Autism is a complex nurodevelopmental disorder, and it affects a child in different ways. What it means is that any two children on Autism Spectrum Disorder are not alike. Their brains develops and processes information in different ways. Therefore Autism Treatment for two different children on Autism Spectrum needs to be different. We believe that to recover from autism, an individualized autism treatment with a multidisciplinary approach must be followed.
Is it possible to Recover Life from Autism?
Have you heard about Temple Grandin? They even have a movie based on her life! Well it is not a fiction, but is based on real life story of Temple Grandin, an autistic individual. Dr. Temple Grandin is a very successful livestock-handling equipment designer (one of very few in the world). Dr Grandin has designed the facilities for firms such as Burger King, McDonald’s, Swift, and others.
You must be thinking – what Dr. Temple Grandin has to do with Autism. Well Dr. Grandin was diagnosed with Autism in 1950. Dr. Grandin didn’t talk until she was three and a half years old.
She tells her story of “groping her way from the far side of darkness” in her book “Emergence: Labeled Autistic”, a book which stunned the world because, until its publication, most professionals and parents assumed that an autism diagnosis was virtually a death sentence to achievement or productivity in life.
Dr. Grandin is the most prominent author and speaker on the subject of autism. In her book, Emergence: Labeled Autistic, she says that “I have read enough to know that there are still many parents, and yes, professionals too, who believe that ‘once autistic, always autistic.’ This dictum has meant sad and sorry lives for many children diagnosed, as I was in early life, as autistic. To these people, it is incomprehensible that the characteristics of autism can be modified and controlled. However, I feel strongly that I am living proof that they can”.
The most important part in the journey of recovering life from Autism is that, as parents you need to be on top of the things. You may feel that you are not expert, but believe me, nobody is better placed then you. As parents you know what bothers your child, you also know what makes her happy. Therefore, please note that this is your fight with Autism, everyone else in this journey is secondary. It is your belief, which will help you recover your child’s life from Autism.
Autism Treatment – A Continuous Learning
We have been learning about Autism for decades, several health researchers, medical professionals and parents have contributed towards it. All these people started to research about Autism as one of their loved one was diagnosed with Autism. They believed that their child can recover from Autism and they tried whatever they could.
Today we have huge amount of information about Autism, its causes and its treatment. With increasing incidence of Autism, awareness about it is also increasing. Therefore it has become much easier to diagnose and begin treating kids earlier than ever before. It is believed that with early and appropriate intervention or treatment a child can recover from Autism.
An Individualized Approach to Autism Treatment
Repeatedly it has been found that early diagnosis and proceeding treatment helps young children with autism develop to their full potential. The primary goal of treatment for Autism is to improve the overall ability of the child to function.
As we have discussed before, no two Child with Autism are same. The Symptoms and behaviors they exhibit could be very different and may vary in terms of severity as well. At the same time, as they grow their symptoms and behaviors change over time. Therefore treatment strategies Autism needs to be tailored to individual needs.
Possible Approaches or strategies to treat Autism
Over the decades several approaches have been adopted by health care professionals, parents and health researchers to treat Autism. Here in this article, we will include only the approaches, which works and have a scientific perspective to it. This list is based on my first hand experience of working with children with Autism and their parents.
ABA Therapy – Behavioural Therapy for Treatment of Autism
ABA or Applied behavior analysis is a Therapy found to be extremely useful among Children with Autism. ABA is a scientific methodology concerned with analyzing the principles of learning theory and systematically applying this knowledge to change behavior of social significance. What it means is that, ABA tries to change behavior by assessing the functional relationship between a targeted behavior and the environment.
It has been found that children with Autism responds best to highly structured and specialized treatment. Behavioral training and management uses positive reinforcement, self-help, and social skills training to improve behavior and communication.
To undergo this therapy you need to find a BCBA (Board certified Behavioural Analyst), who can prepare a structured plan. The biggest issue with this is that it is quite difficult to get a BCBA in India and even in other countries. Even if you get a BCBA, my experience says that you will still feel wanting. Therefore we recommend you to buy some books on behaviour analysis and start the journey yourself. I can assure you that you will feel in control.
Speech, Occupational & Physical Therapy to Treat Autism
The National Autistic Society describes autism as “A lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them. It is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways.”
To improve the quality of life of a child with Autism several targeted therapies are invogue. These therapies target to manage Sensory sensitivities a child with Autism have. Generally this is what is easily available in India. There are several courses under distance program will offer these courses. These therapies are:
- Speech Therapy: Speech therapy attempts to help a child with autism to improve language skills to communicate.
- Occupational and physical therapy: Attempts to help a child with Autism to improve any deficiencies in coordination and motor skills. These therapies also also help a child with autism to learn, how to process information from the senses (sight, sound, hearing, touch, and smell) in more manageable ways.
- Why Occupational Therapy is a must: A Child with autism find it quite difficult to make sense of the environmental ques, humans are constantly receiving. They find difficulty in making sense of the world as they have difficulty in processing the sensory stimuli from their environment which can cause them a great amount of anxiety.
NAET (Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique) is a technique in which acupressure is used to eliminate allergies. The basis of this technique is in findings that children with Autism have:
- Impaired digestion
- Severe food allergies
- Severe nutritional deficiency
causing biological, neurological and developmental disorders. This nutritional deficiency is not caused by failing to take enough nutrients in meal, but due to lower absorption caused by indigestion. In yesteryears our stomach was considered to be our brain, even today it is a fact that if our diet is not nutritious, we will not be able to perform well.
The primary cause of all this is allergic response to the food products a child with autism consumes. Several child with Autism are picky eaters and hence their diet is quite restricted. Under NAET technique practitioner uses acupressure technique to eradicate allergy from a child with Autism.
if you want to study further, before you contact a NAET practitioner you can consider buying this book “Say Good-Bye to Allergy-related Autism”.
Modified Gerson Therapy for Autism
Gerson therapy is a successful alternative therapy to cure cancer. The base of this therapy is in toxin removal through juicing and coffee enema, supported by supplementation for nutritional fulfillment.
Children with Autism have been found to have toxic overload of chemicals and heavy metals such as Lead, mercury & arsenic accompanied with sever nutritional deficiency. At the same time children with autism are also suffering from malnutrition due to Irritable Bowl Syndrome.
We believe juicing and coffee enema can provide support to children with autism by supporting toxin release from the body. In my experience a child with Autism happily consumes carrot juice, which is full of enzymes and antioxidants. However Coffee Enema could be a struggle. If you have mentally trained your child to take MB12 injections, it could be a great support.
A word of caution Gerson therapy is a strict vegetarian diet, however a child with autism is in growing phase and needs sufficient amount of protein and fat intake to build his body. During our interaction with several parents we came across this Modified Gerson Therapy.
You need to learn about Gerson therapy and build your own method to figure our what works well with your child. Below is our extracted version of modified Gerson Therapy on the basis of our interaction with parents of children with autism:
- Give your child 4-8 Glasses of Organic Cold Press Orange juice everyday atleast 1 hour before and after his meals.
- Use only Organic / Natural Sea salt / hymalayan rock salt in diet. Natural Salt has all kind of minerals compared to only 100% sodium heavy synthetic salt.
- The meals can include good quality proteins such as lentils, cage free eggs, lamb. Avoid chicken unless you are buying cage free chickens.
- Use only organic vegetables and grains.
Homeopathic Treatment for Autism
With the increasing understanding that autism may have a biochemical connection, several Homeopaths believe that it is possible to treat autism. Homeopathic medicines are targeted at resolving the reasons, which are ailing the body, therefore with accurate homeopathic treatment, it is possible to treat autism.
GFCF (GF / CF) Diet to Treat Autism
Several parents of children with Autism reports that their child benefited with GFCF Diet. A GF / CF diet is a gluten-free & casein-free diet. Gluten and Casein are very well known allergens and difficult to digest by human digestive system. Children with autism have impaired digestive system and it is quite natural that they are not able to digest them.
Parents report that, once a child is on GFCF Diet off products carrying gluten and casein:
- Their stool improves
- They have regular bowl movement
- They are not constipated
- their behaviour improves.
- Their stool is less smelly.
Under GFCF Diet all foods containing gluten (made of or containing wheat, barley and rye) and casein (made of or containing milk and dairy products) are removed from the child’s daily food intake.
Before you start GFCF diet, we encourage you to get your child undergo Food Allergy Test. Food allergies are the reason which result into irritability of bowl leading to Leaky Gut Syndrome. Several child with Autism are diagnosed with Leaky Gut Syndrome.
It is believed that children with autism process peptides and proteins in foods containing gluten and casein differently than other people do. It is believed that the brain treats these proteins like false opiate-like chemicals. GFCF diet helps to reduce autism symptoms and improve social& cognitive behaviors with speech.
If you do find that your child is allergic to Gluten and Casein, go ahead and first identify what you will feed him instead of foods containing these allergens. Once you have identified the replacement, only then start the GFCF diet. We have seen many parents, who struggle for months to feed their child adequately on GFCF diet.
Please also note that once you eliminate foods containing Gluten and casein your child gets devoid of nutrients provided by these food products. Therefore you need to supplement your child with nutrients like Vitamin D and calcium.
Biomedical Treatment for Autism
Biomedical treatments are increasingly getting popular among parents of children with autism. Several parents report benefits due to these treatments.
A Biomedical treatment for Autism is the process of redressing the anomalies in the patient’s biochemistry through the use of specific nutrients. Biomedical treatments are based on the pioneering work of Nobel Prize winner, Linus Pauling.
In Biomedical Treatment standard medical tests are utilised to determine the various biological challenges body is facing. These tests re utilised to find one or all of the following things:
- Food allergies
- Impaired Gut Flora with overgrowth of bad bacteria in the gut
- Presence of parasites, yeast, viruses in the bowl
- Heavy metal toxicity
- Severe nutritional deficiency
These standard tests help identify:
- Immune system disfunction
- Thyroid malfunction
- Impaired metabolism
- Other underlying biochemical imbalances
Once you identify these imbalances several treatment strategies can be adopted. One can address these imbalances with:
- Dietary supplements
- Ayurvedic & Natural medicines
You can learn more about these treatments in the book “Autism: Effective Biomedical Treatments. Have We Done Everything We Can for This Child?” by Sidney Baker (Author), Jon Pangborn (Author), Bernard Rimland (Introduction), Sindey M. Baker (Author)
You can also hear below story of 4 parents, who have used biomedical treatment for their children.
If you have read through this article so far, let me salute you for being a brave parent. Fight with Autism is not easy. There will be times, when you will be full of hope and when you will loose all of it. What I must tell you is that it you, who will make the real difference in your child’s life.
1. Maternal lifestyle and environmental risk factors for autism spectrum disorders. Lyall, K., R.J. Schmidt, and I. Hertz-Picciotto, Int J Epidemiol, 2014. 43(2): p. 443-64.
2. Environmental mercury release, special education rates, and autism disorder: an ecological study of Texas. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16338635
3. “Intestinal Permeability Defects: Is It Time to Treat?“. Odenwald, Matthew A.; Turner, Jerrold R. (2013). Clinical Gastroenterology and 11 (9): 1075–83
4. Leaky gut and autoimmune diseases. Fasano A
5. Effectiveness of the gluten-free, casein-free diet for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder: based on parental report. Pennesi CM, Klein LC.