Upcoming Events

No upcoming events

Recent Photos

Recent Videos

655 views - 0 comments
1240 views - 0 comments
2339 views - 0 comments
2585 views - 0 comments

APA Official Youtube Channel

APA Official Facebook Page

Il-btieħi ta’ skejjel miftuħa fis-sajf 


Il-btieħi ta’ skejjel miftuħa fis-sajf 

l-btieħi ta’ skejjel pubbliċi se jkunu miftuħa fis-sajf biex it-tfal jistgħu jittieħdu jilagħbu hemm mill-ġenituri f’post li jkollu ambjent sabiħ u sigur.

Dan joffri faċilitajiet importanti għal tfal bl-awtiżmu u l-inizjattiva ssir bl-appoġġ tal-fondazzjoni Marigold.

Iċ-ċerpersin ta’ Marigold, Michelle Muscat, qalet li ambjent sigur huwa importanti ħafna u dawn huma inizjattivi li għalkemm żgħar itejjbu l-ħajja ta’ persuni li qed jiffaċjaw diffikultajiet fil-ħajja.


L-iskejjel huma dawn

Skola Primarja Attard: Il-Ġimgħa mis-17.30 sa 20.30, is-Sibt mis- 14.00 sal- 17.00, Sundays and Festi Pubbliċi  mill- 10.00 sa 17.00.

Skola Primarja Sannat: Il-Ġimgħa mis- 18.00 to 21.00 and s-Sibtijiet mid- 09.00 to 12.00;

Skola Primarja Marsaxlokk: Il-Ġimgħa mill- 17:00 sa 20.30, Is-Sibt mill- 10.00 sal- 17.00, Sundays and festi pubbliċi mill- 10.00 sal- 17.00.

Skola sekondarja Mosta (Żokrija) – Il-Ħamis u l-Ġimgħa mis- 17.30 sa 19.30


Source - One News







Auberge de Castille in blue for World Autism Day


Source : Castille in blue for World Autism Day - Thursday, April 3, 2014, 08:22  


The Auberge de Castille was floodlit in blue yesterday to mark World Autism Day. Similar events were held in cities all over the world.


The purpose was to shine a bright light on autism as a growing global health crisis. 


Light It Up Blue, as the event was called, kicked-off Autism Awareness Month.


Photo: DOI 



The Autism diagnosis is official.  

Source: Karen Simmons - Autism Today January 2013

 

What do you do now?

Which therapy path is best, what does it involve and how long will it take to see results?

Research your options, get involved, take note of small success (as well as setbacks) and never give up. There is no "silver pill" when it comes to autism or other disabilities of this nature.........

.......Jonathan's autism improved with intensive therapy and good education. Although his autism will never go away, it is a big part of his charm.  Similar to someone that has multiple cowlicks, freckles or other unique trait you must work with it to make the most of it.

Concerning therapy for autism, it is important to try new things as long as they are researched carefully. Be sensible too.  Keep your financial house in order or you could literally lose your real house (roof over your head). You wouldn't believe the horror stories I heard out there including stories of parents becoming homeless with their children.

Simply put, at the end of the day, there is only so much you

loved one but maintain a healthy dose of realism. Of course, I believe it is very important to explore your options and try some of the tested and true interventions such as nutrition and biomedical, along with behavioral, recreational and social.
The list goes on and on.

What interventions have you tried related to autism?

Have you found one, or several methods, more effective?

 

We have posted this on facebook and look forward to seeing your comments...


Source: Karen Simmons - Autism Today January 2013


L-Awtizmu: dizabilità li ma tidhirx - Saturday, 24 April 2010 12:17 Randolph Debattista -

Ix-xahar t’April huwa sinonimu mal-kundizzjoni tal-awtizmu, kundizzjoni li kull ma jmur qed insiru iktar konxji taghha, anke ghax qed nisimghu b’aktar kazijiet. Din il-gimgha, Randolph De Battisa ltaqa’ ma’ tliet persuni bi rwoli differenti, biex jista’ jifhem aktar dwar l-awtizmu.

Dr Rita Micallef tmexxi l-“iSpeech-Language Department” f’San Luqa, hija professjonista ta’ aktar minn tletin sena esperjenza f’dan il-qasam, u lecturer fl-Università ta’ Malta. Hija titkellem mil-lat tekniku dwar din il-kundizzjoni, u s-servizzi li jinghataw mid-Dipartiment.
Tlabtha tiddeskrivi l-kundizzjoni tal-awtizmu, u kif wiehed jista’ jinduna biha.

“Fil-maggoranza tal-kazijiet, din taqbad lit-tfal mit-twelid, però ma neskludix li certu mard jista’ wkoll ihallik f’din il-kundizzjoni.” Tispjega li l-problema tkun identifikata meta persuna turi tliet sintomi ewlenin, li jsejhulha ‘triad of impairments’.

“Dawn huma l-komunikazzjoni fuq livell socjali, l-agir taghhom ma’ haddiehor, u allura l-interazzjoni socjali, u t-tielet wiehed huwa n-nuqqas ta’ immaginazzjoni, jigifieri dak li huwa konkret fil-prezent nista’ naghmel sens minnu, imma dak li minix nara, ma nistax nimmaginah.”
“Hija wkoll ikkaratterizzata b’ripetizzjoni ta’ agir u livell baxx hafna ta’ tolleranza ta’ bidla, jigifieri persuni b’din il-kundizzjoni jhobbu hafna r-rutina.”

Qed tizdied l-incidenza

Staqsejtha jekk mill-prattika taghha, tarax li din il-kundizzjoni qed tizdied f’pajjizna.
“Jiena nara li l-problema zdiedet, u biz-zmien qed ikollna dejjem iktar persuni li jkunu riferuti lilna. Sibna li mad-dinja kollha qed ikun hemm din iz-zieda, li mhix bilfors gejja mill-fatt li ahna iktar konxji.”

“Nies ohrajn ikbar minni fir-ricerka, jissuggerixxu li tant hawn varjazzjoni tal-kundizzjoni li ghandna nsejjhula ‘spectrum’. U spektrum huwa terminu iktar wiesgha li takkomoda kull tip.”

“Fil-fatt fuq naha tal-ispektrum ghandek dawk li jigu milquta b’mod hafif, u fuq in-naha l-ohra nsibu lil dawk li jkunu izjed affettwati.”
Hija ssemmi kundizzjonijiet differenti, li lkoll jaqghu taht l-awtizmu.

“Ghandek kundizzjonijiet differenti li jaqghu taht l-ispektrum tal-awtizmu. Wahda minnhom hija l-Asperger Syndrome. L-ikbar problema ghal min ghandu din il-kundizzjoni hija fl-uzu tal-lingwa. Mela hawnhekk dawn it-tfal tghallmu l-lingwa, jafu li jridu juzawha biex jikkomunikaw, imma l-mod kif juzawha forsi mhux socjalment accettabbli.”

“Allura jista’ jaghti l-kaz li jekk tigihom xi haga f’mohhom, jaqbdu u jghiduha minghajr ma joqghodu jipprocessawha. Din il-haga kulhadd taghmilha xi darba jew ohra, imma forsi min ghandu din il-kundizzjoni jaghmilha b’izjed ripetizzjoni u forsi b’inqas hsieb.”

“Hemm kundizzjoni ohra li whud jghidu li taqa’ taht l-ispektrum tal-awtizmu imma ohrajn ma jaqblux. Il-maggoranza tal-iSpeech-Language Pathologists, fil-prattika taghna nghidu li taqa’ taht l-awtizmu. Dawn huma l-persuni li ghandhom dak li mil-lat tekniku nsejhulu, ‘Semantic Pragmatic Disorder’.”

Hawnhekk l-espressjoni ta’ wicci forsi kixfitni, allura spjegatli f’termini iktar semplici.

“Jigifieri ghandhom problema biex isibu ezatt il-kelma ta’ dak li jkunu jridu jghidu, u allura l-parti semantika. Imbaghad ghandhom il-problema pragmatika li meta se juzaw il-lingwa fuq livell socjali, hemmhekk ukoll isibu problema.”

Il-persuna l-ewwel

“Dan l-ispektrum qabel konna nsejhulu “Autistic Spectrum disorder’, izda llum qed nuzaw il-kelma ‘autism’ minflok.

Waqqaftha biex nistaqsiha jekk tarax importanza f’dan it-tibdil fit-terminologija. Jew hija sempliciment kelma minflok ohra?

“It-terminologija hija importanti hafna ghax din turi l-filosofija li l-bniedem ghandu ghall-individwi li ghandhom diffikultà. Jekk jiena nghid ‘persuna bl-awtizmu’, nkun qed inpoggi lill-persuna l-ewwel u l-kundizzjoni t-tieni. L-awtizmu ma jaghmilx lill-persuna, izda l-persuna hija kif inhi.”

“Jiena ma rridx nittratta mal-problema, imma mal-persuna b’mod olistiku, mal-bzonnijiet kollha tieghu u mal-mod kif il-problema li ghandu qed taffetwah. B’hekk inkun qed inhares lejha mil-lat socjologiku fejn anke qed nindirizza kif dak il-bniedem qed jiffunzjona fil-kuntest tieghu.”

“Din hija l-filosofija taghna bhala dipartiment. Fil-fatt jien dejjem inheggeg lill-istaff biex ghal kull problema li ahna niltaqghu maghha fid-dipartiment, nahdmu b’dik il-filosofija.”

Mistoqsija diretta. Hawn fejqan ghall-awtizmu?

“Jiena fil-prattika tieghi, u anke skont ir-ricerka, nghid li mhix kundizzjoni li llum ghandek, u ghada m’ghandekx. Meta jkun kaz li din il-kundizzjoni tghaddilek, jista’ jaghti l-kaz li d-dijanjosi ma tkunx saret sew.”

“Dan l-ahhar waqt konferenza mtella’ mill-NGO Inspire, wiehed mill-kelliema qal b’mod specifiku li din il-kundizzjoni tista’ tinbidel. Jiena personalment, qatt ma ltqajt ma’ dan il-kuncett. Izda nixtieq li nidhol izjed f’din ir-ricerka biex ngharbel kollox.”

“Imma niehdu hafna rizultati mill-interventi li naghmlu. Ma nistghux innehhu l-kundizzjoni, imma nistghu nimminimizzaw l-impatt li din il-kundizzjoni ghandha fuq il-hajja tal-bniedem.”

Is-servizzi fid-Dipartiment

Ghaddejna issa ghas-servizzi offruti mid-Dipartiment. Tispjega fuq fuq l-interventi differenti li gew zviluppati.

“Is-servizzi taghna jinghataw lill-individwu u lill-genituri. L-ewwel haga ghax ir-ricerka turi li jekk il-genitur ikun mal-professjonist, hemm izjed cans li t-taghlim ikun success. Apparti minn hekk dan jassigura li l-intervent li nkunu bdejna ahna, l-genituri jkunu jistghu ikompluh u b’hekk dan ikun kontinwu.”

“Fejn inti ghandek intervent kollaborattiv, ikollok iktar success. Fl-2008 ghamilt studju ma’ edukaturi, fejn fih sibna li fejn iltqajna flimkien u l-kurrikulum akkomoda l-interventi taghna, mhux talli ghamel hafna gid lill-individwu imma ghamel gid ukoll lit-tfal l-ohra tal-klassi, fejn kien hemm tibdil fl-attitudni tat-tfal l-ohra mal-individwu, u tibdil fit-taghlim akkwistajna ahna bhala professjonisti u anke l-edukaturi.”

“Is-servizz taghna huwa pubbliku u allura kulhadd jista’ jaghmel uzu minnu. Irnexxielna wkoll noholqu forom differenti ta’ interventi. Sahhahna wkoll l-‘early intervention’.”

“Nemmnu li t-tfal ghandhom jitghallmu flimkien u allura hloqna gruppi ta’ komunikazzjoni permezz tal-loghob, fejn ghandek tfal bl-awtizmu u ohrajn minghajr l-awtizmu u li ghandhom diffikultà fil-komunikazzjoni.”

“Imbaghad hloqna wkoll gruppi ta’ komunikazzjoni socjali, li jinghataw fl-iskejjel u anke fil-klinici taghna. L-ghan ewlieni kien biex nindirizzaw individwi li jkollhom problemi fil-komunikazzjoni socjali, mhux bilfors awtizmu. Imma mbaghad rajna li jistghu jiggwadanjaw individwi ohrajn bi problemi ta’ komunikazzjoni, u allura ftahnieh iktar.”

“Dan kollu jservi biex ic-cirku ta’ nies li qed ikun infurmat fuq problemi ta’ komunikazzjoni, dejjem qed jikber, ghax wara kollox dak hu wiehed mill-ghanijiet tieghi u tal-istaff fid-dipartiment.“

Is-sensittività tal-ahbar

Xtaqtha tiddeskrivi dak li jghaddu minnu l-genituri meta jinghataw l-ahbar. Titkellem fuq is-sensittività tal-ahbar.

“Hija difficli hafna. Bhala genituri, kieku nistghu, inpittruhom lit-tfal taghna. Izda importanti li naghmlu d-dmir taghna maghhom, biex il-hajja taghhom tkun iktar pjacevoli, jhossuhom komdi u li fis-socjetà ma jkunx hemm diskriminazzjoni u li jkunu accettati u trattati skont id-drittijiet tal-bniedem.”

“Tkun difficli ghalina wkoll bhala professjonisti. Ahna jispiccaw jigu ghandna kmieni hafna ghax l-ewwel ma tolqot hija l-aspett ta’ komunikazzjoni.”

“Allura hafna drabi nkunu ahna li nwasslu din l-ahbar lill-genituri. Din trid taghmilha b’mod sensittiv hafna ghax il-genituri jkunu qed iweggghu, allura rridu naghmlu minn kollox biex nifhmuhom.”
“Il-kliem tal-bidu huwa l-izjed importanti ghax bl-ewwel kliem inti tista’ tibni jew tkisser il-kuragg. Allura se jiddetermina t-triq li se jimxu fiha l-genituri.”

“Wiehed irid jibni l-kuragg, li hija wkoll skill li l-professjonist irid ikollu, u nghid li l-professjonisti li m’ghandhomx dak l-iskill ta’ inkoraggiment, m’ghandhomx ikunu huma li jikkomunikaw l-ahbar.”
Staqsejtha jekk hix kundizzjoni genetika, u li allura tintiret.

“Dan l-ahhar qed naraw li l-element genetiku qed jinghata izjed importanza. Fil-prattika tieghi rajt familji li jkollhom kaz, tnejn, jew tlieta fil-familja, jigifieri element genetiku jezisti zgur.”

“Bhal kull haga ohra, jekk fil-familja jkun hemm problema, hadd ma jista’ jkun cert, imma jista’ jaghti l-kaz li c-cansijiet ikunu naqra izjed.”
L-ahhar mistoqsija kienet dwar jekk persuna bl-awtizmu, jistax ikun indipendenti fil-futur.

“Nittamaw li wara dawn is-servizzi u l-investiment qawwi li hemm fis-sistema edukattiva, u f’servizzi ohrajn, finalment bniedem jasal li jkun jista’ jghix b’mod indipendenti, jew ghallinqas bl-inqas sapport li wiehed ikollu bzonn.”

“Importanti li meta jsir investiment f’sens ta’ taghlim, wiehed jara li l-istrutturi tal-pajjiz li jissapportjaw dak li nkunu nvestejna fih bhala rizorsi, jkun zviluppat u ongoing.”

“Il-backup irid ikun f’kull stadju tat-tifel. Jekk jiena fl-ewwel stadju u fl-iskejjel primarji ghandi x-xenarju tajjeb, irid ikolli xenarju tajjeb ukoll fil-livell sekondarju, terzjarju u anke fid-dinja tax-xoghol. Ghax finalment jekk jiena ma nibqax ninvesti fis-sistema, se jkolli l-falliment.“


Claudia Farrugia hija omm ta’ tliet itfal, bit-tifel tan-nofs, Samuel li llum ghandu sitt snin, ibati bl-awtizmu. Hija taqsam l-esperjenza ma’ KullHadd, dwar meta Samuel beda juri sinjali tal-awtizmu. Titkellem maghna dwar xi jhobb jaghmel Samuel, u tappella fost l-ohrajn, lill-awtoritajiet edukattivi.

“Meta kellu xi sitt xhur kont narah li ma kienx qed jizviluppa sew, ghax ghandi tifel ikbar minnu u kont nipparaguna mieghu. Innotajt li certi affarijiet ma kienx jaghmilhom, bhal per ezempju joqghod bil-qieghda wahdu.”

“Niftakarni fil-quccija, kelli nzommu jien ghax kien jaqa’ jew jahbat rasu. Imbaghad kien hemm affarijiet li ta’ dik l-età, t-tfal jitghallmu, izda li hu ma kienx jaghmilhom. Per ezempju jekk tghidlu biex icapcap, kien jinfaqa’ jibki. Meta kienu jigu n-nanniet jew xi nies ohra d-dar, ma kienx jaghti kas u lanqas kien jaghmel kuntatt b’ghajnejh.”
“Apparti minn hekk, konna ninnutaw li kien isodd widnejh ghax l-istorbju kien idejqu.”

“Imbaghad wara sena, suppost li t-tfal ikunu bdew jitkellmu, imma mhux talli ma tkellimx, talli lanqas kien jifhem. Jekk tghidlu biex igiblek il-bottle, ma kienx jifhem x’inhu bottle. Fil-fatt, Samuel beda jitkellem ta’ erba’ snin.”

“Wara ftit imbaghad kont hadtu ghand specjalista minhabba li ma kienx jitkellem. Jien kont naf fuq l-awtizmu ghax gieli kont smajt fuqha fuq it-TV, u kont nistaqsih jekk ghandux din il-kundizzjoni. Imma ghall-ewwel kienu jghiduli li kulhadd ikollu xi sinjal jew iehor tal-awtizmu.”

“Izda jien bqajt ninsisti li ghandna niehduh ghat-testijiet u wara l-process twil tas-CDAU (Child Development Assessment Unit) kienu qalulna li ghandu l-awtizmu.

L-ewwel snin difficli

Tghidilna li ma kienitx facli, specjalment fl-ewwel sena tal-iskola.
“Meta tibda tipparagunah mat-tfal l-ohra tal-klassi, tinnota d-differenza. Imma galadarba taccetta s-sitwazzjoni, tibda tfittex l-ghajnuna, ghax jekk ma taccettahiex u tibqa’ tghid li m’ghandu xejn, m’intix se tfittex l-ghajnuna.”

“Sapport mill-familjari ghadna nsibuh sal-lum, anke jzommulna lit-tfal u jiehdu interess ghax illum il-gurnata jifhmu iktar. In-nanniet ghall-ewwel kienu jghiduli li m’ghandu xejn u li sempliciment xi ftit ghazzien u li jghaddilu, imma llum il-gurnata jifhmu iktar fuq il-kundizzjoni tieghu.”

“L-ewwel sena kienet iebsa ghalina, ghax il-Learning Support Assistant (LSA), tawhulu f’April, minn Settembru. Imma mbaghad meta kellu l-ghajnuna fil-klassi, beda jintegra iktar mat-tfal, jigifieri sar progress.”

“Illum il-gurnata fl-iskola sejjer tajjeb. Attenzjoni ghandu ghaliex ghandu LSA flimkien ma’ tifel iehor.” Tghidli li Samuel ma jsibx daqshekk diffikulta biex jaghmel il-hbieb ghax jintegra mat-tfal l-ohra. Bi tbissima tghidli wkoll li jhobbuh hafna, specjalment il-bniet.
Minhabba li l-awtizmu jaffettwa l-aspett socjali, ergajt staqsejtha fuq il-hbieb ta’ Samuel.

“Ghall-bidu kienet naqra iebsa imma issa qieghed jaghraf izjed lit-tfal, specjalment dawk li jkunu l-iktar mieghu. Nahseb li Samuel m’ghandux daqshekk problemi fejn jidhol l-aspett socjali. Iktar ibati fejn tidhol l-immaginazzjoni.”

“Per ezempju ndunajna wkoll li l-karozzi kollha, mill-kbar saz-zghar kollha jkun iridhom f’linja dritta wara xulxin, u allahares min imexxilu xi wahda. Meta kont nehhejtlu l-karozzi, beda jaghmel l-istess haga bil-kotba, u bil-pupi. Dak hu l-loghob tieghu, m’hemmx immaginazzjoni ta’ loghob, allura trid tinvolvih inti.”

Sirt naf ukoll li Samuel ihobb jaghmel l-ghoqiedi u jorbot hafna affarijiet, u jhobb it-tpingija wkoll. Staqsejtha jekk it-tpingija tistax tghinu fl-immaginazzjoni.

“Iva u anke fil-komunikazzjoni ghax meta xi kultant ma naslux bil-kliem, ipingihieli. Halli mhux dejjem naghraf kull haga li jkun pinga. Imma meta jpingi jidhol f’dettalji li jien ma nkunx tajt kas.”
Claudia ma baqghetx lura, u wara Samuel kellha tifla ohra. Kif kienet din l-esperjenza?

“Xorta tibda thares lejha u tistaqsi jekk hux se jkollha xi haga. Imbaghad bdiet tikber u tiehu interess f’kull ma tara u jekk tipponta subghajk lejn xi haga, t-tifla thares lejha, mentri Samuel probabli ma jharisx. Bhala kliem ma kellhiex problemi lanqas u llum il-gurnata titkellem hafna.”

Fl-ahhar hallejtha taghmel l-appelli taghha. Ghazlet tnejn. Wiehed lill-awtoritajiet edukattivi u l-iehor generali.

“Personalment nahseb li s-sitwazzjoni kurrenti mhix qieghda sewwa, ghax il familji jridu jistennew sal-bidu tas-sena skolastika biex jigu nformati kif ser isehhu l-proceduri tal-LSAs.”

“Jien nahseb li jekk il-genituri  jigu kuntattjati  meta tispicca s-sena skolastika, jkun hemm hafna aktar armonija fil-process ghax ahna bhala genituri, nkunu nistghu nippreparaw lit-tfal taghna, li jsofru mill-kundizzjoni tal-awtizmu  u niffrankaw battikati zejda fil-bidu tal-iskola. Wiehed irid jifhem li dawn it-tfal ma jkunux komdi bit-tibdil, u tkun difficli ghalihom biex jadattaw.”

“L-appell l-iehor imur lin-nies, biex ma jiggudikawx. Li jekk tifel ghandu xi tantrum, ma nharsux lejh qisu l-genituri ma jaghtux kas, ghax hija dizabbiltà li ma tidhirx. Kieku Down Syndrome, in-nies se jifhmuh iktar, imma tifel li ma jidhirx ghaliex qed igib ruhu hekk, malajr niggudikawh.”


Kristina Agius hija wahda mill-organizzaturi tal-attivitajiet mahsuba biex in-nies ikunu iktar konxji tal-kundizzjoni tal-awtizmu. Hija Senior Speech-Language Pathologist, u specjalizzata fl-Autism Spectrum Disorders. Ma’ KullHadd titkellem fuq dawn l-attivitajiet, kif ukoll taghmel l-appelli taghha fuq integrazzjoni akbar.

“Fl-2007, l-Gnus Maghquda ghaddiet rizoluzzjoni li l-awtizmu hija kundizzjoni li ta’ min jaghtieha importanza u allura ddedikaw gurnata ghaliha, t-2 t’April.”

“Fl-2008 l-gurnata ddedikata ghall-awtizmu kienet imfakkra ghall-ewwel darba fl-Istati Uniti u l-Ingilterra. F’Malta bdejna minn din is-sena, u minhabba li din id-data habtet mal-Gimgha l-Kbira, allura qassamna l-attivitajiet fix-xahar t’April.”

L-attivitajiet kienu varji, kif tispjega tajjeb Kristina.

“Kellna quizzes fuq l-awtizmu ma’ tfal tar-raba’ klassi minn 13-il skola differenti, fejn hrigna rebbieh minn kull skola. Imbaghad kien hemm quiz iehor ma’ tfal bl-awtizmu li kien skambju ma’ studenti Inglizi wkoll u minn hemm se nohorgu zewg rebbieha.”

“Organizzajna wkoll party ghat tfal bl-awtizmu, fejn attendew madwar ghoxrin tifel u tifla. Apparti minn hekk, kellna l-ghajnuna tal-istudenti tal-Communication Therapy fl-Università, li ghamlu anke survey fuq il-kampus, dwar kemm l-istudenti huma konxji ta’ din il-kundizzjoni.”

“Din il-gimgha kellna attività kbira wkoll fejn urejna l-film ‘Mozart and the whale’ li ghalih attendew madwar 150 ruh, inkluz genituri ta’ tfal bl-awtizmu, u anke persuni ohra li xtaqu jiksbu iktar informazzjoni.”

Staqsejtha tezistix statistika ta’ kemm ghandna nies bl-awtizmu.
“F’Malta m’ghandniex cifra ezatta. Hemm hafna tfal li ghalkemm juru sinjali ta’ awtizmu, mhumiex dijanjostikati bl-awtizmu. Jekk niehdu statistika fl-Ingilterra u l-Istati Uniti, din qeghda madwar 1% tal-popolazzjoni, u ghal kull tifla dijanjostikata bl-awtizmu, hemm erba’ subien.”

Tghid li bejn wiehed u iehor, f’Malta ghandna l-istess numri. Lil Kristina wkoll tlabtha taghmel l-appell taghha.

“Meta nahdmu maghhom dawn it-tfal jitjiebu hafna, imma dejjem jibqa’ bzonn ghal ftit iktar skills socjali. Imbaghad meta jikbru ma jsibux hbiberija matura. Hafna minnhom ikunu intelligenti hafna u ma jkunux jistghu jifhmu ghaliex mhumiex qeghdin jigu accettati mill-hbieb. Allura rridu nappellaw lin-nies biex jifhmuhom, jaccettawhom kif inhuma u jhalluhom jidhlu fil-gruppi taghhom.”

US method helps children 'step out of the shadows'

When Italian doctor Nicola Antonucci realised that his daughter was autistic, four years ago, he started looking for answers to address the mysterious disorder.

Frustrated by the lack of answers offered by traditional medicine, he set off to the Autism Research Institute in the US to learn more about the condition.

The insight offered there was enough to convince him to leave his career in psychiatry and dedicate his life to helping autistic children improve their condition through a proven biomedical approach.

He witnessed how the method used through the institute's Defeat Autism Now (DAN) project, set up over a decade ago, led to 90 per cent of autistic children showing improvements and another 15 per cent being completely cured.

"You can see the improvement in their eyes. They become more present and attentive, their language and social skills improve. You see the child step out of the shadows," Dr Antonucci said.

Autism is a developmental disorder characterised by the inability to interact socially and behaviour that is different from that of typical children.

The traditional medical approach mainly uses behavioural therapy and psychiatric medications to reduce seizures and behavioural problems.

DAN doctors like Dr Antonucci believe autistic behaviour can be the manifestation of substance imbalances in the child's body that can be tested for and treated.

Causes may include a combination of lowered immune response, external toxins from vaccines and other sources, and problems caused by certain foods, among other factors.

"The fact that a cause of autism is identified means that something can be done to help these children," said Dr Antonucci who visited Malta following a request by a number of members of the Autism Parent's Association.

"The DAN method is not a one-size-fits-all system and not all children respond to it. The reason why is still a mystery, which is why the DAN method needs to work together with current behavioural rehabilitative methods. However, the large majority of children do show considerable improvement and the DAN method should not be brushed aside," he insisted.

Through this approach, once the child's history is examined, a series of tests are carried out to determine potential areas of concern. Symptoms can then be controlled by removing these causes.

Tests, for example, frequently show that autistic children have leaky gut syndrome. Damage to the membrane that separates the intestines from the blood allows toxins into the bloodstream. These toxins make their way to the brain and can be the cause of behavioural problems typical in autistic children.

There may be various causes to this leaky gut ranging from yeast overgrowth to the interference caused by gluten (found in wheat, barley, rye and possibly oats) and casein (from dairy products such as milk, ice cream, yogurt).

Gluten and casein are the sources of opium, a numbing drug, in the brain which may cause a child to be detached from reality. Removing them from the diet is a simple exercise that may yield incredible results without harming the child, Dr Antonucci said.

Although the child may experience withdrawal symptoms, due to the lack of opium, long-term results may include improved eye contact and interaction and better language skills.

Another DAN approach includes removing heavy metals, such as mercury, from the child's diet by avoiding additives and preservatives, for example.

Heavy metals, also present in vaccines, affect nerves, hormones, digestion and immune function. Research has shown that there are higher levels of heavy metal toxicity in autistic children because of an inability to excrete them. When they become lodged in the brain it does not function normally, causing autistic symptoms and learning disorders.

Dr Antonucci added that traditional medicine does not recognise the DAN method. However, he believes that this is due to vested interests within the pharmaceutical industry. Ultimately DAN preached treatment through natural methods, like controlling diet, and medicine companies did not benefit from this, he said.

However, he insisted, results spoke for themselves as children treated biomedically, including his daughter, showed considerable improvements.

http://www.autism.com/

Source : Times of Malta - http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20090922/local/us-method-helps-children-step-out-of-the-shadows

The Autistic Lecturer by Claudia Calleja - Times of Malta - Sunday 31st May 2009

Life is often an act for Ros Blackburn who is constantly applying rules that help her make sense of the world around her and live in it.

When someone extends a hand - shake it, according to one rule. But if you are holding a packet of sweets and someone puts out a hand, give them one.Don't leave your bag unattended in a place where there are many people you have never seen before. The same rule applies to a wallet or jacket... An endless string of such rules helps Ms Blackburn cope with autism. While people usually learn social behaviour instinctively, Ms Blackburn has had to devise her own method.

"I learnt it all artificially. It's so rehearsed now that it's instilled," she says before adding: "I can only know what I am taught or told or shown".

Mr Blackburn explains that at 18 months old she was diagnosed as severely autistic but with average intellectual ability.

Fast forward a few decades and the remarkable English woman from Essex, now 40, lectures internationally to share her experiences with autism.

She talks about the coping strategies that helped her break through the anti-social barriers commonly associated with the developmental disorder. She manages to "fit in" when she needs to by applying an extensive set of rules.

"This is all an act. I'm in work mode now," she says in a composed manner during a brief interview at the airport after she gave a lecture in Malta organised by the Autism Parents' Association. So what would she be like if not in work mode?

"I'd either be rolling on the floor, making random noises and not bothering with this conversation. I would want to be trampolining and getting my needs met," she said.

She explained that she likes trampolining because it makes her feel free and excited. That was where she met her care worker Jenni Pizzuto, who at the time was a trampolining coach in the UK. Although autism has restricted her life, unlike many people with autism, she managed to overcome many of the problems thanks to her parents.

"They never accepted my autism as an excuse for bad behaviour.

"They always treated me like my brother and sister and provided me with a good education," she said.

"The soft approach does not work with autistic children. You need to be tough. It's a case of being cruel to be kind."

Although she is dyslexic, Ms Blackburn is gifted with a fluency in spoken language that allows her to clearly convey her thoughts and experiences.

This is one of the reasons she lectures educators, carers, families and people from the autism spectrum.

She has helped people understand the way an autistic person thinks - in a sort of illogical logic. For example, Ms Blackburn could not understand why it was acceptable for people speaking a foreign language to utter sounds that were completely unrecognisable to others and yet it was not acceptable if she uttered random noises.

"Autism is the inability to single out people as special, separate, unique entities - different from bits of furniture, different from even the family pet dog.

"The outside world is a totally baffling incomprehensible mayhem... It is a meaningless mass of sights and sounds, noises and movements coming from nowhere, going nowhere," she said.

 Source : The Times of Malta - http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20090531/local/the-autistic-lecturer