Children With Autism: Habits for a Good Sleep

Children within the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are more vulnerable to sleep disturbances. According to research, 44 to 83% of people with autism have sleep-related problems. These disorders adversely affect the behavior and emotional well-being of the child and the family by increasing the frequency of temper tantrums, irritability, and stress.

That is why it is important to help children learn and maintain good sleep habits. Here we offer you some advice on how to accomplish this.

 

Problematic sleep habits

 

Regular sleep cycles are influenced by daily routines, and children with ASD sometimes have trouble understanding and following them. Sometimes, they might get attached to unusual sleep habits and have trouble fitting into the regular family routine.

So the first thing you need to do is working on your child’s understanding of routines in general.

 

Bedtime routines for children within the autism spectrum disorder

 

  • Use a schedule and visual aids showing the bedtime routine, so your child can understand every step.
  • Praise your child for understanding and completing each step.
  • Put a sticker on the schedule every time your child completes a step correctly. This can help children see the situation as a game and will motivate them to follow the routine.

 

Appropriate bedtimes for children with ASD

 

Having an appropriate bedtime is essential for establishing a good routine. But, as we all know, children may have some trouble adapting to it, and it can be even harder for those within the spectrum. Here are a couple of things you can do to help them adopt good sleep habits:

  • It is convenient to create a short and simple bedtime routine. Structured activities help children with autism calm down, anticipate what is going to happen next, and think about what they need to do. So, we should create a simple routine consisting of 4 or 5 steps that need to be carried out before going to bed. Something like this, for example:

1-. Brush your teeth.

2-. Drink water.

3-. Read a story in bed.

4-. Turn off the light.

5-. Go to sleep.

  • Avoid highly stimulating activities at least two hours before bedtime. Limit things like watching TV or playing videogames, and try to propose relaxing activities, such as reading, listening to classical music, and taking a hot bath.
  • Adapt the stimulating conditions to the child’s needs. Some children with autism are extremely sensitive to things like light, sound, and touch. This hypersensitivity can interfere with their sleep, so we must regulate the light entering their room and avoid making loud noises.

It is all about finding the right information and tools to learn what to do. Remember, you must be patient and understanding throughout this whole process, adopting new habits can be a difficult task for your child.

Source: https://raisingchildren.net.au/autism/health-daily-care/sleep/sleep-for-children-with-asd

A good sleep and rest can do wonderful things for a child with autism.

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Teens With Autism: The Transition to Adulthood

Becoming an adult is a big step for teens with autism or special needs, so their transition to adulthood needs careful planning.

If your children present additional needs, helping them through their development is essential. Early planning will give you plenty of time to work on the skills they need to reach their goals for adulthood. It will also give you time to figure out how to support them when they need it.

Design a plan for their transition to adulthood

Teenagers have to be ready for their transition to adult life. To help them, you must take into account several factors, such as:

  • Their short, medium, and long-term goals for the future.
  • Their strengths, interests, and weaknesses.
  • Their current skills and abilities. Knowing them can help you decide what other skills to teach them and which ones should be improved with practice.
  • Your needs and how to balance them with theirs.

Talking with teachers, support staff, therapists, siblings, relatives, and friends is ideal to complement this plan.

Every teen’s transition plan should be different and tailored to their needs, but you should also consider these areas:

  • Education.
  • Work.
  • Developing an autonomous life.
  • Social interaction and community participation.

How to prepare them for transition periods

  • Let teens play an active role in their health care. It is important to explain their condition to them at a young age.
  • Make sure they can explain their condition to others. As they grow, teach them specific self-care routines, such as pain management, proper rest, and nutrition. Help them develop a relationship with their physician and encourage them to ask questions and participate in the appointments.
  • Consider their interests when seeking training and vocational programs.
  • Be a good role model. Remember that you, and other family members, are your child’s most important teachers.

Each one of our tips should be applied according to the condition of every teen. At this stage, we also recommend seeking the help of professionals, who will be able to tell you what to do and how, and will be by your side throughout the process.

Let’s remember that we must be patient, try to understand them, and inform ourselves about the way they see the world. Going into adulthood may not be easy for them, but with our help and support, it can be more bearable.

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Help your teen with autism become an adult.

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Genetic Aspects of the Autism Spectrum Disorder

Scientists have always thought that genetic aspects play an essential role in autism, but some agree that most diagnoses have an environmental origin. Recent research by specialists in the field of ASD predicts that genetics can be the cause of up to 90% of cases, and environmental problems also intervene, but to a lesser extent.

What does genetics mean for researchers?

The National Institutes of Health define a gene as:

“The basic physical and functional unit of inheritance. Genes, which are made up of DNA, act to produce molecules called proteins. In humans, genes vary in size from a few hundred DNA bases to more than two million bases. The Human Genome Project has estimated that humans have between 20,000 and 25,000 genes.”

These genes are very similar between one person and another, and even 1% of our DNA defines an individual and their particular characteristics. That is what makes us unique.

It is no secret to anyone that genetics causes physical and mental impact. This is because genetic changes or spontaneous mutations can occur (without a specific origin), or due to the result of exposure to the environment.

Autism researchers analyze the development of genetics to answer several questions that do not yet have an accurate answer:

  • To what extent is autism a condition inherited from parents?
  • To what extent does autism occur due to spontaneous changes in genes that are not inherited?
  • What are the genes or set of determining genes for a person to be autistic?
  • What changes in individual genes cause autism?
  • What is the relationship between autism and genetic disorders?
  • Are the genes responsible for different types of autism different?
  • What is the relationship between the environment and the genetic changes that lead to autism?

What information do we have about autism and genetics?

To date, many of these questions are a mystery to science. For this reason, a variety of studies are needed to keep moving forward, because they do not have an infallible answer.

It is not known whether combinations in genetic changes can cause autism, nor is it known whether genetic changes in any way lead to a high or low level of this condition. In addition, there are still doubts about the probability that it is an inherited condition. Another question is to know if gene therapy could have positive effects on people with ASD.

But there is information that we do know. For example, ASDs are born without an inheritance pattern. People with a family history associated with autism are at greater risk of developing this condition.

Any genetic alteration can generate an effect and when there is a lot of variability in the genes it can be linked to other environmental risk factors such as the age of the parents, complications during pregnancy and others that have not yet been discovered, and these can increase the level of a person’s risk of developing this condition.

Autism researchers think that 2 to 4% of people with autism have genetic mutations or chromosomal abnormalities that cause the disorder.

Even the resulting signs and symptoms can affect various parts of the body.

According to scientists, up to 2500 different genes could be related to autism. This figure was discovered using advanced technology, and it means that autism is a condition of great complexity.

Genetics and environment

There are environmental elements that, when linked to the genetic factor, can cause the appearance of various types of autism.

According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, certain environmental factors increase the risk of autism, but it is not certain that they are determinants in the development of ASD.

  • Advanced age at the time of conception.
  • Exposure during pregnancy to pollutants or toxic agents.
  • Diabetes.
  • Being overweight.
  • Low birth weight.
  • Problems at birth: lack of oxygen to the brain or any other prenatal limitation.
  • Poor prenatal nutrition.

How could any of these factors affect genetics?

This question remains a riddle for researchers; however, studies continue.

Environmental factors are not determining, because many elderly parents have neurotypical children, and there are premature children without this condition.

Now, children with a genetic risk of autism can develop the condition by undergoing the environmental factors described above.

Genetics or environment?

Several studies in 2017 showed that most of the causes are genetic. These are the most relevant results:

  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is added in families, and studies with twins estimate that the proportion of phenotypic variation due to genetic factors (heritability) is approximately 90 percent.
  • The heritability of ASD was estimated at 0.50, and the family environmental influences shared at 0.04.
  • The incidence of ‘inherited’ autism was approximately 83 percent, while the non-shared environmental influence was estimated at 17 percent.

Apparently, most people inherit autism. These results are transcendental for the treatment and prevention of autism with gene therapy in the future to help those families with people with autism.

 

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Our DNA can define who we are and what is our personality, including certain conditions such as ASD.

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Experts Recommend High Fiber Diet for People with Autism

People familiarize with ASD know that this disorder has many peculiarities; not all of them are bad, but it is not unusual to see individuals with a particular type of autism have some disadvantages that can complicate in a way or another the normal development of their activities, one of these is constipation. Although it is not one of the main ASD characteristics, it does occur with a certain frequency in some individuals within the spectrum, especially children (although not exclusively). Luckily there is a way to overcome all difficulties that may arise; according to experts, an excellent way to overcome constipation in people with autism is a high-fiber diet.

What is fiber?

Fiber is a unique nutrient that plants have; its main difference with the rest of the nutrients found in different types of food is the way that our body processes it. Unlike other nutrients, our body does not digest fiber, which is essential for the role it fulfills: helping in our digestive system clean up. This is the main reason why people within the autism spectrum who have constipation, can be supported by a high-fiber diet.

That said, it is essential to note that fiber is divided into two types: soluble and insoluble, every food that contains fiber have both types.

High-fiber diet

Although both types of fiber offer essential benefits, to deal with constipation, it is insoluble fiber the one needed the most. You’ll see, it is especially suitable for the digestive system because it helps to produce stool, therefore, helps directly to avoid constipation. This type is found in a higher proportion in the different vegetable wheat products, corn bran, and flax seeds. It is also found in some vegetables as well as in different fruits.

When a person starts a diet high in insoluble fiber, they are also receiving the benefits of soluble fiber, since as mentioned before, all foods containing fiber have both types. Among the benefits of soluble fiber, we have: improvements to the heart and circulatory system positively helps lower cholesterol and influences the blood sugar level control.

Among some of the fruits with higher content are: mangoes, raspberries, strawberries, and dried fruits such as peaches, plums, apricots, figs, raisins, and blueberries. Fruit juices also usually contain fiber in a smaller proportion, so they are also recommended.

As you can see, a high-fiber diet, besides helping to prevent constipation, contains many other benefits, so it is not surprising that experts recommend it. Constipation is a severe problem, even though it may not seem so, so it should never be taken lightly, especially if it is a person with ASD who has the problem.

It is crucial to keep in mind that, although the information offered in this blog may be useful, if you have more serious questions about this type of diet, you should consult a nutritionist, after all, when it comes to the people we love, we want the best for them.

family having lunch

Consult with a nutrition expert!

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How to Face Disruptive Behavior?

We all love children; their innocence is always capable to make us smile, but sometimes there are certain situations that we just do not know how to deal with. These situations usually occur when infants show some peculiar behavior, such as disruptive behavior. It’s important to know that even when this type of behavior can be seen in any child, it is much more common to see it on children with ASD (autism spectrum disorder). The question is: how to deal with this type of behavior?

Tips for dealing with disruptive behavior

We know that as parents with children who have ASD, it is not so easy to identify the right way to act when a child shows disruptive behavior, that is why we have prepared some tips for you.

Control your voice

Many parents raise their voice when addressing to their kids if they are showing behaviors that they consider inappropriate. However, if it is a child with autism, this can be counterproductive, you’ll see, if a child with ASD is showing disruptive behavior, scolding the kid using a challenging tone can cause the kid to end up even more upset than he was before, which would cause the disruptive behavior to be prolonged. What you need to do is to talk softly, when you use a calm tone of voice, the child will not feel challenged, but on the contrary, feels understood.

Be calm, be patient

When children with ASD show disruptive behavior, we must be patient and remain calm. Keep in mind that the situation may get worse if we show severe response; after all, the real enemy is not the child, but the behavior, this is why we should never confront them in an abrupt way; instead, we have to focus in neutralize the negative behavior. When we show ourselves calm and able to listen, they will not have a reason to confront us, that will make him or her more likely to slowly calm down as he talks to us.

Consider visiting a specialist

Having a previous diagnosis makes everything a little easier; that is why visiting a medical specialist is a highly recommended option. Depending on the specific disruptive behavior that the child shows, as well as the characteristics of this, the specialist can suggest different strategies to deal with the negative behavior.

The strategies can be multiple, psychotherapeutic in individual psychology, guidance to parents, occupational therapy, among several other strategies, everything depends on the child behavior; Reality is that there are many ways to deal with disruptive behavior.

Pay attention

Finally, a piece of advice that may be obvious, but is also necessary: pay attention to the kid. When we are adults, our own problems can be quite suffocating, to the point where we do not pay enough attention to our children’s emotional state. The reality is that despite their young age, children can feel sad, upset, frustrated or even depressed, and all these feelings can lead to disruptive behavior. If we pay enough attention to them, it will be easier to identify the reasons why he or she shows certain disruptive behaviors, therefore, it will also become easier to find effective methods to face the problem.

Looking at them smile makes us happy. Let’s take care of our children!

annoying child

It is important to learn how to handle such situations.

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Why Should a Medical Specialist Be Your Best Ally During Your Child’s Treatment?

If you have a child with autism, it is likely that you are considering taking him to a medical specialist, and although the reasons for thinking about this option may vary, most of the time they are related to ignorance about the condition. If this is your case, the first thing you should keep in mind is that you are not the only person in that situation. The ASD (autism spectrum disorder) is a very complex condition, so the ignorance about what surrounds it is more than understandable. In fact, this is the main reason why it is highly recommended to attend a specialist doctor, although it is not the only one.

Why should you go to a medical specialist?

Professional opinion

Despite the impression of a child with autism that we may have based on our limited knowledge about the condition, we must bear in mind that the possibility of being wrong is quite large. As we said before, it is a very complex condition, so understanding many of the actions of a person within the spectrum is not an easy task if you do not have extensive knowledge about the matter. For this reason, a professional opinion is crucial; it can dissipate all of our doubts and help us understand our kid.

The right treatment

A common mistake made by many people is to compare their child with other children with the same condition. The reality is that, although both may have symptoms in common, each case is different, so to believe that the treatment should be identical to another one just because both are within the spectrum, is a mistake. A medical specialist is prepared to perform a right diagnosis, as well as to recommend the appropriate treatment for each case, one that focuses on attacking the different difficulties that each may have.

Medicine

In some cases, the expert can prescribe certain medicines for the kid with the intention of reducing some symptoms in the short term, such as aggressive behaviors or extreme hyperactivity. However, although these medications can be effective, some of them can have side effects, so a right opinion is crucial.

The experience

The experience of an MD is something that can contribute a lot to the development of a child with ASD. Taking into account that an experienced professional has had an academic education, as well as a professional career that has allowed him to learn a lot about the ASD. His or her advice and the different therapies that he or she recommends can mean an important positive change in the future of your son or daughter.

Specialized therapies

Therapies for children with autism can be significantly different. It depends on the type of autism the child has, as well as its main characteristics. We must bear in mind that two people with the same type of ASD can receive relatively different therapies, it is up to the medical specialist criteria. The ideal scenario is that both, the parent and the specialists work together to develop strategies with the purpose of helping the kid overcome all the difficulties on the road.

Despite what it may seem sometimes, kids with autism can perfectly have a normal life. All that is needed from us is to love and support them unconditionally.

parents talking with a specialist

The doctor will evaluate your child and give him or her the indicated treatment.

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Why Should Your Child Put Aside Video Games to Go Out and Play?

Video games debates are not something that we haven’t seen, but the fact that we keep reading about it proves that it is actually something that is worth paying attention to. When it comes to kids, opinions can variate a lot; nonetheless, is healthy to recognize that everything can be somehow harmful at a certain point. That’s what we’re going to be talking about, should your child put aside video games to go play outside?

Video games

Childhood is a crucial phase. The different experiences a kid has at his short age can determinate who they are going to be in the future; this means we should always pay attention to what they do, as well as making sure they are developing a healthy character.

Last year, the WHO (World Health Organization) officially included the addiction to video games among the most harmful behaviors related to technology. After years of discussion, their opinion is pretty clear now: video games addiction is now considered a mental illness. This makes us see these games from a different perspective. They can be really funny and a great way to have a good time, but when playing them becomes an uncontrollable desire, that’s when it becomes a problem.

Nowadays, video games are everywhere, and children love to play them all the time. This is not a problem itself, at least not a first; kids love to have fun, and they are funny, so it is not hard to figure out why they love them so much. Problems come when a child spends too much time playing them, not because of the content (that’s a whole different topic), but because they may stop playing with other people. But why is this a problem?

Develop social skills is a crucial step in childhood. Interacting with other people as much as possible prepare individuals for their whole life and can make a great difference in their future, especially if they have autism or any condition within ASD (autistic spectrum disorder) since these kids tend to have difficulties when socializing with others. For kids, playing outside instead of staying indoors playing video games, can make a huge variation in their way to perceive the world.

Should you forbid the video games to your kid?

Of course not. As said before, they can be really funny and can influence positively the mood of any kid, and that’s a good thing. Also, they have other benefits such as increasing their reasoning speed, stimulate their concentration, developing their reflexes and mental agility as well as improve their manual coordination. Actually, some games are specially created with educational purposes, which can help a kid in other ways too.

The problems are not the video games itself; the actual problem is the addiction to them or what they can mean in a kid’s life. As long as it doesn’t become an evident problem, your child can perfectly have some hours of playing. Nonetheless, playing outside and interacting with others is even a better option, so we should constantly encourage them to do so. Friendly advice, if your son or daughter plays video games a lot, you can join him or her or bring friends to play along that way he or she will be improving social skills at the same time, not a bad idea at all.

Why playing outside is better than video games

We promise you that your child will love playing outside.

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First-Parents Guide: All You Need to Know About Your Kid with Autism

Do you have a kid with autism? Then you’re probably worried, especially if you do not know enough about autism and all it represents. The first thing you have to know is that, just like you, there are many parents around the world with the same thoughts going through their minds, so you’re not the only one who’s worried. Lucky for all of you, we live on an age where efforts to understand autism are quite remarkable, and knowledge about this condition is constantly growing; thanks to this, we have a better understanding about the right way to raise a child with autism.

Things you need to know about your kid with autism

What is autism?

Let’s start with the basic, ASD (autistic spectrum disorder) is a complex neurobehavioral lifetime condition. That’s right, a condition -not a disease-; therefore, it can’t be cured. This is important to understand because people tend to believe autism is considered a disease. Despite different theories and studies, nobody knows exactly what causes autism; nonetheless, genetic and environmental are the most accepted possible causes for the scientific community.

How does autism affect a kid?

The common characteristics of people with autism are often related to their social skills, this happens because the vast majority of them have difficulties in holding a conversation the same way that a neurotypical person would. They are also often expressed in particular ways, which is why many people find it hard to understand what children with autism try to communicate; however, as we pay attention to their behavior, we can understand them more easily.

Therapy can make a difference

Every kid with autism presents a different case, and even though you can learn a lot about ASD, it’s always recommendable to go to a specialist in the matter (after all, they’re the ones who make the diagnosis and propose the right treatments to help the kid). Working alongside the specialist, you will create different strategies to help your kid overcome every obstacle in his/her way so, as said before, is highly recommended to get help.

Kids with autism can be really different

Kids with autism tend to have things in common, but that does not mean they will behave the same way, autism can manifest very differently in each kid, therefore, if you know other kids with autism, thinking your child will be just like them is a mistake. It is essential to keep this in mind since your kid might need more help than other kids with ASD or, by the other hand, just a bit of help can be enough.

They’re different, don’t expect them to act like us

Sometimes, kids with autism will show unusual reactions to common events; this happens because they perceive the world in a different way, that’s why people with autism show particular behaviors that most people find weird. The mistake a lot of us do is expecting people with autism to act like us, even when they’re obviously different. Instead of hoping for them to change, what we should do is try to understand them, once we do that, we will see that we have more things in common than differences.

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Knowing your son or daughter can be easier to give them a good education.

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First-Time Parents Guide: My Son Has Autism, What Can I Do?

If you have a child who has been diagnosed with autism, you probably feel worried, which is only natural. The concern may arise from the knowledge of the condition as by the lack of knowledge of it, after all, autism is a pretty complex disorder capable of causing different kinds of complications in a child’s development, as well as in their understanding of the world. So, when a child is diagnosed, we must provide the necessary support so that this child can grow and have a great future; after everything, that is what every father wants for his son.
Do you have a child with autism? Here is some advice for you:

Do not panic

If you’re extremely worried prematurely, this won’t do you any help. Your child might need more support than other kids, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing: a child with autism can perfectly live a normal life just like any other kid, plus, there have been several people with autism who have become important historical figures. Do not over-worry; things may not be as bad as you might think when the diagnosis is made.

Inform yourself

First of all: the more knowledge, the better. ASD (autistic spectrum disorder) manifests in several different ways in the kids, your child is probably very different from other kids with autism; therefore, the comparison can be virtually irrelevant. So instead of comparing, search for information, there are many websites dedicated to sharing data about autism and all it represents (just like this one). Also, it’s highly recommendable to constantly work alongside a specialist on the matter, together you will create strategies to help your child overcome every obstacle on his way.

Consider professional help

As mentioned before, working alongside an expert on the field can be extremely helpful, so this is definitely one very recommended step to follow. Autism kids tend to have particular behaviors that require particular treatments; some of them might need just a bit of professional assistance, while others require long term therapy, in any case, the professional help is always handy, so it’s something to keep in mind.

Be mentally prepared

Kids with ASD are quite different from other kids, they may react to common situations in unexpected ways, not pay attention to things most kids do pay attention to, or behave in unusual ways. This tends to happen because their way of seeing the world is different than ours, but this does not have to be a reason to worry parse, it just means your child is different (which is not a bad thing). Nonetheless, you should be conscious that your child behavior may surprise you more than once. Keep an open mind at all times.

Love!

False rumors will always be around: “Kids with autism do not feel any emotions,” “Children with autism never express their feelings,” “They live in their own world.” We should not pay attention to this kind of comments, a child with autism has feelings just like any other kids. Even when they do not show them in usual ways, they need love and support and, as parents, is crucial to be there for our child no matter what.

It’s true that raising a child with ASD can be complicated but, at the end of the day, it’s all worth it. Before you realize, they will be making you feel proud.

first son with autism

If your first son was born with some type of autism, you don’t have any reason to care. Help him!

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Does your favorite artist live with autism?

ASD (autistic spectrum disorder) is a complex neurobehavioral condition; in some people, it is noticeable, while in others, it is present in such a way that it can go unnoticed. Many artists today have been diagnosed with autism at some point of their lives, some of them are very important figures (perhaps even one of your favorite artists has this condition, and you have not realized it). Here we bring you some artists who have lived with autism.

Artists who have lived with autism

Michael Jackson

The King of Pop, Michael Jackson, was one of the most influential people that ever existed. Singer, composer, record producer, dancer, actor, and philanthropist, MJ was simply a musical genius, but what a lot of people doesn’t know is that he might have had Asperger syndrome; though is not confirmed, certainly the traits in his personality -like being withdrawn, shy, and very sensitive- seem to point that way.

Courtney Love

The charismatic Courtney Love is known for being a singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actress; according to her Wikipedia biography, at age nine, a psychologist noted that she exhibited signs of autism, something that never stopped her from doing what she loves. In the 90s, she attracted a lot of media attention consistently for its impetuous and frank personality, and though she was a controversial character, as an artist and fashion icon she was always respected.

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#tbt 1996. Meisel.

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Woody Allen

Woody Allen is a very respected figure. With a highly successful career on his back, the actor, screenwriter, writer, playwright, film director, and comedian -who is also a four times Academy Award winner- is already an icon, and though it has never been explicitly said that he is on the autism spectrum, different experts seem to agree that that’s likely the case.

Woody Allen – Photo By Merrick Morton, © 2012 Gravier Productions, Inc.

Posted by Woody Allen on Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Tim Burton

It may not be publicly confirmed that Tim Burton has ASD, but he has acknowledged that Edward Scissorhands, one of his most famous films, has a lot of autobiography due that it describes the isolation he suffered when he was a child; in addition, his ex-wife Helena Bonham Carter, said that she noticed signs of autism in the artist. In any case, Tim Burton is a director, producer, writer, and American cartoonist very loved by his fans and the media. The vast majority of Burton’s works have a very marked style that differentiates them from other movies, classics such as The Nightmare Before Christmas and Big Fish are already cult films.

An elephant will fly! Photo by Leah Gallo Photography LtdPRODUCTION UNDERWAY FOR TIM BURTON’S “DUMBO”Live-Action…

Posted by Tim Burton – Official Page on Saturday, July 29, 2017

Bill Gates

Bill Gates may not be an artist exactly, but his achievements are so incredibly remarkable that it’s worth mentioning him. Is common known that Gates has always been a meticulous and methodical person, he tends to show continuous equilibrium movement when he’s concentrated; plus, he has a monotonous way of speaking and is not unusual for him to avoid eye contact. Despite all of that, he’s one of the most important figures of our time: the Microsoft co-founder is one of the richest men alive.

autism and artist

Autism is in everywhere, no matter what’s your profession.

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