Diet and supplements have made a huge impact on my son. At 4 years old, I thought he was destined for institutionalization until we went Gluten Free. Going dairy free got rid if his eczema and green stools. Supplementing certain vitamins/minerals have helped his sensory issues and OCD.
Recent large-scale studies have found that medical conditions in individuals with autism were higher than expected. Detailed clinical studies done in the US, Europe and Asia confirmed that co-morbidities like eczema, allergies, asthma, headaches/migraines, seizures and gastrointestinal issues were highly prevalent compared to the normal population.
In a consensus report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, they specifically state that “Care providers should be aware that problem behavior in patients with ASD may be the primary or sole symptom of the underlying medical condition, including some gastrointestinal disorders.” (Buie et all.,2010). This means that behaviors typically seen in the autism population are physical in origin, can be identified with proper testing and treatable/manageable through medical care. These studies made it clear that each child with autism should undergo extensive medical assessment.
Here is a great case study of a child diagnosed with PDD-NOS who responded very well to being treated biomedically.
Initially, I urge everyone to try the GFCF diet for at least a few months. I also want to note that those who see no response on this diet may actually need to try the SCD or GAPS diet to heal the digestive tract. See my Special Diets section for more on those.
To get started, make sure your child is taking a good multi-vitamin, getting a source of Essential Fatty Acids (ie fish oil or fermented cod liver oil), a probiotic and digestive enzymes.
I definitely urge you to get testing done. Allergy testing is important as well as checking vitamin/mineral levels. Our kids are often deficient. Knowing Zinc and Vitamin D levels is especially important. Check the testing section of this website for more information on this.
Biomedical doctors known as DAN/MAPS physicians are expensive. If you can get labs done through your normal pediatrician, it would be helpful. Find support groups in your area that might give you some tips on open-minded pediatricians who will do these tests for you. Based on the results, you can get a feel for where you need to go next with testing.
My final piece of advice is to check out the TACA website. They actually have a blueprint of how to proceed with biomed type treatments. There is a ton of info on the website, you can get a free parent mentor, attend free webinars and more. There could even be a chapter in your area. They have an entire section on going GFCF too.
Check out my grant/scholarship section for those who want to start biomed or need assistance with continuing biomedical treatments.
Things to do
2. Visit the TACA website. There is a ton of helpful information. Read the stories of hope. See if there is a chapter in your area. Apply for a mentor if needed.
3. Stay connected to friends and family, educate them and help them to be part of your team. Many don’t know what is going on, what your day is like, or how you’re feeling. Start a blog or journal and allow them to read it if helpful.
4. Find respite organizations in your area, where they will take care of your child for a few hours while you do something for yourself, for free or a small fee.
5. Communicate with your significant other, stay connected, make sure to have special time carved out for your relationship. Try to follow the 10 habits of a happy couple.
6. Take care of yourself! Take your vitamins, get your sleep, eat well. You are no good to anyone if you are sick. It’s like they say on the airplane, secure your own oxygen mask before helping others.
7. Document everything. Behaviors are the body’s way of telling you that something is wrong and anything can be a trigger. This can include the weather, pollen count, phase of the moon, when you used household cleaners etc.
8. Find a doctor who understands autism and is willing to do medical testing outside of the norm, such as testing for genetics, MTHFR, allergies, vitamin/mineral deficiencies, EEG, digestive system analysis, heavy metals etc. Getting the body working properly by supplementing appropriately can help your child get the most out of his/her behavioral therapies. You don’t like to work or be challenged when you’re not feeling well, right?
9. Consider diet changes. Gluten/wheat and dairy are top culprits, thus why so many see positive results from removing those things. Remove foods with artificial colors.
10. Look into state based financial aid. Look into scholarships and grants for therapies and services. Ask for special needs assistance or discounts wherever you go. Try to spend your money last.
11. Don’t obsess over the past, or worry about what caused this. I, personally, believe that all things happen for a reason. Instead of asking “why me?” Ask “why not me?” None of us want to be here, but you can find strength in yourself to move forward….and do it confidently.