Autism Spectrum support
Autism is a product of our times
In the year 2000, the rate of autism among children was 1 in 150 kids. Today, that rate has increased to 1 in 68, which makes Autism the fasted growing neurological disorder today.
A Complex issue
Initially it was thought to be simply an increased rate of diagnosis, but subsequent research has shown there is a true increase in frequenty. As more research continues to be done on several different pathways (genetic, metabolic, biochemical, environmental, nutritional), it appears that there are multiple body systems being affected simultaneously. Which body systems are affected appears to differ in individuals, but there are also many common factors between those affected.
Several of these lines of research do point to a common etiology – the environment: the nutritional environment, the man-made chemical environment, the microbial (intestinal bacteria) environment, and even the in-utero environment. According to this view, ASD is an illness of our times: kids are being exposed to many of the same factors causing chronic health challenges in adults, but their exposures are happening during early development. This fact makes early diagnosis and intervention more important.
The following diagram shows several of the primary body systems which seem to be involved in ASD. These are both triggers and ways Autism manifests.
Approximately 1% of the world population has Autism
In the US, 1:68 children have autism with the incidence rising
Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability
Early detection is helpful in treating Autism (can be diagnosed by 3 years of age)
Most children with autism have co-occurring issues: constipation or other digestive disorders, ADHD, seizures, sleep disturbance, nutrititional and anti-oxidant deficiencies.
Evaluation and testing
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) symptoms vary between kids, so after the child/person has been formally diagnosed the next step is to identify which body systems are most affected in that individual. This is done primarily through verbal and written evaluations. After the primary systems have been identified, biochemical testing is done for confirmation and to provide a baseline to compare to once treatment has been started.
We try to use non-invasive testing methods whenever possible – testing is done through urine, stool, saliva, and of course blood when necessary. Some tests can be done through traditional “in-network” labs (i.e. billed through insurance), but testing such as intestinal bacterial testing and anti-oxidant evaluation are generally not covered services. This is simply the state of medicine today, but will hopefully continue to evolve.
Just as there is no one manifestation of ASD, there is no one "treatment". Treatment is focused on moderating and not typically cure, although lots of improvement is possible. Treatment at Trillium Natural Medicine focuses on addressing the biochemical aspects of Autism to improve quality of life.
The functional medicine approach to supporting autism at Trillium Natural Medicine aims to support deficient systems, remove contributing factors whenever possible, and help moderate the contributing/resultant health challenges or “co-morbidities” – digestive issues, sleep disturbance, and immune disorders. Many of these are interrelated and several act as immune triggers – kids act out more if their stomach hurts from chronic constipation and stomach pain, attention and focus are more difficult with insufficient sleep, and proper neurological function isn’t possible if the child/person has reduced antioxidant cpacity or inadequate nutrition. Our treatment is typically combined with other services in the community: Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), speech or occupational therapy, as well as other services as appropriate.