Understanding Autistic Behaviors

What is an Incomplete Attachment and what does it look like? One only needs to look at any child, adolescent or adult on the autism spectrum continuum to answer this question. The behaviors one sees with such individuals seem to be confusing and do not make sense. No two individuals with autism seem similar or manifest the same behaviors. If one thinks about autism from the perspective of an Incomplete Attachment then the developmental delays and the children will make sense.

From this perspective, the child has not had the benefit of a completed attachment. As all infants, he is born into the unconscious ready to be brought out in relationship to the caregiver, but this does not happen. Why this child does not develop an attachment will be unique to that particular child. It is not the fault of the child or the caregivers. Because of the Incomplete Attachment the child remains in a waiting state of existence. He or she is waiting for a completed attachment. Thus the behaviors that one sees in the child with autism are the result of not having had a completed attachment. The behaviors are what can be called coping and state of existence behaviors. Each child will cope differently to the circumstance and thus will have different behaviors as compared to another child. A key point to mention is that because of the Incomplete Attachment the child is left without the ability to use herself both in body (lacks self-agency) and mind (lacks theory of mind). The ability to use one’s self will vary from child to child. Some children will be more conscious of themselves and thus have more access to use themselves in relationship to others. Thus we have a continuum of ability, which is typically known as the functioning level of the individual on the spectrum (low functioning, high functioning and Aspergers).

To explain it in a little more depth, the behaviors one sees in individuals with autism are unconscious behaviors that have been dissociated or separated within the child. It is like the child is of two minds, the conscious mind and the unconscious mind. This is true of all human beings. Within the child with autism he is more dissociated and split from his emotions than others who appear to develop typically. Because of an Incomplete Attachment, he has not had the benefit of integrating those parts that are dissociated. Dissociation does not give us the complete picture. From a broader perspective, one can say that the child on the autism continuum has a lack of a completed attachment, has a dissociated sense of self, has developed coping mechanisms to manage the situation, is unable to use one’s self in relationship to others, seems to lack the knowledge of his own emotions and is unable to access those dissociated emotions and finally uses indirect mechanisms to grow in relationship to others. The treatments that seem to help this population are actually helping the child to become more and more conscious and integrated as a human being. Below is a table that compares the developing child with autism to the developing typical child.

Difference Between the Typical Child and a Child with Autism

Typical Child

  • Child with Autism
  • On a continuum – from partial sense of self to a well integrated sense of self

  • Varying degrees of dissociated sense of self
  • Attachment has occurred

  • Incomplete Attachment
  • Ability to use oneself to get needs met. The degree that the individual can do this will vary widely

  • On a continuum – from no ability to use oneself in relationship to another to ability to use oneself on a limited basis
  • Knowledge and ability to know one’s emotional feelings

  • Lacks knowledge of one’s emotional feelings
  • On a continuum has access to use one’s emotions in response to the other

  • Does not have access or ability to use dissociated emotions
  • Transference occurs in the relationship in a way that is typically understood online indian pharmacy

  • Transference expressed in ways unfamiliar to most (indirect). Transference is fragile
  • Can use the relationship to grow

  • Does not directly use the relationship to grow (indirect usage)
  • By Health Care on July 7, 2010 | Autism | A comment?
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    The Hardest Thing My Son Has to Do

    It’s always seemed odd to me that an Autistc child is so prone to letting negative emotions out like a hailstorm but the good emotions so easily get lost, deep and buried behind cold lost eyes. No one seems to be able to provide a solid answer but violence, aggression, outbursts… these are normal and even to be expected from a child with Autism, especially the more severe cases. What’s also to be expected is that the child will likely never want to hug you, kiss you or say ‘I love you.’

    Now, for those of you reading that has a child or children, and they’re not Autistic, I want you to imagine what that must be like. No hugs good bye, no kiss goodnight. You say ‘I love you’ over and over again and never get it back. But if you tell them no, they can’t have an electric toy in the bath, they’ll instantly go into a tantrum and try to hit you in the face. Generic viagra Canada

    Does that make you feel loved?

    That’s what life is like as a parent of an Autistic child. Not every single child, but as a general rule, that’s pretty much how it is.

    I think, the hardest thing to come to terms with when raising a child like that, is that they do love you, they do want to show you… they just can’t. I compare it to an arachnophobic person being asked to walk into a room with one thousand spiders. Likely, if they really really love you, they’ll do it to prove it… but it’ll be the hardest thing they ever do. I picture my son walking into that room every time he gives me a hug… and he does hug me.

    The one thing I’ve learned more than anything over the last 2 years is patience… to have far more patience than I ever thought I could have, even more than I ever thought was possible in a person. You have to find a way to keep reminding yourself, to keep telling yourself that your child not only loves you, but they have a hailstorm of love buried in there… it’s just not coming out like the temper does. But it’s there.

    If anything, he may love me even more than he would if he didn’t have Autism… even though he may not understand emotions or know how to express them, I bet he feels them every bit or more than others. I just have to never forget that it’s there.

    One night, as I tucked Cameron into bed, I told him that I loved him and he looked at me. So I asked him why he never says ‘I love you’ to mommy or daddy. He just sorta shrugged and so I asked if it made him feel embarrassed and he nodded yes. I asked if it was hard for him to say it and he nodded again. I assured him that it doesn’t make us mad, it doesn’t make us sad… we understand and it’s ok. I think it’s important for him to know that we know how hard it is…

    Then he did, as he does quite often… he put his index finger tip around to the tip of his thumb, much like you’d do if you were to do the ‘ok’ sign. Then he put it up in front of his face and looked through it with one eye, and moved it back against his face, still with his eye looking through the opening.

    I then asked him why he does that, to which I got no reply. I asked if it helps him to see better, like glasses and he just looked at me… so I asked if it helps him to see me and he said ‘yeah’. So I asked how it helps and he glanced around a bit… I asked him if doing that helped him to not see the rest of the room and he again said ‘yeah’.

    Cameron did this motion, almost ever night, quietly, sometimes completely without my notice, as his way to see me, and only me. Without interference or distraction. It occurred to me then that he had been doing this for quite some time, months… a year? I can’t remember but it’s been a while and it was always something I just thought was something silly he started doing.. like a child looking through the middle of a roll of toilet paper.

    But it was so much more than that. I like to think that it’s his way of telling me he loves me…. that… he sees me.

    By Health Care on May 31, 2010 | Autism | A comment?

    Manage Your Autistic Child

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    The feeling of being angry, is a normal emotion for all people. This includes individuals who have autism. The problem of feeling mad or angry, is how to manage this normal emotion that can be out of control, which can make it become abnormal?

    Autistic children may show their emotion of being angry in the same way as individuals who do not have the disorder. You as parent(s), or caregivers(s) must teach your child how to manage the emotion of being mad/angry.

    It would be an excellent plan for you to teach your child to recognize that he or she can solve the problem of becoming angry and manage the anger.

    For example,

    • When you see or experience your child being upset with anger, tell him or her, to think about their choices they have.
    • Tell them they could walk away from the situation.
    • They could count to ten.
    • Tell them to relax and try to think about what is going on.
    • Some feelings of anger indicate harm to the spirit, just as bruises indicate harm to the body. Feelings should not be ignored, but they can be managed and redirected in a healthy way.
    • Your child could ask the question “why are you angry at me?

    Therefore, anger is and indicator that brings forth awareness enabling us to recognize the condition that is present. Anger should be dealt with, and managed to keep it from being out of control.

    Your child with the disorder of autism can be taught how to choose and identify their choices, when they are being challenged or in an angry state of being provoked. This depends on their age and the level of autism. But, with patience and practice, they can be taught what to do, if they are in an angry situation, and how to relate to it.

    1. It is wise to tell your child to use good listening skills, to make sure they know what to do.
    2. Give your child choices as what to do in an angry situation for them to manage it, depending on what caused it.

    For example, the following situations could, or might require choices to manage the anger that is displayed.

    • If another child called your child a name that was not a “nice” name.
    • A sibling or friend of your child broke one his or her toys.
    • You as a parent(s), caregiver(s), will not allow your child to attend a special function.

    In time, your child with the disorder of autism, will learn, or try to make choices to solve the problem of being angry and it will create a healthy and better environment.

    By Health Care on May 3, 2010 | Autism | A comment?
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    Autism Communication

    Small talk is one of the most difficult social skills that a child with Autism can learn. It is one of the most difficult skills for many children can learn. The ability to make interesting, non-confrontation conversation with anyone is really a skill to be admired.

    The small talk must also be appropriate to the time and place. It is also helpful if it fits in with what the other children are talking about. Although some small talk can be used to start a new topic if the child with Autism can find the right time.

    There are some strategies that are fairly easy to start with in the beginning. A parent will want to encourage their child in any appropriate efforts to make small talk so they will experience success. That will need to lead to a discussion about using small talk with friends and acquaintances.

    One of the strategies to teach children with Autism small talk is to help them come up with some stock phrases or questions to use. A stock question can be something as simple as asking someone with a watch what time it is. A stock phrase can be something as simple as saying yes or nodding in agreement.

    These are just a small example of ways to help children with Autism feel included in what is going on with their peers. This helps their self esteem and helps peers see them as contributing to the discussion.

    The stock question and the stock answer can be used with a non-verbal child with a disability as well. When trying to get a child to use an assistive technology device whether a single button or several buttons stock phrases can encourage children to use it.

    Parents and professionals want to program something useful into a voice output device. Unfortunately that means something useful to us. Like needing to eat or go to the bathroom. How boring that could be to a child with Autism.

    If we program a stock phrase into the device it opens up the possibility of going to anyone and pressing the button. There are not many people who I might want to say something about the bathroom to but a lot of people I could ask the time.

    Clostridia and Regression

    There is an issue with regression that comes up frequently in my practice. Oftentimes, this regression will happen following a course of antibiotic treatment or following antifungal treatments, and rather than improvement, you see regression. Antifungal treatments can include prescriptions such as Nystatin, Diflucan or Nizoral or herbal remedies like oregano oil, grapefruit seed extract, etc. If you see a worsening in behavior along the lines of irritability, aggression, self injury or withdrawal, you could be seeing signs of an underlying bacterial problem.

    A common bacteria that many children on the Autism spectrum deal with is called clostridia. There are many types of clostridia bacteria, one type is called clostridia dificil and can actually cause one form of inflammatory bowel disease. When we talk about these negative behavioral changes and regression, we are not talking about this type. Although that form can produce certain toxins that could contribute to these negative behaviors but we are really talking about the broad family of clostridia rather that a specific form.

    Great Plains Labs has two tests called the Organic Acid Test and the Microbial Organic Acid Test which look at the specific yeast and clostridia bacteria markers. HPHPA is the clostridia marker and a metabolic toxin that is picked up on these tests. That metabolic toxin appears to interfere with brain chemicals, which then can manifest in some of those behavioral issues we see with kids on the spectrum.

    Yeast and clostridia live in competition with one another in the digestive tract. So that is why we often see regression with the use of antifungals. If you are not treating them both at the same time, when one is lowered then the other one can tend to flourish. So if you are treating a yeast overgrowth without also treating a clostridia overgrowth, clostridia can get worse because it has less competition from the yeast that is dying. You can also have an increase in clostridia following antibiotic use as that can kill off the beneficial bacteria in the gut which allows more growth for the opportunistic clostridia. If you see regression in your child following a course of antibiotics or antifungals, it may be wise to look into whether a clostridia overgrowth is the cause.
    Autism really is treatable! Biomedical Autism treatments and therapies have resulted in many, many children improving, or even even losing their autism-spectrum disorder diagnosis.