Join CafeMom Today! Autism Spectrum Disorder: Treatments: January 2010

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Some Autism Treatments Can do More Harm Than Good | autisable

Some Autism Treatments Can do More Harm Than Good | autisable

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Epsom Salts for Autism

Epsom salts are very useful for autistic children because of the issues they have removing toxins from their bodies and absorbing nutrients. Sitting in this bath removes chemicals and infuses their blood with extra magnesium that they may have trouble absorbing through their gut. The extra magnesium can help with hearing sensitivities. This bath won't be as effective as a clay bath for removing chemicals, but is great for maintaining a chemical-free body after detox.

To start, use 1 cup of Epsom salt for a bath that is waist deep for the child. If the child doesn't have any issues, you can move up to 2 cups per bath. You can safely give the child a bath with salts every single day, but I have found that every child is different. My son only takes 2 of these baths per week (I can tell it's time when he starts covering his ears).

To Give the Bath:

1. Wash your child in shallow water and drain the soapy water.
2. Use a cup to rinse the tub and the child, make sure as much soap as possible is gone.
3. Start the water again--if you have to, get the child out of the tub and into another room while doing this.
4. In the cup, add the salt and then warm water and mix until dissolved. Add it to the water and mix with your hand.
5. Depending on the child's sensitivity to the salt, you can have them in the bath from 5 to 30 minutes--even more if there are no adverse reactions.

Adverse reactions:
Obviously if you notice something is wrong, stop the bath immediately and rinse the child off. Next time, don't use as much salt and only keep them in the bath for a few minutes. Adverse reactions can be detox or allergic reactions including lethargy, vomiting, and skin issues. These are awfully rare, but it's good to look out for them anyway. If the child drinks the bathwater, they'll probably have some loose stools--this is because magnesium sulfate is also a laxative when taken internally, not because there's been a reaction.

After the bath, it's ok to let the salt stay on the body. Use raw unfiltered virgin coconut oil to massage the child. If they don't like being touched, you may want to rinse the salt off instead. The white powder that may be left behind after they dry is totally harmless, but some kids may not like the powder on their skin--a thorough rinsing before leaving the tub will prevent the powder from forming.

You can also apply epsom salt by spraying epsom salt water on the child, dissolving the salt into a lotion for the child's skin, or doing a foot bath instead of a whole body bath.

Sensory integration therapy (SIT) and Autism

Featured Image

Seth Link models a cap of electrodes to measure brain waves in Vanderbilt Kennedy Center’s Psychophysiology Lab.

Autism study to evaluate sensory integration therapy

BY: BILL SNYDER

1/15/2010 - Vanderbilt University researchers have received a two-year federal stimulus grant to evaluate sensory integration therapy, a widely used but controversial method for improving communication skills in children with autism.

Children with autism have difficulty taking in and integrating sensory information from the outside world, particularly auditory information.

The suppression or misinterpretation of auditory information can prevent the development of language.

Sensory integration therapy, or SIT, uses “desensitization” techniques such as joint massage and tactile brushing to overcome this difficulty. But SIT has never been thoroughly evaluated scientifically.

Supported by a two-year, $670,000 grant from the National Institute on

[MORE ...]

LOS ANGELES — The families of seven autistic children have sued a regional medical center for discontinuing a type of treatment that they say helped

LOS ANGELES — The families of seven autistic children have sued a regional medical center for discontinuing a type of treatment that they say helped

In the lawsuit filed in a Los Angeles Superior Court Thursday, lawyers for the children's families said the treatment was provided by Eastern Los Angeles Regional Center until Aug. 1.

"These kids, if they get this treatment now, are far less likely to be dependent in the future," said family lawyer Laura Faer. "They'll be able to achieve dreams and lead independent lives."

The medical center's executive director Gloria Wong said the cuts are among many being made as a result of a $384 million budget cut to the state's 21 regional centers.

The treatment in question — called the Developmental, Individual Difference, Relationship-based Model — provides children with several hours of one-on-one care each week. Parents praise the treatment for providing close supervision of their verbally and cognitively impaired children, while teaching proper nonviolent behaviors in social settings.

In the face of budget cuts, a statewide stakeholder group that included advocacy groups and providers decided the treatment was among one of 25 to target for cuts, said Nancy Lungren, spokeswoman for the California Department of Developmental Services.

Wong said the stakeholder group decided that the treatment was a non-medical therapy and experimental, but the lawsuit contends it "is not experimental, nor is it a therapy of any kind.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Autism: The ECLIPSE Model

The ECLIPSE Model:
Building Global Skills That Improve Social and Behavioral Functioning

Sherry A. Moyer

NHS Human Services

Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

smoyer@nhsonline.org

What Is The ECLIPSE Model?

* The goal of this curriculum is to foster growth and development of GLOBAL skills that are essential to improved behavioral and adaptive functioning as well as social competence. The ECLIPSE Model is based on profiles of known skill deficits from recent and relevant literature!

What Are Global Skills?

* Global processes are those that contribute to cognitive development in several domains. (Kail, 2004)

Executive Function Skills

Goal Oriented Behaviors

Flexibility/Shift

Self-Regulation

Abstract Thinking

Causal Attribution

Processing Speed

Problem Solving


Why Target Global Skills?

* Functional global skills allow us to improve our:
o Academic achievement
o Employment performance
o Social competence
o Independent Living Skills
o Adaptive Skills

Guiding Principles of ECLIPSE

* Control Versus Authority
* The X + 10 Relevance Rule
* Global Skills are EVERYTHING
* You Cannot Expect Another Person to Demonstrate Desired Skills Consistently Without an Opportunity to LEARN FIRST!

Curriculum Components

* Attribution Retraining
* Cognitive Skills
o Shift/Flexibility and Abstract thinking
* Social Skills
o Theory of Mind and Hidden Curriculum
* Sensory Awareness
* Self-Regulation and Modulation of Behaviors
* Continuous, Ongoing, Perpetual and Never Ending Activities

Each Curriculum
Component Includes…

* An explanation of the skill
* Real life examples
* Impact of development of other skills
* Measurable goals for learning
* Lesson plans
* Instructions for data collection

Let’s Look At An Example…

Attribution

* A Brief Explanation: Attribution is our ability to accurately assign causation to events or motivation to another person’s thoughts, words, or deeds.

It is our ability to connect the dots between cause and effect!


Attribution Retraining

* Attribution retraining is all about changing the way people assess their circumstances so that there is a sense of hope that they can take control and improve the situation.

I’ll never get this light bulb thing right

Shawn

* Situation
o Does well in school, except math
o His attribution: nothing he can do about it, he has always been that way.

* Analysis
o Negative attribution causing feelings of hopelessness
o No motivation to take control and improve the circumstances.

On The Other Hand…

* Situation
o Does well in school, except math
o His attribution: If I asked for help or spent more time studying maybe I could get better at math.

* Analysis
o Positive attribution causing feelings of hopefulness.
o Some motivation to take control and improve the circumstances.

Impact On
Development of Other Skills

* Attribution is directly connected to Theory of Mind. If you are not able to get inside another person’s head to gauge their thoughts and emotions, you will not be able to understand why the other person said or did what they did.
* Theory of Mind is the “What are they thinking, doing or feeling?”
* Attribution is the “Why are they thinking, doing or feeling?”

Measurable Goals for Learning

* Dina will learn to more accurately assess her circumstances using the three parameters of attribution retraining.
* Kevin will improve his problem solving skills through the use of attribution retraining.
* Zoe will be able to demonstrate the relationship between attribution retraining and social problem solving and self-regulation.

Lesson Plans

* Each lesson plan includes:
o Objective
o Required materials
o Required prep time
o Required activity time
o Embed factor
o Steps for completion of lesson
o Data collection or measuring success!

Creating a Comprehensive Classroom
or Group Environment

A Few Things To Remember…

* The targeted skills in the ECLIPSE Model are critical to successful human functioning and NOT just for those with ASD.
* The curriculum is meant to support development of a class or group culture.
* The ECLIPSE Model is designed to become part of the fabric of the student’s day.
* Easily adapted for home or clinical use to support generalization.

Using the ECLIPSE Model to Support IEP or Treatment Plan Development

* Results from standardized assessments can be used to guide goal selection
o Specifically behavior goals or behavior plans.
o Will also support academic goals for different types of writing.
* Can also contribute to transition process
o Especially for foundation skills associated with volunteer or vocational placements and independent living.

Use the MAGIC STATEMENTS!

* What can I do to help you make things better?
* Do you need a little more to answer/finish what you were doing?
* I will help you figure this out when you are calm enough to problem solve.
* I understand that you are upset.
* You have a right to your feelings.

Continuous, Ongoing, Perpetual and NEVER Ending Activities!

* Independence Journals
* Reality Checks
* Self-Awareness Builders
* Strategic Bombs

ECLIPSE Data Collection Measures

* Behavior Indicator Sheet
* Universal Goal Tracking: Teacher and Student
* Student Surveys
* Daily Data Collection Sheets
* Teacher Checklist
* Program Audit Checklist
* Implementation Record

The ECLIPSE Model Pilot Study

* 13 students who attend a specialized private school for students whose primary diagnosis is an Autism Spectrum Disorder.
* All participants were diagnosed with either Asperger Disorder or PDD NOS.
* Average age is 13.69 years
* Average FS IQ of 10 students with
available is 81.8.

The ECLIPSE Model Pilot Study

* Standardized pre and post assessments include:
o Behavior Assessment System for Children Second Edition or BASC 2 Parent Rating (Reynolds, C. and Kamphaus, R.W., 2004)
o Children’s Attibutional Style Questionnaire or CASQ (Kaslow, Tanenbaum, Seligman, Abramson, & Alloy, 1995).
o Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function or BRIEF Parent and Teacher Rating (Gioia, G. Isquith, P., Guy, S., and Kenworthy, L. 2000 )

The ECLIPSE Model Pilot Study

* Pilot study was conducted during 10 week period in spring of 2008.
* Teachers and Aides received 12 hours of training on the ECLIPSE Model curriculum prior to pilot.
* Lessons focused primarily on self-regulation, attribution retraining, abstract thinking and modulation of behaviors.
* All lessons were conducted by the classroom teacher in the classroom environment as a full group.

The Results!!!

* There was a statistically significant shift in the positive composite and hopefulness scores of the CASQ! (n=13)
o Significant increase in the Positive Composite score of p=.009. 10 of 13 students improved their positive attribution scores!
o Significant increase in the Hopefulness Composite score with p=.045. 9 of 13 students improved their measure of hopefulness!


* BASC Results (n=8)
o 62.5% of students experienced improvements in scores for Depression and Aggression subtests as well as Adaptive Composite scores!
o 50% of students experienced improvement in scores for Activities of Daily Living, Anxiety and Conduct Problems subtests!
o 37.5% of students experienced improvements in scores for Withdrawal and Social Skills subtests!

The Results!!!

* BRIEF Results (Parent Rating n=9)
o 55.6 % of students experienced improvement in scores for Shift and Inhibit subtests!
o 44.5% experienced improvement in scores for Emotional Control subtest!

The Results!!!

* BRIEF Results (Teacher Rating n=13)
o 46.2% of students experienced improvement in scores for Inhibition and Emotional Control subtests!
o 23.1% of students experienced improvement in scores for the Shift subtest!

The Results!!!

In Summary…

* Encouraging results despite the small sample size and short time frame!
* Exemplifies the potential for service providers to successfully generate and participate in applied research by translating novel theories into operational curriculum.
* Opens a wide range of future research questions to determine the effects of improved global skills on other areas of functioning.

References

* American Psychiatric Association, (2000). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, (4th Edition, Text Revision, 80-84). Washington, Dc: American Psychiatric Association.
* Baron-Cohen, S., (1995). The development of theory of mind: Where would we be without the intentional stance? In Developmental Principles and Clinical Issues in Psychology and Child Psychiatry. Ed. Rutter, M. and Hay, D.. Oxford, England: Blackwell.
* Cavell, A., (1990). Social Adjustment, Social Performance, and Social Skills: a Tri-Component Model of Social Competence. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 19, pgs. 111-122.
* Clark, C., Prior, M., & Kinsella, G. (2002) The relationship between executive function abilities, adaptive behavior and academic achievement in children with externalizing behaviour problems. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 43, 785-796.
* Gioia, G. Isquith, P., Guy, S., and Kenworthy, L. (2000 ). Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Functioning. Psychological Assessments, Inc. Lutz, FL.
* Kail., R., (2004). Cognitive Development Includes Global and Domain-Specific Processes. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 50, pgs. 445-452.
* Kaslow, N. J., Tanenbaum, R. L., & Seligman, M. E. P. (1978). The KASTAN-R: A Children's Attributional Style Questionnaire (KASTAN-R-CASQ). Unpublished manuscript, University of Pennsylvania, Department of Psychology, Philadelphia.
* Lee, H.J. and Park, H.R., (2007). An Integrated Review on the Adaptive Behavior of Individuals with Asperger Syndrome. Remedial and Special Education, 28, pgs 132-145.
* Martin, J., Mithaug, D., Cox, P., Peterson, L., Van Dycke, J., and Cash, M., (2003). Increasing Self-Determination: Teaching Students to Plan, Work, Evaluate, and Adjust. Exceptional Children, Vol. 69, pg. 431.

References
* Mithaug, D., Agran M., Martin, J., and Wehmeyer, M., (2003). Determined Learning Theory: Construction, Verification, and Evaluation. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
* Reynolds, C. and Kamphaus, R.W., (2004). Behavior Assessment Scales for Children, 2nd Edition. Pearson Assessments, Bloomington, MN.
* Seligman, M. E. P., Peterson, C., Kaslow, N. J., Tannenbaum, R.L., Alloy, L. B., & Abramson, L. Y. (1984). Attributional style and depressive symptoms among children. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 93, 235-238.
* Stecker, P., Whinnery, K., and Fuchs, L., (1996). Self-Recording During Unsupervised Academic Activity: Effects on Time Spent Out of Class, Exceptionality, Vol. 6, pgs. 133-147.

References


Thank you for having me!!!

Sherry A. Moyer

NHS Human Services

Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

smoyer@nhsonline.org


More on OSR as Autism Treatment

The Chicago Tribune and Autism Treatment Community: Thrice Bitten, Twice Shy

ChicagoTribune-Sign By Kim Stagliano

Trine Tsouderos is writing another article for The Chicago Tribune about autism and autism treatments. To date, her pieces have appeared to be addenda chapters for Dr. Offit's Autism's False Prophets, a book dedicated to telling parents what treatments do not work for autism, from a doctor who does not treat patients with autism.

After countless hours of interviews with scientists and parents alike, Ms. Tsouderos has chosen to portray autism treatment in a pejorative fashion. Take into consideration this letter from Dr. Martha Herbert, pediatric neurologist and Assistant Professor of Neurology at Harvard University Medical School, regarding her treatment by Ms. Tsouderos:

"I did a rather long interview with the Tribune to explain my thoughts on chelation and additional approaches to solving the health issues connected to autism. The only consequence of my interview is that you use a solitary quote to make me sound contentious and defensive. Is there a reason you chose not to use something I said that would actually illuminate the discussion surrounding chelation and other medical treatments for medical compromises that may exist in these children?.."

I was contacted by Ms. Tsouderos for an interview about ... [FULL ARTICLE AT AOA]

OSR#1: Industrial chemical or autism treatment? - chicagotribune.com

OSR#1: Industrial chemical or autism treatment? - chicagotribune.com

An industrial chemical developed to help separate heavy metals from polluted soil and mining drainage is being sold as a dietary supplement by a luminary in the world of alternative autism treatments.

Called OSR#1, the supplement is described on its Web site as an antioxidant not meant to treat any disease. But the site lists pharmacies and doctors who sell it to parents of children with autism, and the compound has been promoted to parents on popular autism Web sites.

FULL ARTICLE: OSR#1: Industrial chemical or autism treatment? - chicagotribune.com
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Thursday, January 14, 2010

OSR - Oxidative Stress Release, Optimize, Strengthen, Rejuvenate

Part 1:


Part 2:


Part 3:

Contrary View: OSR an Industrial Decontaminant?



From the CTI Science website:

What Is OSR?
OSR#1TM is an antioxidant product that scavenges free radicals and helps maintain healthy glutathione levels.

Free Radicals
Free radicals are destructive molecules that can accumulate in people who do not eat a healthy diet. They can compromise the normal function of each cell in the body. This in part explains why a healthy diet is essential to good overall health.

Glutathione
Glutathione is a compound that is naturally made by each cell in the body. Its role is to help each cell repair itself using the body's own natural mechanisms. Glutathione is one of the most important tools the body has to maintain health. People who do not eat a healthy diet often have difficulty maintaining a healthy glutathione level.

OSR#1TM
OSR#1TM scavenges free radicals, meaning that it binds them, shuts them down, and discards them. Whereas the purpose of all antioxidants is to scavenge free radicals, OSR#1TM has been shown to be extremely proficient in its ability to do so. Because OSR#1TM scavenges free radicals with significant proficiency, it helps relieve glutathione of its responsibility to do so, thereby helping to maintain a healthy glutathione level.

Why OSR#1TM is different
OSR#1TM, unlike other antioxidants, is lipid-soluble, also known as fat-soluble. Other antioxidants are water-soluble. This is an important distinction, because lipid-soluble compounds like OSR#1TM pass easily through other lipids, whereas water-soluble compounds, like other antioxidants, do not. Because every cell of the body has a cell wall made of lipid (called the phospholipid membrane), this distinction becomes profoundly important. In other words, OSR#1TM, being lipid soluble, has the capacity and affinity for passing through cell membranes and can get inside of each cell where free radicals exist. Antioxidants that are water-soluble cannot get into the inside of each cell and therefore, even if they are competent scavengers, will not be given an opportunity to scavenge free radicals because they cannot get physically to the place the free radicals exist inside the cells.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Autism: Made in the USA Movie

Autism: Made in the USA Movie

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Autism: Made in the USA Movie

Autism: Made in the USA Movie

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Autism: Made in the USA Movie

Autism: Made in the USA Movie

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Neuroliminal Training

Autism Improvement Using Neuroliminal Training
By Know It All

Autism Improvement Using NT

Only in the past few years have some Neurofeedback (NFB) clinicians worked with autistic children. Success has been rare. Few parents can afford the horrible cost, and few clinicians are willing to take on an autistic child, because of the difficulties involved.

1. How do you attach sensors to an autistic child? Even using a helmet?

2. If you do get a connection, how do you motivate such a child? (A key to success).

3. The cost can bankrupt any family except the very wealthy.

Enter Neuroliminal Training (NT). All three of the above problems above are solved with its usage. There is no sensor attachment needed, nor any helmet, nor is motivation important. Since NT works by using a subliminal messaging technique that works during sleep, or as a background to play or study, It can be done at home using a repeating CD, and at an affordable cost to even a low income family. NT improves autism symptoms gradually over time in the same way as NFB.

Neuroliminal Training (NT) does for autistics exactly the same three things that NFB training does – namely raise the SMR brain wave, lower the Theta brainwave, and increase the brain blood flow. (The latest NFB therapy includes HEG biofeedback which does this by feedback techniques). Hyperbaric therapy has had some known success with increasing oxygen as well, although it’s relatively expensive.

With volunteer tests and studies, it has been well proven that success rates are very similar for both NFB and NT. The only real difference is cost. For an average ADHD child to be “cured” (cure being defined in current NFB circles as “sitting still in class, paying attention to study, getting good grades, and in most cases, jumping in IQ scores”) costs $4000. For NT, the total cost is $197. (An autistic child requires many more sessions than an ADD/ADHD child).

Although I believe that there is a “continuum” between the simplest ADD child that cannot seem to concentrate on studying and a true non-communicative autistic child, there is one major difference. A person on the autism portion of that continuum may have had actual brain damage, whereas, the ADD/ADHD child has probably had little or none. Thus, a “cure” for ADD/ADHD is possible, but for not for autism.

To improve autism symptoms, simple “baby steps” toward “normal behavior” are what is seen using either NFB or NT. The good news is that continued usage continues improvement. This is a long slow process, and there are several alternate therapies which may be used at the same time. These are described in the NT literature. These include diets, the use of enzymes, probiotics, free allergy tests etc.

This “brain damage” that makes autism such a problem may be caused by various traumatic episodes such as an overload of mercury or other mineral toxicity, a birth or pregnancy injury, continual malnutrition (or drug addiction) by the mother during pregnancy, etc.

Of course, this autism spectrum is large and variable with each individual. Not to mention, the misdiagnosed cases. A high functioning autistic child might easily be thought to be in the ADD/ADHD range. Remember that all doctors have to make a diagnosis that will allow them to be paid from insurance carriers, and this makes the whole diagnostic process a mockery.

The “accepted” average success rate of Neurofeedback (NFB) (aka EEG BF) for
ADD/ADHD is between 85-90%. I suspect that a large part of these 10-15% “failures” are due to misdiagnosis of ADD/ADHD, where there has been brain damage, and the diagnosis should have been autism.

[FULL ARTICLE]


Monday, January 4, 2010

Facial Reflexology as Autism Treatment

Facial reflexology is a new type of reflexology in the United States and shows therapy benefits for some children with autism. Traditionally, reflexology has been associated with massage and/or pressure on the feet to help heal other parts of the body and improve overall health. According to the American Reflexology Certification Board, reflexology "is a scientific art based on the premise that there are zones and reflex areas in the feet and hands which correspond to all body parts. The physical act of applying specific pressures using thumb, finger and hand techniques result in stress reduction which causes a physiological change in the body." Lone Sorensen, who runs a reflexology institute in Barcelona, Spain, has used the same principles on the face. She has brought facial reflexology techniques to the U.S. and has currently trained a number of reflexologists in North Carolina. Sorensen says that facial reflexology is a combination of "traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), South American Zone Therapy and Vietnamese face maps with the modern science of neurology." A practicioner, Cyndi Hill, has a center in North Carolina called Shalom Regel Reflexology. Hill explains that facial reflexology was developed mostly for children and when she applies massage pressure to certain parts of the face, it may help neurological functions in children.



Sunday, January 3, 2010

Dolphin Assisted Therapy: Is DAT Dangerous?

***Re-posting this one, fixing the You Tube links and after coming across this article today ... Autism Therapy: Dolphin Therapy ***


http://dolphins.jump-gate.com/flipper.jpg

I've seen a lot of talk of late concerning "Dolphin Assisted Therapy (DAT)" for kids with autism and other neurological conditions. Don't believe the hype that you hear about this "therapy." While it may be fun, your therapy dollars would be better spent elsewhere.

We do the horse therapy for our daughter and she loves it. I don't know about the therapeutic value, but it's a great activity. Horse "therapy", or Equine Assisted Therapy (aka - Hippotherapy) does not involve the level of danger associated with dolphin therapy and also does NOT endanger the animal. There is a big difference.

Other types of "Animal Assisted Therapy" (AAT) include, but are not limited to dogs, cats, elephants, birds, rabbits, lizards and (I kid you not) Rats. I am not knocking Rat Assisted Therapy (RAT), and the thought of it almost makes the dolphin telepathy folks seem sane. :-)

I think animals are good for kids with autism, but before you spend thousands of dollars, go rescue a dog or cat at Petfinder.com or your local pound.

The folks who push dolphin therapy often promote it as a "healing" experience and often imply that there is some magical telepathic link created between the child and the dolphin. Several even claim that the brains of kids with autism work along the same lines as the dolphins.
Originating in 1978 by Dr. David Nathanson, Dolphin Assisted Therapy (DAT) has been used as a therapeutic approach to increase speech and motor skills in patients who have been diagnosed with developmental, physical, and/or emotional disabilities, such as mental retardation, Down syndrome, and autism. It is suggested that the unconditional love and support a dolphin offers can benefit children and other mentally ill patients by helping them learn to develop trust. Many believe that dolphins have human-like emotions and the compassion that they're able to give increases self-confidence, social skills and academic achievement in children and others who may be lacking these skills. *

Lose / Lose

In reality, DAT is a lose/lose situation for the child and the dolphin. Parents spent literally thousands of dollars on this treatment that could have been better spent elsewhere. In addition to the financial strain, the kids and the dolphins are put at a great risk of injury or infection. Often these dolphins have been taken out of the wild via a process that often results in death or injury to other dolphins.
As Swim With The Dolphin (SWTD) programs and Dolphin Assisted Therapy (DAT) continue to gain popularity, we're seeing more and more dolphins being held in captivity than ever before. *

Dolphins that become desensitized towards humans are also highly at risk of getting entangled in commercial fishing nets or being hit by boat propellers.
Dolphins are bred in captivity in U.S. marine parks, but in other countries they are often taken from the wild. "If people knew how these animals were captured, I don't think they would want to swim with them in a tank or participate in DAT," Marino says, referring to an annual "dolphin drive" in Japan. "During the dolphin drives hundreds of animals are killed, or panicked and die of heart attacks, in water that's red with their blood, while trainers from facilities around the world pick out young animals for their marine parks. They hoist them out of the water, sometimes by their tail flukes, and take them away."

Each live dolphin can bring a fisherman $50,000 or more, she says. "The marine parks make millions off of dolphins, so that's a drop in the bucket. It's an irony that dolphins are among the most beloved, and the most exploited, animals in the world," Marino says.

(Physorg.com)

Safety

Putting your child in contact with a wild animal is dangerous. Yes, dolphins are cute and evolution gave them the appearance of smiling, but they are not like "Flipper." While we hate to think of them as such, but by their nature, dolphins are very aggressive predators. I saw one comment on this topic that probably sums up why people don't think they are dangerous: "They are too adorable to be dangerous!"

In contact with humans, dolphins have been known to bite and exhibit "sexually aggressive" behavior. In addition to biting, dolphins have head-butted, raked their teeth along limbs, cracked ribs, broken arms, bruised, and dragged people under water. One man in Brazil was killed when he apparently stuck something in the creature's blowhole, something I am fairly certain my daughter would want to try within the first minute of "therapy". The following story concerns a bottlenose dolphin, the same species as our old friend Flipper.
In March 1994, a bottlenose dolphin that the locals came to call Tiao began appearing on the beach near Sao Paulo. Tiao did not seem to be associated with any nearby group and was obviously attracted to humans. Such animals, often called ambassador dolphins, are rare. No one knows why they prefer to associate with humans rather than their own kind. But the attraction was mutual. According to the BBC's magazine Wildlife, "At times, Tiao would be surrounded by up to 30 people, climbing on his back, tying things to his flippers, sticking things into his blowhole, hitting him with sticks, even trying to drag him out of the water to be photographed with the family and kids on the beach." In December, after nine months of this, Tiao rammed one man to death and injured several others. *

I highly recommend you watch the Penn and Teller show Bulls*&^ on Dolphins. Part II of this episode mentions DAT for kids with special needs. WARNING: Graphic Language, Don't watch if you are easily offended. If you are not easily offended, you are in for a hilarious treat.

Part I:

Part II:

Part III:

Related articles on both side of the Dolphin Therapy issue:

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