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.

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