So, you've come here wondering, "Is there hope for me too?" Is there hope for my son/my daughter? Well, here's what I won't tell you: I won't tell you that you can cure your son or daughter's autism. That's not yours to carry. Your job is not to cure or treat anything or anybody. What you CAN do however is to turn over every rock... turn over every leaf possible in order to know if you did, indeed, do everything you could to give your son/daughter the best chance for their future they've got.
~Skip ahead to find the list of things you can start looking into.
There are far too many stories of recovery. There are far too many stories about the release of Autistic symptoms or for some, removing the label altogether, to trust just one team, just one doctor who tells you there's no hope. This is the rest of your child's life and let me tell you that for many, there absolutely is hope.
You have just been given the diagnosis for your child. They tell you this is a lifelong neurological disorder they will have for the rest of their life. Yeah, okay, maybe. But, why would we stop there, with only one approach to that life? Listen, when my non-autistic children or even I, myself, am feeling the emotion of anger, more often than I like, and it affects the ones around me negatively, I am going to LEAN into that emotion and find a way to make not only my life, but the lives around me more palatable. I wouldn't stop at, "well, that's just they way they are or the way I am", or "it's just their personality and there's nothing we can do". Your child who now lives with Autism is capable and worth much more than that from us.
Please believe me that doctors do not know everything there is to know about Autism. They simply weren't taught everything in school. They know what they know and that's great! It's enough for what they do. But does it also mean they know everything about Autism? The answer that I have found, and thousands of others have found, is quite simply, no.
So you've come to this page and you just want the Coles Notes. Well, this is a list of what you can try in a Holistic Way. It is not comprehensive. Autism experts are always coming up with more things to try that is working for a group of these kids and I can't keep up half the time! Also, because my son no longer has the defined attributes of Autism, I don't do as much of the latest research on this topic as I used to. I help with the basics and support, and let the experts take over the rest.
If you are coming here as a skeptic. Believe me, I'm with you. There is SO MUCH information out there and no one answer for any one person. It is easy for one person to try, say, the gluten free, dairy free diet and either see their child get worse (a sign that this diet may actually be the way to go) or no changes happen at all.
What happens, for those who have tried the gluten free diet and casein free diet and nothing happened, is disappointment and false hope. These families never want to go through that again. I can't blame them!! Have you ever tried it!? It feels IMPOSSIBLE!! Especially when you're dealing with kids who also struggle with Sensory Integration Disorder on top of it and refuse to eat anything but bread, fries, cheese and chicken nuggets. Then, you try this diet for MONTHS and you finally get the hang of it, yet you see no difference whatsoever. I mean, how would YOU feel?!
First, you just went through one of the hardest journeys in your diet you've ever gone through, you build up SUCH hope because some well-meaning mom tells you that if you just remove it you WILL see a difference, only to learn that it didn't work and your child, at the end of the day, is still Autistic with no changes in symptoms whatsoever. Crushed. :(
So, I'm not here to tell you that what I have to share with you will work for your child in removing their Autism. But, what I will say is that I know SOMEthing can change. Even many in the medical system will tell you this for what they have to offer. In the nutritional field, if you talk to the leading experts, there is not ONE CHILD whom they have not seen a difference.
What could this mean for your child? Well, it means they may have less pain. It means they may have a better night's sleep. It means they may have a better handle on their emotions. It means that mom and dad could have a better night's sleep too! Imagine THAT! It can also mean that you could hear "I love You" for the first time, or they look at you - I mean REALLY look into your eyes for the first time. I've even seen a teenager become more grounded and for parents, that is enough. It can mean all of these and more. So why WOULDN'T you investigate for just ONE of these?
It is up to us as parents to be our own private investigator for our children. We can't put our whole story in the hands of the Western Medical professionals as though they have all the answers. The reason why you will never see a formula like, "Do THIS and You Will Have your Child Back", is because there isn't one. There isn't one formula! Sure, there are generalities that work for MANY but there are also some that don't make a lick of a difference. Which one will your child be?
Only making the move towards this CIA operation will give you the answer.
So here's what we did and you can take one or some or all. My hope for you is that you take all. It doesn't have to be at the same time (nor should it). If one doesn't work, try something else. Don't give up. There is hope. You just have to be the warrior parent in order to find it. I KNOW you have it in you. You can create your story. In fact, if you are reading this for the first time, chances are you may be creating it right now. <3
If you are a skeptic, might I suggest you go to the next Autism Education Summit. Many skeptics go here and finally understand, even hearing from those in the Western Medical stream who are finally coming around, that there truly is hope.
Autism Education Summit
THE LIST FOR OUR JOURNEY and some of the things you can consider:
GLUTEN: (I mean ALL gluten - these kids will find it in spices, cardboard, construction paper, and even cat/dog food!
Sources of Gluten food guide
CASEIN: (this is dairy protein and is found in prepared foods, cheese, milk, yogurt, etc)
SPECIFIC CARBOHYDRATES - Not my favourite diet. I did try this immediately after the Gluten free/Casein free diet and it helped immensely, but that's because even Rice can trigger these kids and this diet removes all grains. It does not remove dairy, however, we did.
There is a popular diet out there called, 'GAPS'. I cannot say I appreciate the amount of animal products in this diet or the fact that it contains bone broth (bone broth contains lead and other dangerous compounds that are especially not good for these kids). If you do embark on this diet, please watch for your child's plate having more animal products than anything else. That is NOT the way to do this diet successfully.
Pecanbread.com was an invaluable resource for me when I first started learning about recovery for my son, including the Specific Carbohydrate Diet with eliminated casein.
HIGH GLYCEMIC FRUITS - you don't want to see my son on Bananas. He has fructose sensitivity. Basically, if it's sweet, you may want to consider avoiding it. Fruit is hybridized to be much sweeter than ever before. Yes, even the organic ones. Go here to see my take on apples.
OXYLATES: some kids simply cannot process Oxylates.
ALLERGENS: (IgE and IgG allergies)- where even an egg can trigger one child, an avocado can trigger another.
WHAT TO *ADD*
GREEN JUICES - (50% Pea Sprouts and Sunflower Sprouts and 50% Cucumber and Celery) My son HATED anything green. This takes time but with love and a firm approach (if you can do IBI, you can do green juices), your child will be drinking their green juices like a pro.
RAW LEAFY GREENS AND VEGETABLES - excellent for fiber to get those bowels moving. My son struggled with constipation. This was a must for his body. I mean, how would YOU feel if you were constipated for a DAY!? Some of these kids have been constipated for years. :(
WHOLE FOOD SUPPLEMENTS - (many of these kids are deficient in many vitamins and minerals and synthetic is not going to help long term. Also, don't just give one vitamin of B12. You can even INJECT that into them but, if they are also deficient in B6 or any of the other vitamins, then giving solely B12 is not going to do much good. Their body simply won't metabolize it without the others.
OMEGA 3's - We are SO deficient in Omega 3's in our culture. Nutritional experts assert that we should be 1 to 1 Omega 6 to Omega 3. Guess what we are in this culture... oh, about 21 to 1. WHAT!?!?
BLUE-GREEN ALGAE - I like this for Omega 3's and phytonutrients and chlorophyll and, and, and... I like E3Live with BrainOn.
CHLORELLA - These are amazing for detoxification as well for the above mentioned Blue-Green Algae. You can get these in capsules if your child doesn't like the taste and can swallow pills.
GLUTATHIONE - this is a must try for your kid's proper methylation. Many kids do not detox well. Find the right source. We used MaxOne but there are others out there.
ENZYMES - make sure they are full spectrum enzymes and take at least twice daily with meals. Many of these kids cannot digest their foods and causes devastation to their gut and even prevents them from properly absorbing crucial vitamins and minerals.
WHEATGRASS - Toughest one yet to get in to your kids but SO good for overall health. Have them even chew on the grass! <3
ESSENTIAL OILS - (I like doTERRA's Frankincense, DDR PRime for Brain functioning, InTune for Focus, Serenity or Wild Orange for calming, ZenGest (called digestzen in the US) for calming tummies, Balance for "grounding", Vetiver for relaxing, less aggression, focus and support for a good night's rest, etc).
DoTERRA tests their oils for heavy metals among being the most tested of all the essential oil companies out there. They are also the most trusted by researchers from even top Hospitals such as Vanderbilt, Duke, and other prominent Universities!! Yes please!
My son will tell you the thing that helps him the most today is doTERRA's Frankincense. Watch the cheaper versions out there... it can take weeks to get the optimal resin from the Frankincense tree.... if you are getting a less than $50 bottle of Frank... at what cost to the quality of that oil and at what cost to the farmer?
***Click here to learn more about Why you too should doTERRA?
-Many of these kids are high in Candida. We need to kill the bad bacteria and replenish the good.
-I like doTERRA's probiotic as it comes in two forms: pill and powder. It is formulated to bypass the acidity of the stomach and get to the colon where they are actually able to colonize.
-Some have tried fermenting. Sauerkraut is my fav. Avoid the sugary drinks like kombucha or kefir. If it tastes more like vinegar, then you know the sugar was eaten by the beneficial bacteria. If it tastes sweet, maybe not the best choice for your Autistic child, as you're now feeding more sugar to their body and increasing bad bacteria.
~Also ensure your fermenting isn't attracting bad growth either. There's nothing worse than wanting to do the best for your child, doing all that work, then finding out it wasn't actually prepared properly. Do your research on this one for sure.
TESTS YOU CAN TRY:
-Great Plains Lab has an Autistic Spectrum testing panel along with others out there. You don't have to do all of them. If you were to do one or two, may I suggest the OATS panel (Organic Acids Test) and the IgG panel.
You can also test for virals, parasites, nutritional deficiencies, on its own.
-Elimination Diet: This is what we did and probably the most accurate of everything if you are a keen investigator. Once we reintroduced one food every 3 days to my child, it was then and only then I knew they should avoid it until further notice. ;) I like the Hippocrates Diet as the leading elimination diet without stripping them of nutrients. In fact, the Hippocrates Lifestyle is my optimal choice for these kids. If i knew then what I know now, I would have sold my house and RAN to the Hippocrates Institute for three solid weeks. Worth every penny.
-Lyme Disease: this disease can also cause what's called, "PANDAS".
-SpectraCell: this test can measure whether or not the vitamins and minerals are actually getting Inside the cell as opposed to just swimming around aimlessly in the blood stream.
-Stool tests can test which good bacteria is in the body in order to cater the right probiotic for your child's needs. Can also give you a good indication of the pathogenic bacteria as well.
As mentioned, some kids get worse with every new thing they try. That was my son. It was scary trusting the process. But I was determined and I was not giving up. Some people blame EVERYTHING on detox. That's not necessarily true either. If the worsening symptoms don't get better in 3 days, change it up.
Here are just a few ideas to help make things easier through the detox:
Epsom salts bath
Chlorella (especially for heavy metal detox)
Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber
***Chelation - this form of detoxification is best left to the pros. This can be another example of meaning well but things going wrong. All I'll say is that moving heavy metals from one part of the body into another without proper disposal from the body is not the best way to go. Some people go head strong into this approach with great results and some avoid it like the plague. Again, do your research and hear from both sides on this one. I have used the cilantro essential oil for gentle detoxing, but I still use chlorella at the same time to help the body rid itself of any toxins that may have shifted.
I like RDI for kids on the spectrum. I do not like IBI, even though you will have results there. My issue with it is creating little robots without getting to the root cause. I also don't like their reward systems. Sure they may be able to have more control and "look" better in public, but what about the root cause? I happen to know with TWO of my children being sick, that getting to the root cause is not Western Medicine's specialty.
There are other modalities for these kids that are beyond the scope of this post. It ranges from other behaviour therapies, trying other biomedical balancing with different supplements, craniosacral therapy, vision therapy, and more...
EXPERTS: Who to turn to?
My suggestion is to find an expert whose child or grandchild is or was on the spectrum. This will offer them GREAT insight into your struggle and not just a textbook approach to your child. Find someone who is investigative and has a plan. If they send you away with some things to try, make sure there is a follow up plan and "what to do when things seem worse" plan. If they send you away with supplements you need to buy from them without offering an appointment again to see how those supplements work, then you might want to find someone else.
So, I hope this helps you begin your journey for your child. I've seen things on this list help young and older kids. How strict you adhere to these is key. If you want to know if something works, pick one and do it all the way. It can get overwhelming if you try to do all of it at the same time. In addition, if one thing does work, how will you know which one it was and how to help others. For us, I would say this was about a three and a half year journey. Don't get me wrong, we saw a difference on just the gluten/casein free diet after just 12 days. But for some it may take a bit of time. I say, if you are strict, you should see a difference with each one in less than 30 days. If you see no difference whatsoever, neither good or bad, move on to the next thing.
Note: When I say strict, have a second opinion come visit your home to ensure you are, indeed, strict on your diet - I can't TELL you how many people say they tried the gluten free dairy free diet, only to find out their kid was eating play doh and a favourite food they ate every day had hidden gluten and/or casein).
Today, I am very strict inside my home but outside my home, my son will eat gluten or dairy the odd time and even sugar. Will I see an effect? Absolutely! But, it's NOTHING like I saw in the beginning. AND it used to take WEEKS to get it out of his system. After his body healing itself, what's been over 7 years now, his body can process toxins, food assaults, and the like SO much faster now.
Does he miss eating like his friends do? Of course he does. The odd time he's quite angry that his body can't process the way his friend's body can (or at least he thinks they can). But he's in those years now where his body is shifting fast and furious. 13 is right around the corner. WHAT!?!? So, I still need to do the best I can for his body. My hope? Well, my hope is that when he's an older teenager, he can go out and eat pizza and beer with his buddies and come home, feel a bit crappy, but know that it's his choice to make. Right now, however, while he's in my home, he's just gonna have to deal. If the WORST thing in this kid's life is that he doesn't get to have his favourite food... well then I've done my job as a mom well. I won't allow his emotions to rule the rest of his life and his future family's, just like I don't allow my emotions to rule mine.
If you choose to embark on this journey, I am so proud of you. I know how tough it is. I remember crying in the aisles of the grocery story wondering what I'm going to eat on a Gluten Free/Casein free diet. But now... well, now if that's all we had to avoid, I'd be giddy with relief!! Haha!! It takes a momma warrior. It takes support from your partner and relatives. Heck, I've even had to threaten relatives who took care of them that they wouldn't be able to see their grandkids anymore if they kept sabatoging their diet. I was committed... I was fierce... I was determined, and I was not giving up for nothing or nobody.
Because of my journey, I now get to help thousands out there like me. I felt alone, afraid, and wondered if I was out of my mind at times!! I now know that trusting that feeling inside me that my son was in there somewhere and it was up to me to help him come back us, was the best thing I could have ever done.
You are writing your own story now. You are SO not alone. <3