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April, 2010:

Myths of autism

There are many myths of autism and I thought I would highlight a few, according to Lisa Jo Rudy of About.com.   Until we dispel the myths that the media loves to perpetuate, we will not begin the real work of find causes and cures.

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A diagnosis of autism is not the end of love and hope. But media stories thrive on the most overwhelming and horrifying circumstances. Here are just a few of the myths perpetuated by TV, magazines and movies — myths that, at least in my opinion, deserve to be blown away!

1. Autistic People Are All Alike

Myth: If I’ve met an autistic person (or seen the movie Rain Man), I have a good idea of what all autistic people are like.Fact: Autistic people are as different from one another as they could be. The only elements that ALL autistic people seem to have in common are unusual difficulty with social communication.

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2. Autistic People Don’t Have Feelings

Myth: Autistic people cannot feel or express love or empathy.Fact: Many — in fact, most — autistic people are extremely capable of feeling and expressing love, though sometimes in idiosyncratic ways! What’s more, many autistic people are far more empathetic than the average person, though they may express their empathy in unusual ways.

3. Autistic People Don’t Build Relationships

Myth: Autistic people cannot build solid relationships with others.Fact: While it’s unlikely that an autistic child will be a cheerleader, it is very likely that they will have solid relationships with, at the very least, their closest family members. And many autistic people do build strong friendships through shared passionate interests. There are also plenty of autistic people who marry and have satisfying romantic relationships.

One of the biggest problems with these myths is that next to no people on the spectrum fit within these myths; therefore, not only will many people be mistreated and wrongly judged; but also, many will be undiagnosed and fail to receive treatment because of misconceptions.  Check out the links on our blog page to learn more about autism.

What is Aspergers'

As explained on the NBC website after the newly created show, “Parenthood” aired an episode on aspergers.  It’s about time that the media started paying attention to autism- a national epidemic.  We applaud networks like NBC and PBS for doing so….

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Asperger’s Disorder was first described by Viennese pediatrician Hans Asperger in the 1940s, who observed boys who possessed normal intelligence and language development traits but were experiencing challenges with social and communication skills. Though it was classified as a separate disorder from autism in 1994, many professionals feel that Asperger syndrome is simply a milder form of autism; they use the term “high-functioning autism.” Separate or not, it is a very real condition that can have significant impact on affected families, like the fictional Bravermans of “Parenthood.”

What can I do if I think my child has Asperger syndrome?

Talk with your child’s doctor or nurse. If you or your doctor thinks there could be a problem, ask for a referral to see a specialist such as a developmental pediatrician or psychologist. Talk with your child’s teacher or school counselor, too.

Want to know more? Here are some resources that can help you better understand Asperger syndrome and its treatment:

Online Asperger Syndrome Information and Support (OASIS) Center

The Autism Society

A Parent’s Guide to Asperger Syndrome from the CDC

Brain explains Asperger’s Syndrome

This is autism awareness month and the media is finally taking some serious notice.  With 1 in 70 boys and 1-117 children on the autism spectrum, it is clearly an epidemic.  Here is an explanation of why the childrens’ show, Arthus- depicted aspergers.  Thank you to the producers of Arthur, the new show Parenthood and many others for taking notice and bringing awareness to a much needed topic.  Children need to be understood.

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Last year, when the PBS Kids show Arthur invited its young viewers to create a pal with disabilities for the Elwood City crew, mention was made of an upcoming character named Carl who would add autism to the list of special needs the show has discussed — along with Buster’s asthma, Binky’s nut allergies, George’s dyslexia, and Marina’s blindness. Carl makes his debut this Monday, April 5, in an episode called “When Carl Met George” (that’s Carl, left, and George in the illustration). A press release from WGBH Boston gives this plot summary:George is excited about spending time with his new friend, Carl, who loves to draw trains and knows all kinds of cool facts about them!  George discovers that Carl has Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism, and that Carl sees the world a bit differently than George and many kids.  Despite their differences, George and Carl become great pals — and learn a lot from each other.  The story is followed by a live-action segment featuring kids with Asperger’s and autism.  We meet Bess and Linnea at Lovelane, a nonprofit organization that provides therapeutic horseback riding to kids with special needs, and then we follow Linnea to her neighborhood school and meet her teacher and classmates. Terri Mauro, About.com Guide to Special Children

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You can see the Arthur segments at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0TyHLWEhII




What are biomedical treatments for autism?

So just what is this “biomedical treatment” for autism?  To me, it’s a big word and, I think, can come across scary.  My first experience with the term came when I went to the biomedical autism conference in South Bend, Indiana last year.  Okay, to be honest… I did not know that it was a biomedical conference.  I was overwhelmed with the non-existant insurance coverage for our autism and the repetive lure of public schools claiming they will give you everything to help your child- but only once you drug them and watch them fail (yes, a mothers’ perspective none the less).  So, I packed up and took the two hour drive to this conference hoping to find new answers.  Having worked in nutrition and having used supplementation, homeopathy and other alternatives for 7 years at that time, what I heard was not surprising.  However, I heard it from DOCTORS!  And I heard it with RESEARCH!  I met worried parents who had never heard that these things could help their children.  As I listened to these docotrs describe things that were so basic to me, working in nutrition…. like probiotics because our childrens’ digestive systems did not work, and candida (yeast overgrowth) causing our childrens’ immune system to be weak…  and omega fish oils to help our children….  I laughed.  I also cried because what I had been doing alone for years and seeing great results with- I found out was a norm in the autism medical community.  And I praised God for introducing such concepts to me when my daughter was just a baby, to treat symptoms that I never knew would turn out to be autism. In our home, we often thank God because we do not know if our daughter would be walking or talking today had we not been introduced to therapeutic nutrition approaches when our daughter was very young….  so what is bio-medical and why do we embrace the hope and results it is bringing? According to one report…

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So what is biomedical treatment?   In simplest terms, it is the identifying of certain biochemical imbalances that when corrected allows the body to function better. If there are certain nutrients missing they are supplemented. If there are toxins present they are removed.   Beth Vataker, ASA Broward

My husband just reflected, as we watch our 13 month old cruise across the room, how we were just teaching our almost 8 year old to crawl at this age….  That little girl turns 8 on Friday and is High Functioning.  This is the hope and results that biomedical treatment, when done right, can give families and children.  They can be as basic as supplementing nutrition or as comprehensive as working with a DAN doctor to get rid of toxins.

For more information on biomedical treatments, finding a DAN autism doctor in your area or scheduling a nutrition consultation, contact us.  We seek to be a resource to your families.

Autism Awareness Month

April is autism awareness month, though every day really could be.  Today, 1 in 117 children are diagnosed on the spectrum and 1 in 70 boys.  (According to some organizations, the number are even higher.)  The numbers are growing with every passing month, and to tell you the truth… I find this downright scary.  When I first saw these growing numbers, I had many questions… I wanted to know why.  Was it because of over-diagnosis?  Was it because the medical profession was only now starting to properly diagnose?  Was it because parents were looking for a diagnosis to explain away other issues?  Sadly, I have learned that none are true.  The numbers are really growing that fast.  And until the government starts funding “real research,”  these numbers are not likely to go down.  By real research, I mean research that is not funded by businesses and organization with a vested interest in the results not pointing to outside influences like vaccines, toxins or other possible non-genetic factors. 

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In our home, we have 2 diagnosed children on the spectrum.  While their are no known cures for autism, we have made great strides, as have many other families, by using bio-medical (nutrition therapy) and other therapies.  For example, the vast majority of children with autism are believed to have digestive issues that prohibit them from absorbing nutrients.  Because of this, we have done alot with pro-biotics to help repair their guts and the results have been amazing.  Most DAN doctors (Defeat Autism Now), concur that probiotics are necessary in healing the gut, in addition to diet changes.    Many families also use a gluten free/ cassein free diet and find it important to make sure that their supplements are Gluten Free.

For more information about autism, check out the links included on this site.  And stay tuned for our next post. 

Blessings-

Becky