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AUTISM

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Definition

Autism is a severe disorder of brain function, characterized by impaired & restricted social interaction and communication. Marked by problems concerning social contact, intelligence and language. They often perform ritualistic, repetitive or compulsive behavior.
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Description

Autism can be a lifelong disorder that interferes with the ability to understand what is seen, heard, and touched. Because of this it can lead to profound problems in personal behavior and in the ability to relate to others. Behavior patterns that develop naturally in most people have to be taught to individuals with autism. A person with autism must be taught how to communicate normally and how to relate to people, objects and events. Autism varies in its degree of severity among individuals. The disorder has a full range of symptoms, ranging from mild to severe.


Autism occurs in about 1 out of every 150 children, and is found almost four times more often in boys than in girls. It occurs everywhere in the world among all races and social backgrounds. Autism is often evident in the first three years of life. In some children, the disorder can be difficult to detect, and often goes undiagnosed until the child enters school.


Autistic Savant is a variation where the characteristic autistic behavior is present in individuals who show a unique talent in one specific area, such as mathematics, memory, music, or art.

Causes

Autism affects the way the brain uses or transmits information. There is a lot of controversy as to the actual causes, but it is undeniable that in recent times, this brain disorder has reached epidemic proportions.


It is argued that the disorder develops before birth and thus is categorized as a genetic disorder. In a few cases the appearance of autistic behavior is caused by a disease, such as rubella (German measles) in a pregnant woman, encephalitis (brain fever), or phenylketonuria left untreated.


In spite of medical community adamantly denying a possible connection between autism and vaccination, many parents passionately believe that their otherwise normally developing children radically changed after being vaccinated!
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Symptoms

There is a wide range in severity of autism among different individuals. It may range from severe to mild. There may be aggressive behavior against other people, and they may even try to harm themselves. Others may only have mild symptoms. There can be problems getting along with others and various learning disorders.


The most typical symptom of autism is an inability to relate to others. It is not uncommon for infants with this disorder to refuse to cuddle, be adverse to express or receive affection, and avoid eye contact. They appear not to require or desire physical contact or affection. They can become rigid or limp when held, and cry when picked up. It appears that autistic infants do not form attachment to the parents or siblings, and may be frightened by strangers. Typical infant and childhood games and activities are not participated in.


Autistic children often do not speak at all. They can engage in nonsensical sounds and repetitive noises. They may learn specific words or phrases, which they will repeat over and over. They may reverse the order of words in a simple phrase.
Autistic children do not play like other children. They appear to be more limited in interaction and role playing. They do not seem to have the ability to use their imaginations to create fantasies. Generally they repeat and imitate simple behavioral patterns of the people around them.


They often develop complex and ritualized behaviors; very specific actions and sounds that are repeated in a very specific way, over and over again. There is a whole range of what appears to be strange unexplainable behavior. They may have screaming fits when they are excited or anxious, they may rock back and forth, or make unusual movements with their hands, fingers, feet, face or even contort the whole body. They can play with their own bodily discharges. Certain autistic children become self-destructive, biting their own hands, poking their own eyes, pulling at their hair or banging their heads.


They can either ignore objects or become obsessed by them. They sometimes become so preoccupied with an object that they can not focus on anything else. Sounds can be very difficult for autistic individuals, which they can find very painful and may resort to banging their heads or flapping their fingers in discontent. In order to avoid dealing with the sounds and impressions, they often withdraw into their own world. They can laugh, giggle cry or shriek for no apparent reason. They can become terrified by a harmless object, or on the other hand, have no fear of immanent danger.
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Diagnosis

There are no medical tests to confirm autism. It is generally confirmed by observing a child’s behavior, their lack of communication skills, and their inability to interact “normally” with other people. Because autism is so varied, it is sometimes difficult to be recognized, and can be easily confused with other conditions. Often, other medical tests are performed in order to rule out other diseases.


Some of the more common signs that health advisors look for are:

  • Difficulty in developing friendships
  • Inability to make-believe or interact socially
  • Continuously repeating words and phrases
  • Problems communicating or interacting in a conversation
  • Preoccupation with specific parts of an object
  • Repetitive, obsessive and ritualistic behavior

 

The symptoms of autism vary from child to child, and they may have some symptoms and not others. For example, some may have problems with behavior and no communication or language impairment. In other cases, they may not develop symptoms until they grown older.

 

Conventional Treatment

According to conventional medicine, there is no cure for autism, and their treatments are merely aimed at reducing specific symptoms. And because the symptoms of autism differ from individual to individual, no single treatment program works for every patient. Certain programs incorporate music training, listening & vision exercises and speech and language therapy. Often specific diets and medication are recommended. The two treatments most often employed include educational and behavioral training and medication (methylphenidate, antidepressants, opiate blockers, antipsychotics & tranquilizers).

 

Alternative Treatment

Megavitamin therapy has been used with some success according to some parents, which involves the use of very large doses of vitamins. It has been reported that Vitamin B6 may improve eye contact and speech and also reduce tantrums. DMG is a product that is carried in most health food stores that is similar to glycine, a naturally occurring amino acid, and is reputed to improve speech in autistic children. Those who respond to DMG, do so within a week.
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Gluten & Casein Free Diet

Change of diet is of particular importance, and a diet that is Gluten & Casein free alone has led to considerable improvement. Autistic children often suffer from digestive or gastrointestinal issues, e.g. “leaky gut” (contents leaking into the rest of the body), chronic diarrhea or constipation, IBS-like symptoms, and mal-absorption problems.


Gluten and casein belong to longer chains of molecules, which the body has more difficulty in breaking down. Normally, the intestines produce enzymes to break these chains down into simple sugars. These sugars are then absorbed directly. When there is a difficulty breaking gluten and casein down and properly absorbing them, the excess sugars become food for bacteria and fungus and can also start to leak through the gut, causing widespread problems throughout the body.

 

The following reactions may be observed due to the consumption of gluten and casein:

  • Clouded mental function
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Impaired Social Connection
  • Blocking of pain messages
  • Dilated pupils
  • Anxiety

 

With the removal of gluten and casein, parents have reported positive results such as better sleep patterns, better bowel movements, an increase in language, expression, affection, calmness, better cognition, less stimming, better sensory processing, the ability to stay on task and improved potty training.


Gluten is a protein found in the Plant Kingdom. Plants that contain gluten are members of the grass family of wheat, barley, rye and their derivatives. Derivatives include: malt, grain starches, hydrolyzed vegetable/plant proteins, textured vegetable proteins, grain vinegars, soy sauce, grain alcohol, flavorings and the binders and fillers found in some vitamins and medications.


Casein is milk protein, which has a molecular structure that is extremely similar to that of gluten. Many families also avoid soy protein because the soy protein molecule is reported to be similar in make up to the gluten and casein molecules.
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Interesting Facts & Stats on Autism

  • 1 in 150 children
  • 4:1 ratio of boys to girls
  • 1 in 98 boys
  • Fastest growing developmental disability
  • 100 billion annual costs
  • In ten years the annual costs are projected at 200-400 billion.
  • Cost of lifelong care can be reduced by 2/3rds with early intervention.
  • A family with a child with autism will fund 3 to 5 million dollars of services throughout the lifetime of the child.
  • More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than cancer, diabetes, Downs Syndrome and AIDS combined.
  • Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding of most of the more prevalent childhood disorders.
  • Approximately 1 million individuals in the US have autism,
  • Studies have shown that environmental toxins like mercury and pesticides are related to the increase in autism.
  • There has been no study that has directly linked a pure genetics basis for autism.
  • The fastest growing genetic disorders are approximately 1% per 100 years. Autism is much greater than that. 10 years ago, the rate of autism was 1 in 10,000 births. Today it is 1 in 166. This is a 5,000% increase in 10 years.

 

Myths Regarding Autism

  • Bettelheim believed autistic children did not feel loved by their mothers and retreated into a world of their own.
  • Children with autism and related disorders do not have emotional feelings, and are unable to love and feel loved.
  • The autistic child needs a good spanking.
  • Children are born with autism.
  • Vaccines have nothing to do with autism.
  • Autistic children are “savant”.
  • Autism is a neurological disorder.
  • The increase in the rate of autism is due to better diagnosing (if this astonishing increase is due to better diagnosing, where are the thousands and thousands of adults with autism who should have received a diagnosis 10, 20 or 30 years ago?).
  • There is no cure for autism.

 

Homeopathic Approach

There is a lot of debate as to the cause of Autism; some argue that it is due to unsafe vaccines or internal absorption of environmental toxins, others argue that it is purely a genetic disease. It is possible that neither argument is completely correct. If it were truly due to vaccines or toxins, then all individuals who have been exposed to these morbid influences would be autistic. On the other hand, if it were only genetic, then we would not be witnessing such a dramatic increase in the number of cases in the last 20 years, where we now see that 1 in 150 children are autistic. And because this disorder affects 4 times as many boys than it does girls, we see that 1 out of every 98 boys is autistic. Statistically, autism is the fastest growing developmental disability. Also, it should be noted, autism is generally diagnosed at 44 months, and in many children with autism, they were meeting all their developmental milestones before the age of 2, when suddenly they regressed into autism.

 

Most likely, autism is influenced by both genetic disposition and environmental factors, which is also the reason why it has become one of the most difficult disorders to deal with. Along with this, we see that children with autism have other influences which tend to aggravate or increase the severity of their symptoms, the consumption of casein and gluten being a prime example. Homeopathically these are not considered causes, but triggers. In the same way, vaccines and environmental toxins are not the cause, but are major influences that can trigger the tendency. In homeopathy the tendency is critical, because unless we remove the tendency, the condition will always have the possibility of recurring or relapsing the moment we are less vigilant regarding the triggers.


So, neither argument is completely correct, AND neither argument is completely incorrect. It is rather a combination of both (genetic & environmental), in that a child who is compromised, either from genetic influences or a temporary illness such as a flu or cold may be more susceptible to the negative impact of the vaccines or toxins. Certainly some feel that if vaccines could be cleaner and completely safe, that might help but the homeopathic perspective would argue that if one has a predisposition for a particular condition, there could be any number of triggers that could lay siege on the body. Can we remove them all? Doesn’t it make more sense to get to the source and strengthen the very weakness that is allowing the invaders to attack and take over? A strong defense is the best offense.


Homeopathy works toward rebalancing an individual’s vital force, which is the highest level of health and well-being maintenance. The vital force is that power which operates all the functions of the mind, body and spirit. It is the vital force that controls our immune system, bodily functions and other vital aspects of health and well-being. Without the vital force, none of us could live, breathe or exist. Deviations from health, which we experience as “symptoms”, reflect an imbalance in the vital force. By merely attending the symptoms, we do not reach the source of the imbalance. If the imbalanced vital force can be brought back into equilibrium, the symptoms (and autism is just a symptom) can be removed permanently. Homeopathy works directly on the vital force.


The other major benefit of the homeopathic approach, is that a “classical” homeopathic therapist is holistic and will oversee all aspects of the individual’s health and regimens. They will understand the entirety of the individual’s history and will take the time necessary to make sure they have all the pieces of the puzzle.
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