Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental condition that involves persistent challenges in social interaction, speech and nonverbal communication, and restricted/repetitive behaviors. The effects of ASD and the severity of symptoms are different in each person.
Loading the player...What is Autism? Dr Robin Friedlander, MD, FRCPC, Child Psychiatrist, discusses What is Autism?
Loading the player...Sleep Disorders and Autism Dr. Robin Friedlander, MD, FRCPC, Child Psychiatrist, discusses Sleep Disorders and Autism
Loading the player...Autism Diagnosis and Early Treatment Dr. Robin Friedlander, MD, FRCPC, Child Psychiatrist, discusses Autism Diagnosis and Early Treatment
Loading the player...Helping Children With Autism Improve Social Interaction Skills Dr Robin Friedlander, MD, FRCPC, Child Psychiatrist, discusses Helping Children With Autism Improve Social Interaction Skills
Children with neuro-developmental disorders such as autism have significant problems with sleep. Why do they have problems with sleep? It’s probably because they don’t develop a good circadian rhythm, a really good simple way for physicians and psychologists to decide if it’s a sleep problem is to use a short questionnaire called the BEARS, B – E – A –R – S.
And what we assess is the bedtime routine, that’s the “B.” “E” stands for where the child has excessive daytime sleepiness. “A” where the child has repeated night awakenings, they wake up during the night, don’t go back to sleep. “R” is for sleep regularity and duration. And “S” is for snoring.
Often seeing a local family physician for a referral to a Psychiatrist, psychologist or a councilor in conjunction with a registered dietitian is a great option to take control of this condition. Smart Food Now and exercise is also optominal for overall health.
And the reason it’s broken down in that way is because each of those letters stands for a component of sleep that may need to be addressed in a different way. Local Registered Dietician
Sleep problems are really important. If a child doesn’t sleep, they are grumpy the next day, they’re irritable, they’re more likely to be hyperactive and the families, the parents, are more likely to be the same because if the child doesn’t sleep, the parent doesn’t sleep. Local Psychiatrist
So treating sleep is one of those easy things to do for a physician that can make such a big difference in this child’s life and the quality of life for the family. It’s just like a pleasure to do. Now Health Network
So children with autism can have behavioral problems that are intrinsic, that are part of the autism, and they can have behavioral problems that are due to additional or secondary mental health problems.
So the problems that are intrinsic to the autism are the hypersensitivity to sound, which can make the children want to run away if they hear a loud noise, become unable to go to a birthday party because they can't deal with the sound of a balloon popping, can't go to school because it's too noisy, and there are too many kids.
Real difficulty with change, these kids are probably, as a result of their many different needs, develop a very fixed need for routine, they like things done in just a certain way, which can be quite rigid.
And the kids actually often kind of thrive in that environment, but life gets in the way. You never know when there's going to be a Pro-D day at school. The kid doen't go to school on friday, he freaks out, because it's not expected. Or the mother's sick and can't take him to an activity. So these children don't do well with change at all. So change in the environment, which can be expected or unexpected.
Most families who are concerned about their child will consult their family doctor or pediatrician, and they can then get referred to a psychologist, or in certain parts of North America like British Columbia, there are specific clinics that just diagnose children with autism.
Local Practitioners: Psychiatrist