WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS

Little boy looking at camera with smileRise and Shine shared that children who have difficulty with social communication and behavior are said to have an autism spectrum disorder (formerly known as a pervasive developmental disorder (PDD)). There may be large differences between individuals with these disorders, and symptoms and difficulties occur along a continuum or spectrum. The continuum may include a child with autism who does not find social interaction rewarding on one end, and another child who is very sociable on the other. Some children with ASD have an intellectual disability, while others have higher than average intelligence. ASD is found in children of all racial/ethnic groups and socioeconomic backgrounds. It occurs in both boys and girls, but is more common in boys.

Most children with problems in development have only one or two areas of disability. Children with ASD, however, have problems in multiple areas, particularly:

  • Social interaction
  • Communication
  • Flexibility
  • Imagination

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Oppositional Defiant Disorder Treatment Plan

Autism Parenting Magazine, is a leading magazine focused on delivering the latest news and interventions on the subject of autism.  They shared the following post with Healthy Lombard:

What Is Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a type of behavior disorder mostly seen in children. Children with ODD have consistent behavior patterns which include being argumentative and defiant towards parents and other figures of authority. This is a different condition from Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) where the drive to avoid demands is related to anxiety.

According to documentation from the DSM-5, the oppositional defiant disorder is “a pattern of angry/irritable mood, argumentative/defiant behavior, or vindictiveness lasting at least 6 months as evidenced by at least four symptoms from any of the following categories, and exhibited during interaction with at least one individual who is not a sibling.”

Most children have bouts of ODD from time to time, but it usually disappears on its own. However, ODD may be diagnosed when the behavior persists for months.  Children with ODD consistently show signs.

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GARDENING AND LANDSCAPE SAFETY TIPS FOR KIDS

Joanna CohenJoanna Cohen, MD, is an attending in the emergency department (ED) at Children’s National. Her primary research interest includes bedside ultrasonography in the ED. shared in the Rise and Shine Blog that children like to help their parents with outside activities during the spring and summer. It’s a great way for them to run around and get a little exercise. However, many outdoor tools and gardening materials are dangerous for children and could cause serious injuries if left unattended. Follow these gardening and landscape safety tips for kids to keep your little ones safe!

Backyard safety tips:

  • Observe the current landscape of your backyard:
    • Are there tools or dangerous gardening chemicals left lying around?
  • Make sure there are anchors and supports to hang tools and other objects to keep them from falling.
  • When leaving power tools or other equipment idle remove keys and unplug all tools.
  •  Lock sheds and other outdoor buildings to keep kids from going inside unattended.
  • Make sure small children are out of the way and supervised while you use ride-on lawnmowers and other machinery.

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Simple, Low-Sugar Easter Treats

Nicole Palmieri, who is currently studying Dietetics at the University of Dayton, shared with Healthy Lombard that…

With Easter around the corner, this holiday is typically associated with sugary treats such as Peeps, Cadbury Crème eggs, chocolate bunnies, and jellybeans. While it is tempting for kids to indulge in these desserts all day long, the Cleveland Clinic states that “too much [added] sugars can affect your child’s mood, hyperactivity levels…have a higher risk of insulin resistance, prediabetes, and Type 2 diabetes.” To add a healthy twist to Easter, here are a few ideas for less sugary treats!

Frozen Chocolate Banana Slices

Cut thick slices from bananas, dip in melted chocolate, and freeze for about 30 minutes before enjoying! This is still a sweet treat with chocolate, but you can control all the added sugars and cut back on it by implementing fruit! Bananas contain plenty of potassium, which is beneficial to regulating your child’s blood pressure and fluid balance.

 

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Bites

Simply combine ½ c. creamy peanut butter (or melt peanut butter in the microwave for 20 seconds), 1 c. old-fashioned rolled oats, and 2 T. honey in a bowl. Then, scoop out the mixture and form it into bite-sized balls. Lastly, place on a parchment-lined sheet in the fridge until they firm up, about 20-30 minutes before enjoying! This treat offers healthy fat, carbohydrate, and protein! The honey in these bites will sweeten it up, too!

 

Yogurt-Covered Strawberries & Pretzels

Either buy or make your own yogurt-dipped strawberries and pretzels! This dessert offers a healthier alternative to white chocolate-dipped fruit and pretzels for your kids, while still tasting delicious!

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IS IT COVID-19 OR SEASONAL ALLERGIES?

Sick childLisa Hiers, MSN, APRN, NP-C, AE-C, is a board-certified nurse practitioner in the Allergy and Immunology Division at Children’s National Hospital. She shared in its Rise and Shine blog that there is some overlap between seasonal allergy symptoms and COVID-19, so sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference as we enter another pandemic spring, pollen counts are on the rise and the coronavirus continues to circulate in our communities. There is some overlap between seasonal allergy symptoms and COVID-19, so sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference! Here is a quick review of allergy symptoms versus COVID-19 symptoms.

Overlapping symptoms of allergies and COVID-19

The most common overlapping (meaning these can happen with allergies or COVID-19) symptoms of allergies and COVID-19 are:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headache
  • Tiredness/fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose (this is less common in COVID-19)

Cough and shortness of breath happen less often with allergies unless the person has a history of asthma which can be triggered by pollen.

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TYPES OF GLUTEN INTOLERANCE

Rise and Shine shared in its blog that Gluten Intolerance is a general term for adverse reactions to a protein called “gluten,” which is found in wheat, barley, and rye. Types of gluten intolerance include celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and wheat allergy.

Celiac disease

Celiac disease is a permanent (life-long) gluten intolerance. It is an autoimmune disease that occurs in genetically susceptible individuals. When people with celiac disease eat gluten, their body produces an immune response that attacks the small intestine. This immune response leads to damage to the villi, which are small finger-like projections that line the small intestine that helps with nutrient absorption.

Celiac disease is treated with a life-long strict adherence to a gluten-free diet to prevent symptoms, intestinal damage, and other issues that can arise from untreated celiac disease.

A celiac disease diagnosis is made by blood work and/or a procedure called an upper endoscopy. If you are concerned that your child may have celiac disease, your pediatrician can start with blood work, and then refer you to a pediatric gastroenterologist for further discussion and/or testing.

Please do not remove gluten from your child’s diet prior to any blood work or testing.

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The Worst Food For Tooth Decay

Does Chocolate Cause Acne?

Serious teenager, face only, puberty skin issueDr. Michael Greger asks in his NutionalFactd.org blog, “What are the effects of dairy products, sugar, and chocolate on the formation of pimples?”

He answers: Acne affects nearly one in ten people globally, “making it the eighth-most prevalent disease worldwide.” What is nutrition’s role? If we go back a century, dermatology textbooks “recommended dietary restriction”—for example, advising those with acne to avoid foods like “pork, sausage, cheese, pickles, pastries, large amounts of sweets, cocoa, and chocolate”—but old-timey medicine was full of crackpot theories. Dr. Kellogg, for example, blamed acne on masturbation. (Nothing a few cornflakes couldn’t fix, though!)

Population studies have found associations between acne and the consumption of foods like dairy, sweets, and chocolate. You don’t know if it’s cause and effect, however, until you put it to the test—which they did, as he discusses in his video Does Chocolate Cause Acne?.

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TRAVELING SAFELY WITH UNVACCINATED KIDS DURING THE HOLIDAYS

Baby girl buckled into her car seatRise and Shine shared that now that more people are vaccinated against COVID-19, many families are planning on traveling this holiday season. But what if you have a child who is too young to be vaccinated or hasn’t received the vaccine for other reasons? Can you still travel safely, or should you stay home? Drs. Claire Boogaard and Sarah Ash Combs weigh in.

Should I travel with my unvaccinated children this holiday season?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple yes or no answer to whether you should travel with an unvaccinated child during the holidays. Even though younger kids are at a lower risk of getting sick with COVID-19 than adults, their risk is not zero. It’s up to each family to weigh the risks and benefits before hitting the road.

Ask yourself the following questions to help you decide:

  • What are the rates of infection at your destination?
  • Can you avoid crowds?
  • Are there risks of transmission to others?
  • If your child contracts COVID-19 while you’re traveling, do you have a plan?

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Head-to-Toe Health Tips for the Whole Family

Brad Krause at brad@selfcaring.info wrote for Healthy Lombard that Childhood obesity is a major issue in the United States, with nearly one in five kids aged 2 to 19 considered obese. Unfortunately, excess pounds can contribute to long-term health issues, from diabetes to hypertension. Healthy Lombard is a charitable organization committed to helping parents raise healthy, active kids. This guide provides head-to-toe tips that you can implement in your family to help kids and adults alike improve their wellbeing.

Make exercise a family activity

Regular physical activity is one of the most important things people of all ages can do to maintain a healthy weight. Look for activities you can enjoy as an entire family, like playing tag, hula-hooping, or dancing to music. You can also get some fresh air by exercising outdoors. Go for a hike or a bike ride as a family. As your kids get older, encourage them to pursue athletic activities like team sports on their own.

Establish a strict bedtime routine for kids and adults alike

A solid night’s rest helps kids and adults alike feel their best. Build a bedtime routine for your children that will help them get to sleep at the same time every night. Pre-sleep activities could include helping them brush their teeth, reading a book together, and singing them a lullaby. It’s also significant to get rest as an adult. The Mayo Clinic provides guidance for getting a better night’s sleep, such as minimizing caffeine intake before bed.
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