Autism statistics in today's world are alarming. Even more alarming is having your own child diagnosed with autism.

In the past, there were few treatments that promised improvement in the symptoms of autism, and therefore parents viewed a diagnosis of autism as a sentence of doom. Recently, however, an alternative approach called Functional Medicine has made great strides in identifying the biochemical causes of an individual child's autism and in delivering significant improvement.

Autism's Symptoms

Typically, autism is diagnosed at 30 months or earlier. It is a neurological disorder that disrupted normal brain function. Early diagnosis is key to effective treatment.

Autistic children tend to have difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication, intellectual development, and forming social relationships. In some cases, they also show compulsions and aggressive or self-injurious behaviors.

The signs and symptoms of autism include low birth weight, substantial failure to develop social relationships, language disorders with impaired understanding, involuntary repetition of a word or sentence just spoken by another person, reversal of pronouns, compulsive actions, and in most cases, slow intellectual development.

Identifying Autism's Cause in an Individual

Causes of autism that clinicians have observed include:
· Exposure to toxins, especially heavy metals in the environment, childhood vaccines and pesticides
· Food allergies
· Gastrointestinal disorders

All of these factors cause toxicity in the body that affects the nervous system.

By testing a child's blood and urine, we can assess his or her neurotransmitter and nutritional deficiencies as well as the presence of toxins and thereby determine the appropriate therapy for that individual.

Natural Therapies for Autism

If the laboratory test results indicate a deficiency in neurotransmitters, the Functional Medicine practitioner would prescribe their replenishment. Neurotransmitters involve a chemical makeup in the brain that is responsible for behavior and learning.

If the lab tests indicate the presence of heavy metals or other toxins, the Functional Medicine practitioner would eliminate these through detoxification protocols, including the use of nutrition and detoxifying the gastrointestinal tract with natural botanical substances.

Nutritional deficiencies would be corrected through a change in diet and a prescription for natural supplements.

Improvement and Prognosis

Sleep is generally the first area to improve, often within one week. Hypersensitivity and socialability are usually the next to improve. Finally, speech and potty training improve as well.

Although a child may still require special education, speech therapy and other therapy, the outlook for autistic children is much brighter now than in the past.