Saturday, April 21, 2012

What Causes Autism? How do you prevent it?


This is only my opinion, but here it is.   And sorry if I sound like I'm getting a bit worked up here, but some of these points start to make me feel pretty angry.

1. I think people have a genetic predisposition (something; science has more to figure out about this part) to have Autism.  Autism is a condition tied to your immune system and the health of your gut. Someone with the predisposition, along with harm to their immune system or gut, will develop Autism.

2. Babies are covered in chemicals from birth, and receive chemicals in the womb. (Johnson and Johnson soap, for example, is really bad for you. PJs are coated in chemicals. Lead in toys. Pharmaceuticals in water. Teflon. Fragrances. Preservatives. Flame retardants, BPA, insecticides. Mercury, fluoride, copper, etc.)  Hayden has lead and copper poisoning, among other things.  These chemicals harm our immune systems and damage our overall health.

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3. Most humans stop producing the enzyme your body needs to help it digest milk products after age one. Most humans are allergic to milk.  We are not meant to consume it in great quantities. If we do eat milk products it should be in moderation, and/or with enzymes to help us digest them properly.

Milk and wheat proteins have a very similar structure.  If the body is unable to digest them, something called 'leaky gut' occurs where the proteins aren't digested properly.  It causes our gut and immune function to deteriorate. With time the gut changes and the proteins actually leak out of the gut into the blood stream.  They can then travel to the brain and attach to the opiate centers of the brain, like a drug. This is why most Autistic kids have that 'drugged out/ zoned out' look.  They are actually on a drug. They crave it. They go through withdrawal symptoms when it is removed from their bodies. And within days or weeks of removing these foods from their diets they come out of the Autism fog.

4. OK, so now these children are unwell.  Say, they're age 1.  Their immune systems are not functioning properly, they're sick all the time.  Now at age 1, on their first birthday, you give them 6 live viruses on the same day. Some of these shots also have aluminum, mercury, and other things that no one would want in their boy. You expect their bodies to produce antibodies and attack these viruses.  Their immune systems can't handle this large of an attack, and shut down even further. Children who were already showing signs of Autism (like Hayden) regress:  they lose skills, they zone out more, they start stimming.  Here is a blog post that mirrors my opinion on this.

This is the progression of Autism.  It is not a sure thing.

Ok, so what do you do about it?

For Rylie, I am:

1. watching for signs. I saw signs when she was having difficulty with constipation. She was zoned out. Changing her diet brought her out of the fog.

2.  I have tried to learn all I can about chemicals and remove them from my home and from my children's diets. I am not rich, so I do things in small steps when I can.  But I now use mostly glassware for storing food, no more juice boxes, no more aluminum foil, healthy soaps, shampoos, lotions, toothpaste, buy organic when I can, epsom salts for clorine and removing chemicals from the kids' bodies.  While pregnant with her I ate no fish whatsoever because of mercury, cleaned up the chemicals I used on my body (soaps, etc.)

3. No milk for Rylie since her IgG test showed she was allergic. No wheat until I can get her tested for celiac disease. Avoid all other allergens until her gut health improves, then slowly add them back one at a time and see how she does.  If I had not changed her diet, she might be Autistic today. I could see that in her path with how sick she was all the time, and with the zoning out.  Don't give me an excuse that "that's a lot of work" or "we wouldn't be able to go out to eat" or "I don't think it would matter" or "that's all he eats."  I'm sorry, is this about you, or about your child?

4. Spreading out her vaccines.  She WILL NOT get more than 2 (or 3 for MMR) live viruses on one day. This does not mean how many actual shots, because most shots have 2 viruses in them. You need to ask about specific viruses.  She will not get MMR until age 2, unless measles comes to our area. She will not get a vaccine if she has even the slightest sign of a cold.  She is behind on her vaccine schedule, but she will get them eventually, and she does not have Autism. She will not receive shots with mercury in them, even if it is "only" .0000001 of mercury. I'm sorry, but my child does not need mercury in her body, period. You will "prove" to me that mercury is ok in our bodies when you "prove" to me what causes Autism.

[A note to make here is that this post makes Autism out to be all about nutrition, environment, and toxins.  I think preventing Autism is about these things.  I think once Autism is there, especially if it's severe as was the case with Hayden, then treating Autism needs to address nutrition, environment, toxins, and some type of behavioral component, which for us was ABA therapy. This is because Autism has changed the connections in the brain, and the child needs to learn to reprogram those connections.]

More info on Vaccines:
Aluminum controversy
Dr. Sears' Vaccine Topic Page
Dr. Sears' Alternative Vaccine Schedule  and Explanation although I think The Vaccine Book does a better job of explaining each virus and its effects, each virus and its side effects, and his recommendations for spreading your child's vaccines out (getting the same number of vaccines but over a longer period of time.)


5. I will never take the word of one doctor as fact. Doctors are not trained on Autism or nutrition. They know very little about any of this, because it is not yet a part of mainstream medicine, unless they have taken it upon themselves to learn on their own. Our new pediatrician, for example, is very well informed.  But most I have met are not. [This is not meant as an insult to doctors; you can't help how you were trained. As a teacher I wasn't trained about Autism. I knew nothing about it until it entered my life and I had to start learning more.]

There are doctors out there whose children have Autism, and they are the ones working hard to find the solution. Those are the people whose information I will listen to. They are called DAN (Defeat Autism Now) Doctors.

And I will always trust my maternal instinct. If I think something is wrong with my child, I will continue to learn more and find a doctor who will listen and is willing to learn more with me. I will not sit by; I will not stop learning.  I will continue to have hope and never give up. And I will tell everyone who wants to listen about the things I have learned, because Autism is not forever.  I refuse to believe it.

As I said in a Facebook post a while back: 

Today is for the angels who are saving my son.

I called for help when I saw him in the muddy waters of Autism, and they grabbed his shirt and began pulling him up out of the murky nothingness.  

Without them he would still be at the bottom of that sad pond, drowning but unaware, staring at nothing, not talking, and not experiencing life.

He could be looking forward to living in a group home for the rest of his life, and watching tv.  
But instead, he is on his way out;  a vibrant, happy, inquisitive, caring boy who will someday contribute to society. 

Some day he may get married and have a job, two things I'd hoped for him but didn't think probable. 
Some day he may be able to say to the world, "I used to have Autism."

Thank you to Hayden's Angels: 
 Staci Small, the staff at Cornerstone Autism CenterDr. Hulseman TACA and Generation Rescue.  

There is no amount of Thanks in the world that would be enough for giving me back my little boy.


But it all has to start with a parent who
"cares enough about something to do something about it."  (Richard Branson)

If it applies:  please let that parent be you.




A great book to help you get started:  The Autism Book by Dr. Sears


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