World Autism Awareness Day

For those who are unaware, today is “World Autism Awareness Day” — I am all for mental health awareness (my blog focuses on both mental and physical health). I think it is good that we keep ourselves educated and aware of current events going on around us, mental health issues/conditions and wanting to understand other people’s experiences. I know autism isn’t anything new, but I know people who suffer from a mild form of it, and some of my family members have worked with kids who suffer from moderate to more severe forms of autism. We have come a long way in science, but still there is no affirmative answer as to how some people become autistic and others don’t. It is believed that both environmental factors and genetics play a part in autistic persons but NO specific environmental causes have been proven yet. For a while I know many people blamed the vaccination that prevented childhood infectious diseases but multiple studies have said that the vaccinations did not increase the chances of autism — not saying that these studies are 100 percent true, because I believe there may be studies who slightly disagree with this claim, but I suppose it all depends on what source is saying what and your thoughts around it after gaining more understanding and research on the topic. 

 

If you are unaware of what autism is, it is characterized as “a developmental disorder that that impairs the ability to communicate and interact”. With this being said, it doesn’t mean that everyone with autism cannot speak or form sentences, or is mute; I have a client with autism, who functions and speaks just the same — as said before, some have mild forms and others have more moderate or severe forms of autism. 

 

Common signs of autism?

 
  • Social impairment and communication difficulties — some people find social interactions difficult. Simply avoiding eye contact, not respond to their name, children with autism may find they would rather be alone (play games by themselves vs playing with other children), many people with autism may have a difficult time with talking about their feelings and understanding other people’s feelings. Delayed speech, no speech, inappropriate forms of speech, awkwardness while talking, may repeat phrases, or give unrelated answers to questions.. etc.
  • Repetitive & characteristic behaviors: Repetitive movements or unusual behaviors, become obsessive over certain topics, preoccupied with certain aspects of a toy, many people with autism thrive from routine (changes can be challenging for them), anger or emotional outburst. etc. 

There are more signs I hadn’t listed but this gives you somewhat of an understanding but it’s always good to get more information from your medical doctor or a specialist in the area of mental health who can provide more answers. 

 

Treatments can include medications that DON’T CURE OR TREAT MAIN SYMPTOMS, medications can help some of the symptoms (anxiety, depression, obsessive behavior), another treatment is “educational & behavioral interventions (which have been proven to be helpful) 

 

Diagnosing autism can be difficult at times because of the fact that sometimes symptoms go unrecognized for a period of time & not everyone experiences the same type of symptoms. 

Some early on indicators might be: 

  • poor eye contact
  • no response to name
  • no babbling or pointing by age 1
  • no smiling or social responsiveness

just to name a few. Later indicators:

  • impaired ability to make friends with peers
  • repetitive or unusual use of language
  • abnormally intense or focused interest
  • preoccupation of certain objects or subjects

plus more that I haven’t listed. Again, the best thing to do is ask questions to medical professionals or do your own research, because even if you don’t know anyone who suffers from autism, it doesn’t mean you won’t ever come into contact with someone who doesn’t have it. Hopefully this information was somewhat helpful and more of you share your own tidbits of information in the comment sections; thanks for reading, comment, like, and share! 

 

Shay-lon 

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The “Female Triad” – Have you heard of it?

Female athletes beware… 

 

It is possible you have experienced this as a female athlete or maybe your child is experiencing this OR it could be that you know someone who is experiencing this. Most females have experienced this depending on the sports they played and how serious they took their athletics – many coaches and parents might not see anything wrong with it because it comes with being an athlete having the mindset of being the best, but what happens when being the best is causing health issues and making it harder on you in the long term and short term. 

 

What is the female Triad?

 
  • A syndrome in which eating disorders, amenorrhoea, and decreased bone mineral density are present. Primarily caused by an energy deficiency. 

Now you would assume, how is this considered normal? well it isn’t. Sadly, many people don’t stop to question these things until it is too late or don’t see the signs right away because they don’t pay close enough attention, or possibly because their teenager is avoiding the topic and allowing the guardian to believe all is well when it is NOT. As athletes, you know we have to make sacrifices and some can be harmful and some can be good, but we make these sacrifices because we want to be the best at whatever we do and we don’t want to make the coach or our teammates upset – we have this mindset of win, win, win and any loss is a bad loss. This was my same mindset as well, any loss was a loss I was mad about and the tantrums I would throw and the cussing and the anger and the blaming the players and the constant striving for perfection is all that mattered to me growing up playing sports. It can be tough being an athlete. 

 

We all have our downfalls but this is serious and I want to bring it to your attention in case any of you might be going through it now or know someone who is, so that maybe you can identify it and be more aware and helpful.. if anything, I hope this post teaches you something new.

 

Who is effected?

  • Typically anyone can be effected, but it primarily effects female athletes who participate in sports that emphasize leanness, such as:gymnastics, ballet, diving, figure skating, aerobics, running. Some other classes that include males experiencing this might be: wrestling, rowing, and martial arts. 

Symptoms:

  1. weight loss
  2. absent or irregular periods
  3. fatigue
  4. stress fractures
  5. binge eating 
  6. restrictive dieting
  7. induced vomiting
  8. excessive exercise

Prevention practices:

  1. AVOID emphasis on achieving unrealistically low body weight
  2. avoid out of competition weigh ins
  3. athletes, coaches and parents need to be aware of any warning signs 
  4. rules encouraging excessive weight loss should be discouraged and eliminated. 

Treatment:

  1. The athlete will deny, but medical help is mandatory because it can become serious and eventually cause long term issues if not death.
  2. they should have proper support from coaches, family, friends, teammates
  3. speak with a nutritionist
  4. many times treatment requires some kind of intervention from different specialist and family, friends, etc

Now with this being said, nothing will change if we don’t become the change. We might not be able to save every athlete or change every coach or parent’s mind but we can be aware with both eyes open and speak on this topic when necessary to avoid it happening to yourself, your child or a friend possibly. I am HUGE on body positiveness and preventing females from going down some of the paths I went down knowingly and unknowingly and hopefully helping those who may have questions or concerns dealing with this topic or any of this nature. I am not a medical doctor but I can offer an ear, advice, tips, conversation, etc that might be helpful to an individual. I don’t want men thinking this can’t happen to them, because I know both sexes deal with issues but this specific issue is more prone to female athletes. All I ask is that all of you share this and talk about it with friends and family and social media, make it an issue so that others make it their problem to change how we coach, change our rules that govern these ways of thinking and to hopefully make some type of difference. 

 

Thank you for reading, please feel free to contact me personally, to leave comments, share experiences, follow my blog and social media, and to reblog if you wish as well. 

 

Fitness WonderWoman,

Shay-lon xo