Friday, May 29, 2020

Caring for people with ASD during the coronavirus

If the changes brought on by COVID-19 is especially difficult for "normal" people, what more to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder? People with ASD can lead normal lives as long as there's routine, according to Dr. Curtis Cripe. With many of businesses and institutions caught in a standstill due to the pandemic, these routines that give these persons a degree of functioning have been compromised. Here's advice on how to help people with ASD during this time.

Image source: hopkinsmedicine.org

Image source: cookchildrens.org/

In response to these times, you will need an emergency plan in case the primary caregiver or the person with ASD gets sick. A plan involves a list of contacts and resources. Make sure you attach pictures to this list aside from their numbers and color coding to appeal to someone with ASD.

After making sure you have an emergency plan, you will need to establish a new routine. The routine should share commonalities with their own normal routine while incorporating different sensory and behavioral activities. You should also establish cues about activity times so they can easily pivot and adjust. Your interventions should also involve the physical environment, like putting labels on things and making a space for certain types of activities, adds Dr. Curtis Cripe.

Of course, you should also seek resources and your community online as you push on with your developmental goals with your loved one who has ASD.

Dr. Curtis Cripeis currently working in a White House-NASA committee during the pandemic. His committee has been asked to spearhead long-term and on-going TeleHealth and TeleMedicine protocols and procedures that can be followed during the current and future Pandemics as well as TeleMedicine and TeleHealth even after the COVID-19 diminishes. Dr. Curtis Cripe is a brain development expert and a former engineer at NASA.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Neurodevelopment and beyond: When children have bad dreams

One of the fascinating things that can happen to people occurs in their dreams. When people sleep, the body rests, but the mind at times goes to places the body otherwise would have never reached. However, the opposite can also happen. Sometimes, dreams can be quite scary and downright terrifying. While this can be jarring even for the most courageous of adults, one can only imagine the effect on children.
Image source: mumslittleone.com

Image source: huffingtonpost.com
Dr. Curtis Cripe mentions that what magnifies nightmares for children is that at a young age, they still have issues telling the waking and dream worlds apart. This is still a huge question mark in science and the research of dreams, but parents will be able to help their child when the latter wakes up in tears.

But before anything else, Dr. Curtis Cripe mentions that parents should never dismiss their children’s dreams. Doing so may have a negative effect on children, especially since some nightmares may impact how a child perceives the world and, ultimately, their behavior. That said, parents should also learn how to approach a child without making things worse.

Psychologists and therapists have come up with ways in which parents may help children confront the situation. Children may be asked to draw their dreams, with these drawings becoming topics of conversation later. Another way is to reinforce the belief in children that they are safe with their parents at all times, Dr. Curtis Cripe adds.

However, mental health experts mention that if children cannot let go of their dreams and they seem bothered throughout the day, parents should take the next step and bring them to a child psychiatrist.

Dr. Curtis Cripeis a neuroengineer with a diverse multidisciplinary background that includes software development, bioengineering, addiction recovery, psychophysiology, psychology, brain injury, and child neurodevelopment. For more updates on neurological disorders, visit this blog.

Friday, March 27, 2020

The link between physical trauma and drug addiction

Over the years, law enforcement together with doctors, researchers, scientists, therapists, and mental health professionals have recognized a lot of “gateways” into drug addiction. From cannabis to alcoholic beverages to pain killers, these seemingly less serious substances have led people into harder drugs such as crack, cocaine, and heroin.

In today’s blog, Dr. Curtis Cripe explores a rather unconventional gateway to drug addiction— trauma. It is important to note that while psychological and physical trauma are not substances that a person can take like marijuana or hard liquor, their effects are similar when it comes to leading a person into addiction and abuse.

Image source: familydoctor.org
One of life’s most tragic realities is that many children experience physical and psychological trauma. From beatings to sexual assault, to witnessing violence between their parents, to even having to go through their parents’ divorce if a marriage becomes messy, all these events can have life-long effects on children.

People with childhood trauma who are not lucky enough to get therapy and treatment seek other ways to cope with the memories of their experiences. And as they grow older, they find ways to alter their consciousness through substances such as alcohol and medication, and then harder and more dangerous drugs.

A great deal of people in the world have been changed for the worse because of childhood trauma. And a huge percentage of drug addicts cite psychological and physical trauma early on in their lives as among the main factors that led them to substance abuse, Dr. Curtis Cripe adds.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is the head of research and development at the NTL Group, which specializes in the creation of neuroengineering programs for the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders. For more reads on neurology, go to this page.
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Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The main difference between Asperger’s and autism spectrum disorder

For most people, distinguishing Asperger’s and autism spectrum disorder or ASD can be difficult. We in the science community continue discovering new aspects of neurological disorders that definitions tend to change often, especially for relatively new diseases. Dr. Curtis Cripe states that people need to have a clear idea of the two neurological disorders as mistaking one for the other can raise serious concerns.
Image source: brainbalancecenters.com

Autism spectrum disorder is a neurological condition where the brain’s development is hindered, which causes problems in social interaction and communication. Medical experts use the term spectrum because ASD refers to a wide range of different symptoms with varying severities. Aside from leading to difficulty in communication and social interaction, ASD can also show repetitive patterns of behavior in people suffering from it.

As for Asperger’s Disorder, people who suffer from the condition, unlike those with ASD, want to have social interaction with other people but don’t know how to do it. They are described as socially awkward and have poor understanding of social conventions, may lack empathy, or find it difficult to read social cues.

Image source: webmd.com
One would easily mistake Asperger’s with the first level of the ASD spectrum, which is often described as manifesting in people with high functioning autism. What makes it easy to distinguish Asperger’s from ASD is the fact that there is no delay when it comes to speech and communication in Asperger’s patients.

Because of the nature of Asperger’s, it has been added and removed or reclassified as being part of the spectrum of ASD. Due to the nature of neurological diseases and disorders, Dr. Curtis Cripe believes that there is still much to learn about neurological disorders, how they can be treated, and how people can better manage them.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is a multidisciplinary neuroengineer and aerospace engineer whose diverse background includes software development, bioengineering, addiction recovery, psychophysiology, psychology, brain injury, and child neurodevelopment. To know more about Dr. Cripe, visit this website.

Friday, January 17, 2020

What to do after detecting autism in children

The symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can sometimes be difficult to spot at earlier stages. These include problems in language comprehension, delay in speaking, abnormal tone of voice, inappropriate social interaction, and poor eye contact. It may even take another person to suspect something. According to neuroengineering expert Dr. Curtis Cripe, parents should have their children tested for ASD if they suspect anything because catching it at an early stage can make a big difference.
Image source: raisingchildren.net.au

Once the diagnosis has been confirmed, parents should prepare. And, more importantly, they shouldn’t let the disorder intimidate them. They should find the time to learn all about ASD, what changes in their lifestyle are expected, and what can be done.

Also, some parents tend to blame themselves because of the genetic anomaly of ASD. Your child is still the same blessing you had since day one and nothing changes that fact. It’s not the end of the world and there are truly wonderful stories out there regarding people with ASD and the leaps and bounds they are able to make despite the situation.

Image source: blog.chocchildrens.org
Lastly, some parents look at ASD as a life-threatening disease like cancer. However, it is a brain disorder, not a disease and many proven therapies can help. While it is indeed life-changing, Dr. Curtis Cripe believes that it doesn’t mean that your child should be treated anything other than a loved one growing up and discovering the world, just like any other kid.

Dr. Curtis Cripeis a multidisciplinary neuroengineer and aerospace engineer whose diverse work background includes software development, bioengineering, addiction recovery, psychophysiology, psychology, brain injury, and child neurodevelopment. To know more about Dr. Cripe and his expertise, visit thiswebsite.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Why the assumption of depression as a phase is false

Image source: health.harvard.edu
In the early 2000s, emo bands were a thing and a lot of teenagers had started dressing up differently. They had been strongly influenced by bands like My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, The Used, and other bands in the genre. But many years later, these same fans changed the way they looked. One could say that the emo look was just a phase, a state one can outgrow over time. According to Dr. Curtis Cripe, the opposite is true with depression, because depression is not just a phase.

Depression is an actual health issue: a mental health issue. You don’t tell a cancer to stop spreading or a headache to go away. The thing with depression is that it’s not just about looks; people need to go beyond what they see. Sure, depression can manifest physically (an overall look of tiredness, poor grooming, etc.), but forcing a person suffering from depression to change will only make matters worse.

Depression needs to be handled with precision. Focusing on symptoms like the inability to do certain tasks or certain changes in behavior does not address underlying causes like pain or abuse. As for the person suffering from depression, his or her struggle is within. Still, this does not mean that they have to face it alone.

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To assume that depression is just a phase is false. Depression has been around for a long time, and the idea that it’s just a phase has already been debunked. In a way, calling it a phase oversimplifies the condition and can hurt those who suffer from it. Dr. Curtis Cripe says that seeking professional help is always the best course of action when dealing with this debilitating mental health issue.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is a multidisciplinary neuroengineer and aerospace engineer whose diverse background includes software development, bioengineering, addiction recovery, psychophysiology, psychology, brain injury, and child neurodevelopment. For more reads on depression and other neurological illnesses, visit this website.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Lifestyle changes for people experiencing mental health problems

One of Dr. Curtis Cripe’s areas of expertise is in behavioral health. And while he believes regular consultations with healthcare professionals are the necessary tools in battling and managing mental health problems, Dr. Curtis Cripe also explains that people have to do their part in helping themselves and their loved ones who might be suffering from any illness.
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Below, Dr. Curtis Cripe lists some important activities and lifestyle changes people can do alongside seeing a healthcare professional.

1. Stay connected.

Many people experiencing mental health problems tend to be withdrawn, shying away from society altogether. Dr. Curtis Cripe mentions that people with severe anxiety and depression should stay connected with the people they trust most and are most comfortable with. While this is easier said than done, it can be achieved gradually.

2. Adopt a more active lifestyle.

Science has confirmed exercise as an important tool in improving a person’s mood. Even the simple act of walking around the neighborhood or in the mall for a few hours can help a person suffering from depression. Alongside the release of endorphins, being active diverts a person’s mind from the things that can trigger depression.

Image source: APlaceOfHope.com
3. Stay away from alcoholic beverages.

Dr. Curtis Cripe strongly cautions people suffering from mental health problems from drinking alcoholic beverages or taking illegal drugs since these substances only serve to dampen one’s mood and create chemical imbalances in the body. Consuming healthy and energizing foods is the way to go, Dr. Cripe adds.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is the head of research and development at the NTL Group, which specializes in neuroengineering programs aimed at the diagnosis and treatment of various neurological disorders. For more reads on neurology, go to this page.