Autism: On the rise, but not without help!

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that usually affects children before the age of 3. These children usually have trouble with social interaction, altered communication skills and usually become isolated due to their repetitious interests. Forms of autism can vary in severity. A popular example comes from the Tom Cruise movie, Rainman, where his brother, Dustin Hoffman played an autistic adult. Since the 1990's, according to the National Autism Association, Autism is on the rise. The Center for Disease Control estimates that 1/150 children are diagnosed with a form of autistic behavior. The causes vary from genetic hits, to abnormal blood vessel function, to the increasing popular theory that vaccinations, including the DPT, and more importantly the MMR vaccine was partly to blame. Studies performed by Dr. Andrew Wakefield and researcher, Dr. VK Singh both have produced results implicating the MMR vaccine to increased rates of autism. While the research volume on causation theories is very high, the purpose of this article will shed light on potential treatments that have been found to be very effective in improving the lives of autistic children.

The first step according to the national autism association is to find a doctor, or stable of doctors that have experience with autism. A team of doctors and experts including allopathic, or traditional doctors, chiropractic, and naturopathic practitioners are the most popular forms of treatment for this disorder. The doctors should run diagnostic tests to see what shortcomings the patient has. For example, an Organic Acid test can help detect the presence of yeast or bacterial overgrowth in the patient's stomach. Again, according to the National Autism Association, an overgrowth or change in the normal environment of the stomach can increase “confusion, hyperactivity, short attention span, irritability, and aggression” in automatic children. Antibiotics are normally not recommended for infections if this is occurring, because it will destroy the good bacteria in the stomach. A naturopath, chiropractor or traditional doctor can recommend probiotics, which is a supplement of good bacteria to change the stomach environment. Analysis can also occur with blood or hair analysis. Hair analysis is usually recommended for children under 6 because of the emotional impact that blood withdrawal causes. Vitamin Diagnostics is a lab that the National Autistic Association recommends for testing to assess the needs of a particular individual. Remember, all patients will have different results and different needs, and the navigation for treatment is difficult, because the treatment is not concrete or the same for everyone.

Another important change is gluten free-casein free diet. Gluten can be found in toothpaste, play dough and hidden in many foods. A large percentage of autistic children will respond favorably to this change in diet. Again, back to the diagnostic testing. Your vitamin and mineral supplement should be directly related to the deficiencies found in the lab results. Omega fatty acids, garlic, iron and Vitamin B-6 are among the most popular vitamins and minerals prescribed. Finally, testing for heavy metals is an absolute must. Mercury is a toxic metal that is found in air, water, food, silver fillings. It can even be transmitted from mother to child. According to the CDC, “8 percent of women have blood levels of mercury that exceeded safe amounts”. We normally excrete mercury through hair, urine and feces to name a few, autistic children are known to have difficulties eliminating it. This is where detox agents become effective. Chelation therapy with medicine is popular, but is difficult on the child and the agent is known as a “neurotoxin” according to Dr. Boyd Haley. Ion cleansing has been found to be a very effective method of eliminating heavy metals from the body.

Autism is a topic that has grown in research, and while the topic remains controversial and experimental in it's causes and treatment, two things are generally agreed upon. Pittsburgh School of Medicine has put it bluntly, when they said the brain is reacting differently to sensory input and has poor internal communication. The treatments vary from traditional medicine (chelation), nutritional supplements, cleansing and detox and chiropractic adjustments to aid in the neurological communication. And while the results can be complicated and the treatments need patience from parents of autistic children, there are safe, natural alternatives with proven results.