blueanxiety-6284013

My Anxiety Is Not Disordered

Cynthia Kim musingsofanaspie.com I’ve been thinking and reading a lot about anxiety recently. When I was diagnosed with Asperger’s, I was also diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder. Here’s how I feel about that: Social Anxiety? Yes. Disorder? Not so much. Disorder implies that my social anxiety is irrational. Is it? Consider this: “Anxiety at appropriate levels is important for adaptive functioning. There are many environmental hazards that must be avoided and these are often learned through the process of anxiety induction. The resultant anxiety response is learned through the association of certain stimuli with unpleasant consequences.” (from “Autism and the Physiology of Stress and Anxiety,” Romanczyk and Gillis) Anxiety, like fear, protects us from danger. It raises our guard and makes us wary. In this way, it’s healthy. Without it, we might be less motivated to get an education, to work, to care for our loved ones and ourselves. What…

IMFAR 2012: Toward Better Psychopharmacological Management of Anxiety In ASD

This is one of four talks from the IMFAR 2012 symposium Anxiety in Autism Spectrum Disorders: From Biology to Treatment. The overall session theme: It’s clear that anxiety is a major problem for kids and adults on the autism spectrum, now we need to figure out how to treat it. This summary is not intended nor should be taken as medical advice. Please consult a medical doctor for any decisions regarding psychopharmaceuticals.  Any errors or omissions in the edited-down transcription below are on me. Dr. Scahill also presented data and slides from several studies, that information has either been summarized or omitted. INSAR members can download the full audio file of Dr. Scahill’s talk. -SR —- Lawrence Scahill School of Medicine, Yale University There are so few data on this topic that he actually had to change the talk. The story starts in 2002, with a study in the New…

IMFAR 2012: Anxiety in Youth With and Without ASD

This is one of four talks from the IMFAR 2012 symposium Anxiety in Autism Spectrum Disorders: From Biology to Treatment. The overall session theme: It’s clear that anxiety is a major problem for kids & adults on the autism spectrum. The onus on us to figure out how to treat it. Any errors or omissions in the summary below are on me. -SR Connor Puleo: Anxiety in Youth With and Without ASD: Commonalities and Variations What does anxiety look like in ASD and how good are we in measuring it? Are there things that seem to be different in terms of anxiety for children on the spectrum? How that might complicate measurement and methodology? Differential diagnosis in an ASD population is inherently challenging, there’s a lack of consensus how to go about it, and in terms of defining what is anxiety and what is ASD. What this means is that…

The Sky’s the Limit

J. Lorraine Martin cheeselesspizza.blogspot.com The setting was surreal: a mountain range, cast in orange hues against a crisp blue sky; cactuses dotting the landscape and the occasional roadrunner darting across a street; row upon row of well-tended tennis courts and throngs of onlookers all dressed in their tennis best. It felt unimaginable that my daughter’s neighborhood tennis team had played a year of matches leading them all the way to a coveted spot at the National Championships in Tucson, Arizona. Amazingly, it came down to the final match with my daughter representing her team in singles. My heart was pounding, a whirlwind of joy and nervousness weaving through all the struggle and collective effort to reach such a thrilling moment in time. Years later, I found myself witnessing a moment involving my oldest son that carried the same beautiful thread of perseverance; however, before one can understand the depth and…

Why We Are Homeschooling Our Autistic Son

Emily Willingham daisymayfattypants.blogspot.com biologyfiles.fieldofscience.com Since TH was in kindergarten, he’s had a nemesis. Ironically, it was the very first person he met at his school, as we had just moved into the district. Idiots that we were, we thought she seemed pretty nice and encouraged TH to engage with her. Of course, he didn’t. Or, at least, he didn’t do it the “right” way. Two weeks into the kindergarten year, we learned that a parent had contacted the teacher, complaining about our son, claiming he’d made “death threats” against her son. Turns out, her son and this girl we’d met that first day together had teamed up against TH and had (and I’m not making this up) threatened to cut his head off and throw it in the trash. TH had parrotted this back to them, and that’s the part that the boy had told his mother, conveniently skipping over…

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IMFAR 2011: The Clinical Face of Anxiety in Autism

Dr. L. Scahill, Yale University School of Medicine imfar.confex.com/imfar/2011/webprogram/Paper9789.html The following is a modified transcription of Dr. Scahill’s talk. Any glaring omissions or errors are my own. INSAR members can listen to Dr. Scahill’s talk in its entirety via its abstract page. -SR Fears, phobias, and worries; Toward better measurement of anxiety in ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders) Dr. Scahill is very interested in identifying compounds that can treat target problems in people with autism and Tourette’s syndrome and the like. But how do we get to measure the targets that we think are important? We’ve seen in many posters [at IMFAR] that anxiety is common and adds to despair and disability in children with autism, but we need to find a way to measure it. This is an inspection of how we might go about that. Disclosures: Dr. Scahill has consulted with companies who have paid attention to autism and…

The Miracle by the Lobster Tank

J. Lorraine Martin cheeselesspizza.blogspot.com It was a typical, suburban day at my local grocery store. Besides loading up on Mad Housewife wine, I had other highly important plans: channeling the wisdom of Pavlov on aisle 12 as I held up a bag of Skittles — think mad housewife becomes mad scientist. What can I say? An autism mom often reaches new heights (or is it lows?) to help her child step outside of his self-imposed postage stamp zone of perceived safety. In case conducting Pavlov experiments isn’t in your shopping repertoire, allow me to explain. You see, my oldest son, at the age of nine, developed some intense fears at our local grocery store. Despite uneventful years of happy grocery shopping experiences up until that time, he one day became dramatically frightened over the thunder sound in produce when the water sprayers came on; not much later the mooing cow…