As a serious developmental disorder, the severity and range of autism symptoms affecting individual children may vary. In almost all autism cases, however, the ability to interact and communicate normally are both severely hindered. Between three and six American children out of every 1,000 are diagnosed with autism and, while it is widely believed that a cure for this disorder does not exist, many are finding natural treatments with a focus on holistic health to be very effective. Research also indicates that early detection of autism symptoms, its diagnosis and treatment make a significant difference in the quality of a child’s life.
Autism symptoms are the result of a brain disorder, which causes impaired communication and, to varying degrees, a lack of interest in social interactions.
Causes of Autism
Parents, doctors and researchers are not able to yet pinpoint distinct autism causes for every case. Increasingly, however, there is concern about the relationship between the diagnosis of autism cases and preexisting gastrointestinal problems, such as vomiting, diarrhea and constipation. Controversial speculation also exists, which suggests that the onset of autism symptoms may be triggered by childhood vaccinations, though doctors and mainstream researchers insist that there is no conclusive link between autism and vaccinations.
Autism signs are typically first displayed in early childhood. In rare autism cases, seizures and other symptoms described below may persist. It is after observing striking, abnormal and sometimes sudden behavioral and neurological changes in a child, that a parent is prompted to take a child to a doctor where a full examination is rendered and a diagnosis is given.
A few of the most common autism symptoms are:
- Child often plays alone and appears to enjoy doing so
- Child develops light and sound sensitivities
- Child is sensitive to being touched, yet appears to be unaffected by pain
- Child is easily disturbed when routines or rituals are changed
- Child develops their own rituals or routines
- Child appears not to hear others at times, but is not deaf
- Child does not respond when their name is called
- Child shows an inability to start a conversation
- Child shows an inability to consistently engage in conversation
- Child resists making eye contact
- Child does not point out interesting objects to others
- Child can become easily fascinated by specific object parts, like spinning wheels
- Child bears an unusual attachment to objects
- Child is speech delayed
- Child begins to suddenly lose previous speech abilities and accomplishments
- Child’s speaking voice becomes abnormal (often sounding robotic or almost like singing)
- Repetitive rocking, hand movements, spinning or other repetitive movements
- Constant movement
- Child appears to be unaffected by or unaware of other people’s feelings
- An extreme increase or reduction in physical activity
- Child shows no interest in toys
- Child shows little or no interest in others
- Frequent tantrums
- Child resists hugs, cuddling and other affectionate gestures
- Child appears indifferent to her or his surroundings
It is important to note that each child diagnosed with this disorder may exhibit different autism symptoms, which can make finding a treatment plan even more difficult. However, with early diagnosis, patience and an intense commitment to identifying suitable autism treatment methods, many have found a measure of success in easing autism symptoms.
As doctors and parents struggle to find an exact cause of autism symptoms, many believe that removing gluten and casein found in dairy products from a child’s diet hold incredible promise for its treatment. Noted author and autism advocate, Donna Williams also has autism. She maintains that, along with nutritional supplements, a dairy-free, gluten-free, low salicylate diet (salicylates are found in certain foods, such as apples, cherries and other foods) has significantly reduced her own autism symptoms. Actress and autism advocate, Jenny McCarthy, agrees with this remedy and has used it on her own son, Evan, whom she claims is recovering from autism with the help of a restrictive autism diet.
In order to specifically avoid gluten and casein, advocates of an autism diet advise avoiding the following foods:
- Ice Cream
- Some margarine brands
- Soy sauce
- Certain vinegars
- Hydrolyzed vegetable proteins
Products, which do not contain milk, but do contain caseinate are also advised against on the autism diet.
Holistic health strategies, which focus on healthy living through proper diet, exercise, spiritual and mental nurturing are always recommended. This means that, in addition to an autism diet, processed foods, fast foods, and foods containing chemical additives, white sugar and white flour should also always be avoided. Along with proper exercise, daily rest and loving family activities, such avoidances support a child’s immunity against illnesses and disorders, including autism.
Although diet is assumed to be a contributing factor to this disorder, parents should be advised that it is but one of many autism treatments. Others that may be recommended by a medical professional should also be given worthy consideration. Also, a nutritionist or other professional should be consulted before changing a child’s diet in order to assure that the child is getting all of the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients needed for healthy growth and development.