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How to Handle Autism Anger in the Teenage Years

Posted in autism on November 4th, 2008

Teens with autism can sometimes be faced with behaviors – such as autism anger – which are beyond their control. Anger can occur in many forms but often takes the shape of violence or tantrums.

When it comes to handling uncontrolled anger, it is typically recommended that whenever possible, you should not look at the person, not talk to them, and not touch them (unless it is for your own or their safety).  Essentially, do not add to their overstimulation and refrain from doing anything that might add fire to the flames.  Many parents find that over time, angry outbursts are reduced when no one reacts to them.

Ignoring this kind of behavior will no doubt be hard at first.  After all, when your child was little, anger was easier to control because you could either physically stop him or her from throwing the tantrum or distract them with a toy or favorite object.  However, once your child has entered the teenage years, then he or she will be too big to deal with physically and bribery with a favorite object tends to be less effective.  So unless he or she is breaking things, hurting others or themselves, it’s best to stay out of the way and let the anger wear off.

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Autism anger in teens can be quite frightening. Behaviors can escalate to the point where others are at risk of being harmed.  In fact, tantrum behaviors can even be seen as criminal in some cases, should the loss of control result in destroying possessions or hurting others.

The following steps are often recommended for parents who have teens who occasionally suffer from autism related anger outbursts.  They should be used when and if applicable, and not necessarily in this order:

- Resist intervening – as was mentioned earlier, by remaining calm and out of the way the tantrum should fade much more quickly because it won’t have outside stimulation to spur it on.

- Ensure safety – make sure that you, your child, and anyone else in the area are safe. If your autistic teen is simply screaming, pounding their feet, and doing other similar activities, and if there is nobody else in the area, it’s usually best to simply leave the room or area and get yourself to a safe place.  That way, you’re not only protecting yourself from harm, but you’re removing yourself altogether.  Sometimes simply being alone is enough to have the teen calm down.

- Calming People - If there is an individual who you know can diffuse the situation or is usually able to calm your teen down, then you may wish to see if they’re available to help.  They may not have to do anything, but simply their presence may be enough to instill calm.  However, this technique only works if there is a calming person in your teen’s life.  This is not always the case.

- Call for Help – If the situation doesn’t appear to be improving or if behaviors have become violent or out of control, then getting some outside help - paramedics, or even the police - may be the only solution.  They will be able to support your efforts to have your teen calm down and help control any dangerous behaviors.

Autism anger can be an overwhelming experience for teenagers as they struggle with fluctuating hormones and fighting for their independence, but it can also be very upsetting for the parents.

It’s important that once you have the situation under control, you work through together the cause of the outburst in a calm and controlled way, without apportioning blame, so that should the scenario occur in the future steps can be taken to divert anger before the situation becomes heated.

Grab your free copy of Rachel Evans’ brand new Autism Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to implement strategies to help you avoid outbursts of autism anger and for information on coping with other autism behaviors please visit The Essential Guide To Autism.

A Gout Cause You Never Suspected

Posted in Health & Fitness on September 29th, 2008

You may have heard people complain about the weather outside affecting certain conditions such as arthritis, but you may never have suspected that the climate in which you live could be a gout cause.  Over the last few years, it is becoming commonly accepted that previous hypotheses that said the weather could not affect gout are actually quite incorrect. 

Though studies have been performed and have come up with some results, due to the high number of variables, the impact that climate has as a gout cause is by no means well understood.  Therefore, the studies have looked into geographical distribution with regards to the number of cases of gout as a weak guide regarding the weather that is most likely to bring about the disease. 

Results showed that flare-ups of gout were most common during hot and humid weather.  This being said, these same scientists reported that drinking a lot of water was a notable preventative for gout attacks during these hot, humid periods. 

The research was performed in 2006 by Boston researchers (and presented at the 2006 American College of Rheumatology’s annual scientific meeting) who studied 197 participants who had gout, and examined the influence of temperature and humidity on the frequency of the condition.  When the participants experienced a gout attack, they completed a two-day control questionnaire. 

Further data was obtained through the collection of the ZIP code of the participants and the federal climate data from those regions so that they would know when the participants were in risk periods, and when they were in control periods. Adjustments were made when additional gout cause risk factors were present, such as the consumption of meat, alcohol, or diuretics.

These scientists noted that humid, hot temperatures brought about a significantly increased number of gout attacks in the participants.  However, in terms of barometric pressure and precipitation, no gout cause association was found.

It was suggested by the researchers that in order to prevent flare-ups of their gout, it was very important that they avoid dehydration by drinking additional fluids during times of hot and humid weather.

If you believe that you are experiencing gout, or you wish to discuss different risk factors or gout cause in your life, make sure to make an appointment with your doctor.  He or she will be able to help you with additional preventative measures beyond simple hydration.  You will be able to learn overall preventative actions and may be prescribed medications to help you to stop gout attacks from occurring, and to ease them when they do indeed happen. 

If you live in a climate that is hot and humid, you should recognize that this is an important gout cause and you may wish to try to live and work in climate controlled environments.  A dehumidifier may be helpful at a bare minimum, but an air conditioned environment will make all the difference for keeping the temperature gout-friendly and minimizing the additional humidity in the air. No matter if you’re in air conditioning or not, though, proper hydration remains key.

Grab your free copy of Lisa McDowell’s brand new Gout Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to implement methods to help you identify your gout cause and how you can treat gout fast. To discover which natural cure for gout is most effective please visit Cure Gout Now

What an Increase in Stimming May Indicate About Your Current Treatment for Autism

Posted in Health & Fitness on September 5th, 2008

As parents work to find effective treatments for autism, many of the usual symptoms their children display will continue.  In the majority of cases, this often includes some form of ‘stimming’.  Stimming is an extremely common autism symptom that includes certain repeated behaviors or movements.  These behaviors are self-stimulating and consist of repetitive behaviors that are performed to stimulate the senses.  Examples of stimming include clapping, running in circles, humming, or manipulating objects (such as bending straws or ripping paper). 

Though stimming behaviors may appear to be unnecessary or even unsuitable to some situations, they’re not done to draw attention or to disrupt.  Instead, stimming behaviors are often used in order to decrease the stress levels of the child performing them.  As autism causes children to react atypically to sensory stimuli, they often use stimming to help to deal with their sensory issues.

Rocking is another kind of stimming behavior that is common among autistic children.  Many autistic children feel that rocking back and forth allows them to reestablish a sense of focus when they feel overly sensitive to the stimulus from their surroundings.  It can also help with concentration and focus.

Though it is more obvious in autistic children, non-autistic children and adults also participate in forms of stimming.  Consider the number of times you’ve seen someone drumming their fingers, tapping their pencil, fidgeting with paper, or bounced a knee when sitting down.  Anxiety tends to worsens these behaviors. Though behaviors such as biting nails or whistling are often done involuntarily, they do help us to keep control over our emotions and calm us down in tense situations.  As children with autism usually find stressors in more of the stimuli in their environment, they often ‘stim’ regularly throughout the day and especially when placed into a new environment.   

If you find that your child’s level of stimming increases in line with the introduction of new of more frequent treatments there could be a number of reasons for this.
1. They are looking for reassurance as they learn something new
2. The situation is stressful for them so they are retreating to what is familiar – the stimulatory behavior
3. They don’t like the change to their routine that the new or increased frequency of treatment is introducing.
Of course these reasons aren’t the only ones. However, the key is to monitor behavior and see if the stimming levels out, increases further or decreases as the treatment program progresses.

It is also important to keep in mind that stimming behaviors can turn into obsessions.  When identifying characteristics for treatment for autism, divide your child’s stimming into two groups: excitatory and calming. 

Stimming that is calming is the kind that helps your autistic child to regain focus when feeling stress or anxiety.  On the other hand excitatory stimming sends your child’s focus in a negative direction. 

An example of excitatory stimming could be when an autistic child gets wound up and instead of smiling and giggling, he or she might start clapping, running, or yelling.  This can be detrimental behavior as it encourages behaviors that can be inappropriate and are not conducive for effective learning.

Stimming may also be an attachment to specific objects.  Though most small children will often have a favorite toy such as a doll or blanket, in the case of autistic children they may struggle give up their attachment to this object.  It may be something that they like to smell, look at, hear, or touch. 

Stimming can also take the form of organizing things.  For example, an autistic child may self-stimulate by placing things in order, lining them up, or stacking things.  This, like other stimming behaviors, can easily become an obsession.

Stimming habits can be very challenging to break as they are often relaxing and enjoyable and provide a coping mechanism for an autistic child. As a parent you will need to decide what stimming behavior is acceptable both in terms of the action itself and frequency. Bear in mind that trying to stop all stimming could be very stressful for your child. So concentrate on the behaviors that are excitory or inappropriate and leave the calming or harmless activities alone.

When considering a treatment for autism for your child, make sure that the doctor or specialist is aware of all of your child’s stimming behaviors so that they can be properly addressed.  Keep in mind that stimming often differs from one form of autism to the next.

Grab your free copy of Rachel Evans’ brand new Autism Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to implement methods to help you and your family find proven treatments for autism and for more information on autism symptoms like stimming please visit The Essential Guide To Autism

What Are All The Possible Acid Reflux Symptoms?

Posted in Health & Fitness on August 8th, 2008

Have you been experiencing symptoms that you once thought could be indigestion, but are now thinking that perhaps the symptoms you are experiencing are related to acid reflux?  The only way you can determine if what you are suffering is acid reflux is to know the symptoms of the digestive condition and seek the advice of your health care provider.

To start you on your path of discovery, the following is a list of all the possible symptoms of acid reflux:

Common symptoms:

Heartburn – This is the most common acid reflux symptom and is characterized by a burning sensation that feels as though it is rising from the stomach or lower chest, and continues up towards the region of the neck.  In many cases, the burning sensation typically begins behind the breastbone, and it may travel up to the throat.   However, heartburn can be severe in some people and spread to the neck, jaw, arms and back.

Chest Pain – This may include chest pressure, dull chest discomfort, or severe burning pain that radiates across the mid chest. If you are suffering chest pain you should consult a physician immediately to rule out any heart problems.

Excessive salvation – An increase in saliva production after eating may be the body’s response to dealing with too much acid, as saliva helps to neutralize acid.  Sometimes the stomach produces excessive acid which increases the risk of reflux.

Burning sensation in the throat – This symptom generally causes a person to feel burning high in the neck close to the mouth, but it can happen in the lower region of the neck as well.  It is common for the painful burning sensation to worsen when the person swallows.   This particular symptom is often brought on by irritation that occurs when stomach contents have been refluxed up the esophagus into the throat. 

Painful swallowing – This symptom usually follows the burning sensation in the throat.

Acid taste in the mouth/regurgitation – With this symptom a person tastes a strong sour or bitter flavor in their mouth.   This usually occurs when acid has been refluxed up the esophagus into the back of the throat.  Sometimes, along with the bitter taste, a person may also have food contents refluxed back into their mouth, which is better known as regurgitation. 

Sore throat, bad breath, and dental erosion – These symptoms typically occur as a result of a person suffering from acid being refluxed up into the throat and mouth.

Trouble swallowing – Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) is a symptom that occurs when food cannot pass normally from the mouth to the esophagus and to the stomach.  Most people who experience dysphagia feel as if food is stuck in their throat, a choking sensation, pressure in their chest, or a burning sensation after eating.  If you are experiencing dysphagia, you should seek the attention of your health care provider as soon as possible to have your condition evaluated, as this symptom is often associated with more severe complications involving the esophagus.
Less common symptoms:

Nausea and/or vomiting – Very few gastroesophageal reflus disease (GERD) sufferers experience this symptom.  Nevertheless, nausea does occur, especially in those who don’t typically experience heartburn.  When unexplained nausea and/or vomiting occur, GERD is usually one of the first conditions doctors suspect.

Chronic coughing – A persistent dry cough can be a symptom of acid reflux that may occur if acid is irritating the windpipe or when acid is refluxed into the lungs, which is known as aspiration.  Persistent coughing can cause hoarseness or asthma-like symptoms such as wheezing.

Severe chest pain – sometimes severe chest pain can develop that feels like a heart attack.  Though severe chest pain related to acid reflux is non-life threatening, if you experience what you feel is a heart attack, do not just assume it is acid reflux and seek medical attention immediately!

Keep in mind that almost all symptoms of acid reflux occur, and are at their worst, shortly after eating.  However, it is also common for symptoms to be present when lying down or sleeping.  Symptoms of acid reflux tend to come and go and may last for minutes, but can also remain for several hours.  Symptoms usually go away when acid is neutralized by medication such as an antacid, or sometimes with a natural remedy.   

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, you are likely suffering from acid reflux.  If you are experiencing symptoms frequently, this could be an indication that you are suffering from GERD.  In either event, it is best to speak to your health care provider about your symptoms and your concerns, so you can receive a proper diagnosis and discuss your treatment options.

Grab your free copy of Kathryn Whittaker’s brand new Acid Reflux & GERD Newsletter - Overflowing with information to help you recognise the various acid reflux symptoms and for information on following an acid reflux diet please visit Stop Acid Reflux Now.  

Will Treating Acid Reflux Cure Your Bad Breath?

Posted in Uncategorized, Health & Fitness on August 4th, 2008

The chances are that if you suffer from acid reflux, you may also be aware that your breath isn’t quite as fresh as those non-GERD sufferers around you.  The fact is that when acid refluxes into your esophagus, that horrible sensation and taste is also accompanied by a not-so-pleasant smell.  If you’re simply sitting at home alone watching television, it’s uncomfortable, but your breath doesn’t really bother anyone but you.  However, if there’s anyone around you, the chances are that they’ll soon be taking a step back, scrunching their noses, or handing you a mint. 

But how do you know when your breath is really that bad? You’ve tried breathing into the palm of your hand, but you simply can’t tell.  One technique recommended by experts on job interviews and social interaction is to give the inside of your wrist a quick lick (assuming you’re not wearing perfume there) and wait for it to dry.  Once it’s no longer wet, smell the spot – does it smell sour or unpleasant?  If so, you’ve got bad breath.

But what can a GERD sufferer do?  You’ve likely heard that peppermint and other forms of mint, such as that in chewing gums, breath mints, and other breath-improving products can actually aggravate your acid reflux and, in turn, make your breath even worse. 

Don’t panic. There are many things that you can do to ensure that your breath stays as pleasant as possible.  If you speak to your doctor, a nutritionist, or a naturopath, they will likely tell you that your first step is to change your diet.  You need to eat foods that help keep your acid reflux under control.  The more you experience acid reflux, the worse your breath will be. 

When you’re choosing your next meal (and all of those that follow), try to keep both your acid reflux and your breath in mind.  Onions, garlic, spicy foods, and fried foods tend to give most people bad breath.  But since these foods also aggravate acid reflux symptoms, then your reaction to them will be twice as unpleasant – to you and those around you. 

You can also start trying to lower your stress level through various activities such as exercise, relaxation, yoga, breathing techniques, and anything else that will calm you down.  Stress can contribute to bad breath, though many people are unaware of this fact, and can also encourage behaviors that worsen acid reflux.  So if your breath is already prone to being sour due to GERD symptoms, then you’ll want to work on your stress levels to stop the situation from getting any worse.

Once you start reducing stress levels and begin eating better, you’ll quickly discover that these changes not only make an enormous difference, but they’re not half as difficult as you’d through they’d be.  The trick is to make the changes slowly and ease them into your life while building the positive habits. 

You may also find that by taking certain medications or natural or herbal GERD remedies, you’ll give yourself just that much more of an advantage for keeping your bad breath under control.

Grab your free copy of Kathryn Whittaker’s brand new Acid Reflux & GERD Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to implement methods to help you find out about acid reflux bad breath and for information on GERD halitosis please visit Stop Acid Reflux Now

A Review of Common Gout Medications

Posted in Health & Fitness on June 27th, 2008

There are many different types of gout medications currently available, each with their own benefits and side effects that should be considered before beginning treatment.

Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s) are often prescribed in order to reduce the swelling and alleviate the pain associated with acute gout attacks.  However, medications are also being developed and are currently in use that are taken to prevent attacks from recurring – as well as to reduce symptoms should attacks occur.

Ensure you talk to your doctor about the various medications, and make sure you have the proper tests to determine the level of uric acid in your body (this may involve a fluid sample from the gouty joint or a simple urine test). Without the appropriate tests it’s hard to make the proper decisions regarding choice of medication and progress is difficult to monitor. Also make sure you understand any possible risks and potential side effects prior to beginning treatment.

Two gout medications that are often prescribed for gout patients are Zyloprim® (allopurinol) and Adenuric® (febuxostat).

Allopurinol is taken orally in tablet form.  This medication has been designed for small initial doses, which are then increased gradually in order to control the uric acid levels in the body.  It functions by preventing xantine oxidase from being released by the body, which prevents uric acid formation. As gout attacks are caused by uric acid crystallization buildup in the joints, preventing the formation of uric acid makes allopurinol an effective method of treating and preventing the condition.

When taking allopurinol, patients will usually see their uric acid levels returning to normal within two to four week’s time, and should witness a reduction in their gout attacks.  When taking allopurinol, it’s important to maintain regular doctor’s visits so that uric acid levels in the body can be carefully monitored.

There are some side effects thought that patients should be made aware of prior to treatment. A common reaction to allopurinol includes skin rashes due to allergies.  Rare side effects includes liver inflammation, failure of blood cell production by the bone marrow, blood vessel inflammation and Allopurinol hypersensitivity syndrome.

Febuxostat is also taken orally but only taken once a day and is designed to stop xanthine oxydase formation. With or without food, the typical dose of febuxostat is 80 milligrams.  Though this is typically enough to bring uric acid levels to normal within two weeks, a higher dose of 120 milligrams may be considered if uric acid levels need to be lowered further. Reduction in gout attacks should occur as early as two weeks, but more often at four weeks into the treatment. Side effects reported for febuxostat include headache, diarrhea, nausea and abnormal liver function tests.

Of course, not everybody is comfortable taking gout medications for an extended period of time if they can be offered a more natural alternative.  If you wish to look into alternative treatments to medications, it is a good idea to speak to your doctor about herbal and naturopathic remedies – just as you would discuss any prescription drug that you would consider taking.  You may be surprised to discover that there are as many non-prescription natural ways to fight arthritis gout, as there are prescriptions to perform the same tasks. Have a browse through the rest of the blog, as there are a number of articles covering natural gout remedies.

Grab your free copy of Lisa McDowell’s brand new Gout Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to implement methods to help you find out about gout medications and for information on getting rid of gout naturally please visit Cure Gout Now

Are Aspergers and High Functioning Autism the Same Thing?

Posted in Health & Fitness on June 6th, 2008

One of the most common mistakes made about autism is that Asperger’s Syndrome and high functioning autism are the same thing.  Many parents struggle with this problem because there is so much information out there that uses the two terms interchangeably.  There are many crossover symptoms between Asperger’s Syndrome and high functioning autism which can make it very challenging to tell the difference between the two.  Furthermore, many doctors and scientists differ in their definitions of the two disorders.

High functioning autism is an unofficial designation for people who have autism but whose symptoms are not severe.  High functioning autistic children have an average or above-average intelligence level and will generally maintain an adequate vocabulary.  However their learning comprehension is typically behind other children at the same age.  Furthermore, high functioning autistic children will generally not express much emotional detail in their speech, and struggle with interpreting non-verbal cues.

There is no solid line between the diagnosis of low functioning and high functioning autism.  Though some doctors use an IQ score as an indicator to help with the diagnosis, the function level of autism is not based on IQ alone.  There are also elements of language processing, behavioral elements, and other non-verbal details, which must be considered above and beyond measurable intelligence levels.  Furthermore, standard IQ testing is typically inaccurate for autistic children as the testing itself may involve skills with which an autistic child struggles. 

Whether high or low functioning, autism will typically present in around the age of two years old with a sudden regression or presentation of autistic symptoms.

On the other hand, Asperger’s Syndrome is a separate autism spectrum disorder. Children with Asperger’s Syndrome struggle with social interactions and restrictions, and tend to have intensely narrow interests in subjects and activities.  However, unlike with autism – even high functioning autism – there is no cognitive development or language delay.  Though language may be used atypically and motor skills may be clumsy at times, their development is normal.

Asperger’s Syndrome will typically present in children at about the age of three.  Brain imaging has shown structural and functional differences within certain brain regions among children without autism spectrum disorders, children with Asperger’s Syndrome, and children who are high functioning autistics.

Children with Asperger’s Syndrome often fail to display empathy in their behaviors.  It is social interaction where these children face their deepest challenges.  Many struggle or fail to develop friendships, don’t take pleasure in achievements or spontaneous activities with others, lack in emotional and social reciprocity, and have diminished non-verbal communication behaviors such as facial expressions, postures, eye contact, and overall gestures.

However, children with classic autism (even those who are high functioning), Asperger’s Syndrome children will not typically withdraw from other people.  In fact, even if they are awkward in their method, they will often approach others and begin a discussion.  It is conversation where their struggle may occur, as a discussion for a child with Asperger’s Syndrome may simply consist of a long-winded single-sided speech about something the child truly enjoys, without any need for contribution from the other people present. 

Grab your free copy of Rachel Evans’ brand new Autism Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to implement methods to help you and your family find out about aspergers symptoms and for information on high functioning autism please visit The Essential Guide To Autism

Is Red Clover a Good Gout Herbal Medicine?

Posted in Uncategorized, Health & Fitness on May 5th, 2008

Red clover has been used traditionally as gout herbal medicine for centuries due to its ability to remove toxins from the body.  However, using red clover isn’t without its side effects.  Scientists are now seeing that red clover thins the blood, so it should not be taken without the guidance of a doctor or other health professional. If you are already on anticoagulant medicine, red clover should not be used.

The properties within red clover that make it an effective gout herbal medicine are isoflavones.  The isoflavones levels in red clover are 100 times higher than those of soy. This helps to heal inflammatory conditions, including gout, but also arthritis and eczema.

As a herbal medicine, red clover is also known as:

- Meadow clover
- Cow clover
- Purple clover
- Trifolium pratense (Latin name)
- Trefoil
- Wild clover

Red cover belongs to the pea family. It helps with the elimination of uric acid, which is important to the treatment of gout, since symptoms are a result of a buildup of uric acid causing crystal formation on the joints.   Therefore, as red clover helps to eliminate levels of uric acid in the blood, the body has a reduced chance of experiencing a build up of uric acid therefore, reducing the likelihood of a gout attack.

Before taking red clover, be sure to speak to your health specialist, as you should before taking any new herb or supplement.  As a gout herbal medicine, red clover is available in many different forms.  These include:

- Teas
- Tinctures
- Capsules
- Tablets
- Liquid extracts
- Isoflaven standardized extracts
- Topical ointments

When taken as tea, simply use one to two teaspoons of dried red clover flowers in a mug (8 ounces) of hot water; two to three cups should be taken daily.  Or, red clover extract can be mixed into a regular cup of tea. 

Red clover in capsule form is usually taken in doses of 50mg to 150mg daily.  If the capsules are red clover isoflavone extracts, then 28mg to 85mg is the normal daily dose. This means that two to three capsules will likely be required.  For individual dosage instruction speak to a doctor. 

For a direct topical treatment, red clover ointment or cream can be applied directly to the affected area.  However, take care not to apply to any area where there is broken skin.

Red clover tincture should be thirty percent alcohol (1:5), and is taken in hot water as a tea with usually between sixty to one hundred drops (3 to 5 mL), three times every day. 

Red clover herbal products are available at many natural and herbal stores.  It is quite a common item so should be available in several forms at your local health shop.

Be aware of the possible side effects of gout herbal medicine made with red clover.  General side effects can include nausea, headache, and rash.  Infertility has also been witnessed in animals that graze on red clover patches. For more information please speak to a health professional.

 Grab your free copy of Lisa McDowell’s brand new Gout Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to implement methods to help you find out about gout herbal medicine and for information on other natural cures for gout please visit Cure Gout Now.

Five Fun Autistic Learning Activities for Your Preschooler

Posted in Health & Fitness on April 18th, 2008

A great way to ensure that your autistic toddler is learning and wants to continue learning is by playing fun autistic learning activities.  Avoid anything with too much complexity, as your child is still young, but the activities should stimulate the senses, encourage your child to interact with his or her environment, and encourage them to think. 

The following learning activities are enjoyable, educational, and are suitable for most autistic preschoolers:

- Name the Sound – use a tape recorder and record a number of common sounds around your house as well as animal sounds and other common noises, such as a clock ticking, a dog barking, a whistle, a baby crying, people talking and other sounds.  If you don’t want to record them yourself, you’re sure to find lots of sounds on the Internet that you can save to a file and playback during the guessing game.  This game helps your child to listen, follow instructions, express him or herself, and to laugh at some silly sounds.

- Story Telling – draw pictures or find some pictures in a coloring book and have your child tell you about what is going on in the picture.  Ask a lot of questions to encourage your child to develop a story around the picture and use his or her imagination. This is also a great way to reiterate practical and social skills.

- I Spy – This classic game is one that you no doubt played as a child.  Either using something in a picture or an item actually within the room, say “I spy with my little eye, something that is…” and name the color of the object.  The game works well both ways, allowing the child to both be the guesser and the person who spies the object.  For every incorrect answer give a clue about the object.  The game helps to teach children colors and how to put words together in the right order.

- Touch and Guess – Place an object in a cloth bag or in a box with a hole big enough that your child can reach inside and feel the object, but not see it.  Let your child feel the item with his or her hand and guess what it is.  Once he or she guesses switch the item.  With every incorrect guess, give a clue.  Use items with many different textures such as a tennis ball, a marble, a golf ball, sandpaper, a tissue, and other rough, smooth, fuzzy (etc) objects.  Encourage your child to describe what he or she is feeling.  What does it feel like?  What could you do with this kind of an item?  What could it be?

- If It Were Me – this game can be effective for building conversational skills.  In it, you begin the game “if it were me who found a puppy, I would…” or “if it were me who got lost in the mall, I would…” and let your child finish the sentence. It also provides you with a very good opportunity to understand what your child is thinking, and suggest safe responses for serious events like getting lost, crossing the street, and other safety issues.

When it comes to autistic learning activities, there are lots of different ways for you and your preschooler to have fun and be educational at the same time.  Plus these suggestions are pretty adaptable and can be altered to make them suitable for children at differing developmental levels.

Grab your free copy of Rachel Evans’ brand new Autism Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to implement methods to help you and your family find out about autistic learning activities and for information on child autism resources please visit The Essential Guide To Autism

Managing Your Gout Hypertension Risk

Posted in Health & Fitness on March 27th, 2008

A gout friendly diet can be very beneficial when treating and preventing recurrent gout attacks, but can a special diet do anything for related gout hypertension?  It certainly can.  Diet and lifestyle change are the two best treatment methods for a person who suffers from both gout and high blood pressure.

Despite the fact that it is possible to mange both gout and hypertension, have you ever wondered how these two conditions are related?  Despite the fact that medical researchers are aware of a connection between the two conditions, it is not yet entirely understood how they are related.

Gout has often been associated with cardiac problems because elevated uric acid levels are strongly linked with cardiovascular disease.  This has prompted the undertaking of a number of studies to determine if hypertension, as well as other health issues including coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, kidney disease and obesity, are merely associated with raised uric acid levels, or if elevated uric acid level problems play a direct role in these conditions.  

It is interesting to note that studies have found hypertension occurs in approximately a third of all individuals with gout, and high blood urate levels can be found in about a quarter of individuals with hypertension.

Although the link between hypertension and gout is unclear, enough evidence has been found to determine that a connection does exist.  Therefore, if you suffer from gout, it would be worthwhile asking your doctor about having your blood pressure checked on a regular basis, especially if you have a family history of hypertension.

If you know you suffer from both gout and hypertension, the following are different ways you can manage both conditions effectively:

- Control your diet.  Eating a healthy balanced diet and drinking plenty of water is essential to your overall wellbeing.  According to the American Medical Association, a balanced diet is one that includes:
* Significant complex carbohydrates (I.E. fruits, vegetables, whole grains)
* Limited protein (skinless, white poultry and lean meats should be the source of protein and make up only 15% of calories).
* A maximum of 30% of calories from fat (10% should be animal fat)

However, you should also remember that to prevent gout attacks, you need to avoid eating foods high in purines, which increase uric acid levels.  Examples of these foods include: organ and red meats, meat extract, shellfish, anchovies, fish roes, herring, sardines in oil, legumes, mushrooms, cauliflower, spinach and asparagus.  In addition, as part of your hypertension diet, you need to make sure you reduce your sodium intake.

- Limit alcohol intake – Alcohol constricts the blood vessels and increases the production of uric acid.   Therefore, alcohol should ideally be avoided.  However, if you want to have a drink, men should have no more than two drinks per day and women should have no more than one.  One drink is equivalent to one glass of wine, a regular bottle/can of beer or one shot (measure) of spirits.

- Lose weight – If you are overweight or obese, you are putting your body under stress and increasing your risk of suffering from both gout and hypertension.  However, it is important that you lose weight at a slow and balanced pace by adopting a lifestyle change that eases you into exercise and a beneficial diet plan.   Do not attempt to lose weight quickly through crash diets, as this can actually lead to an acute attack of gout.  Talk to your doctor before making any significant lifestyle changes.
- Quit smoking – Smoking affects blood circulation, damages arteries, and slows the healing process.  These are all important functions needed to prevent gout and maintain a healthy blood pressure level.

- Reduce stress – Stress is hard on both your physical and mental state.  Stress can repeatedly elevate blood pressure by encouraging the nervous system to produce large quantities of vasoconstricting hormones.  Find ways to relax such as taking a bath, reading, listening to music, getting a massage, etc.

Finally, you need to talk to your doctor if you suffer from either gout or hypertension before taking any medications to treat either condition.  The reason is certain drugs may benefit one condition, but make the other worse.  For instance, diuretics (“water pills”) are a common medication prescribed for hypertension treatment, but can cause gout attacks in some people, or make gout worse in individuals who already have the condition.  Thus, make sure you consult with your doctor and seek advice prior to beginning any treatment.

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