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Can the iPad Unlock Autismís Mysteries?
Pajamas Media ^ | June 18, 2011 | Brandi Miloy

Posted on 06/18/2011 9:43:15 AM PDT by Kaslin

One family's surprising experience leads to an innovative initiative.

Gage Gilbert is a bright, 3 1/2-year-old boy with ocean blue eyes and golden blond hair. He loves reading books about science and enjoys singing songs with his Mom. His teacher says he’ll go to Harvard one day.

But right now, his parents’ biggest wish for him is to go to a regular kindergarten class. That’s because a year and a half ago, Gage was diagnosed with autism, a neurological disorder affecting 1 in 100 American children.

Gage is just one among a growing number of autistic kids. But as parents and researchers pursue the disorder’s ongoing mystery, his remarkable experience with the latest handheld technology may offer a fresh clue.

Imagine not being able to communicate with your child. Imagine feeling like he is trapped in “his own little world” — one that only he understands. This is how Gail and Gordon Gilbert felt when, at 2-years-old, their son Gage began to have a hard time keeping eye contact, had difficulty communicating, and showed significant delays in fine and gross motor skills.

More common than juvenile diabetes, pediatric AIDS, and childhood cancer combined, autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, is a range of complex neurodevelopment disorders. Children diagnosed with ASD often experience difficulty communicating and socializing with others, growing agitated if they aren’t able to adhere to a specific routine. Symptoms include a marked lack of eye contact, difficulty sharing feelings or empathy, and a tendency to repeat words or phrases, or obsess over specific routines.

For many parents of autistic children, the signs and symptoms that their children have autism go unrecognized. The Gilberts always noticed Gage’s poor eye contact. They even nicknamed him their “shifty-eyed little guy” — but thought it was because he liked looking around. Plus, their oldest son Griffin, 5, didn’t start speaking until he was two years old, so they weren’t concerned when Gage wasn’t reaching the same milestones.

Though some research suggests there may be a genetic link, what causes autism is still unknown, and there is no known cure. Understanding autism is key to coping with the disorder.

Luckily, the Gilberts live in Henderson, NV, in Clark County — one of the top three school districts in the U.S. for providing autism care and support.

Gage attends the KIDS program at Neil Twitchell Elementary, a unit of ECSE (Early Childhood Special Education). There, he gets support from trained autism therapists. In addition, the Gilberts were fortunate to find an aide that was willing to go to their home and provide Gage with applied behavioral analysis therapy (ABA) several times a week.

ABA therapy is an intensive teaching method that enables someone with autism to learn language, play, and social skills by influencing a response associated with a behavior. For example, a child with autism learns much less from the environment around them than a child without. They must learn how to do seemingly simple tasks like standing or sitting through associating the behavior with a response. ABA therapy uses a mixture of educational, behavioral, and psychological techniques to accomplish this.

For the Gilbert family, it was important for them to provide Gage with as many therapies and interventions as financially possible while also recognizing the importance of their other children’s needs. But the tool that had a dramatic, almost immediate impact on Gage came from an unexpected source: a cell phone.

The Gilberts began to notice that their son was drawn to their iPhone. The slick touch screen was easy for him to maneuver, and he would engage with the phone for hours — something he didn’t do with any of his toys or books. There are still so many unanswered questions about the disease that when a parent finds out their child has autism, they quickly learn that they’ll try anything once and hope it works. So the Gilberts concluded it must be the visual interaction that GAGE liked. Coming home from shopping one day, they saw that Gage had spelled the words “Toy Story Pixar” and “Crate & Barrel” using toys letters — even creating letters from toy and block shapes. They knew he was smart, but even the iPhone experience didn’t shed much light on how they could get him to communicate with them.

Then, they were awarded an iPad after participating in an online program. After six weeks with the bigger device, Gage went from using single, highly prompted words to using language to communicate.

The Gilberts say the change has been nothing short of phenomenal.

Though they don’t think his improvement is attributable solely to the iPad, they believe it has played a huge part in helping Gage realize that words plus words equal sentences and thoughts — which equal communication. At last, the Gilberts feel like they can connect with their child, becoming a part of his “little world.”

It has been life-changing. Just a couple weeks ago, Gail and Gordon Gilbert heard their son say “Mommy and Daddy” — a milestone that parents with “typical” children (as the KIDS program at Gage’s school describes children without autism) take for granted. For the Gilbert family, this is huge. It means there is hope. Innovative technology has now given parents like the Gilberts an opportunity to communicate with their child — for many, for the first time. Imagine what advances are to come.

The Gilberts’ experience has inspired them to establish the Gage Rufus Foundation, an organization committed to helping other children with autism in Clark County increase their communication abilities and find their voices. Their mission is simple: to provide every autistic classroom in their school district with an iPad so that other parents can experience the joy they have. As Gage continues to improve, the Gilberts look forward to enrolling him in regular kindergarten, seeing him become an independent adult capable of achieving all that he wants and, eventually, even going to Yale. (Dad says it’s better.)

To find out more and to help the Gage Rufus Foundation, go to GageRufus.com.

(Watch “Gage speaks” at PJTV.)


TOPICS: Education; Health/Medicine; Society
KEYWORDS: asd; autism; ipad

1 posted on 06/18/2011 9:43:17 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

I’m going to keep posting on these autism links about lyme disease. My lyme specialist says autism is lyme disease. New study came out in Calf.that over 90% of kids with autism symptoms actually had lyme disease. Antibiotics work!!. My grandson was diagnoised with autism, but turned out to be lyme. Regular doctors are so far behind on this. Lyme tests are not very accurate. The western blot test is the best, and must be sent to Igenex in Calf.


2 posted on 06/18/2011 9:49:54 AM PDT by vickixxxx
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To: vickixxxx

Interesting....do they get it in the womb?....we have friends with twin grandbabies....one is fine, the other ended up autistic....


3 posted on 06/18/2011 10:19:01 AM PDT by goodnesswins (...both islam and the democrat plantation thrive on poverty)
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To: vickixxxx
I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that Lyme causes all autism, but there is reason to believe that infections of some kinds can seriously damage the developing brain. I think there is evidence that a mother's having influenza during pregnancy can increase the risk of schizophrenia, for example.

Incidentally (and slightly off topic) did you know about the apparent link between Lyme and lichen sclerosus, a skin disease which can lead to cancer?

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18490585

4 posted on 06/18/2011 10:36:03 AM PDT by hellbender
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To: goodnesswins

That’s a good question, because I noticed something was different about my son early on...he wasn’t a responsive, interactive baby at all. And he wasn’t in an environment where he could’ve picked up a tick to contract Lyme. Interestingly my husband had Lyme disease about 10 years before our son’s birth; he was one of the first 10 people to be diagnosed with it in MD.


5 posted on 06/18/2011 10:38:13 AM PDT by rangerwife (Proud wife of a Purple Heart Recipient)
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To: vickixxxx

Standard confirmation of a non-negative Lyme test is to do a Western Blot - all good labs will do that. It adds cost to the test, but it is the best, reliable way to confirm. Your doctor can check with the Lab’s Pathologist to check their testing protocol. Sometimes people are tested too early and their body has not yet started to develop antibodies to the Lyme.


6 posted on 06/18/2011 10:59:40 AM PDT by MassRepublican
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To: MassRepublican

I wonder how it links, then, to Aspergers.


7 posted on 06/18/2011 11:06:50 AM PDT by getmeouttaPalmBeachCounty_FL (******************* Provide for the common defense)
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To: vickixxxx
My first initial reaction was to post to you, that you have to be kidding and that your Lyme specialist must be a quack, as I did some searches on Lyme disease and Autism and found no mention of a connection of either one.

Then I did a search on if there was a connection between autism and Lyme disease and found the following here

-- snip --

Cause #3 Lyme Disease

Researchers recently discovered the Lyme disease bacteria Borrelia can lead to autism in some children. Fetuses and babies that hadn't been exposed to ticks were found to be infected with Lyme disease. The researchers discovered that this bacterium can be transmitted by a mother, who may unknowingly have Lyme disease, to her baby during birth, or in early childhood.

The researchers found that Lyme disease tends to run in families, passing from parents to children. If left untreated, it causes brain damage and many other hard to diagnose symptoms commonly found in autistic children.

This discovery led the researchers investigate the incidences of the Lyme disease bacteria in autistic children. Sure enough, they found this bacteria in many autistic children and their families.

The bacterium is able to get into the brain where it produces toxins, especially when children are exposed to it at a very early age. As with candida, Lyme disease alone isn't the only problem.

The toxins produced by the Lyme bacteria get stuck in the brain because glutathione needed to remove the toxins gets used up, and cannot be replaced because the child is not making enough glutathione. The toxins disrupt normal brain activity which leads to autism.

Many times the Lyme bacteria causes an inflammatory autoimmune response in the brain as the immune system tries unsuccessfully to deal with the Lyme bacteria. This autoimmune response is a main cause of autism symptoms.

Turning off the autoimmune response, killing the bacterium, strengthening the immune system against the Borrelia bacteria, and getting the cells healthier so they can resist it are all ways to help deal with this issue.

-- snip --

So it looks like there is indeed a connection

8 posted on 06/18/2011 11:39:59 AM PDT by Kaslin (Acronym for OBAMA: One Big Ass Mistake America)
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To: Kaslin

Heh. Sure, if you could look at the source code of the developers and realize how it works. Guess we have to be a little autistic to do that. ;-)


9 posted on 06/18/2011 1:31:20 PM PDT by familyop (Shut up, and eat your brains!)
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To: vickixxxx

Google these words all together

GB-4000 frequency generator lyme


10 posted on 06/18/2011 9:15:38 PM PDT by B4Ranch (Allowing Islam into America is akin to injecting yourself with AIDS to prove how tolerant you are...)
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To: Swordmaker

Thanks Kaslin.


11 posted on 06/19/2011 6:14:54 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Thanks Cincinna for this link -- http://www.friendsofitamar.org)
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To: rangerwife

Researchers recently discovered the Lyme disease bacteria Borrelia can lead to autism in some children. Fetuses and babies that hadn’t been exposed to ticks were found to be infected with Lyme disease. The researchers discovered that this bacterium can be transmitted by a mother, who may unknowingly have Lyme disease, to her baby during birth, or in early childhood.

The researchers found that Lyme disease tends to run in families, passing from parents to children. If left untreated, it causes brain damage and many other hard to diagnose symptoms commonly found in autistic children.

This discovery led the researchers investigate the incidences of the Lyme disease bacteria in autistic children. Sure enough, they found this bacteria in many autistic children and their families.

The bacterium is able to get into the brain where it produces toxins, especially when children are exposed to it at a very early age. As with candida, Lyme disease alone isn’t the only problem.

The toxins produced by the Lyme bacteria get stuck in the brain because glutathione needed to remove the toxins gets used up, and cannot be replaced because the child is not making enough glutathione. The toxins disrupt normal brain activity which leads to autism.

Many times the Lyme bacteria causes an inflammatory autoimmune response in the brain as the immune system tries unsuccessfully to deal with the Lyme bacteria. This autoimmune response is a main cause of autism symptoms.

Turning off the autoimmune response, killing the bacterium, strengthening the immune system against the Borrelia bacteria, and getting the cells healthier so they can resist it are all ways to help deal with this issue.


12 posted on 06/19/2011 7:09:56 AM PDT by vickixxxx
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To: Kaslin

Thanks, Kaslin for the great article! I reposted it because I got private replies that I was crazy. :) All people have to do is google lyme or autism and many articles come up.


13 posted on 06/19/2011 7:14:43 AM PDT by vickixxxx
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To: Kaslin; ~Kim4VRWC's~; 1234; Abundy; Action-America; acoulterfan; AFreeBird; Airwinger; Aliska; ...
iPads in the treatment of Autism —PING!


Apple iPads and Autism Ping!

Please, No Flame Wars, Discuss technical issues, software, and hardware.
Don't attack people!

Don't respond to the Anti-Apple Thread Trolls!
PLEASE IGNORE THEM!!!

If you want on or off the Mac Ping List, Freepmail me.

14 posted on 06/19/2011 12:38:00 PM PDT by Swordmaker (This tag line is a Microsoft product "insult" free zone.)
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To: Swordmaker

The IPad was a great tool for my Dad, who had dementia. He could play cards, watch movies and go through the family photos with it. It kept him occupied and he stopped asking what day it was or why he was in the hospital.

My Mom hated the price - - but later said the IPad was worth its weight in Gold.


15 posted on 06/20/2011 3:11:48 PM PDT by Loud Mime (Ann Coulter's "Demonic" - - Identifies the Democrats in Detail)
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To: B4Ranch

Capitalizing on desperation...


16 posted on 06/20/2011 6:15:16 PM PDT by TXnMA (There is no Constitutional right to NOT be offended.)
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To: TXnMA

You would be surprised, no, astonished at what my GB-4000 has done for me.


17 posted on 06/20/2011 6:55:41 PM PDT by B4Ranch (Allowing Islam into America is akin to injecting yourself with AIDS to prove how tolerant you are...)
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