or autism spectrum disorders. While autism may be caused by a variety of factors, including genetic complications or exposure to toxins, in some cases, this neurodevelopmental disorder may result from injuries an infant sustains during the labor and/or delivery process.
Types of Birth Injuries Related to Autism
The brain damage associated with autism birth injury can occur as a result of:
delayed C-sections when labor complications arise
excessive pressure on an infant’s head during delivery (which can be caused by the mother’s pubic bone)
excessive use of vacuum extraction
improper use of forceps
- lack of oxygen for the infant (which can result from prolapsed cord, a condition in which the umbilical cord wraps around a baby’s neck and cuts off his circulation)
Any such strain on the infant during labor and delivery can cause a change in the way blood flows to, through and out of the brain. It’s these altered blood flows that are associated with birth injury trauma, such as autism and cerebral palsy.
When Birth Injuries and Autism Are Most Likely to Occur
Medical mistakes resulting in birth injury and autism are most likely to occur when other labor and delivery complications arise. These can include:
breech birth (babies are delivered feet first, rather than head first)
low birth weight (less than 3.3 pounds)
- premature birth (birth before 32 weeks of pregnancy)
In addition to these unforeseen complications, poorly trained healthcare staff or an inadequate number of staff may also play a role in birth injury and autism.
Autism is a condition surrounded by myth and generalizations about people with autism that are rarely appropriate. The common beliefs that people with autism never express emotion, never smile or laugh, never make eye contact, never talk, and never display affection are simply that – myths. Just as every person is unique, with his or her own personality and characteristics, every person with autism manifests the disorder in his or her unique way.
Consequently, a recent study published in the Journal Pediatrics found that oxygen deprivation during pregnancy, during labor or during birth could be a potential cause of Autism. The study which examined 40 previous studies found that a birth injury alone could increase the risk of Autism fivefold! The study also found that neonatal anemia, meconium aspiration, umbilical cord complications and other issues which may sometimes be identified and treated with proper medical care may significantly increase a child’s chances of being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
While researchers believe that oxygen deprivation during or prior to birth may be a potential cause of Autism, they caution parents and caregivers to remember that further research is necessary and this is potentially only one cause of this complex syndrome.
Research suggest that the autistic child has an average of 67 percent more neurons, a type of brain cell, in a certain region of the brain, the prefrontal cortex, which processes complex behaviors including language, decision-making and social behaviors. Specifically, the autistic children has 1.94 billion neurons in their prefrontal cortex, versus 1.16 billion in a child who is not autistic. The brains of autistic boys show to have 79 percent more neurons in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, which is linked with executive functioning, such as planning and reasoning. They also had 29 percent more neurons in the mesial prefrontal cortex, which is associated with emotions and social behaviors. In other words, the parts of the brain in which the autistic children had a noticeably high number of neurons are associated with areas, such as language and social behaviors, that autistic individuals are challenged in, sometimes severely. Again, as a mother who has been on this journey for 11 years, follow your gut instinct if you feel something is unfolding within your children.