Autism is a neuro-developmental disorder characterized by
social impairments, cognitive impairments, communication
difficulties, and repetitive behaviors.
It can range from very mild to very severe and occur
in all ethnic, socio-economic and age groups.
Males are four times more likely to have autism than females. Some children with autism appear normal before age 1 or 2 and then suddenly “regress” and lose language or social skills they had previously gained. This is called the regressive type of autism.Autism greatly varies from person to person. No two people with autism are alike. About 40% of children with autism do not speak. About 25% -30% of children with autism have some words at 12 to 18 months of age and then lose them. Others might not speak until later on in childhood. Many young children may not make eye contact with others, initiate or respond to cuddling, imitate movements and facial expressions, or play with others or share interest and enjoyment with their peers.
Children with autism do progress. Early intervention is the key to success. Autism is treatable and not a hopeless condition. Research shows that many individuals with autism spectrum disorders have underlying medical issues that frequently go undiagnosed and can cause or exacerbate symptoms of autism.These medical conditions include Fragile X, allergies, asthma, epilepsy, bowel disease, gastrointestinal/digestive disorders, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, food sensitivities, persistent viral and fungal infections, PANDAS, feeding disorders, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, ADHD, Tourette Syndrome, OCD, sensory integration dysfunction, sleeping disorders, immune disorders, auto-immune disorders, heavy metal toxicity and neuro-inflammation. Treating these underlying medical issues can greatly improve some of the behaviors and symptoms associated with autism.
Treatment options may include:
• Vitamin and mineral supplementation
• Immune system support
• Chelation/detoxification therapy
• Hyperbaric oxygen therapy
• Anti-fungal and anti-viral therapies
• Dietary intervention (such as a gluten free diet)
• Methyl B-12 therapy
Look for a physician who will not ignore underlying medical conditions that may be contributing to the symptoms and severity of autism. There are a number of physicians in the U.S. who specialize in treating children and adults with autism.Many professionals agree that early intervention is key in treating autism, and that behavior modification techniques are crucial in a child’s early years. Occupational Therapy (OT) is helpful to many. It is recommended you find an OT that is both trained in sensory integration therapy and is certified to perform diagnostic testing such as the Sensory Integration and Praxis Test (SIPT). Physical Therapy can be useful if the child has poor balance and coordination, muscle weakness, or postural abnormalities. Speech Therapy services focus on enhancing or restoring limited or lost communicative skills or oral motor skills such as swallowing. Many autistics have benefited from Music Therapy and canine companions.