Autism is a puzzling behavioral disorder that is almost
always permanent if treated solely with conventional
medicine. In most cases, it develops shortly after birth
to about a child in two to three years old, and is often
preceded by vaccinations, leading many holistic practitioners
and autism advocacy groups to suspect that many cases
of autism as caused by the ingredients the vaccines
contain. Adding weight to this claim is the fact that
autism used to occur in only four or five of every 10,000
children. However, since the rise of today's widespread
use of vaccines during early childhood, there has been
an alarming increase in autism rates, with the condition
now affecting as many as one in 500 children or perhaps
The primary symptoms of autism are withdrawal of the
child into his or her "own world" and an impaired ability
to communicate normally and appropriately. Autistic
children often have a deep emotional need to communicate,
but are unable, and in some cases unwilling, to do so.
Another characteristic symptom of autism is
an unhealthy attachment to objects instead of to people,
including the child's parents. Rocking back and forth,
avoiding eye contact, flailing or flopping of arms and
legs, and other compulsive behaviors are also common
characteristics of children with autism.
Other symptoms can vary greatly. While some autistic
children suffer from being mute, others will often carrying
on long conversations with themselves that are disjointed,
and disturbing to others.
In addition, some autistic children are considered
mentally retarded—in some cases with IQs of only 70
or below—while others seem to possess greater than normal
IQs, with above normal talent in a specific areas like
music or mathematics. Studies have also shown that autistic
children typically have unhealthy, elevated levels of
certain brain chemicals, have abnormal brain-wave patterns,
and/or are prone to epileptic-like seizures.
Autistic children who chronically exhibit violent or
self-destructive behavior can be necessary if they are
subject to violent or self-destructive episodes. Conventional
medicine is incapable of curing autism, offering only
drug treatments to manage the behavior of autistic children.
Drugs such as haloperidol, fenfluramine, and naltrexone
are typically employed to suppress abnormal behavior,
while antidepressants such as Prozac, or Zoloft are
used to keep autistic children calm. Neither class of
drugs addresses the root causes of autism and with continued
use they can also exacerbate the child's condition be
causing harmful side effects.
Less than 25 percent of autistic children are able to properly adapt
to the challenges of adolescence and adulthood, and
only 5 percent develop into self-sufficient as adults.
Of those autistic children who have to be institutionalized,
40 to 70 percent remain so for their entire lives.
Although a genetic basis for many cases of autism has
long been proposed, researchers are only recently becoming
able to link specific genes to autism. But genes alone
are not the problem, according to most holistic health
experts who treat autistic children. Metabolic disturbances
also play a significant role in autism, although at
present it remains uncertain as to whether or not metabolic
imbalance cause autism or are symptomatic affects of
it. Either way, addressing these metabolic orders can
sometimes lead to an improvement in the child's symptoms
and behavior. Research has also shown that, during digestion
of foods, autistic children often experience problems
in properly breaking down and assimilating peptides
(simple proteins such as insulin, endorphins, and other
neurotransmitters), causing researchers to speculate
that this is one of the reasons autistic children experience
abnormal mental functioning.
Other possible causes of autism include fetal alcohol
syndrome (alcoholism transferred to the developing
fetus by an alcoholic mother), brain stem defects (significantly
decreased brain stem size is a common characteristic
of autistic children), heavy metal poisoning (especially
lead, as well as mercury in the form of thimerosol,
a common ingredient in many childhood vaccines), abnormal
blood flow patterns in the brain, and viral infections
from rubella (German measles) and/or cytomegalovirus.
Other Possible Causes of Autism
Allergies and sensitivities to certain foods, especially wheat, sugar,
and cow's milk, are well-known to contribute to behavioral
symptoms. Many autistic children have food allergies
that can contribute to or increase the severity of their
symptoms. These allergens need to be identified and
eliminated from the diet. Most traditionally trained
allergists are not aware that allergies can affect the
brain, so a specialist in environmental medicine should
be consulted. Enzyme-potentiated desensitization (EPD)
can effectively correct allergies in those with autism;
however, this therapy is still considered controversial
in the U.S.
Increasing scientific evidence indicates that autism,
as well as many other brain dysfunctions may be caused
by infant vaccinations. This is particularly so with
the pertussis vaccine, used for whooping cough, and
the MMR vaccines, all of which contain thimerosol, a
form of mercury. Reinforcing the autism-vaccination
link is the fact that the incidence of autism began
to rise during the 1950s, the time when vaccinations
first became popular in the U.S. Since that time, as
more and more vaccines have been added to the list of
those typically administered to children during their
first few years of birth, there has been a corresponding
dramatic rise in the overall incidence of autism. Prior
to the use of such vaccines, the incidence of autism
in the United States was approximately one of every
10,000 children. Today it is one of approximately every
Defects in the myelinization process (insulation of the nerve fibers)
can contribute not only to autism itself, but also to
epilepsy, which frequently occurs in older autistic
Many children become autistic after receiving antibiotic
treatment for repeated ear infections. Chronic use of
antibiotics can destroy the normal bacteria living in
the intestinal tract, leading to overgrowth of the yeast
Candida albicans. This, in turn, can lead to
autoimmune reactions and food allergies.
Yeast infections due to poorly digested foods, food
allergies, chemical food additives (especially yellow,
red, and green food dyes), and a lack of digestive enzymes
can all contribute to autism symptoms.
Parasite infection, a condition that is quite common
yet often undiagnosed in the United States, can also
cause or worsen autism symptoms because of how parasites
disrupt healthy body and brain function. One of the
more common means of parasite infection among children
is from their pets or from being around other animals.
Correction of the digestive environment (returning it
to normal flora) is essential in treating autism. Beneficial
bacteria (acidophilus, Bifidobacteria, and other
species) should be supplemented for six months to one
year, especially during and after the use of antibiotics.
Self-Care and Other Treatment Approaches
Auditory Integration Training
Autistics are often highly sensitive to auditory stimuli.
For example, rain can sound like rocks landing
on a roof. This
hypersensitivity can result in a number of problems,
including blocking out other sounds, fear of noises
and people, and an inability to concentrate. Auditory
training has been reported to bring about a wide range
of improvements in speech and behavior in many autistic
individuals. The technique is based on the work of two
French Health Gurus, Alfred Tomatis, M.D., and Guy Berard,
E.N.T. Both the Tomatis and Berard methods provide stimulation
to the listener.
Berard training involves listening to ten hours of music
(in 20 half-hour sessions) played through Berard's electronic
modulating device, known as the Ears Education and Retraining
System (EERS). An audiogram is first performed to detect
frequencies to which the patient is hypersensitive so
that they may be screened out of the music. Then the
EERS is used to take music from a sound source, filter
out specific frequencies found to cause the individual
discomfort, modulate the sound electronically in an
unpredictable manner, and finally send the sounds back
to the ears through headphones to exercise the entire
Altering the frequencies of sounds during playback can
reduce distorted hearing and hypersensitivity to certain
This therapy can result in improved patients
The Tomatis method establishes a connection between
listening, language, and learning.
These skills involve more than just hearing.
Often in a case of autism, learning disabilities, or attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder, the ear is unable to process,
organize, and manage the thousands of pieces of sound
information coming in from the environment.
Following a listening test, a program to improve auditory
processing, audio-vocal control, and desire to communicate
is developed. Auditory hypersensitivity is lessened,
attention is increased, and the nervous system becomes
more balanced. When the brain is well charged with electric
potential from high frequency sounds, it enables a person
to better focus, concentrate, organize, memorize, learn,
and work for long periods of time.
The Tomatis program often uses the filtered sounds of
the mother's voice, as the child would have heard it
in utero. This is done in order to reintroduce
the rhythm and intonation of language and the curiosity
and desire to tune in. A human's first attempt
to listen—and the first desire to listen—occurs
as a fetus when it hears sounds of its own mother.
High frequency sounds filtered from sources like classical
music provide a great deal of stimulation to the cerebral
cortex, which helps children and adults improve thinking
and processing. To begin, the Tomatis method is usually
given for two hours a day for 15 days. It then continues
for at least two additional eight-day intensives. The
goal of the treatment is to help patients learn to listen,
control speaking, and improve self-awareness and control.
This approach manipulates the bones of the skull and
the underlying membranes to alleviate pressure and restrictions.
The craniosacral system involves a body rhythm, somewhat
like a semi-closed hydraulic system, involving the flow
of cerebrospinal fluid between the cranium (the bones
of the skull) and the sacrum (the base of the spine).
Disturbances in the craniosacral rhythm can indicate
dysfunction in the body.
Patterns of cranial restrictions
consistent with developmental distortions of the brain,
spinal cord, and the bones of the skull have been founding
autistic children. Meningeal membranes that line the
cranium, especially dura mater, do not expand normally
with the growth of the brain, thereby interrupting normal
development. This may be due to biochemical changes
in the dura mater brought on by a stressor episode,
such as a virus or an adverse reaction to a vaccination.
Craniosacral therapy focuses on releasing restrictions
of the cranium and the underlying membranes through
gentle hands-on contact with the bones of the craniosacral
system, the ribs, and the vertebral column. The therapist
monitors the rhythmical movement in the craniosacral
system resulting from the increase and decrease in cerebrospinal
fluid pressure. When abnormal motion is detected, the
therapist locates the point of restricted movement and
brings about a release by gently tractioning and elongating
Gentle manipulation seeks to improve motion in the craniosacral
system in people with autism and produces improvements
in behavior. This
can lead to reduction in head banging, which may be
an attempt to relieve the compressive force in the head
due to the restrictive dura mater.
Substantial changes can be seen within 10-20
sessions, given weekly. A concentrated, two-week program,
with sessions lasting for eight hours a day for five
days, is available for out-of-town patients. Craniosacral
therapy can also be taught to parents to perform on
their child at home, along with regular consultations
with a skilled therapist. Therapy must be continued
until the child is fully grown to maintain the benefits.
many autistics have overly acidic blood, their diet
should include whole, unprocessed, alkalizing foods
such as vegetables. Another dietary factor to consider
when treating autism are allergies to peptides contained
in cow's milk and gluten. According to one study, when
milk and gluten-derived peptides were removed from the
diet, language, social interactions, and behavior improved.
Some patients received a gluten-free and milk reduced
diet, others a milk-free and/or gluten reduced diet,
and a third group eliminated milk and gluten from the
After one year, all the study subjects had changed in
the direction of the normal spectrum—they were more
communicative and showed less bizarre behavior. Other
statistically significant changes included: improved
attention and social integration, improved motor skills,
and a decrease in irrational emotional outbursts. Especially
noteworthy was the decrease in resistance to learning.
Noticeably improved behavior of autistic children is
possible by using an elimination diet. Any food normally
consumed more than once a week is removed from the patients'
diets. As symptoms improve, each food is added back
into the diet one at a time.
Autism may be due environmental factors. Environmental
medicine addresses the role dietary and environmental
allergens play in relationship to illness. Research
shows higher than normal toxic chemical exposure among
autistic children, and the majority of their mothers
have a higher-than-usual exposure to toxic household
and industrial chemicals while pregnant.
Substances included formaldehyde, toluene, pesticides,
and toxins from paints, ceramics, new carpets, and ant
and flea sprays. All of the children had allergic sensitivities
to foods, inhalants, and chemicals, and exhibited imbalances
in key brain chemicals. Further, 40% of the children
had nutrient absorption problems, while all had nutrient
deficiencies and immune system abnormalities.
An intensive program of nutrient and herbal supplementation,
environmental controls, and complete detoxification
can help treat autistics. Substances administered include
amino acids, antioxidants, enzymes, milk thistle (silymarin),
gamma globulin, essential fatty acids, and many others.
This type of program has resulted in significant improvements
in children's behavior and emotions, such as tantrums,
disruptiveness, movement, irritability, and relationships.
Damage to the immune
system is common in autistics, often stemming from nutritional
High-dosage (megavitamin) nutritional supplementation is playing
an increasingly important role in the treatment of autism.
In one study, 30%-60% of autistic patients receiving
magnesium and vitamin B6 supplements showed significant
Some studies show behavioral improvement, normalization
of brain waves, and improved metabolism. A magnesium
deficiency has been shown to cause hearing hypersensitivity
and hyperirritability, both associated with autism.
The study also recommended the supplementation of zinc,
as well as the other B vitamins.
Vitamin C has been shown to significantly reduce autistic
behavior such as rocking, spinning, and hand flapping.
Dimethylglycine (DMG), a nontoxic chemical found in
minute amounts in foods, has also proved helpful in
treating autism. Many parents have reported that within
days of starting DMG, their autistic child's behavior
improved noticeably and better eye contact was observed,
as well as an improvement in the child's speech.
seek the help of a qualified health professional if you suspect Autism.
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