Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hip Hip Hooray!!!!

We have reason to celebrate in our house (well, many actually but I will cover one here). And I find this appropriate to be posting on the last day of April which is Autism Awareness Month. We had my son's IEP yesterday. This included full evaluations from the team (OT, SLP, teacher and school psychologist) since he will be entering Kindergarten next year. When we entered the school system in August of 2006 the school district placed my son in the integrated preschool class since that was the least restrictive environment. I understand that reasoning however, after just a short time, the team realized that was not the right setting. I had my reservations from the beginning but I let them try the integrated setting. In late October 2006 the team reconvened to do the same battery of tests as were just performed, including an ADOS test. That ADOS test would be the piece that allowed my son to receive the diagnosis of Autism. His SLP at the time also did a CARS evaluation which is another Autism rating scale. She came up with a score of 39.5 which put him in the severely Autistic range. I have never thought my son was severely Autistic. But these scores showed us the need to place him in the SPICE preschool program which is geared towards children with Autism. I have documented our journey from then on in this blog and shared our news last October when he was released from SPICE and moved into the integrated preschool class again fulltime.

The CARS rating scale was used to evaluate him last month. This time it was done by his current preschool teacher. She gave him a score of 26.5 which is in the Non Autistic range!!!! We still have our formal diagnosis, although our state will require us to re qualify him at his 6th birthday which is coming around the horn. I have my doubts as to whether we will get another diagnosis of Autism but I will cross that bridge when I get to it.

His school SLP completed a battery of tests and he does still qualify for speech, although his vocabulary tests (both expressive AND receptive) fell within normal ranges! Not bad for a child who could barely talk just a couple of years ago! He also qualifies for OT for fine motor assistance and a sensory diet.

He also qualifies for a program in our school district that is for children whose primary disability is in the oral communication realm. It is a small class (10 - 12) as opposed to the large Kindergarten classes (20 - 30) and has 3 aides. The children are held to the same curriculum but they are given more time to cover the material and it can be more child directed. And, we still have him on the waiting list for a charter school which is also very child-centric. Either course will be an exciting new adventure for him and I welcome both programs at this point. From the school district's perspective, we now have a classification of Specific Learning Disability - Oral Expression and Listening Comprehension.

I have always said all along, I could care less what you call my son's challenges, as long as we meet them head on. His school team has accurately assessed him (his teacher's scores and my scores on the Vineland and SSRS were almost EXACTLY the same which was amazing but goes to show how well she knows my son!) and are providing all the supports that we have asked for and that he needs to succeed in school. I cannot ask for anything more than that.

I think of all the progress my son has made and know it is due in large part to our biomedical treatment protocol. The fact that we and the school team are seeing less "Autistic behaviors" is directly attributed to our work to heal his gut, get rid of pathogens, clean up his diet and provide his body with methylation and sulfation support. And, I made sure I told everyone that! I want people to look at my son's scores, his progress and UNDERSTAND why he has made such progress. To understand WHY people have a hard time recognizing Autism in him is to understand our journey towards healing. This is not a fluke, my child is not one in a million. I firmly believe ALL children with Autism can be helped with biomedical support. And here comes my plug for Dr. Woeller. He has directed our progress and it is with his guidance that my son has achieved such dramatic success. I do not proclaim that ALL children who do biomed will lose their diagnosis but I will say they will all be healthier and when you are healthier you do function better, period. Not such a hard concept really.

So, there is our exciting news. My son has made so much progress and his future seems brighter than ever. Kindergarten is around the corner and I am enthusiastic that whichever path we go (school district or charter) he will thrive and excel, which is always my hope. And, my goal for sharing is to 1) brag a little and 2) offer some HOPE to others out there in the same boat. I have been working for the last 3 years with my eye on this prize, getting him into a kindergarten class as functional as possible. We are there! He definitely needs some supports and our school is providing them. Now I need to stop, do my own reassessment and set some new goals for my son's future. I love the Taca tagline on their website "Some of our families have been told to put their child in an institution. We're hoping for Harvard.". I think it is so appropriate. Autism is an epidemic, more families will face this childhood disorder than any other and yet there is so much hope for healing and recovery. Never give up, never count your child out. That reminds me of a quote on our old SLP office "Aim for the moon and even if you miss you will land among the stars!".

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Jim Carrey's Huffington Post Article and other comments

Allyson writes: "Hello my name is Allyson. I heard about your blog from Shari's blog. Just recently we are starting to wonder if our 2 1/2 year old son is autistic. As I've read from your blog and Shari's I'm reading things that describe my son! Lightbulbs are going off in my head! So, I'll probably be checking out your blog often as I try and wrap my head around this. Thank you for sharing your wisdom."

Allyson, first off KUDOS to you for being aware of the signs and being willing to consider this may be an issue for your child. Sometimes that can be a very large hurdle for a family to jump, no one WANTS to think about Autism and their child. But, you are on the look out and an early start is one of the best advantages you have!!!! My son was so "borderline" that we missed a lot of time. We still did some dietary interventions and sensory support because of my dear friend Sunny who also was his very first OT. But, I think of where he could be today if I had found Dr. Woeller sooner and started all the biomed stuff back when my son was 2, 2 1/2 or 3! Good for you for being on top of things, your son is very lucky to have you for a mom!!! Keep up the awareness and don't hesitate to ask Shari or I anything! We will help in whatever way we can!

Briana writes: "Hey Terri,Thanks for the comment you left for me. I really needed to hear that. My mom came across this article written by Jim Carrey and I think you should post about it:) I know a lot of people look to your blog for inspiration. I know I do!! If you haven't read it yet here is the address: "

Hi Briana! As always it is great to hear from you. Yes, this article.... I read about it earlier this week. What can I say about it? Well, I have blogged a lot (a lot more than I really intended) on vaccines. I think this issue can be so divisive and my goal truly is to have this blog be a source of info and advice for people wanting to get started in biomed and/or dietary interventions with their child with Autism and to hear our story. However, I can't seem to hold back on this topic. Let's just get this out of the way.....until about 2 years ago I was 100% pro vaccine, full schedule, never missed a shot with my son. Even though at his 4 month shots (just as he was getting into the groove of sleeping) he stopped sleeping for longer than 20 minutes at a stretch. From that point forward, he was even more colicky, inconsolable and I was very, very exhausted and frustrated. He screamed for hours after vaccines. Once I had my daughter I realized then how negatively he reacted to vaccines. He was my first so I had no frame of reference. One thing I remember about his infancy is his desperate screaming for hours each day and night. It breaks my heart. And yet I did not question that he needed all the vaccines, including hep B which we should ALL know by now that NO infant or child needs unless they are an IV drug user or engaged in unprotected sex, how dumb! So flash forward a few years. The more I learned about Autism the more I learned about the human immune system.

The immune system is largely found in the digestive tract (which is why it is even more important to eat a healthy diet and why a bad one can impact our immune system so much). We are expecting attacks through the mucous membranes. When the body receives an attack like that it can wage an appropriate battle against it. However, an injection largely bypasses the normal immune response. They add additional toxins in the form of thimerisol, aluminum, formaldehyde, etc. not only as preservatives but to garner an even larger immune response. Things can go haywire. Andrew Wakefield was the first to show the vaccine strain Measles virus embedded in the lining of the gut in children with Autism. This was not community acquired, it was the vaccine strain! Do you think this was supposed to happen? No.

Do I think it is all about the mercury? No. Thimerisol IS still in vaccines, even in trace amounts they are not legally required to report so don't fool yourself that it is all gone. But, what of aluminum or other toxins? I think those are as harmful.

What about Hannah Poling? You remember her right? The first child to receive a judgement in vaccine court that showed her Autism WAS caused by vaccines. The vaccine court worked hard to show that she had a "rare" mitochondrial disorder. Really?!?! Rare?!?! I would argue that mitochondrial disorders (and even more commonly DYSFUNCTIONS) are not rare in Autism at all. Muscle biopsy is the real definitive way to test and rarely do people want to subject their children to that. There is an acronym that is useful here:

Hypotonia (low muscle tone)

My son has all but 1 (epilepsy) right now and I know seizures can start for our kiddos at any time so maybe one day we will have all of these. Many kids with Autism would fit this description. Mitochondria come from us moms, dads are off the hook here. Mito disorders have also been connected to chronic fatigue, something I have joked about having for years.....maybe not such a funny joke now. Mito disorder and dysfunction DO leave our kids more susceptible to vaccine injury.

I have blogged about inherited disease before. What if over the generations we have so polluted our bodies to the point of an increase in these mitochondrial disorders and dysfunctions, that would explain why this generation has seen such a rise in Autism with the increase in vaccine schedules and other toxins. I love Jim Carrey's analogy about smoking. I don't think there are many people who would debate that smoking increases your "risk" for cancer. BTW - I remember this number from biological psychology in college, you are exposed to 4,000 carcinogens with EVERY PUFF of a cigarette. When you expose your body to that level of toxicity, of course bad things are bound to happen. We are very resilient beings but we can only take so much. That doesn't mean you will get it if you smoke 100% of the time. But, especially if the predisposition is there, you increase your chances. I think our kids with mito dysfunction (and certainly mito disorder as proven by the Hannah Poling case) are at greater risk for developing Autism (being a catch phrase here for impaired immune function, gut dysbiosis, sensory processing issues, language delays, etc).

My world today is very different than it was 5 years ago. I like to think I know more about the preservation of health. Some of my best friends here in AZ are doctors, chiropractors, alternative health professionals and other moms just as dedicated to this journey as I am. The doctors I have found here have been DO's which are more likely to consider holistic and alternative means in addition to standard medical practices. But, more and more, I am taught about the negative effects of some of these toxins we eat, drink and inject into ourselves and our children. They have all shared with me more things to read and learn, legitimate resources that explain the natural immune function and why these things (like vaccines) don't work as well as they were theorized. These people are not just weighed down in medical dogma. I have come to my own conclusions, as MANY parents have. I did not watch my child slip away necessarily after a vaccine like many did. I wonder what the outcomes would be if we took these cases out of "vaccine court" and into the court of our peers? I live this life daily and I am still brought to tears by these families' stories. They are powerful, and sad, and real. And they are more common than you think. These are not quacks, fringe people or weirdos. We are all people who believe that in some way the very things we were told would save our children have taken them away in one way, shape, or form. For me that is an irrefutable truth. Do I think it is the smoking gun on Autism? No. I think it goes deeper, it is more complex and there is no magic bullet for ANY child.

But, I was on the phone with the kids' naturopath yesterday. She has just been accepted as a DAN! physician!!! Yeah Dr. Carrie Rittling at East Valley Naturopathic Doctors!!! What an amazing resource for us here locally, she has seen my children for years. She said she started Nystatin (a very safe antifungal) on a 19 year old who has never spoken. She started the antifungal and he is talking!!! Wow!!! Anyways, for those who care, I spoke with Dr. Rittling regarding a medical waiver for immunizations. My little one starts preschool in the fall and my son hopefully will be going to a new school as well. I really wanted a medical waiver as opposed to just a philosophical one. We spoke (for a long time because we talked about her DAN! affiliation a lot!) and she looked up codes for exemption. Guess what?!?! There is a code for Disorders of Mitochondrial Metabolism!!! Yippee!!! Even the medical community recognizes that these children with mito disorders are at more risk for injury. The only problem is you don't realize your child has this until it is too late sometimes. But, in any event, I got my lifetime waivers so I was happy!! And I was thrilled that there was a "legit" excuse, maybe now I won't be glared at by the school nurse when I use one of her own codes she can understand! ;)

So what can I say about Jim Carrey's article? I like it, I agree with it. I can't really say anything else. I think it is repetition for those of us living it, hogwash for the people who make money off of vaccines (Paul Offit for example) and maybe an excuse for those who don't have a child with Autism. And you know, there are parents out there with kids with Autism who think parents like me use vaccines as an excuse. I have already stated that I think it goes deeper. But, I don't know how you understand the immune system and still believe in the power of vaccines. And I mean UNDERSTAND the immune system. Biochemistry, etc. to that level. Unless you are Paul Offit, an immunologist and co-creator of Rota-Tek rotavirus vaccine. He knows where his bread is buttered and he doesn't sell anymore vaccines if we all wise up and realize they are not ALL good. Did you hear that? I said "not ALL good". I do still think some vaccines can be useful. Not all and not as early and not every one for every child. Each child is different and I think we as PARENTS need the right to decide. This became way longer than I intended but I hope that answers your question!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Easy ways to be kinder to our Earth

So this morning we took our son to school using a bike and trailer. The kids had a blast and I got my workout in easier and quicker than waiting until after getting home from dropping him off and hitting the exercise bike. My husband updated his Facebook status with that and other things we do, composting, recycling, turning off lights that aren't needed, etc. Some people commented either how they were or were not helping the environment. But it hit me that we do most of those things everyday. I figured I would post some easy ways to be earth friendly, so YOU (yes, you) can get started TODAY!!

* Reuse a water cup. Either use a plastic (if you must) or stainless steel cup to get your daily water in. Those individual water bottles are bad for the environment and can leech yucky chemicals into your water when exposed to heat and light (so keep them OUT of your cars in the summer if you live here in Arizona!!!!). Bring your cup with you so you always have water and aren't going through a bunch of bottles.
* Compost. The Town of Gilbert gives you one for FREE. It is a much better way to dispose of fruit and veggie scraps and you are giving back to the soil by doing so.
* RECYCLE!! Know what goes in those blue bins and DO IT!! It kills me to see neighbors with TWO CANS overflowing and cardboard and recycle ables making up a good chunk of that. We requested a 2nd recycle bin from the Town of Gilbert (again, FREE of charge) and we only have about 2 bags of trash for the landfill each week.
* Get a reusable shopping bag. I stash mine in the car so I always have it, no matter whether I have a planned trip or pop in to a store on my way home. Many stores now even deduct 5 cents per bag you bring in to use.
* Walk or bike for a quick trip to the store. With summer fast approaching that may not be as likely for us in AZ but if you can, it adds up!
* Open up your house first thing in the morning to get the cool air in, around 9 or 10 when it starts to heat up start closing those windows and slightly closing those blinds. It will help keep your house cooler and you won't have to run that AC as much. That saves the environment AND your wallet!!! Run fans which are much easier on electricity than you AC.
* Plant trees to shade you home - see above.
* More fresh breeze and less Febreze!! We spray too many "things" into our air. I know here in AZ we have awful pollution. A large chunk of that is traffic but we need to be aware of the other junk we are putting into the air and our lungs. Do away with the air fresheners (which are toxins that also lead to health and skin problems) and go more natural. Getting a nice airing out will not only clean the air but remove the toxins from our furniture, carpets, flooring, and other VOC's that we produce in our homes. Use essential oils like lavender, lemon, eucalyptus or Cinnamon in a spray bottle with water. It is safe for your kids and animals and so much more earth friendly.
* Plant a garden!! You are doing the world a ton of good by planting your own garden. You know where the food comes from, it tastes great, you aren't making a trip to a store for it and you can use your own compost!!
* Buy locally when you can, i.e. farmer's markets. It takes a WHOLE LOT of energy to get bananas from Ecuador!! Think of all the resources that go into shipping food all over the world. That can mean giving up some things but to eat locally not only brings more resources to your own neighbors it also saves the oil it takes to ship/truck/fly this stuff all over. If you grow some of your own food you make an immediate impact in this as well.
* Pass things on....hand me downs are a great way to reuse! Kids (especially little ones) don't care one iota about a brand or style. By giving and receiving hand me downs you consume less and reuse more.
* Look for "antiques" before buying new. Did you know that most "furniture" these days is simply particle board and that it releases formaldehyde? This toxin can cause all sorts of health problems (including skin problems like eczema) and should be avoided. Shopping at 2nd hand stores for solid wood furniture and refinishing them using eco and health friendly materials is a better bet, not only for the environment but your health. It is a sad day when our furniture consists of wood ships glued together with a picture of wood on the front.
* Look for more sustainable products when remodeling your home. Bamboo is an excellent choice these days for flooring and cabinetry. It is a very fast growing product and it is very safe for people with allergies. It will release less VOC's than other hard floor alternatives.

If you have a child with Autism, some of these things are probably on your mind daily. I know I worry alot about environmental toxins with my children and especially my son who is more reactive. But, these things are also just good for our mother Earth too! Deforestation, a reliance on oil and a mindset that is on consume, consume, consume will only get us into more trouble economically, environmentally and physically. Lets all be gentler with the Earth and we can all breathe a little easier, literally!

Earth "friendly" products to be wary of

I love Earth day and all the focus on being more Earth friendly. But, I don't love that we reserve this for one specific point in time each year. I am always leery of mainstream companies "going green" or organic, or healthy. I don't buy (in the figurative AND literal sense) the All Natural Jif (I am just using this as an example, not sure if Jif makes all natural) or the Clorox Green Works products for this reason. You can tell the motivations of a company by what their primary focus is. If they were concerned about health or the environment, they wouldn't wait until it became a money maker in their segment to jump in. I am always skeptical at mainstream products that try and move into a health food category. If you have been wondering about some of these so called green products, read the link below. I think it is awful for organizations like the Sierra Club to lend their name to products for profit and not because they are safe and healthy. Shame on Clorox and shame on the Sierra Club!

When in doubt, find out what companies are more trustworthy and in the business for the love of it and not just for profit and support them. I know people who use Seventh Generation, I like the Biokleen line for cleaning/laundry detergent/dish soap/etc. I also order lots of products from Azure Standard. They only service select areas since they do truck shipments once per month. But their company has very high standards, they select companies to stock based on health and wellness. Now, that doesn't mean that it is a free for all on every items. You still need to read labels and understand what you are eating or cleaning with. But, I trust their judgement on bringing in healthier items that I would a Wal-Mart where it is all profits. And their pricing is better than health food stores, etc. You can check them out at

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Autism awareness month and Earth day

I love that Autism Awareness month also coincides with Earth Day. I firmly believe that the two are connected. If our world (and hence our bodies) were not so polluted, I don't think our rates of Autism would be as high as they are. Our food supply is produced largely by Monsanto, who created agent orange and roundup. How smart is that? Now they are the ones producing most of our seeds for crops? And that they have made them into terminator seeds which means they cannot be propagated the following year, the farmer MUST buy new seeds each year. Our crops are mainly genetically modified (GMO) which increases inflammation. Then you can address the actual pollution of our air and waters and then get into the other toxins like cleaning supplies, drugs, vaccines, etc. It is no wonder we have hit a tipping point and the fallout is felt by this new generation.

The statistics for Autism are scary these days. It always galls me when I hear someone flippantly say "well WE drank out of the garden hose with lead in it and WE are just fine" (or whatever in response to any safety mechanism that is now in play that wasn't 20 years ago). Really??? Maybe not. Did you know, if your grandmother smoked while she was pregnant with your mother, YOU are more likely to have asthma, cancer, etc. You run a greater chance of ill effects if your grandmother smoked while pregnant than if your own mother smoked while pregnant. These problems often jump generations, making changes in your DNA that are only realized once you bear your own children and something in the environment flips that switch. Again I talk about inherited disease. Maybe we aren't "just fine" like many in the previous generations say, you know that generation that drank out of that leaden garden hose. And now our future generations are showing the signs of the pollution. I think if we talk about Earth Day and more importantly do something about Earth Day and also the pollution in our bodies we can make an impact on our world AND our children. We need to connect the dots on what we do to our Earth and our bodies and the impact it is having on our functionality.

I hear "scientists" talk about how Autism is not an epidemic, it is just better testing.....right. I live with Autism everyday and when I was growing up, I knew just 1 kid (and even that is a stretch) who even remotely resembled my son in behavior. He was "that kid", you know, the one that got hyped out on Kool-Aid, couldn't have food coloring, was always bouncing off the walls and in his own world, missing those social cues. Do you know how many of "that kid" there are (or will be)? The statistic is rising and by some recent estimations in the UK the numbers have jumped to under 1 in 50 boys!! Staggering for something that is "just better detected now". And, I know plenty of boys who probably are borderline or fall under PDD-NOS (pervasive development delay-not otherwise specified) who don't qualify for services because they aren't bad enough. I can't tell you how many women I have become friends with who either have a child with Autism or PDD-NOS and not because we met in a therapy clinic waiting room either. What are those odds? Certainly not coincidental I don't think.

This disorder called Autism is getting worse. Their guts, immune systems and their detox pathways are broken. When you can't detox, it builds up. It negatively impacts behavior as a result. When we were able to aid my son's methylation process through Methyl B-12 injections, aid his immune system through use of Low Dose Naltrexone, get the yeast and Clostridia bacteria somewhat under control, removed wheat and dairy from his diet and funny enough but many of those "Autistic Behaviors" faded away. Huh.....isn't that interesting. Talk to many people doing biomedical intervention and you will hear the same things. Not to the same level or in the same ways necessarily since each child is different but they can and do get better. My son's speech has improved so dramatically since starting biomed that he is in danger of losing his therapy. This is a child who was hardly speaking a year ago.....the only thing that changed in that time was seeing Dr. Woeller and starting a DAN! protocol. Pollution is not just a concern for our world, but for ourselves and our future. We reap what we sow and unfortunately, this next generation of kids is paying for decades of abuse.

Although maybe we just might get some help. I read something just yesterday about big pharma doing a clinical trial on the use of enzymes to help children on the Autism spectrum. Wow!! Truly groundbreaking, cutting edge stuff here. Way to go big Pharma. And if you hadn't guessed, that is my sarcasm showing. Most parents doing ANY sort of biomedical intervention with their children have been using enzymes for years.....we all know that MANY of these kids lack the enzymes to breakdown wheat and dairy which then leads to all sorts of gut dysbiosis and behavioral ramifications. Maybe at least we can get some of these "alternative" treatments covered by insurance and to get a mainstream ped to learn a little something about this disorder that more families will face than any other childhood disease out there. And maybe, just maybe we can have a little respect for the research many parents have done to understand and help their child thrive and be the very best they were meant to be.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Digestive health and its relationship with behavior in Autism

If you have gone to a DAN! conference then maybe this will be old hat. But, if you haven't or if you are just getting started in the world of Autism and possibly the biomedical treatment of, then this is something you must read (and see). It is a paper from Dr. Krigsman, one of the best GI doctors for kids on the spectrum. The understanding of WHY some foods with Gluten (wheat), Casein (dairy), soy and sometimes corn are bad for our kids is crucial to maintaining an allergen/inflammation free diet. These products produce inflammation in the guts of many of these children. You will read and see very graphic examples of this in his paper. But it helps you (and possibly spouses, grandparents, caregivers, etc) understand why "just one bite" of something the child has an intolerance to WILL HURT. I have said before how baffled I am that this disorder is still diagnosed SOLELY through behavioral/psychiatric characteristics. To me, once I understoond why my son behaved the way he from a physiological level, it helped me persevere through the tough time of getting acclimated to his restricted diet. When you understand that a certain food (that they may crave) does physical damage to their bodies and causes all sorts of behavioral fallout (tantrums, stims, perseverations, etc) you tend to feel better about NOT letting them have it. I have finally lost the feeling that my son is "missing out" on all the junk food in our typical American diet. I know when I don't feel good I certainly don't act my best, I can be grumpy, uncooperative and want to be left alone. Hmmm, sounds familiar.....I have said before, I would rather spend the time cooking the special foods that nourish my son rather than dealing with the meltdowns that come from eating foods that hurt his body. For me that is a no brainer. So read the link below, the photos will astound you. To think that things we normally consume can be so damaging to children with Autism is just shocking, and sad to think of SO many children who probably compensate with pain everyday because so many people overlook the critical role food plays in our health and in Autism.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Questions on Palm Oil and Simple Green answered

Taryn asks: "I truly appreciate all the research that you do. My question is about the Skippy brand natural peanut butter. It contains palm oil and I wanted to find out if that is considered a "good" oil and how I can find out information like that in the future. Also, what are your thoughts/research about the Simple Green brand cleaner. It claims to be non-toxic and biodegradeable. thanks, Taryn"

Hi Taryn! Thanks for your comment. Here's what I found on Palm Oil I don't know much about it, I stick to Sprout's brand (or similar) peanut butter with just peanuts and maybe some salt, that's it. Nuts have their own oil content so I don't usual buy peanut butter with any other oil in it. But, I loved the link above, it gave good info on the different types of Palm oil. I just googled "PALM OIL HEALTHY" and looked at sources I felt to be reputable. I love Dr. Weil and feel he is impartial. If it is sponsored by the industry from which it comes, I consider that questionable.

I don't like Simple Green. This comes from years ago buying those little "shells" that are really densly packed fish food. You put it in your aquarium and can go on vacation and it slowly dissolves and releases food. Well, we bought a bad batch and came home to belly up fish. I cleaned the tank with Simple Green and then went to buy more fish. The fish person went through the whole deal of telling me to clean the tank really well, etc. I told him what I had done and he actually gasped. He said now my tank was contaminated and I would have to wait a while and continue to rinse/wash. The fact that Simple Green residue would kill my new fish turned me off. Things that kill other things certainly can't be that good for me. Here are a few links with more info:'Natural'_doesn't_al.html

I do most of my cleaning with vinegar and baking soda. I do use Murphy's Oil Soap on occasion too. Hopefully that doesn't jinx me and someone doesn't post some awful comment about just how toxic it is. I couldn't find anything really bad, it is vegetable based but does have a preservative and fragrance but nothing else of material concern.

Sorry to be such a negative nelly about the two things you asked about. But, when in doubt I just google the item and either add in other keywords like "safe" "healthy" "health" "toxin", etc. I just weed through and look for fair sources who have some interest in health and safety, not selling their products. I hope that helps!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Regression in Autism and seasonal allergies?

It is very hard to face regressions when you are so focused on making progress. But, it happens, all the time. One thing that is constant in Autism and life in general is change. And coping with that change can be hard. We have been facing a huge regression with M lately. What does that mean? This time regression means a reoccurrence of certain behaviors, perseverations on things, higher anxiety, wanting to carry around a certain toy or object, asking the same question over and over and over about anxious situations, meltdowns, loss of attention and focus, etc. It doesn't help that we've lost a dearly loved therapist because of the budget cuts, had to change to a new therapist and had some schedule changes. These wouldn't be easy in any event but especially not with regression happening.

This particular bout of regression started right at the end of Feb. We had just started Actos and assumed it was a reaction. When the behaviors continued, we stopped Actos at the urging of Dr. Woeller. They persisted and given a little issue with Acetyl L-Carnitine producing a bacteria and subsequent fish smell, we suspected clostridia which is a constant battle anyways. We treated with another round of Flagyl and still the behaviors persisted. I posted yet again on Autism Action Plan and Dr. Woeller suggested we treat again with stronger yeast treatment since what I had expressed looked like a yeast flare. I was left asking "what flared the yeast?". We have been diligent with his diet and we thought we had a handle on it....very frustrating. Then Dr. Woeller responded asking about the allergens in the air. We are in full bloom in the desert and the winds have been strong which means stirring up the dust and other particulates. I know the rest of our family has been suffering from allergies and although M hasn't had many outwards signs, many things can be going on that 1) he can't describe or understand or 2) working in ways we cannot understand. Dr. Woeller shared that allergy season can just increase inflammation in general and stir up yeast. So he may not be reacting in the way we are but he could still be feeling the effects in a whole different way. Here is a link to Dr. Woeller's recent blog post that discusses this issue in greater detail.

So seasonal allergies are something to think about when dealing with regression in Autism.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Interesting research regarding kids with Autism who get better with fevers

I thought this was fascinating research since M is one of those kiddos who seems to "get better" while running a fever. His cognition, language and comprehension seem to increase on the few occassions where he runs a fever. This alwasy baffled mainstream doctors. Only Dr. Woeller understood and didn't think I was crazy for noticing this. Now here is new research that discusses why this may be:

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have proposed a sweeping new theory of autism that suggests that the brains of people with autism are structurally normal but dysregulated, meaning symptoms of the disorder might be reversible. The central tenet of the theory, published in the March issue of Brain Research Reviews, is that autism is a developmental disorder caused by impaired regulation of the locus coeruleus, a bundle of neurons in the brain stem that processes sensory signals from all areas of the body. The new theory stems from decades of anecdotal observations that some autistic children seem to improve when they have a fever, only to regress when the fever ebbs. A 2007 study in the journal Pediatrics took a more rigorous look at fever and autism, observing autistic children during and after fever episodes and comparing their behavior with autistic children who didn't have fevers. This study documented that autistic children experience behavior changes during fever. "On a positive note, we are talking about a brain region that is not irrevocably altered. It gives us hope that, with novel therapies, we will eventually be able to help people with autism," says theory co-author Mark F. Mehler, M.D., chairman of neurology and director of the Institute for Brain Disorders and Neural Regeneration at Einstein. Autism is a complex developmental disability that affects a person's ability to communicate and interact with others. It usually appears during the first three years of life. Autism is called a "spectrum disorder" since it affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. It is estimated that one in every 150 American children has some degree of autism. Einstein researchers contend that scientific evidence directly points to the locus coeruleus–noradrenergic (LC-NA) system as being involved in autism. "The LC-NA system is the only brain system involved both in producing fever and controlling behavior," says co-author Dominick P. Purpura, M.D., dean emeritus and distinguished professor of neuroscience at Einstein. The locus coeruleus has widespread connections to brain regions that process sensory information. It secretes most of the brain's noradrenaline, a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in arousal mechanisms, such as the "fight or flight" response. It is also involved in a variety of complex behaviors, such as attentional focusing (the ability to concentrate attention on environmental cues relevant to the task in hand, or to switch attention from one task to another). Poor attentional focusing is a defining characteristic of autism. "What is unique about the locus coeruleus is that it activates almost all higher-order brain centers that are involved in complex cognitive tasks," says Dr. Mehler. Drs. Purpura and Mehler hypothesize that in autism, the LC-NA system is dysregulated by the interplay of environment, genetic, and epigenetic factors (chemical substances both within as well as outside the genome that regulate the expression of genes). They believe that stress plays a central role in dysregulation of the LC-NA system, especially in the latter stages of prenatal development when the fetal brain is particularly vulnerable. As evidence, the researchers point to a 2008 study, published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, that found a higher incidence of autism among children whose mothers had been exposed to hurricanes and tropical storms during pregnancy. Maternal exposure to severe storms at mid-gestation resulted in the highest prevalence of autism. Drs. Purpura and Mehler believe that, in autistic children, fever stimulates the LC-NA system, temporarily restoring its normal regulatory function. "This could not happen if autism was caused by a lesion or some structural abnormality of the brain," says Dr. Purpura. "This gives us hope that we will eventually be able to do something for people with autism," he adds. The researchers do not advocate fever therapy (fever induced by artificial means), which would be an overly broad, and perhaps even dangerous, remedy. Instead, they say, the future of autism treatment probably lies in drugs that selectively target certain types of noradrenergic brain receptors or, more likely, in epigenetic therapies targeting genes of the LC-NA system. "If the locus coeruleus is impaired in autism, it is probably because tens or hundreds, maybe even thousands, of genes are dysregulated in subtle and complex ways," says Dr. Mehler. "The only way you can reverse this process is with epigenetic therapies, which, we are beginning to learn, have the ability to coordinate very large integrated gene networks." "The message here is one of hope but also one of caution," Dr. Mehler adds. "You can't take a complex neuropsychiatric disease that has escaped our understanding for 50 years and in one fell swoop have a therapy that is going to reverse it — that's folly. On the other hand, we now have clues to the neurobiology, the genetics, and the epigenetics of autism. To move forward, we need to invest more money in basic science to look at the genome and the epigenome in a more focused way." The paper by Drs. Mehler and Purpura, "Autism, fever, epigenetics and the locus coeruleus," was published in the March issue of Brain Research Reviews. About Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University ### Albert Einstein College of Medicine: to Albert Einstein College of Medicine for this article

Friday, April 3, 2009

HR 875

I have been reading a lot about HR 875 and yet haven't had time to sit and read through the entire issue. I have been hearing grumblings that this is Monsanto's latest takeover attempt and that this bill would even criminalize backyard gardening. If you are like me then you may be saying "they can pry my spade out of my cold dead hand". Buy seriously, can this really happen? I don't know, I haven't read it all yet. But, as with my schedule lately, I feel like I need to blog this so everyone else can research this as well. I am simply providing the raw data, you figure it out for yourself. I would hate to believe that our choice to grow our own healthy food would be taken away from us but with Monsanto in the mix, anything is possible. Profits are king and we are all just peasants in their kingdom (yeah right!). I was really curious about this article because they had a small tidbit from Dr. Mercola, who also didn't know a whole lot about this either. So here you, learn and pass it on!
Monsanto’s Dream Bill - Dr Mercola’s take on HR 875
Filed Under Big Agri, GMO Foods, Organic
Congressional Bill HR 875 was introduced by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, whose husband Stanley Greenburg works for Monsanto.
The bill is essentially a giant gift package for Monsanto, mandating the criminalization of seed banking, prison terms and confiscatory fines for small farmers and 24 hour GPS tracking of their animals, and of “industrial” standards to independent farms.
The corporations want nothing less than full control of the land, the end of normal animals so they can substitute patented genetically engineered ones, and the end of normal seeds and thus of seed banking by farmers or individuals.
And now Monsanto wants its own employee, Michael Taylor (the man who forced genetically engineered rBGH on the country when the Clintons placed him over “food safety” in the 90’s) back in government, this time to act with massive police power as a “food safety tsar”. HR 875 would give him immense power over what is done on every single farm in the country and massive police state power to wield over farmers.
Rosa DeLauro and Stanley Greenburg have a great deal to account for in attempting to force through a mislabeled “food safety” bill with hidden intent to wipe out farmers and harm everyone.
Dr. Mercola’s Comments:
Although I’m not familiar enough with this bill in its entirety to make any definitive declarations about what it would mean for the future of small organic farms should it pass, I will say this: any law introduced by someone with ties to Monsanto is likely to be grossly tainted by industry bias.
Who Does This Bill Benefit the Most?
And Monsanto in particular – one of the most evil companies on the planet — is a powerful entity that has repeatedly proven its clout. Monsanto has already managed so many reprehensible acts, it boggles the mind. Including:
Leading the world into a new age of potentially hazardous genetic modification of seeds.
Patenting not only their own GMO seeds, but also a huge number of crop seeds, patenting life forms for the first time — without a vote of the people or Congress.
Not allowing farmers to save their seeds to replant the next year – a practice that has been done for generations. Instead, they aggressively seek out and sue farmers they suspect of doing so.
Suing farmers who have not been able to prevent the inevitable drift of Monsanto’s GE pollen or seed onto their land for patent infringement!
Producing two of the most toxic substances ever known — polychlorinated biphenyls, known as PCBs, and dioxin (Agent Orange).
Perhaps their biggest assault to your food supply already is what’s known as terminator technology. These are seeds that have been genetically modified to “self-destruct.” In other words, the seeds (and the forthcoming crops) are sterile, which means farmers must buy them again each year.
The implications that terminator seeds could have on the world’s food supply are disastrous: the traits from genetically engineered crops can get passed on to other crops. Once the terminator seeds are released into a region, the trait of seed sterility could be passed to other non-genetically-engineered crops, making most or all of the seeds in the region sterile.
If allowed to continue, every farmer in the world could come to rely on Monsanto for their seed supply!
So, would it be safe to say that Monsanto stands to gain from H.R. 875?
Absolutely! With thousands of organic farmers driven out of business, they would be that much closer to dominating the food supply of the world, since organic farms don’t use Monsanto seeds or toxic products.
Based on their history, I believe it’s prudent to question what the future of our small farms will hold, should a bill with such blatant ties to Monsanto be allowed to pass without further scrutiny.
It is quite possible, perhaps even most probable, that the bill entitled H.R. 875: Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 is designed to halt the growing trend of small organic farms – not through a direct, frontal assault on organic farming, but rather by insidiously creating rules and laws that make it extremely difficult, and incredibly expensive, for small farms to comply.
And in this case, the rules and regulations created by this proposed bill are mandatory, not voluntary, meaning they apply equally to a tiny farmer with half a dozen cows as it does to a massive factory farm.
What are the Potential Hazards of HR 875?
The stated purpose of H.R. 875: Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 is:
To establish the Food Safety Administration within the Department of Health and Human Services to protect the public health by preventing food-borne illness, ensuring the safety of food, improving research on contaminants leading to food-borne illness, and improving security of food from intentional contamination, and for other purposes.
As detailed in the articles above, some of the potential hazards of HR 875 include:
It includes small farmers who just sell their fruits and vegetables at farmer’s markets
Anyone engaged in food growing, or “holding food for consumption” in the U.S. would have to register annually, and create and maintain extensive records of the foods they grow and/or store
The definitions of who this law pertains to are so broad and loosely defined that they could potentially even include your personal backyard fruit or vegetable garden, even if you don’t sell anything but grow them for personal consumption
It appears it could dictate how all food growers would have to grow their food, including potentially the necessity to use certain pest control measures, for example
Authorities would have the ability to inspect any food production facility at random to make sure it’s operating in compliance with the food safety law, and again the definition of “food production facility” is so loosely defined it could apply to your personal orchard, vineyard, or vegetable garden, as long as it produces something edible
After the enactment of this Act, the Administrator, in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture and representatives of State departments of agriculture will promulgate regulations to establish “science-based minimum standards for the safe production of food” by food production facilities. Meaning, no one even knows what the food production standards are yet, but whatever they turn out to be will have to be followed
It is prohibited to: fail to register; refuse to permit access to an inspector; refuse to allow copying of all records; fail to establish or maintain any record required under the law
Should you fail to comply with any of the rules and regulations, there are both civil and criminal penalties, going as high as $1 million per violation, something that could clearly wipe out any small farmer in a blink of an eye
What Can You Do?
I believe everyone should take the time to look this bill over and decide for yourself — Do you, or do you not believe industry will use every loophole they can find to further their own interests over up-and-coming small, organic family farms?
If you believe this bill warrants further scrutiny before being blindly passed, here are a few ways you can get involved and make your voice heard:
Contact your Congressional members at 202-224-3121 and ask them to oppose HR 875 and S 425.
Find out who sits on your states agriculture and farming committee and contact them with your concerns.
Contact your local elected officials and let them know your position on legislation and why.
Attend a local Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) meeting, this is a good start to learning about what is going on in farming, as well as getting involved with local and state initiatives .
Support the Farmers Legal Defense Fund

Thursday, April 2, 2009

World Autism Awareness Day!

I love April, it is Autism Awareness Month but today is extra special. It has been deemed World Autism Awareness Day. Autism has become an epidemic of such proportions, the UN has dedicated a whole day to it. And yet in our country, our CDC has yet to call it an epidemic. Jenny McCarthy was on Good Morning America yesterday along with Dr. Jerry Kartzinel, a DAN! (Defeat Autism Now!) practitioner. Check the GMA website if you missed it. They were discussing some possible indicators that you MAY have higher chances of having a child with Autism. (I love Jenny for always getting out there and saying the controversial things that many mainstream doctors bash, even when her son has recovered from Autism like so many others - without the help of mainstream doctors who have nothing to offer most families with Autism!). They discussed the Methylation issue which showed family history of mental disorders (depression, bipolar, manic, etc) and then the autoimmune dysfunction side (lupus, MS, arthritis, etc) which probably relates the the sulfation chemistry I have blogged about before. Having relatives with those issues is a key that there is faulty sulfation and/or poor methylation which is very prevalent in the Autism community. My son has both poor methylation and faulty sulfation. That means his brain doesn't communicate quickly enough without help (methyl B-12 injections). He also has faulty sulfation which is huge in Alzheimer patients as well. Poor sulfation is another kink in the hose of biochemical processes and can have a huge impact on sensory issues (which have their own behavioral fallout as a result). We do nightly epsom salt baths and increase sulfer rich foods like broccoli in his diet. And we avoid ALL Tylenol products.

Evidently the UK did a new study and the rates are staggering, 1 in 38 boys will be diagnosed with some form of Autism. And yet many are still so skeptical about the role of toxins (not JUST immunizations) in the development of Autism. More money gets thrown at "genetic studies" when about 1% of all children with Autism have it at birth. Many develop normally up to a point or regress into Autism. Early intervention is key and I believe, so is biomedical treatment. It still baffles me as to WHY Autism is still considered a psychiatric disorder, and not a physical one. Yes, there are odd behaviors that come, but they have biological roots! My son is proof. As we found out what has gone wrong in him body we've taken things out of his diet that he cannot tolerate and guess what, many of those behaviors are GONE now that would classify him as Autistic. I will go through the progression again since this is WAAD and I want people to be aware of what Autism can look like:

You have a child that has a developing immune system. You assault it with toxins (immunizations, bleach cleaners, pesticides in your environment and on our food, mattresses and bedding and paint that off gasses VOC's, flouride, etc). Add in a few rounds of antibiotics and the natural good flora in the body is disrupted. Yeast and bacteria can take over. It can become so invasive that it rips holes in the lining of the gut. Digestion is impaired due to enzymatic failure and you have large peptides in Gluten (wheat) and Casein (dairy) that get through these holes and shouldn't. Oddly enough, they fit opiate receptors perfectly in the brain. You have kids "high" on wheat and dairy. They crave it, some kids will self select which means ALL they eat is dairy and wheat. They are reacting like they are on opiates. You can see bizarre behavior like headbanging (since they have impaired pain sensation), aggression, red cheeks/ears, they can act like they are in a fog, don't hear you, don't respond, etc. The yeast can also contribute to those behaviors. Bacteria like Clostridia can cause high escalation. You then have a child who freaks out at the smallest issue, can get a toy to work right for example. Instead of asking for help or coming to an adult, a tantrum ensues. Inappropriate response to challenging situations. These kids can be SUPER sensitive to the junk in our foods, dyes, soy, trans fats, MSG (all 200 forms), etc. They can become hyper after ingesting these things, especially dyes and MSG.

They can have profound sensory challenges. My son has auditory issues. He has super sonic hearing and certain sounds send him over the edge. When he was younger, if there was a sound that bothered him, he would make other sounds to cover it up. He would get ALL of his sound making toys to play at once, or he would scream. You can see HOW this would be a psychiatric disorder at first because they can act in very strange ways. But then you begin to understand the role of biochemistry and see how it is failing in these kids. The sensible thing would be to FIX those things, not JUST stick them in behavioral therapy. I don't care who you are, if a child has an intolerance to their food and is impacted by that, no therapy is going to as effective as when they are not being influenced by that physical challenge. That's like taking a test when you have the flu. Certainly you will not do as well when you are sick as when you are well. Some kids can muddle through and do make small gains but I have found with my own son, he completely blossomed when we "fixed" some of those biomedical challenges.

We have yet to tackle viruses, but that is next in his treatment protocol. When an immune system is not functioning properly, viruses, bacteria and yeast have an even better chance of getting a hold of a body. My son rarely ran fevers, even with 2 bouts of chicken pox. There is now data to suggest the herpes virus (which is what chicken pox is) can spark Autistic-like behavior in children. I think the role of viruses can be huge in children with Autism. And with a mal-functioning immune system, they can wreak havoc. I compare it to a virus on your computer, your computer may work but it just kind of acts funny or doesn't exactly do what you want it to.

So there are just a few things that WE know about Autism. Every child with Autism is different. Once you know one child with Autism, you know one child with Autism. We cannot lump them into simple behaviors or characteristics. Each child (as with kids NOT on the Autism spectrum) is unique. I truly believe that Autism is not JUST a genetic issue. As we see this disease rise, we need to look at the toxic burden we place on our bodies and our babies that are born into this world. Inherited disease is a theory in Eastern medicine. It means as we continue to pollute our bodies, each generation "inherits" the fallout and the susceptibility of the diseases of our parents and grandparents. We don't know the effects of all the things in our food, water, drugs, clothes, mattresses, carpets, and the list goes on and on. Things get more and more cheaply made with concern for health and safety left by the wayside in favor of big profits. We are creating this disease called Autism and our children are the fallout.

I urge everyone to learn the signs and symptoms of Autism. And they can be varied:
* Speech delay
* Or the other side which is no speech delay but intense interest in ONE thing (like trains for example) and a young, young child being able to know EVERYTHING about that one specific category.
* Repetitive behaviors
* Lack of eye contact
* Aggressive behaviors and/or self-injury
* Fixation on random objects (my son used to get attached to weird things and HAVE to carry them around)
* Low muscle tone
* Sensory issues - sensitive to touch, sound, failure to respond appropriately to pain, likes to be hugged tight or the other extreme - hates to be touched.
* GI problems, constipation or chronic diarrhea

The list goes on and on. I just want people to be aware of some of the signs of Autism. These kids often times have exceptional talents and cognitive functioning but they need extra work to help them communicate these things. Parenting a child with Autism has been the most challenging and yet rewarding thing all at the same time. We have been tested more than I thought possible and yet forced to grow and recognize things in my child I would never have without this experience. If it tells you anything, there is an 80% divorce rate in families where there is a child with a disability. It can be very stressful and yet the changes our family has made and the knowledge we have now is invaluable. We've seem dramatic and measurable changes in our son as the result of biomedical interventions. My son is very close to losing his diagnosis of Autism. I could not be happier at how present, focused, and happy he is now. My goal is to help other families out there who believe that their child CAN be helped and to show them what has worked for us. No guarantee that what we have done will work for anyone else but I believe it can give the HOPE that is so crucial for parents to keep going, keep striving to help their child with Autism feel better, be healthier and put together their child's puzzle that is Autism.