Today, April 2nd marks the beginning of the 6th annual World Autism Awareness Month. 1 in 50 school aged children (4 times as many males), have an Autistic spectrum disorder. Siblings are 10x as likely to be Autistic as well. Autistic Disorder, Asperger Syndrome, and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder are all Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Currently, there is no “cure” for ASD and only 1 medication approved for the treatment of autism when behavioral therapies have failed. Naturopathic Doctors work at investigating and treating the underlying cause using natural therapies and nutritional support. Schedule your appointment today in Edina or Bloomington if you suspect your child has ASD or has been diagnosed. Naturopathic Medicine can help improve their behavior and prevent problems later on in life.
The cause of Autism is still up for debate; however there are theories and evidence that it is due to several factors. Naturopathic Medicine works to address the causes and support the child nutritionally to be sure his/her body is functioning at an optimal level. Chemicals in our environment and heavy metal toxicity – lead and mercury specifically, have been linked to ASD. Vaccinations have been blamed, but studies haven’t been consistent. Nutritional status, gut health, diet, food allergies, antioxidant status, and autoimmunity have also been linked with ASD.
Children with Autism have an impairment in social interaction, impairment in speech development (often learning to speak at older ages than normal), and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior. The first sign parents usually notice is delayed speech, although some children develop normally and then regress. Research has shown that diagnosing ASD before the age of 3 has an improved outcome for the child. However, many kids aren’t being diagnosed until they are around the age of 7. If you suspect that your child has autism, its important to bring them into a doctor as soon as possible.
A few early signs to look for:
1. Delayed verbal and nonverbal (eye contact, smiling, engaging) communication. Does not respond to his/her name.
2. Abnormally sensitive to sounds and textures
3. Hand Flapping
4. Preoccupation with particular objects
5. The need for routine and rituals and difficulty with change
6. Does not babble, point, or make meaningful gestures by 12 months