Help for Autistic Children
- 2009 29 Apr
Though there are some individuals who do not respond to these methods, many children on the autistic spectrum have made improvements in their relationship to this world after making these changes.
There have been many questions regarding autism, PDD (Pervasive Developmental Disorder), how to treat it, how to manage, how it begins, and any other pertinent information. To avoid confusion, autism and PDD are the same “disease.” Health professionals now refer to this as the autistic spectrum, with high-functioning autistics being classified as PDD. According to information on the UNC Department of Psychiatry's website, symptoms of autism include:
- Severe delays in language development.
- Severe delays in understanding social relationships.
- Inconsistent patterns of sensory responses.
- Uneven patterns of intellectual functioning.
- Marked restriction of activity and interests.
Basically, “autism is a developmental disability that prevents individuals from properly understanding what they see, hear, and otherwise sense. This results in severe problems of social relationships, communication, and behavior. Individuals with autism have to painstakingly learn normal patterns of speech and communication, and appropriate ways to relate to people, objects, and events, in a similar manner to those who have had a stroke.”1
Years ago, there was very little cure or success rate with autistic children coming out of their own small world. However, through the work of some pioneering doctors and parents, there are new avenues for therapy that have brought a cure for some, with hope and betterment for others.
Yeast: The first line of defense is to rid the autistic person’s body of yeast. All sugar is taken out of the diet, as are most sweeteners (honey, molasses), and most fruit. A sign of a systemic yeast problem is “grazing” or eating a full meal, then going to the kitchen to eat some more. The person is always hungry and never satisfied, especially craving sweets. For our situation, we chose herbal therapies before the prescription medicine: olive leaf extract, Candida Cleanse (with walnut hull, grapefruit seed extract and caprylic acid), before antifungal medicines (Ketoconazole, Itraconazole, Fluconazole, Nystatin).
Gluten-free / Casein-free (GFCF) Diet: A large percentage of autistic children have opiates in their urine, without being on the drug opium. Through research and testing doctors have found that the molecules of gluten (wheat) and casein (dairy) are similar to opium molecules, and some autistic children’s metabolisms are translating the gluten and casein molecules into opiates. (This is a very simplified explanation of the theory.)
The wonderful news is that once removed from the source of opiates, many autistic children become reconnected to the world. They make better eye contact, speech improves, reality is more within their grasp. There are books which cover these concepts in more detail (see bottom of article for resources), with great recipes for whole meals, desserts and snacks, to make at home.
The diet doesn’t have to be as varied as we are used to, and homemade bread is so much better than the store-bought fare – especially for gluten free bread. Be forewarned that most of these children have self-limited themselves to a bread/pasta/milk/fruit diet – pizza is usually their favorite food – but with persistence they will adapt.
Vitamin Therapy: The main vitamins these children need are magnesium, calcium and B-6 – and in megadoses (please research and consult with your doctor to advise on dosages). Super Nu-Thera is a specially formulated vitamin/mineral mixture, used specifically for autistic children. (1-888-KIRKMAN; http://www.autism.com/ari/liquid.html)
Medical Tests: There are doctors who believe in these alternative approaches for treating autism. Many are listed at the DAN! website. We found an excellent medical doctor just 20 minutes from our home. He believes in diet, vitamins, herbal treatments along with prescription medicines. A good doctor is a great support. Tests can include: yeast, fungi, parasites, vitamin and mineral testing. More information on testing is found in the various books.
When we began the GFCF diet for our autistic son, I had no idea where to buy the food. However, checking our local grocery stores and health food stores proved productive. I could find almost everything I needed locally, along with a few additional surprises. I still order items from catalogs or online, so I can order in bulk for greater discount, or to find items not available in our community.
Cheese has been the hardest item to obtain, because only the Soymage brand cheese is totally casein-free. However, our local grocery stores are now stocking it for us. Milk substitutes basically are rice milk, soy milk, or almond milk, which are easily located.
When we removed sugars from our son’s diet, he began sleeping through the night for the first time in years. The GFCF diet brought him back to our world. Within 24 hours of withholding breads and dairy from his diet, he began talking in complete sentences (not just repeating videos or things he had heard), and talking in paragraphs. His own thoughts!
We have miles to go, but are moving slowly, to let him adjust to each level. He is beginning to read, use the computer, dress himself, and brush his teeth. These are great strides, for which we thank our heavenly Father.
1 University of North Carolina, http://www.teacch.com/info_primer.html#1
- Unraveling the Mystery of Autism and PDD - A Mother’s Story of Research and Recovery, by Karyn Seroussi.
- Special Diets for Special Kids by Lisa S. Lewis, Ph.D.
- Feeding Your Allergic Child, by Elisa Meyer
- The Gluten-Free Gourmet Cooks Fast and Healthy, by Bette Hagman (all her gluten-free books)
- Country Beans, by Rita Bingham (making and cooking with flour from beans)
You can order catalogs from some
- Authentic Foods
- Celiac Suppliers
- Dixie Diners’ Club
- Ener-G Foods (catalog)
- Galaxy Foods
- Gluten Free Pantry
- Miss Roben’s (catalog)
- Lactose Intolerance Clearinghouse
On the internet:
Online Support Groups, Websites & Message Boards
- Gluten-Free / Casein-Free Diet
- ANDI Autism Network for Dietary Intervention (newsletter, books)
- Autism Research Institute
- Homeschooling Kids with Disabilities
- DAN! Doctor List (Defeat Autism Now!)
- Developmental Delay Resources
- Doris Rapp, MD
After 30 years of marriage, Mark & Kym Wright now have eight children. Their adopted son is on the autistic spectrum. She is a national speaker, author and writer. You can visit her website at: www.KymWright.com Her online publication is The Mother’s Heart magazine, for wives and mothers with hearts in their homes.