Autism One: Changing the Future for America's Children
Autism One is a yearly conference that brings together practitioners of all kinds who are finding success in the treatment of Autism, NDD’s (neuro-developmental disorders like ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, etc), and other chronic health issues. The conference focuses on the latest research and treatments with one goal--turning around the pandemic of chronic illness we see in America today, particularly that of autism. There are those out there that will say the information disseminated at this conference is quackery, unscientific, and will discredit those that speak at the conference. If you are one of those people then this article isn’t for you. Every speaker I listened to listed multiple scientific references, and more importantly, what they said made sense. My undergraduate and limited graduate experience focused highly on science, particularly child development and neurology, and as a mother of highly-sensitive children I have had to learn how to keep my own family healthy. I chose to do that through the study and implementation of holistic treatments. I bring you this information today with the hope that something you read here can help you on your own health journey.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and the information here is not designed to be a diagnosis or treatment plan. I am disseminating information given to me and recommend you use this information as a starting point for your own research, and as a tool of discussion with your health providers. Throughout this article I will offer you links to products that I have found helpful for my own family. Because I spend so much time recommending things, it makes sense that when the possibility arises to become a distributor for those products, I would sign up to do so in order to find some financial compensation for my time and advice. I am always grateful for your support of my small business, but please don’t feel as if my goal with this article is to sell you stuff. I want you to be healthy and I want to assist you on that journey through education and resources. If you aren’t interested in the products I recommend you will still find the information here useful.
So, what did I learn at Autism One?
1. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is just that---a spectrum. It is a behavioral diagnosis, not a physical one, and as such has more than one underlying cause, and therefore a variety of successful treatments. The underlying health imbalances seen in those with an autism diagnosis are characterized by high-inflammation in the body, gut dysbiosis (an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the gut, often resulting in a condition known as “leaky gut”), high toxicity, and an imbalance in the nervous system. Getting to the root cause of the behavioral symptoms is key to healing and turning around the diagnosis. The earlier in life the intervention, the higher the success rate of removing the diagnosis, or at least the cessation or easing of symptoms. Roughly 12%-15% of Autism is considered fully genetic (for example, in Timothy Syndrome). In many cases the gene mutations found in autistic children are NOT found in the parents, suggesting an environmental cause for gene mutation. When discovering the physiological imbalances in an autistic person, as well as those with other neuro-psychiatric diagnoses like ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder, you may find heavy metal toxicity, decreased ability of the body to detoxify itself, imbalances in the gut, food and chemical allergies/sensitivities, chronic infections like Lyme Disease, Pans/Pandas (caused by streptococcus bacterium), and biotoxins (like mold and parasites), and eczema/rashes and other auto-immune conditions. Seeing that list, you can see why the complexity of treating those with this diagnosis can be daunting.
2. Diet is key. Both in autism and with any other chronic condition, health outcomes improve with the implementation of a healthier diet. The Standard American Diet, otherwise known as SAD, is just that. It is full of what I call “food-like products.” It is low on the nutrition necessary for optimal biological function. When the body is in bio-chemical homeostasis that results in health. You CANNOT find health without the proper nutrients. You also cannot find health when the body is inundated with synthetics and toxic chemicals like herbicides and pesticides that burden the body’s detoxification systems. Those with ASD respond very well to a gluten-free/dairy-free diet, and often both soy and corn should be removed as well. It is important that the diet be as close to 100% organic as possible to avoid the resulting chemical exposure to herbicides/pesticides and genetically-modified foods. Many parents with an autistic child hesitate to radically change their child’s diet because said child is very picky and will only eat certain things. I don’t want to be insensitive, but I will be frank. If you want your child to have optimal health, you MUST address the diet. Whether you do it in baby steps or all at once, telling your child that the store doesn’t sell their favorite food anymore, it is absolutely necessary. You can try all sorts of other treatments, but without addressing diet your success will be hugely hampered. It helps to have the entire family adjust to a healthier diet. This rubs up against the parent’s cognitive dissonance and their own issues around food and is therefore incredibly challenging. It effects the other children in the house and can cause a lot of resulting grief for everyone. Especially in a house-hold that is already burdened with the stress of a chronic health condition and it’s resulting challenges, changing the diet is daunting and often overwhelming. I know in our own family we eat organic as much as possible and avoid dairy, gluten, soy, peanuts, GMO’s, and all synthetic, man-made ingredients. It effects our ability to eat at restaurants, at friends’ houses, at birthday parties, etc. But this is what I will tell you--my highly-sensitive children who are genetically-predisposed to autistic behaviors are healthy and symptom free. We have to work at it in our home, but the benefits of a healthy child are far greater than the downsides. There are lots of diets out there that address the treatment of autism and I urge you to research them. (Examples are GAPS, Paleo, low-histamine, etc.) If you’re looking for an easy and fast way to increase nutrient-density in your food, we use Purium products.
3. Electro-Magnetic Fields (EMF’s) caused by wireless routers, cell phones, computers, “dirty” energy in our walls (spike and surges in our wiring), etc. must be addressed. Research shows these fields have a wide range of health effects because they open the Voltage-gated calcium channels in the cells and the NMDA receptors (glutamate receptors) in the body. They cause mutations in the genetic material in the germ cells (sperm), increased heart-rate, anxiety, an inability to properly detoxify, sleep problems, and a breakdown of the blood-brain barrier (the protective barrier around the brain.) There are researchers out there that believe that exposure to high-EMF is a direct cause of Autism. To find out more on the science behind EMF health issues check out the BioInitiative Report from 2012. For more information on mitigating the effects of EMF in your home, please see my page on EMF Protection and Energy Savings. Furthermore, screen time of any kind also contributes to hyperactivity and emotional mood swings for a variety of reasons. Limiting screen time as much as possible is key for all children, but especially those on the spectrum. For more on that,check out Dr. Victoria Dunkley's Book "Reset Your Child's Brain: A Four-Week Plan to End Meltdowns, Raise Grades, and Boost Social Skills by Reversing the Effects of Electronic Screen Time."
4. There is a great deal of research showing that treatment of the endo-cannibinoid system of the body with CBD oil has far reaching implications for treating ASD, as well as seizures, anxiety, PTSD, etc. As a new science there is great debate on the best way to deliver the CBD oil (topically in a cream, orally, etc.). There is agreement that this type of treatment cannot be one-size-fits-all and must be catered to each individual. Elevation Health, our Wholistic Wellness Center, carries QuickSilver Brand CBD Oil. Please Contact Us for more information. An appointment with one of our practitioners or a note from your health care provider must be obtained before we can send out an order.
5. In the treatment of autism, gut imbalances must be addressed. As I mentioned earlier, autism is highly-correlated with gut dysbiosis. This causes an inability to absorb nutrients, growth of bad bacteria and yeasts, leaky-gut (causing full proteins to leak into the blood stream and causing food allergies and inflammation). The presence of permeability of the gut membranes also directly correlates with permeability of the brain, or a break-down in the blood-brain barrier. This allows toxins into the brain, which clearly is something you don’t want. As mentioned earlier, this is why diet changes are key. Using food enzymes and probiotics can also be helpful. There is a lot of information out there on the best ways to heal gut dysbiosis and I urge you to research this topic further. While there are many routes available to you, there is complete agreement among those treating Autism that this is something that must be addressed. One word of caution--some with an autism diagnosis have issues with processing histamine. Fermented foods and bone-broth are both very high in histamine and therefore may not be an appropriate solution for everyone.
6. Detoxification is often a big key. Keep in mind that if the EMF’s in the environment the child spends time in are high, detoxification will be inhibited, so addressing the EMF in the environment is step number one. Examples of detoxification are using food products like greens (chlorella, spirulina, wheat grass, etc.), ionic trace minerals as a binder, high-dose, food-based or liposomal vitamin C (ascorbic acid won’t work), liver support supplements like milk thistle and NAC (n-acetyl cysteine)--both support glutathione production-- or glutathione itself, activated charcoal, proper gut biome balance through probiotics and healthy fungus like Saccharomyces Boulardii, AMD Ion Foot Spas, Infra-red saunas, homeopathic cleanses, epsom bathes, and on and on. Keep in mind that avoiding toxins in the first place is key (more on that in my blog post Why Purity Matters.) I am certified in Purium detoxification products, as well as having a child whose detoxification processes are inhibited genetically, and the examples here are ones I have used with own family successfully. However, there are lots of options out there and it’s important to work with a health professional who has knowledge in this area. Detoxing too much or too fast can cause a worsening of symptoms, so it is best to tread carefully.
7. Knowing your genetic