Autism, what is it?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disability; signs typically appear during early childhood and affect a person’s ability to communicate, and interact with others. Your Pediatrician can start to recognize these symptoms between 1-2 years old and should be testing for concerns. ASD is defined by a certain set of behaviors and there is a wide spectrum as to how it impacts each child’s life.

There is no known single cause of autism, but increased awareness and early diagnosis/intervention and access to appropriate services/supports lead to significantly improved outcomes.

Many of the early signs of Autism deal with difficulties with social interaction. 

The range and severity of symptoms can vary widely. Common symptoms include:

  • difficulty with communication
  • difficulty with social interactions
  • obsessive interests
  • repetitive behaviors
  • difficulty making eye contact
  • poor motor skills’ and sensory sensitivities (overly sensitive to the feel of clothing or texture of foods).

A person with ASD may follow many of these behaviors or just a few, or many others as well. The diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder is applied based on analysis of all behaviors and their severity and how they impact that child life and learning.

Autism is treatable.

Children do not “outgrow” autism, but studies show that early diagnosis and intervention lead to significantly improved outcomes. For more information on developmental milestones, visit the CDC’s “Know the Signs. Act Early” site.

  • Lack of or delay in spoken language
  • Repetitive use of language and/or motor mannerisms (e.g., hand-flapping, twirling objects)
  • Little or no eye contact
  • Lack of interest in peer relationships
  • Lack of spontaneous or make-believe play
  • Persistent fixation on parts of objects

Early recognition, as well as behavioral, educational, and family therapies may reduce symptoms and support development and learning.

Chickpea Sunflower Sandwich

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 3

Ingredients

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup roasted unsalted sunflower seeds (if salted, scale back on added salt)

3 Tbsp vegan mayo (sub tahini for a more earthy, nutty flavor)

1/2 tsp dijon or spicy mustard (if using tahini instead of mayo, use 1/4 tsp)

1 Tbsp maple syrup (or sub agave or honey if not vegan)

1/4 cup chopped red onion

2 Tbsp fresh (or 1 Tbsp dried) dill, finely chopped

healthy pinch each salt and pepper (to taste)

4 pieces rustic bread, lightly toasted (gluten-free for GF eaters)

optional: Sliced avocado, onion, tomato, and or lettuce for serving

 

Garlic Herb Sauce (optional)

1/4 cup hummus

juice of 1/2 lemon (~1 Tbsp)

3/4 – 1 tsp dried dill (or sub 2-3 tsp fresh)

2 cloves garlic, minced

Water or unsweetened almond milk to thin

 

Instructions

  1. Prepare garlic herb sauce and set aside.
  2. Add chickpeas to a mixing bowl and lightly mash with a fork for texture. Then add sunflower seeds, mayo, mustard, maple syrup, red onion, dill, salt, and pepper and mix with a spoon. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  3. Toast bread (if desired) and prepare any other sandwich toppings you desire (tomato, onion, lettuce).
  4. Scoop a healthy amount of filling onto two of the pieces of bread, add desired toppings and sauce, and top with other two slices of bread.
  5. Sunflower-chickpea mixture will keep covered in the fridge for up to a few days, making it great for quick weekday lunches!

Nutrition Information (without sauce, bread or toppings)

Serving size: 1/3 of recipe Calories: 311 Fat: 16g Saturated fat: 1.7g Carbohydrates: 26g Sugar: 7.3g Sodium: 107mg Fiber: 9g Protein: 11.5g

Cucumber, Watermelon and Arugula Salad

Number of Servings: 8

Serving Size: 1 1/4 cups

Yield: 11 cups

Start to Finish: 25 min

 

Ingredients

4 cups chilled seedless watermelon cut into small chunks

4 cups baby arugula

1 medium seedless cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

1 cup thinly sliced red onion (1 large)

1/2 cup snipped fresh mint

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (2 ounces)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl combine watermelon, arugula, cucumber, red onion, and mint. If desired, cover and chill for up to 1 hour.
  2. For vinaigrette, in a screw-top jar combine vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper. Cover and shake well. Pour vinaigrette over watermelon mixture; toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with cheese and walnuts.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 159 cal., 12 g fat (2 g sat. fat), 6 mg chol., 10 g carb., 209 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 3 g pro.

Easy Quinoa Salad

yield: serves 4

prep time: 10 minutes

total time: 10 minutes

 

Ingredients

FOR THE DRESSING:

1/4 cup olive oil

1 clove minced garlic

2 tablespoons lemon juice (1 large lemon)

1 tablespoon golden balsamic vinegar or champagne vinegar

1 teaspoon pure maple syrup or honey

Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

 

FOR THE SALAD:

2 cups cold cooked quinoa

2 cups fresh spinach leaves, chopped

1 cup chopped cucumber

1 cup halved grape or cherry tomatoes

1 large avocado, pitted, peeled, and chopped

2 green onions, sliced

Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

 

Directions

First, make the dressing. In a small bowl or jar, whisk together the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, maple syrup or honey, salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine quinoa, spinach, cucumber, tomatoes, avocado, and green onions.

Drizzle salad with dressing and gently stir until salad is coated with the dressing. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve.