It's that time of year

It's blog awards time!  Nominations are open for the Irish Parenting Blog Awards 2015.  I would be so grateful if you took a few minutes to consider nominating this blog.  It is listed as Advocacy in Action.

You can read about the different award categories here

To nominate a blog, Advocacy in Action?click here

Nominations close on 1 April so please don't wait!

All you need is your name and email address plus the URL/web address if you are nominating a post for Best Post of the Year

Here are a few of my favorite posts.  If you like one of them or any other post, please consider nominating it.   (Copy the URL under the title and then just click here!) Thank you!

You Tube (Compassion Choices)

Autism: Preparing Your Child for Adulthood

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What I Know Now - 3 Lessons from a Special Needs Mom

joseloya on Flickr

How to Become an Advocate for Your Child with Special Needs

fivehanks on flickr

Do Antibiotics Improve Autism Smptoms?

Ashlee 12 on Flickr
After seeing his son's autism symptoms improve following a course of antibiotics, a father is urging researchers to examine a link between the two. John Rodakis reports that his son's autism symptoms improved dramatically after a course of antibiotics.

Rodakis' son was diagnosed with "moderate to severe" autism several months before taking amoxicillin for strep throat. On the 4th day of his antibiotics course, Rodakis' son showed improvements in eye contact and speech.  He " became less ‘rigid’ in his insistence for sameness and routine; and also displayed an uncharacteristic level of energy." Rodakis' son continued to improve and on day 6 was able to ride a tricycle.  

After seeing this dramatic improvement, Rodakis investigated further.  Rodakis has an MBA and a background in molecular biology.  During his investigation, Rodakis found a 1999 study documenting improvement of autism symptoms in 8 of 10 children given antibiotics. In addition, he spoke with other parents who reported improvements on antibiotics.

Then Rodakis contacted Dr Richard Frye, head of the Autism Research Program at Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute. Rodakis and Frye collaborated with researchers in other medical fields.  They established two goals, a research trial and a scientific conference exploring connections between autism and the microbiome.
Human Gut Microbe by

The conference was held in June 2014 and resulted in a special issue on Autism and The Microbiome published in the journal Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease.  The special issue includes an article by Rodakis summarizing his son's experience with antibiotics and research on the connection between autism and the microbiome.

 "Current research is demonstrating that gut bacteria play previously undiscovered roles in health and disease throughout medicine. The evidence is very strong that they also play a role in autism. It's my hope that by studying these antibiotic-responding children, we can learn more about the core biology of autism, said Rodakis.

Rodakis does not want parents of children with autism rushing to get antibiotics thinking they are an effective treatment for autism. “I’m not advocating the use of antibiotics as a long-term treatment for autism, but I would like to see serious medical research into why some children seem to improve when taking antibiotics,” Rodakis told Healthline.

Rodakis' article is "An n=1 case report of a child with autism improving on antibiotics and a father’s quest to understand what it may mean."  

Easy 2 minute test lets parents check for concussions in children

Max Andrews on Wikimedia Commons
A simple eye test done on the sidelines detects concussions in student athletes, according to researchers from the NYU Langone Concussion Center.  The eye test takes less than two minutes to do and people without medical training can administer it, reports research published in the Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology. The King–Devick (K–D) test is effective on children as young as 5 years old, states information published on March 5.

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury. A concussion causes a temporary loss of brain function. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons states that concussions can affect “memory, judgment, reflexes, speech, balance and muscle coordination.” In addition, some people lose consciousness when they sustain a concussion, but a concussion can occur without a loss of consciousness.

Although a first concussion may not cause permanent brain damage if a second concussion follows closely it can cause permanent disability or death. “Given that concussions may cause devastating short and long-term cognitive effects, tools like vision testing that can objectively diagnose a concussion are critical,” says Laura Balcer, MD, co-author of the study.

Greyerbaby on Pixabay
The rate of concussions among young athletes rose dramatically between 2005 and 2012. During that 7-year period, the number of concussions more than doubled, according to a study by Ohio State University

Researchers examined concussion statistics in nine sports including boys' football, boys' and girls' soccer, girls' volleyball, boys' and girls' basketball, boys' wrestling, boys' baseball and girls' softball. Rates of concussions in football, boys' basketball, boys' wrestling, boys' baseball and girls' softball increased significantly in comparison to the other sports. Of all the sports, football had the most concussions.

During the K-D test, athletes are timed as they read numbers from papers or an iPad. Then, this time is compared with an earlier baseline test. A time greater than an athlete's baseline suggests that a concussion occurred,

More information on concussions is available on Heads UP, which is published online by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It has resources on concussions for parents, coaches and educators including:
  • concussion training
  • graphics and infographics
  • customizable materials
  • Public Service Announcements (PSAs)
  • podcasts
  • videos
  • survivor stories

This article was initially published by me in

13 Signs Your Child May Have Dysgraphia

Ministerio de EducaciĆ³n (UNESCO) via Wikimedia Commons
Dysgraphia is a neurological disorder and learning disability that primarily affects handwriting.  Parents and teachers may notice problems when children start learning to write.  Children with dysgraphia may also have ADHD, dyslexia or another disorder.  Here are some signs of dysgraphia:
  1. Hand cramping and/or pain when writing
  2. Writing not within page lines or margins
  3. Handwriting illegible
  4. Very slow writing and copying
  5. Difficult or unable to write and think at same time
  6. Spelling problems
  7. Mixes cursive writing and printing
  8. Awkward position of hand and/or wrist when writing
  9. Uneven spacing between words and letters
  10. Mixes upper and lower case letters
  11. Tight grip on pen or pencil
  12. Incorrect spelling
  13. Punctuation problems

Keep in mind that bad handwriting alone does not mean a child has dysgraphia. It is important to have children evaluated by professionals.  Check out this video for more information on dysgraphia.

This article is for information purposes only. It is not intended and should not be interpreted as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay getting medical advice or treatment based on the information in this article.