Aptos psychologist: research shows melatonin can assist children with autism to sleep better. Check with your doctor first.

Melatonin for Sleep Issues Related to Autism

By Lisa Jo Rudy, About.com

Updated: April 16, 2009

“Melatonin is a hormone. It is secreted by the pineal gland, and helps regulate sleep rhythms. Natural or synthetic melatonin is often prescribed for people with sleep disturbances, no matter what their cause.

Research shows that people with autism often suffer from sleep disturbances including insomnia and night waking. For parents with children on the autism spectrum (or for adults with autism spectrum disorders), melatonin could be just the ticket.

While melatonin does not generally have side effects, it is important to consult your doctor regarding appropriate dosages. This is particularly important if you are treating a child. Though you can purchase melatonin over the counter, dosages described on the bottle are unlikely to be appropriate for a little one.


Andersen IM, Kaczmarska J, McGrew SG, Malow BA. Melatonin for Insomnia in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders. J Child Neurol. 2008 Jan 8 [Epub ahead of print].

Dodge NN, Wilson. Melatonin for treatment of sleep disorders in children with developmental disabilities. GAJ Child Neurol. 2001 Aug;16(8):581-4.

Garstang J, Wallis M. Randomized controlled trial of melatonin for children with autistic spectrum disorders and sleep problems.Child Care Health Dev. 2006 Sep;32(5):585-9.


Aptos psychologist: ask your pediatrician about cod liver oil and melatonin for children with autistic spectrum disorders

What drugs assist children with autistic spectum disorders? Autism Research Institute polled 1,297 parents. LSome of the drugs lsted under Got Better include the following. Anybody remember cod liver oil as a child? That’s on the list. So is Melatonin, a over the counter drug that assists with sleep. For more info, go to Autism Research InstituteAutism Research Institute

Melatonin 75% (107 cases),
Detox (Chelaton) 75% (72 cases)
Fatty Acids 65% (133 cases)
Food Allergy Treatment 63% (109 cases)
Methyl B 12 (subcutaneous) 63% (8 cases)
Naltraxone 56% (18 cases)
Cod Liver Oil 53% (160 cases)
Phenobarbital Seizures 53% (15 cases)
Secretin: Transdermal 50% (8 cases)
Valtex 50% (2 cases)


Aptos psychologist: How parents can screen for communication & language delays

How frequently does your two year old engage in the following?

Smile in response to a smile?
Initiate a request?
Make a verbal request?
Make a non-verbal request?
Respond to name?
Follow a point?
Join with adult in play?
Make eye contact?
Engage in functional play?
Engage in symbolic play?

The above is based on research to identify early signs of delays in children. Early intervention with an appropriate program tailored to your child is best for chiildren exhibiting delays. Be sure to have your child’s hearing and vision abilities checked by your pediatrician.

If you have questions about the above or like to discuss how your child is progressing, you may contact Cameron Jackson, Ph.D., J.D. Dr. Jackson’s practise is in Santa Cruz, CA. She is available for consultaiton in California.

Licensed Psychologist PSY 14762
FAX 831 688-7717
831 688-6002


Why peek into wombs unless medical necessity? Ultrasound may affect brain development.

ultrasound harms brain development in mice

Ultrasound Affects Embryonic Mouse Brain Development
Article Date: 08 Aug 2006

“The prolonged and frequent use of ultrasound on pregnant mice causes brain abnormalities in the developing mouse fetus, Yale School of Medicine researchers report August 7 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“Proper migration of neurons during development is essential for normal development of the cerebral cortex and its function,” said Pasko Rakic, M.D., chair of the Department of Neurobiology and senior author of the study. “We have observed that a small but significant number of neurons in the mouse embryonic brain do not migrate to their proper positions in the cerebral cortex following prolonged and frequent exposure to ultrasound.”
Neurons in mammals multiply early in fetal development and then migrate to their final destinations following an inside-to-outside sequence. The destination defines the neurons’ connectivity and function. It has been reported earlier by others that abnormal cortical function may result when this process is grossly altered by genetic or environmental factors such as alcohol and drugs.

“The study reported on August 7 is believed to be the first to look at the possible effect of ultrasound waves (USW) on neuronal migration in mice at a late stage of embryonic brain development, when the migratory pathways are the longest and may be most vulnerable. The Yale team injected more than 335 fetal mice at embryonic day 16 with special markers to track neuronal development. Exposure to USW for 30 minutes or longer caused a small but statistically significant number of neurons to remain scattered within inappropriate cortical layers and/or in the adjacent white matter.

“The magnitude of dispersion of labeled neurons was highly variable but increased with duration of exposure to ultrasound waves,” Rakic said. “These findings suggested the desirability of further work in this area. We do not have any evidence ourselves that USW cause behavioral effects in mice or have any effect on the developing human brain.”

“Therefore,” he continued, “I want to emphasize that our study in mice does not mean that use of ultrasound on human fetuses for appropriate diagnostic and medical purposes should be abandoned. On the contrary: ultrasound has been shown to be very beneficial in the medical context. Instead, our study warns against its non-medical use. We intend to conduct further research, which will focus on non-human primates, to see if a similar effect is occurring in the developing larger brains, which are more similar to humans. Those upcoming studies should give us information that will be more directly applicable to uses of USW in humans.” The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke of the National Institutes of Health supported the study.

C-authors include Eugenius Ang Jr., Vicko Gluncic, Alvaro Duque and Mark Schafer of Yale.

written by Cameron Jackson www.freedomOK.net/wordpress


kids with autism or fragile X sleep better with over the counter medication

over the counter medication assists with sleep
over the counter medication assists with sleep

A study in the April 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine determined that over-the-counter

    melatonin medication

can shorten the length of time it takes for children with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), Fragile X Syndrome (FXS), or both to fall asleep at the beginning of the night.

Results of the study indicated that children who received over-the-counter melatonin treatments experienced significant improvements in total night sleep durations, sleep latency times, and sleep-onset times. Mean sleep duration was longer on melatonin than placebo by 21 minutes, sleep-onset latency was shorter by 28 minutes and sleep-onset time was earlier by 42 minutes.

According to the senior author, Beth L. Goodlin-Jones, PhD of the M.I.N.D Institute at the University of California Davis Health System in Sacramento, Calif., treatment with over-the-counter melatonin supplements benefits children of all ages, which helps alleviate some of the additional stress that parents of special-needs children experience.

“Sleep onset problems at the beginning of the night are very troublesome for children and their families,” said Goodlin-Jones. “Sometimes children may take one to two hours to fall asleep and often they disrupt the household during this time.”

Authors report that sleep problems are reported in up to 89 percent of children with autism and 77 percent of children with FXS, the most common form of inherited mental impairment ranging from learning problems to mental retardation, and also the most commonly known cause of autism. Dyssomnia (difficulty falling asleep and frequent nighttime awakenings) are among the most commonly reported problems. Researchers hypothesize that difficulty sleeping in these children is increased due to abnormal levels of melatonin, a natural hormone secreted from the pineal gland that is believed to promote sleep at night.

The study included information from 12 children between the ages of 2 to 15.25 years. Sleep quality and quantity were measured both objectively and subjectively. Five participants met diagnostic criteria for autism, 3 for FXS, 3 for FXS and ASD, and 1 for FXS alone.

Participants were given two weeks’ supply of either melatonin or a placebo. After they completed the two week dosage they were then crossed over to the alternate treatment for an additional two weeks. All participants were assessed for autism and received DNA testing for the diagnosis of FXS.

Authors recommend that in addition to the use of over-the-counter melatonin supplements, behavior therapies and sleep hygiene practices should be used to manage sleep problems in children with autism and FXS. Notes:

More information about over-the-counter use of melatonin is available from the AASM for patients and the public at: http://sleepeducation.com/Article.aspx?id=794

The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine (JCSM) contains published papers related to the clinical practice of sleep medicine, including original manuscripts such as clinical trials, clinical reviews, clinical commentary and debate, medical economic/practice perspectives, case series and novel/interesting case reports. In addition, the JCSM publishes proceedings from conferences, workshops and symposia sponsored by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine or other organizations related to improving the practice of sleep medicine

For more information contact psychologist Dr. Cameron Jackson


Aptos nurse adopts dogs in lieu of grand-kids

Lots of kids are not having kids so fewer grand-kids. Stories by parents about grand-kids and/ or not having grand-kids.

Rescue a dog when no prospects of grand-kids
Rescue a dog when no prospects of grand-kids
I was in hospital for some life saving proceedure and the nurse & I chatted about about Life. What Matters. “Got any grand-kids?” I asked. She said no, that she had 4 children and no prospects. She said it used to bother her not having any grand-kids. She said that she decided to put that behind her. Decided to adopt – DOGS. She takes in dogs that needs rescueing ahd helps find permanent homes. She could not resist some of the dogs and now has about 6 dogs. Says rescueing a dog is better than knitting a sock.

So what are your grand-kid stories?

contact Cameron Jackson www.freedomOK.net/wordpress


Aptos psychologist opines: Applied Behavior Analysis cannot create spontaneity in children

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) cannot create spontaneity in children. Becuase spontaneity is something that comes from within the child, not elicited from without.

ABA is a popular technique for treatment of autism and autistic spectrum disorders. Remember Pavlov? He taught a dog to salivate when a bell is rung. With ABA, a stimulus is presented with goal of eliciting a particular response. The goal is that when the trainer does X the child will do Y.

ABA can jump start the beginnings of language. For children who have no verbal language and are around 18 months it can be quite helpful. ABA can shape behavior. It is a powerful technique.

But, Simulus-Response techniques have major limitations. They cannot make your child to spontaneously hug you and say you are the greatest Mom and Dad. ABA techniques cannot teach a child to spontaneously relate with another child.
Check out carefully the techniques that are applied to your child who has autistic specrum issues.
written by licensed psychologist Cameron S. Jackson, Ph.D., J.D.

Below comes from Neurodiversity blog concerning a book by Stanley Greenspan on Floortime approach:

Research Support for a Comprehensive Developmental Approach to Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Other Developmental and Learning Disorders by Stanley Greenspan
“Current research suggests that modern developmental, relationship-based approaches to working with children with ASD and their families focus on the goal of strengthening or constructing the functional developmental capacities for relating, communicating, and thinking. To accomplish this goal, modern approaches work on creating emotionally meaningful learning interactions that are tailored to each child’s and family’s developmental profile.”