What is autism?
Autism is a brain disorder that often makes it hard to communicate with and relate to others. With autism different areas of the brain fail to work together. Most people with autism will always have some trouble relating to others. But early diagnosis and treatment have helped more and more people who have autism to reach their full potential.
What are the causes?
The exact cause for autism is unknown.
Autism is generally thought to be hereditary. It runs in families, so experts think genes are responsible for passing down autism in families.
Other studies are looking at whether autism can be caused by other medical problems or by something in your child’s surroundings.
Researchers are finding that when it comes to autism and ADHD, genetics is only part of the story. There are more than 80,000 chemicals on the market today, but less than 2000 have been tested for their long term impact on human health, even though all others are on store shelves and are sold daily.
The US alone spends about $35 billion a year trying to figure out the autism mystery.
• Lead: shown to cause brain damage to developing babies, causing a lifetime of learning and health implications. Lead is also linked to depression in teens. It is often found in old paint and brightly colored toys (typically made in China). A diet low in fat and high in calcium and iron, with foods like low-fat dairy and leafy green vegetables, can help block some harmful effects of lead exposure.
• Mercury: is toxic to the brains of developing fetuses and could cause irreversible damage. Fish is the No. 1 source of human exposure. Mercury has also been detected in high-fructose corn syrup. Avoid fish. If you cannot, eat wild-caught Alaskan salmon or Pacific wild sardines.
• PCBs: Even small doses can disrupt healthy nerve cell functioning and throw off the body’s natural calcium signaling, which could increase some children’s autism risk. PCBs are found all over the environment—and inside most of us. To avoid eat lower on the food chain. PCBs accumulate in animal fat. Removing fish skin and trimming fatty parts of meat can help cut back on your family’s PCB exposure.
• Organochlorine Pesticides: are implicated in birth defect and autism clusters. It is more common in farming communities, and where bug-killing chemical are extensively used. Support organic farming to reduce your risk of eating pesticide residues, as well as to protect people who live near or work on chemical farm operations. Greatest exposure comes from snap beans, tomatoes, and watermelons, so buy these items organic.
• Air Pollution: Recent studies link air pollution from vehicle exhaust to memory problems, brain damage, and an increased risk of autism. A prior study found that children born to women living within 1,000 feet of major highways are twice as likely to be diagnosed with autism years later. Drive less or carpool to cut back on air pollution, commute during less busy hours, and if you live close to a major roadway, consider investing in a high-quality air purifier that does not produce ozone.
• Brominated Flame Retardants: Over the long term, children born to mothers with high levels of these chemicals in their bodies have lower IQs and perform more poorly in mental and physical development testing. They’re found in furniture, electronics, certain sodas and sports drinks, and even household dust. Avoid furniture that meets California’s TB117 law, a regulation that promotes the use of flame retardant chemicals. Be diligent about wet-mopping in the house and use a HEPA-filter-equipped vacuum to reduce flame retardant–laced dust. Opt for natural flooring materials, not carpeting and carpet padding, which could harbor flame retardants. As for the beverage aisle, steer clear of Mountain Dew and certain Gatorade and Powerade flavors that list BVO—brominated vegetable oil, a flame retardant.
• Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs): This carcinogens is formed when meat is burned. PAHs are also among a category of 10,000 chemicals created from the burning of oil, garbage, coal, or wood. The compounds can damage DNA, hamper normal development, and impair fetal growth. Aside from burned meat, BBQ, Grilled meats, PAHs are abundant in coal-tar-based driveway sealants and anti-dandruff shampoos, cigarette smoke, and mothballs. Eat less meat. Opt for nontoxic mothball alternatives, avoid cigarette smoke, and look for safer driveway sealants that are free of coal-tar ingredients.
• Organophosphate Pesticides: Chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate insecticide, is still one of the most widely used farm chemicals in the U.S. Its residues has turned up on apples, bell peppers, cranberries, kale, grapes, peaches, and dozens of other foods. Eat organic as often as possible. Studies have proven that pesticide levels in the body plummet when consumers switch to an organic eating regimen.
• Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals: Pre-pregnancy exposure to even tiny doses of hormone-disrupting chemicals could irreversibly alter a child’s health. Bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates are prime suspects linked to social and aggression problems in children, along with stunted growth, learning disabilities, and lower IQ. These chemicals are used in hundreds of everyday products, including soaps, shampoos, cleaners, and air fresheners. Keep BPA out of your system. Avoid canned foods and beverages, as well as No. 7 plastics. To reduce phthalate exposure, cut off scented candles and air fresheners, and avoid personal care products that list "parfum" or "fragrance" as an ingredient.
• Nonstick Chemicals: Studies suggest that the nonstick coating in cookware cookwaremight be a culprit in ADHD in children and high cholesterol and infertility issues in adults. It is typically found in nonstick cookware, waterproof clothing, and certain stain-repelling fabrics used in carpeting and furniture. Replace it with cast iron or untreated stainless steel. Also, pass on furniture and carpet treatments offering stain protection.
• Oxybenzone: the active ingredient in many sunscreens, is a hormone disruptor. Buy sunscreen without them.
• Thalidomide—Not commonly used in the U.S., this sedative drug has been linked to an increase in autism and other birth defects.
• Misoprostol—This drug is licensed in the U.S. for use in preventing gastric ulcers, but it’s used in other countries for abortions.
• Valproic acid—This medication is used to control epilepsy. And known to cause increased autism risk.
• Prenatal rubella infection: A woman infected while pregnant also faces a higher risk of having a child with other developmental problems, eye problems, deafness, or heart problems.
• Toxic clothing: Convenience clothing may significantly affect your health. Claims like "wrinkle-free," "waterproof," "mildew-resistant," "antimicrobial," "permanent press," or "stain-proof" should raise a red flag. They’re likely loaded with chemicals that have never been properly tested to determine their full impact on your health.
• Water. Tap water and some bottled water could contain pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and even components of rocket fuel (perchlorate). Look for an NSF-certified filter that removes most of these toxins.
What are the treatments?
Autism is a condition that once affected 1 in 10,000 children now affecting 1 in 88 children. Latest research reveals a number of factors leading to Autism.
Special behavioral training is one of the treatments for Autism.
Behavioral training rewards good behaviors to teach children social skills and to teach them how to communicate and how to help themselves as they grow older.
Other things that parents can do:
1. Prenatal vitamins: Children whose mothers reported having taken prenatal vitamins during the three months leading up to conception or the first month of pregnancy were significantly less likely to have been diagnosed with autism than children whose mothers had not — about 40% less likely.
2. Reducing inflammation by improving nutrition, healing the gut and detoxifying the body are the more effective ways to treat autism naturally.
(Keep in mind that specific treatments of vitamins, minerals and other supplements are based upon the individual’s uniqueness.)
• Heal the gut. Get the child tested for other food allergens and eliminate them from his diet. Most often gluten is a culprit, but there are plenty of others too.
• Some practinioners use anti-fungal supplements to get rid of yeast overgrowth. Supplement with probiotics to restore bacteria and digestive enzymes can help aid digestion.
• Have your child eat only real, whole, organic, unprocessed, chemical, hormone and antibiotic free food. No Trans fats, no high fructose corn syrup, no pesticides, no GMOs, no canned processed or food in boxes.
• Plant food should be the foundation of your diet. Eat only vegetables, fruits, beans, seeds, nuts, whole grains, herbs and spices, organic fish, chicken and eggs.
3. Vaccines do not cause Autism. Do not stop vaccination.
4. Favor glass and stainless steel over plastic containers. Avoid canned foods.
5. Be careful when remodeling old lead paint based homes & vinyl flooring
6. Eat right: Women trying to get pregnant, or who are pregnant, indulge in foods like broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, egg yolks, dried beans, lentils, spinach, nuts, strawberries, tempeh, yogurt, and lettuce. This collection of foods is rich in folic acid, antioxidants, vitamin B12, and choline.
7. Detox your daily personal care chemicals. See their rating on Environmental Working Group’s website.
8. Speak up. Ultimately, it shouldn’t be your job to avoid toxic chemicals—they shouldn’t be on store shelves in the first place. Share information with your elected officials and tell them to make chemical reform a priority.
9. Buy organic from some of these trusted brands
• Organic Valley
• Bob’s Red Mill
• Dr. Bronner’s
• Earth Mama Angel Baby
• Ava Anderson Non-Toxic
• NYR Organic
• Applegate Farms
• Dr. Hauschka
• Intelligent Nutrients
• Jason (toothpaste)
• Eden Organics
• Nature’s Path
• Rudy’s Bakery
• GT’s Kombucha
• Newman’s Own
• Garden of Life Raw Vitamins
• The Honest Company
• Environmental Water Systems