Last week, we took a look at the two main approaches to treating Autism. The conventional means of treatment often has to deal with treating the symptoms of Autism with medication. Ridding your child of the often damaging and life-altering symptoms seems like it would be a good idea, but when you think about it, what are you treating? Do you have any chance of helping the problem itself get better if you’re just focusing on the side effects?
Imagine a smoker who has had the habit for 15 years and has developed a terrible cough. He decides he is going to take a cough suppression to help aid in the cough. But really, the problem lies in what the smoking and inhaling the troublesome substance us doing to the body. Without treating the issue itself, the coughing symptom may never go away.
Same goes for Autism and its symptoms. If we’re merely treating the common symptoms/side-effects (digestion issues, attention deficits, mood changes, allergies), is there any chance that the symptoms will ever go away? Or will they merely be controlled?
Alternative treatments, as we mentioned, involve a few key focuses:
1) Always Involve Parents:
By involving the parents, this ensures not only that treatment plans can be practiced at home on a consistent basis, but that they have a better understanding of why the treatment is taking place. As parents, chances are, you’ve felt in the dark at times during your child’s treatment. You put your trust in the doctor or specialist that you’re seeing, but you’re never quite sure why the treatment is happening. If you know why you’re doing the things that you’re doing, there is a better chance of you remaining consistent in doing so. Knowing how the treatment can help, will also enable you to realize you’re working toward a goal.
2) Nourish the Brain for optimal functions: Essential fatty acids, neurotransmitter support, decrease neuroinflammation, and diet to support the brain.
The brain is the source of all things related to the body. If one of the body’s functions are off, the answer to getting it back on track often lies in the brain. For example, when we take a pain reliever, it goes to work in the brain – to tell the brain to stop sending pain messages to whatever part of the body is ailing us. In order to function correctly, the brain needs the right fuel, and this comes from vitamins, minerals, and other essential substances.
Essential Fatty Acids (Omega 6 and Omega 3) are key to brain function and the body does not produce these compounds naturally. In instances where the levels of Omega 6 are greatly higher than Omega 3 in one’s diet, there can be negative effects on mood, cognition, and behavior. All of which are some of the major concerns in children with Autism.
These symptoms are often treated with anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medications. However, if the true source of the problem (essential fatty acids) isn’t treated, then can the problem even be solved, or is it just being covered up like a paper towel over spilled milk?
Having a diet that eliminates Gluten (wheat) and Casein (diet) has also shown positive effects in behavioral symptoms as well as digestion problems. We’ve talked about this before, feel free to read more about the GFCF diet right here!
3) Activate the brain with activities, stimulation for growth and development.
Maintaining growth and development in the brain ensures that the brain doesn’t get “stuck”. When you begin a new routine, it’s important that you create a consistent practice of it so that it becomes a habit. Keeping the brain stimulated and introducing new activities makes sure your child gets used to using the therapies and activities that are introduced. A child is more likely to see benefits from treatment if they’re done on a consistent basis. You cannot expect results overnight, but you can expect a steady developmental improvement if you keep on with the suggested activities from a professional.
Autism is a very difficult disorder for children and their parents to deal with. Since each and every case is different, we can’t possibly tell you which treatment method will work for you, or what medication to take. As far as we know, there is no “magic pill.” However, if you think about it, taking the symptoms that your child has and finding out what the root cause of them is could mean the different between covering up the problem and hoping that the problem magically disappears, or treating the core problem and tackling it head on. Some medications are a short term fix to a problem that needs much more attention.