From Popular Science today: why doctors can’t give you LSD (and maybe they should)

Apr 16 2013 Published by under ASD,Asperger's,Autism,Highly Sensitive Person,HSP

Why your doctor can’t give you LSD etc… by Pop Sci Mag

Fascinating read today over on popular science magazine site. Author is pretty reserved and made sure to stay within the law no matter how misguided the law in this case is. However, the article makes excellent points, including uncovering the over zealous history of the FDA and DEA in dealing with psychedelics. My take is that this is a must read for every anxiety sufferer who is looking for a better way. The author also includes valuable resources including Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and others who are trying to revive a lost art of trusting nature to provide solutions for natural problems. Only one critique of this article is that it failed to mention that naturally occurring mushrooms (the source of psilocybin) have been a source of nourishment and support in central and South America and west Africa for thousands of years. To this day people in these countries know to pick these mushrooms from the side of the road and ingest them whole. They know what comes next from improvement in mood and stamina to becoming better social beings etc…

I won’t go further. I have written before about psychedelics and their pharmaceutical properties in this blog. However the pop sci article avoids any and all medical jargon if it is not your thing.
Rami

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For city dwellers, new sound-absorbing lamp

Apr 14 2013 Published by under ASD,Asperger's,Autism,Highly Sensitive Person,HSP

sound absorbing lamp

Here is an interesting item that appeared recently on my radar, a lamp that dampens noise. I just learned about it yesterday and have not had the chance to try it but I thought I would put it out there and see what happens.
Rami

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Sensitive to electromagnetic fields, move to Green Bank, W.Va

Apr 14 2013 Published by under ASD,Asperger's,Autism,Highly Sensitive Person,HSP

national radio quiet zone

That was the link to the original article by slate. Some people are universally sensitive to intruding chemicals, noises, radio transmission etc… And not surprisingly many of those individuals are part of the autistic community. I thought it would be helpful to share this article, not that moving to West Virginia is the best career or social move you can make. But that it is a choice if you lack any other choices.

Happy Sunday,
Rami

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Sensitive to electromagnetic fields, move to green bank, W.Va

Apr 14 2013 Published by under ASD,Asperger's,Autism,Highly Sensitive Person,HSP

national radio quiet zone

That was the link to the original article by slate. Some people are universally sensitive to intruding chemicals, noises, radio transmission etc… And not surprisingly many of those individuals are part of the autistic community. I thought it would be helpful to share this article, not that moving to West Virginia is the best career or social move you can make. But that it is a choice if you lack any other choices.
Happy Sunday,
Rami

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The Integrative Approach to Autism part 23: IQ Relevance

Apr 05 2013 Published by under ASD,Asperger's,Autism,Highly Sensitive Person,HSP

This post continues the 3-Step Integrative Approach to Autism series. Today Part 23: BEHAVIORAL Requirements for Growth: IQ Relevance

Sensitive Children and IQ:

Generally, I don’t recommend subjecting sensitive children to conventional intelligence quotient (IQ) tests of any kind. IQ tests are designed to test three dimensional thinking, abstract thinking and multi-step mathematical operations. In other words, IQ tests are tailor-made for insensitive children. Sensitive child excels in concrete thinking, logical thinking and reason, all areas not tested in standard IQ tests. However, if your child happens to have one of those tests and registers a below average score, don’t you be concerned at all. Sensitive children throughout the left twenty percent of the personality spectrum miss out at least on some social and academic milestones growing up. They spend more time being overwhelmed with novelty in a system that does not [yet] emphasize proper learning strategies through multiple exposures separated by meaningful distractions. As a result, a sensitive child may miss out on many areas where learning is limited to one or two exposures only. Over the years, most sensitive children pick up these missing blocks either through unintended exposure later on or through connecting the missing links through her integrative mind. Many sensitive children grow aware of these missing blocks and dedicate big chunks of their teenage or young adult lives to filling in the gaps from childhood through intensive personal effort. Somehow, most sensitive children catch up on their social and academic learning eventually albeit not necessarily within the time frame dictated by the standardized intelligence quotient tests. In plain English, experience increases the IQ of sensitive children and adults. As a parent, you do not have to worry about the IQ results your child scores. You only have to worry about providing a learning environment and a rich social and family experience and your child’s IQ will take care of itself with time.

A low IQ score of a sensitive child is the more reason to keep this child in a regular school, since it provides her with the experience necessary to fulfill her IQ potential. Moving a sensitive child to special education schools leads to a significant limitation to the possibility to increase IQ through experience.

While home schooling provides a more pleasant and individualized learning style for a child, it often deprives her from the necessary social interaction with same aged peers needed for developing identity, and interpersonal skills. Interacting with adults or a limited number of children in the neighborhood may fall short of providing the minimum experience needed.

Rami Serhan, MD
Author, Psyche-Smart Autism; Integrative Medicine Consultant
(206) 659-1ASD (273)
Email
Psyche-Smart Autism book
Youtube Channel
Autism Screening
Google Profile

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The Integrative Approach to Autism part 22: Freedom to Express Oneself or NOT

Apr 03 2013 Published by under ASD,Asperger's,Autism,Highly Sensitive Person,HSP

This post continues the 3-Step Integrative Approach to Autism series. Today Part 22: BEHAVIORAL Requirements for Growth: Freedom of Expression

Freedom of Expression:

Never ever let yourself slide into the fallacy that your autistic child is not speaking because he or she has nothing to say, that may be they have no thoughts, their brain is not functioning and therefore cannot compose any words. It is NOT true. Actually, autistic children have so many thoughts; their problem is in expressing these thoughts and not in thinking them.

We live in a beautiful country where absolute freedom of expression is so central to our lives, and rightly so. One might ask, “What is it about autistic individuals that make it difficult for them to express their thoughts?” Imagine yourself standing in front of your house waiting for your neighbor so the two of you can go jogging. Then imagine that a car runs your neighbor over. At the same time, a bulldozer razes through your house cutting it into pieces. At the same time, your accountant calls telling you that you are bankrupt and you don’t know it. At the same time, your spouse shows up with a boy/girlfriend to tell you that the only choice you have now is a divorce. At the same time, imagine a stranger putting a gun to your head and threatening to pull the trigger if you speak. Now imagine that all these devastating things are happening simultaneously, and then multiply them by a hundred, then try to speak! Maybe then, one can arrive at an understanding of why a highly sensitive child has difficulty expressing his or her thoughts. Having experienced it myself for prolonged periods in the past, I can tell you that it feels even worse than my description.

I tried rewriting this last paragraph several times to make it read a little easier but there is no way around this one. Multiple frustrating and emotional inputs bombarding the brain simultaneously can prevent any intelligent expression of what one is thinking or what one wants. Every input you can imagine counts with sensitive children. The simplest things that everyone else takes for granted only add to the over-stimulation of an autistic child. For example, television sounds and blinking brightness, voicemail being heard, a door opened or shut, the neighbors fighting. Every fume, chemical, toxin, artificial flavoring in food; every single sensory stimulus, is for a sensitive child a world of unknowns that must be figured out completely before they can move on. This is very difficult. How do insensitive children do it? Well, it is easier for them to tune out any sound, light, or touch or smell that does not make sense to them. They can also delay the interpretation of it. Sensitive children on the other hand get stuck trying to figure out this one smell or that one sound. That can be very frustrating, especially when on an average day several people might touch the child. Many more will say something. Others will drive their car by the house and the parents and other children will have to use computers, radios, iPods and cell phones. Still others make noise taking showers and discussing things. And on and on.

It is very difficult to be a sensitive soul looking for serenity from day one on this earth in a world that is too noisy, too intrusive and too negligent of privacy. This may be the most damning evidence of the presence of the outlying spectrum in the species. One group cannot get enough sensory stimulation and is always looking for more and another group cannot stand any sensory stimulation and is always looking for less. I do not want to sound extreme. Part of the known comfort sensitive people have is with natural laws; being around nature with its quietness and effortless coherence. Consider raising a sensitive child certainly outside the city, in a quiet small town where nature is at the fingertips, and sensory stimulation is a choice rather than imposed. The suburbs don’t count by the way. This might be a radical idea, but autistic children raised in a small town may start speaking earlier than those raised near population centers.

You may think that beyond that are hurdles regarding finding professional help near population centers and financial considerations. We all think, ‘if my son needs treatment then I will stop at nothing to get him the help he needs.’ However, autism is not a disease and it may not need treatment. It only needs loving care and some habituation to this world. If the family moves to a small town it won’t be easy to find professional help, but your son may not need professional help anyway. Regarding finances, you are probably thinking I might have to take a pay cut going to a small town. Well, five hundred years ago bankers and money dealers were looked at no differently than we look at prostitutes today. Let your autistic child take you back to a more natural way of life. You will discover the beauty of not needing as much money to live decently. After all most of things, we spend money on are not necessities but rather luxuries. We are erroneously convinced by the media and corporations that these luxuries are necessities. Today we live with the illusion that if my neighbor buys a new car then I must buy one too, otherwise I am not as successful as my neighbor. We are convinced we are in competition with this neighbor who suddenly appeared in our life and arbitrarily became our standard for excellence. This is of course typical insensitive mainstream thinking which has no basis in survival strategies. A friend of mine who recently moved from Florida to Colombia spoke to me of farmers he meets over there who have nothing, practically no possessions, not even their teeth, and yet they find time to smile at a stranger and to entertain anyone who comes their way. He said these people shine with more happiness than he had ever seen in his years in Kentucky and Florida. These farmers are poor by an objective count of the dollars they own. However, they achieve riches by transcending the need to hoard material possessions and find their happiness in not needing anything beyond what is necessary for survival.

What would you get in return for living a simpler life closer to nature? Years! Many studies prove that for people living in Manhattan the life expectancy is significantly reduced over someone living in a town in eastern Washington or in rural Wisconsin. The reasons are related to inescapable overstimulation, which tends to over-utilize our capacity for adaptation and exhaust it at a younger age. Consequently, the decompensation accelerates various diseases of aging from hypertension and heart disease to cancer.

Realistically, if moving to the country is not an immediately attainable good, it might be a good idea to make it a long-term goal. If at any time you want to consider this option, you may benefit a lot from a classic book written on the subject entitled, Finding and Buying Your Place in the Country by Les & Carol Scher.

Rami Serhan, MD
Author, Psyche-Smart Autism; Integrative Medicine Consultant
(206) 659-1ASD (273)
Email
Psyche-Smart Autism book
Youtube Channel
Autism Screening
Google Profile

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The Integrative Approach to Autism part 21: When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Mar 27 2013 Published by under ASD,Asperger's,Autism,Highly Sensitive Person,HSP

This post continues the 3-Step Integrative Approach to Autism series. Today Part 21: BEHAVIORAL Requirements for Growth: When Things Don’t Go Your Way

What If Things Don’t Go Our Way?

Many sensitive children have difficulty seeing the needs of others and consequently tend to focus exclusively on their own needs. In addition, many sensitive children are deeply aware of their emotional needs and the deprivation they feel that letting them have their way is the least their immediate environment can do to compensate for that emotional void.

Regarding the first possibility, many sensitive children lag behind in learning that in addition to their own perspective, there are other perspectives viewed by others. For example, a couple has two children, one eight years of age and sensitive and one six years of age and less sensitive. The younger one develops pneumonia and has to stay in a hospital for four days until she recovers. When she is back home, the parents decide to cheer her up by sharing some of her older brother’s toys with her. The older brother has been dealing with his parents’ near complete absence for a few days, which is not easy for him. On top of that, now he has to share his toys. The situation becomes inflamed and the older sibling fights to get his toys back, crying and screaming. In this situation, he fights because cannot see the urgent need of his little sister and the health problem she has been through. He is only thinking of himself and his current troubles. The mother takes nothing for granted. She gives him his toys back temporarily and takes him to his room where she explains that his sick sister is in urgent need of cheering up. She explains how she is in pain and relates her situation to when he got sick. She explains the special attention that was given to him during his difficult time, and is now being offered to his sister. The mother’s reassuring words are logical and just. The older sibling feels better and sets out on a mission to make his little sister feel better. He comes out of his room dragging a big bag of toys to his sister’s room. He goes in and offers her the toys, guiding her through what each does and how to best play with it.

This is obviously a happy example, yet things are not always that easy. Teaching perspective to sensitive children often cannot happen through passive transfer of information. Teaching perspective relies on the parents, always asking their sensitive child to consider other possibilities for events. Sensitive children often have rigid ideas about why and how something happens. The role of the parent is to always ask, “What other possibilities could have led to this outcome?” In addition, the parent could guide the child in the direction where she could find these possibilities.

It has been said that a boy does not become a man until he finds joy in helping someone else other than himself. Similarly, a girl does not become a woman until she finds joy in helping someone else other than herself. Yet, the time to go through this process is during childhood. During teenage and adult years, someone who fails to see the perspective of others will have a tough time navigating educational, personal, social and professional endeavors.

Regarding the second possibility, many sensitive children feel entitled to fulfill the lack of emotional attention to her or understanding of her through receiving material, personal or emotional help from her immediate environment. This is a fairly more complicated issue since it touches on the relationship between the child and her parents as a whole. The stubbornness and self-absorption many sensitive children show growing up should be a signal to parents to re-examine their relationship with their child. They need to look for bonding problems that may have created mistrust and/or resentment on the side of the child. It is never too late to try to re-establish the parent-child bond. All it takes is going back to the basics and showing consistency in treating and handling your child for a while. Consistency should always be done with a positive attitude. Forget about structure and discipline for while as you go back and nurture your child through hugs, understanding, acceptance and/or encouragement ‘always in a consistent way’. This might take a lot of effort and might not receive any immediate reaction from the child, but keep at it until you re-enter your child’s heart. This could have immeasurable long-term rewards to the parent and could be socially empowering in the child’s life.

Rami Serhan, MD
Author, Psyche-Smart Autism; Integrative Medicine Consultant
(206) 659-1ASD (273)
Email
Psyche-Smart Autism book
Youtube Channel
Autism Screening
Google Profile

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The Integrative Approach to Autism part 20: Dealing with Uniformity

Mar 07 2013 Published by under ASD,Asperger's,Autism,Highly Sensitive Person,HSP

This post continues the 3-Step Integrative Approach to Autism series. Today Part 20: BEHAVIORAL Requirements for Growth: Dealing with Uniformity

Lack of Conformity to Uniformity:

Autistic and sensitive people at large are notorious for their originality. It is very difficult for them to take a socially glorified rule at face value and apply it in their lives. They have to re-think all social rules and traditions and study them first hand and come up with their own version of behavior. This could be a source of great distress to parents, teachers, acquaintances and partners. On the other hand, when a sensitive person tries to conform with society’s rules and demands, they invariably feel miserable. If one does not recognize the necessity to shed tradition in favor of original thinking, they may end up with feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem. It is very important to teach your sensitive child that she does not have to do anything she is not comfortable doing. She does not have to sit with her legs crossed if it is going to make her uncomfortable and irritable. She does not have to learn to entertain guests if she does not like that. There is nothing wrong with a girl who never wants to wear a skirt or wants to dye her hair black and wear black clothing every day if this is what keeps her comfortable. Other people will have to adjust to her preferences for a change. These are simple examples of sensitive children growing up to develop an individualized sense of preferences that many times may not look anything like any other child within a ten-mile radius. These are changes your child is taking to feel comfortable enough in order to be able to mix and socialize. Your child is not trying to make a statement as much as she is trying to get her mood even, assert her individuality and take away the anxiety of conformity to uniformity. An understanding parent would encourage his growing sensitive child to customize her life according to her preferences and would not impose on her any of the glorified social customs. This attitude of the parents can be a huge part of promoting their child’s development and preparation for a life more socially fulfilling. I hope that we will reach a day when the child who has her own ways of going about her life will not be singled out, bullied, or made to feel different. Tolerance will trickle into society of sensitive people’s lifestyle, but it will absolutely have to begin in the family.

Rami Serhan, MD
Author, Psyche-Smart Autism; Integrative Medicine Consultant
(206) 659-1ASD (273)
Email
Psyche-Smart Autism book
Youtube Channel
Autism Screening
Google Profile

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The Integrative Approach to Autism part 19: First Impressions

Mar 04 2013 Published by under ASD,Asperger's,Autism,Highly Sensitive Person,HSP

This post continues the 3-Step Integrative Approach to Autism series. Today Part 19: BEHAVIORAL Requirements for Growth: First Impressions

First Impressions:

There is nothing about this phrase that the average sensitive person can identify with or care for. This system of first impressions done after a few minutes when two strangers meet is prevalent across the world. However, it is solely for the benefit of insensitive people meeting each other on a generic basis. Once two insensitive people go through this brisk introductions process, they quickly realize that they have nearly identical personalities. From that point on, the relationship thrives or fades based on physical and economic attributes in addition to achievements. They do not need any time discovering the other’s personality since as far as they are concerned there is only one personality, that of a “well-adjusted” person. This whole system in not applicable to sensitive people who may need days or weeks to broadly examine the personality of someone they meet. You can see how your growing sensitive child is at a disadvantage in socializing with 80% of the children they will meet. Unfortunately, many sensitive adults are forced to learn the system of first impressions as a survival mechanism. It is a very painful and lengthy process. It took Jerry Newport, author of Mozart & the Whale, over a decade to perfect the process of talking to strangers at an even keel. There is no magic to socializing the mainstream way. It takes trying over and over until one can perfect it. The difference prohibiting sensitive people from making an instant connection with a stranger is our thorough and more logical processing of input. This type of processing slows down the reaction time, and the intelligent answers take a longer time to appear. By that time, the insensitive person has already lost interest or called us names and moved on. However, with constant trying most of us are able to cut down on the processing time and to achieve the acute mindfulness necessary to give timely intelligent answers to remarks thrown our way by strangers. Trying over and over allows the person to gradually learn to screen out the irrelevant stimulants in the environment and focus only on the person they are communicating with. Well, it is a little more complicated than just trying again and again. On many occasions, the rejection can be cruel and hurtful and many of us stop trying consequently. Attempting to contact strangers requires a support system, which can undo the hurt of rejection including family, friends and an enlightened therapist. Family and friends can provide the safety and comfort necessary to wash out the hurt. They can also provide the encouragement and the conducive atmosphere in which the sensitive person can muster the will to repeat the attempt at the risk of suffering the cruelty of an intolerant insensitive person. Once the barrier of fear due to past experiences is gotten over, then it is only a matter of time before we can master their system. Hopefully, one day we will collectively reach a point where both systems of socializing become equally accepted and equally practiced. Today, the pressure is on us to adapt to the mainstream way of socializing if we wish to be part of the mainstream social establishment. Maybe one day we will have a choice of adopting their way or going about it our way without being erroneously considered rejects or defective beings.

Rami Serhan, MD
Author, Psyche-Smart Autism; Integrative Medicine Consultant
(206) 659-1ASD (273)
Email
Psyche-Smart Autism book
Youtube Channel
Autism Screening
Google Profile

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The Integrative Approach to Autism part 18: Embracing Failure

Mar 01 2013 Published by under ASD,Asperger's,Autism,Highly Sensitive Person,HSP

This post continues the 3-Step Integrative Approach to Autism series. Today Part 18: BEHAVIORAL Requirements for Growth: Embracing Failure

Encouraging and Embracing Failure:

We live in a society today that glorifies success so much and stomps over failure so harshly. No one wants to acknowledge how success is achieved. People like to believe that life is a smooth ride and that success is in “the gene pool”. I would love to tell you this is true and life is a bed of roses but reality prevents me. Life is a series of failures interrupted by the occasional success, save maybe for Bill Gates and the trust-fund babies. Any reasonably successful person will acknowledge this reality. The world today consists of two types of people: those who can learn from failure and those who can’t. The point is, insensitive people making every second count rarely stop and reflect on their life in order to learn from their mistakes and failures. On the other hand, sensitive people spend their whole life reflecting on and processing their failures in order to find a way to success. Embrace failure in your child and cherish it. Allow your child to celebrate failure and work with him or her on processing each failure so they can shorten their learning curve, go out, and succeed. The alternative is to frown upon failure. For a sensitive child this fuels avoidance and leads to withdrawal. Many sensitive people stop trying to succeed because they get convinced by their parents and surroundings that they “are failures”. This could be triggered only by a handful of minor setbacks early in life. However, it can easily ruin someone for good. This is how low self-esteem gets started. This is also how the destructive mentality of “I don’t deserve to succeed” gets started, too.

Rami Serhan, MD
Author, Psyche-Smart Autism; Integrative Medicine Consultant
(206) 659-1ASD (273)
Email
Psyche-Smart Autism book
Integrative Autism Blog
Youtube Channel
Autism Screening
Google Profile

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