Thursday, 2 February 2012

Treating Autism - The Natural Alternative

According to current trends in autism research, it has become apparent that the underlying cause of autism is biomedical. This means that to help a child, teen or adult reach their full potential, it is critical to identify and treat underlying health issues.
Behavioral modification and integrative therapies (auditory, visual, and sensory) can be also extremely beneficial when carried out in a humane fashion by competent and caring professionals. However most children in the autism spectrum make considerably more progress in these therapies if underlying health issues are addressed at the same time. Nutritional intervention helps parents get the most out of the time and/or money invested in other therapies.
Tens of thousands parents have found that their children have made significant behavioral and cognitive gains when put on a nutritional intervention program. According to multiple surveys of parents including those through the Recovered Kids website and Defeat Autism Now organization, the majority of parents whose young children recovered from autism were placed on a nutritional intervention program. From a diagnosis that was considered to be permanent and non-recoverable, now it is estimated that up to 40% of children diagnosed with and autism now lose their labels. Those those who do not lose their labels are often functioning at a significantly higher level than had been thought possible even 10 years ago.

There are a range of natural supplements available for the treatment of autism. 
These fall under a range of subheadings being:

  • Neurological Support
  • Enzymes ( Enzymes can break down foods that are typically not completely digested by individual on the autism spectrum, preventing the creation of harmful neuro-toxic opiate-like molecules from gluten and casein proteins commonly found in animal milk products and grains, and reducing the amount of undigested food that provides a breeding ground for pathogenic organisms such as Candida, Clostridia, and Klebsiella.  Some enzymes actively reduce the populations of pathogens by breaking down their cell walls.)
  • Glutathione Support (Virtually all children with Autism are deficient in Glutathione, which is critical for many metabolic processes, including anti-oxidant protection and elimination of toxins.)
  • Multi Vitamins/Minerals
  • B Vitamins 
  • Beneficial Oils
  • Vitamin C and Immune System Support 
  • Probiotics
  • Calcium - Non Dairy 
  • Chelation - Detoxification Support 

Regardless of what forms of treatment are taken, everybody works differently and reacts differently to different products. Bear in mind that results will vary from individual to individual. 

Treating Autism - Therapies and Medicinals

An early, intensive, appropriate treatment program will greatly improve the outlook for most young children with autism. Most programs will build on the interests of the child in a highly structured schedule of constructive activities. Visual aids are often helpful.
Treatment is most successful when it is geared toward the child's particular needs. An experienced specialist or team should design the program for the individual child. A variety of therapies are available, including:

  • Applied behavior analysis (ABA)
  • Medications
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Speech-language therapy

Medicines are often used to treat behavior or emotional problems that people with autism may have, including:
  • Aggression
  • Anxiety
  • Attention problems
  • Extreme compulsions that the child cannot stop
  • Hyperactivity
  • Impulsiveness
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Outbursts
  • Sleep difficulty
  • Tantrums
Currently, only risperidone is approved to treat children ages 5 - 16 for the irritability and aggression that can occur with autism. Other medicines that may also be used include SSRIs, divalproex sodium and other mood stabilizers, and possibly stimulants such as methylphenidate. There is no medicine that treats the underlying problem of autism.

Some children with autism appear to respond to a gluten-free or casein-free diet. Gluten is found in foods containing wheat, rye, and barley. Casein is found in milk, cheese, and other dairy products. Not all experts agree that dietary changes will make a difference, and not all studies of this method have shown positive results.
If you are considering these or other dietary changes, talk to both a doctor who specializes in the digestive system (gastroenterologist) and a registered dietitian. You want to be sure that the child is still receiving enough calories, nutrients, and a balanced diet.
Beware that there are widely publicized treatments for autism that do not have scientific support, and reports of "miracle cures" that do not live up to expectations. If your child has autism, it may be helpful to talk with other parents of children with autism and autism specialists. Follow the progress of research in this area, which is rapidly developing.
At one time, there was enormous excitement about using secretin infusions. Now, after many studies have been conducted in many laboratories, it's possible that secretin is not effective after all. However, research continues.

A look at the History of Autism

From the early 1900s, autism has referred to a range of psychological conditions. But where did the term come from, and how has knowledge about autism changed? Do you know how autism is diagnosed and treated? Do you want to know more about the different types of autism? Read on to learn about the history and the current understanding of this challenging condition.

What Are the Symptoms of Autism?

One symptom common to all types of autism is an inability to easily communicate and interact with others. In fact, some people with autism are unable to communicate at all. Others may have difficulty interpreting body language or holding a conversation.
Other symptoms linked to autism may include unusual behaviors in any of these areas:
  • interest in objects or specialized information
  • reactions to sensations
  • ways of learning
These symptoms are usually seen early in development. Most children with severe autism are diagnosed by age 3. Some children with milder forms of autism, such as Asperger's syndrome, may not be diagnosed until later when their problems with social interaction cause difficulties at school.

Where Did the Term "Autism" Come From?

The word "autism," which has been in use for about 100 years, comes from the Greek word "autos," meaning "self." The term describes conditions in which a person is removed from social interaction -- hence, an isolated self.
Eugen Bleuler, a Swiss psychiatrist, was the first person to use the term. He started using it around 1911 to refer to one group of symptoms of schizophrenia.
In the 1940s, researchers in the United States began to use the term "autism" to describe children with emotional or social problems. Leo Kanner, a doctor from Johns Hopkins University, used it to describe the withdrawn behavior of several children he studied. At about the same time, Hans Asperger, a scientist in Germany, identified a similar condition that’s now called Asperger’s syndrome.
Autism and schizophrenia remained linked in many researchers’ minds until the 1960s. It was only then that medical professionals began to have a separate understanding of autism in children.
From the 1960s through the 1970s, research into treatments for autism focused on medications such as LSD, electric shock, and behavior change techniques. The latter relied on pain and punishment.
During the 1980s and 1990s, the role of behavior therapy and the use of highly controlled learning environments emerged as the primary treatments for many forms of autism and related conditions. Currently, the cornerstone of autism therapy is behavior therapy. Other treatments are added as needed.

What Are the Types of Autism?

Over time, psychiatrists have developed a systematic way of describing autism and related conditions. All of these conditions are placed within a group of conditions called pervasive development disorders (PDD). Within PDDs, the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) category includes the following:
Pervasive development disorder -- not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS):Children diagnosed with "atypical autism" are included in this group. Children with PDD-NOS have symptoms that do not exactly fit those of autistic disorder or any other ASD. For example, the symptoms may have developed after age 3. Or the symptoms may not be severe enough to be considered autistic disorder.
Asperger's syndrome: Children with Asperger's syndrome may display many of the same symptoms as children with autistic disorder. However, they usually have average or above average intelligence. They often want to be social with others but don’t know how to go about it. They may not be able to understand others' emotions. They may not read facial expressions or body language well. Their symptoms may not become apparent until school. Then they’re noticed when behavior and communication with peers become more important.
Other conditions share symptoms with PDDs and ASDs. These conditions include the following:
Rett syndrome: Children with this severe, rare condition begin with normal development from birth through about 5 months of age. However, from about 5 to 48 months of age, head circumference development slows. Children lose motor skills and social interaction and language development become impaired.
Childhood disintegrative disorder: Like Rett syndrome, children begin developing normally. However, from about age 2 to age 10, children are increasingly less able to interact and communicate with others. At the same time, they develop repetitive movements and obsessive behaviors and interests. They lose motor skills, too. This usually leads to them becoming disabled. This autism-like condition is the rarest and most severe autism spectrum disorder.

Aim of Autism Australia

Autism today is becoming a disorder affecting more and more people not only around the world but also right here in Australia.
The aim of this blog is to further educate Australians on all aspects of Autism and to also provide some options regarding the treatment of the Disorder. Any feedback as the blog grows will be greatly appreciated as we hopefully find a way to control the symptoms of it and maybe even one day, possibly even a cure.
Autism can and will be defeated by patience, futher education and trials. Tribulations will occur but we must withstand these to give our loved ones the best chance at a "normal"life.