Defeat Autism Now!
Despite the decades of research done on autism no one knows the exact cause of autism in children. This is in part because there is no one single cause, making it hard to nail down, especially when you try to make it applicable to every child diagnosed. In fact, most of the proposed causes of autism are considered to be controversial in the medical world. Many have presumed that the cause of autism is only genetic, some feel it is triggered by vaccines, or simply a psychological disorder and many see it is an immune dysfunction. So who is correct?
According to the science, children with autism have abnormal GI, immunological and/or toxicological systems due to a combination of genetic factors, undiagnosed food allergies, chronic infections, overuse of medications, GI dysbiosis (imbalances in the gut), vitamin/mineral deficiencies, and poor diets to name a few. In the last 10 years studies have shown a strong genetic link between the Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase (MTHFR) mutation and autism, Dr. Brooks DC, CACCP, RN has also seen this link in her practice. In addition, there is research from the Autism Research Institute (ARI) discussing the nutritional aspects of children with autism and their inborn deficits. For example, Nutrition Research Reviews published an article in July 2014, which reported the continued connection between autism and nutrition as is relates to the brain and gastrointestinal system. They specifically noted the differences in GI flora between those with autism and controls. They concluded nutrition-related factors play a causal role in autism and its symptoms.
When you put the whole picture together you can see why a child with autism is at a higher risk for injury. As the environmental toxins and exposures accumulate, the struggling body can no longer deal with them appropriately and damage occurs. This damage may be the first symptom a family sees. There is not one event that causes a child to be diagnosed with autism, not every child with autism acts or looks the same, nor is every child medically treated the same. There is no such thing as a one size fits all treatment for autism.
Autism, Who is the Right Doctor for You?
The standing belief among some providers today is that autism cannot be helped, it is just something a family has to accept. However, Dr. Brooks, DC, CACCP, RN thinks otherwise, due in large part to her experiences in practice. In addition to her pediatric training as a chiropractor she has also trained with Autism Research Institute (DAN!) and the Medical Academy of Pediatric Special Needs (MAPS) in both clinician and nutrition training programs.
The approach used to help children with autism is often called the Biomedical approach, although this is an older term, which has now been replaced with “integrative” or “functional” care. The biomedical belief is that more than a genetic illness, autism is a biomedical problem. The Defeat Autism Now (DAN) project began in 1960s, founded by the Autism Research Institute headed by Dr. Bernard Rimland, PhD. The protocol taught by ARI is a philosophical approach aimed at addressing the biochemical irregularities in one’s body using vitamin supplements, diets, proper lab testing and nutrition. With the irregularities fixed, children can “recover” from autism according to Dr. Rimland. You can read more on the research at www.autism.com.
Dr. Brooks, DC, CACCP, RN assists patients with the various steps of care, which may include chiropractic, recommending the necessary supplements, diet changes and improving nutritional status. She also includes testing for food allergies/sensitivities, methylation pathways, genetic SNPs, GI related urine and stool testing, and blood work to find out what may be causing complications in children. It is also important to coordinate the biomechanical needs of the child too; these are the basics of how we function. In all cases, Dr. Brooks, DC, CACCP,RN prefers to work in conjunction with other clinicians for better results and continuity of care. To find out more about how your child may be able to be helped and/or for a referral please call our office.
Children with Autism can exhibit a plethora of symptoms; no two kids are exactly the same. This list is not inclusive but gives a glimpse of the more common symptoms parents may see their child exhibit. Please note symptoms and their severity vary widely.
- Repetitive behaviors
- Trouble with social interaction
- Inappropriate toy play (ex. Lining up toys)
- Language delay or lack of language
- Behavioral issues
- Self-Injurious behaviors
- Sleep difficulties
- Developmental delays
- Chronic infections
- Recurring infections
- Poor eye contact
- Obsessive tendencies
Associated Medical Conditions:
- Fragile X syndrome
- Angelman syndrome
- Tuberous sclerosis
- Chromosome 15 duplication
- MTHFR genetic mutation
- Gastrointestinal Disorders
- Seizure Disorders
- Sensory processing problems
Link Between Autism and the Gut
“Autism is Treatable”
According to Dr. Bernard Rimland, PhD and ARI, “autism is treatable”. Prior to 1980 finding autism was rare at 2-5 per 10,000 people. It is now 1 in every 45 children (CDC, 2015), which is an increase of over 30% from the 2008 CDC report. In her experience, Dr. Brooks, DC, CACCP, RN has seen autism as a symptom of an underlying process that affects the immune system, nervous system, GI system, neurology and the toxicological system.
Most parents when diagnosed are only given referrals for therapy. All too often they are misinformed, uninformed or mislead to focus solely on one thing. In the past the first line treatments included B12 shots, high dose glutathione, high dose vitamins and removal of heavy metals via chelation, in many cases prescribed without proper testing. These have fallen out of favor as a first line of treatment due in part to the emphasis on proper testing of children to determine their functional needs prior to supplementing. In addition, there has been an abundance of research published on methylation and detoxification pathways, especially as they relate to autism. Parents should understand that detoxifying the body from heavy metals or in general can be dangerous without proper oversight, if this suggestion is made to you as a first treatment please get another opinion. Please know heavy metal detoxification (often called chelation) is not a safe or proper first treatment and can be dangerous if done too early and without proper gut and immune repair.
There is no shortage of up to date studies being published, despite rumors of “no research based medical treatments” being available. All too frequently, the diagnosing provider tells parents that “behavior therapy (ABA) is the only proven treatment for autism” and this is simply false. Organizations like Autism Speaks, Generation Rescue, Autism Research Institute (ARI) and AutismOne have helped to lead funding to continue the research on autism treatments as they relate to the medical, nutrition and dietary aspects of care. These organizations have proven the outdated notion that “behavior therapy is the only treatment option for children with autism.” Do not misunderstand this message; WCW is an advocate of therapy, we refer out and work with therapists for speech, occupational and behavior related care with most every child in our practice. However, the best results are achieved through continuity of care between providers.
Parents have started using chiropractors as part of their treatment teams. One of the most basic ideas in chiropractic is that dysfunction in the spine and its joints can lead to dysfunction within the nervous system. Since the nervous system controls and coordinates all of the systems of the body, spinal dysfunction (also called a subluxation) can have wide ranging effects on the body’s health. Spinal adjustments for infants and young children involve very light fingertip pressure to correct spinal misalignments. In addition, Dr. Brooks, DC, CACCP, RN uses Craniosacral Therapy (CST), this especially helps those with autism. She has seen CST in conjunction with other care modalities help with sensory issues, behavior, sleeping, cognition, immune system, speech, attention, bedwetting, anxiety and to relieve pain. Many children with autism suffer from frequent infections, bedwetting, sinus congestion and constipation, all of which may be helped with adjustments and Craniosacral Therapy (CST).
The best advice Dr. Brooks, DC, CACCP, RN could give parents would be to focus on an integrative approach for their child with autism, bringing in both therapy and medical focused care; this is the key to true health and wellness. The terms integrative, functional, and biomedical are often used interchangeably. These approaches all work at finding the underlying cause of your child’s autism, using a patient-centered approach to set an individualized treatment plan. When a doctor addresses the whole child and not just a set of isolated symptoms they often get to the root of the problem and can facilitate healing. Dr. Brooks, DC,CACCP, RN is never concerned about diagnosing or labeling a symptom, but truly understanding the body as a whole and working with the patient to achieve their goals. It is important to know these methods are not exclusively for children with autism. As a matter of fact every child should be examined as a whole person, looking at all the components of dysfunction and helping to work toward wellness.
The current treatments truly depend on your child’s symptoms, specific needs and goals. In any case, your provider should first take a thorough history, perform an exam and order necessary tests. At WCW our initial testing is comprised of urine, stool and blood work to evaluate a starting point. These tests help determine proper supplements, diet changes, nutritional deficiencies, GI health and any subsequent labs needed to ensure the best result is achieved. In addition, parents should try to avoid toxic household chemicals, pesticides, processed foods and any harmful environmental agents that can challenge their already unstable systems.
Vaccine Resources & Options
Steps to Achieve Integrative Care for Optimal Healing
“Nutrigenomics and Prevention”
The treatments in caring for children with autism have exploded and now include evaluating genetics. For example, we know children with autism have poor detoxification systems leaving them prone to long-term damage. So, what if you could be aware of the genetic predispositions and potentially prevent a diagnosis? This has changed the game because we now know what a child is genetically prone to, allowing your doctor to be proactive instead of reactive. The key to prevention and care is early intervention!
According to University of California Davis, “nutritional genomics, or nutrigenomics, is the study of how foods affect our genes and how individual genetic differences can affect the way we respond to nutrients (and other naturally occurring compounds) in the foods we eat.” Nutrigenomics has received a lot of attention because of its potential for preventing, mitigating, or aiding chronic disease. Genetics cannot be “fixed” BUT we can support the system when we know where the broken link is and potentially prevent further damage.
Dr. Brooks, DC, CACCP, RN is passionate about helping children with autism and works tirelessly to help these children. After a decade of having the honor of caring for children with autism, she has become an expert. Dr. Brooks, DC, CACCP, RN spends the necessary time to learn about each individual child and explain to the parents what is happening with their child and together a care plan evolves. As parents you can rest assure that she will be looking at the ‘whole child’, this is an important step for each person on your team to examine in achieving results. If you only address the symptoms with drugs for example, the underlying issue may go unresolved and the child remains sick. Dr. Brooks, DC, CACCP, RN along with her colleagues have been very successful in the caring for children on the spectrum and understands the challenges faced in each family. She often refers out for speech, occupational and physical therapies and truly sees the value of these therapies. Compassion, understanding and experience are what set her apart from others.