Up until just a few years ago, autism was a rare condition almost unheard of outside of movies. Today, it is estimated that 1 in 100 Australian children have autism, with boys four times more likely to be diagnosed than girls. Part of the increase in diagnoses is due to a change in diagnostic criteria, but other factors are increasing the numbers of children diagnosed.
Medicating kids with autism is common, but parents need to be aware that medication will only serve to treat the symptoms while masking the underlying cause. By not treating the underlying problem, the potential for further damage is increased.
A common characteristic of children with autism is food aversions and behavioral issues that make mealtime especially difficult. This makes it challenging for parents to ensure these children have adequate nutrition.
A study conducted at the Emory University Marcus Autism Center found nutritional deficiencies, especially calcium and protein, to be far more common in children with autism than in their neurotypical peers. Calcium is critical for strong bones, and protein is vital for growth and mental development.
In many children, autism isn’t diagnosed until after extensive antibiotic treatment for various infections. Antibiotics don’t discriminate, they kill the beneficial bacteria along with the harmful bacteria. This can cause digestive upset and bowel irregularities in anyone, but children with autism are especially susceptible.
Restoring healthy digestion is one of the first steps to helping a child with autism. Digestive enzymes and probiotics can help repopulate the intestinal flora, improving absorption of nutrients.
Autism shares many of the characteristic symptoms of ADHD. Combined with the dietary issues common to autism, keeping blood sugar levels stable is vital, especially in autistic children who are prone to hyperactivity.
Research conducted as far back as the 1970s has proven that a nutritional approach can lead to significant improvements in children with autism. Research conducted at the Institute for Child Behavior in San Diego, California, Dr. Bernard Rimland gave supplements of magnesium and vitamins C and B6 to 16 autistic children. Twelve of the children showed significant improvement until the supplements were switched to placebos, at which point the children regressed. A number of follow up studies by other researchers have supported these findings.
Some children with autism have had noticeable improvements in their symptoms by eliminating gluten and/or casein. Others have had improvements from adding Omega-3 fatty acids to their diet. Studies on these approaches are limited, but the anecdotal evidence suggests that these steps are worth considering.
Nutrition is just one part of an overall strategy to treat autism without medication. Autism is considered to be a neurological condition with a wide range of symptoms, including difficulty communicating and trouble interpreting social cues.
Every physiological function is controlled by the central nervous system, which is tied into the musculoskeletal system. When bones, especially the spine, is out of alignment, the nervous system is unable to transmit messages effectively. Chiropractic care can help bring the spine back into proper alignment so the nervous system can function more effectively.
Neither nutrition nor chiropractic adjustments are a cure for autism, as there is no cure. However, both nutrition and chiropractic care can help improve neurological function, minimize gastrointestinal distress, promote more restful sleep, and help many children with autism achieve a higher level of functioning, without the side effects common to medication.
If you are looking for a more natural approach to treating a child with autism, call Eastland Family Chiropractic now on 03 9095 7990 to talk to one of our pediatric chiropractors about how nutrition and chiropractic adjustments may be able to help your child.Leave a reply →