I recently came across these numbers on Facebook from a mom/activist in Modesto, CA names Gabby DeVelbiss. What do you think? I did a spot check on some of the rates she’s listed here and they’re not necessarily wrong. I wasn’t able to verify the seizure rate, the food allergy rate and the learning disability rate.
For about 5 years, give or take, I co-moderated a support meeting for parents who were interested in learning about biomedical options for autism. For some, even the suggestion of a gluten-free diet was a deal breaker. Others would try half heartedly, too overwhelmed by having a kid on the spectrum to deal with anything new, plus the burden of taking on fighting with their spouses to make it work. And then there were the parents who dove in, their kids were doing well, and, when things weren’t so dark and they weren’t feeling quite so desperate, new information would drop into the conversation. The mom had rheumatoid arthritis; the new baby was covered in eczema and had terrible reflux; or maybe big brother just received an ADHD diagnosis. When I asked if the whole family was on the diet (knowing full well what the answer would be), I’d get blank stares. Then, “Why ever would we do that? Oh I could never do that! Are you suggesting we’re all autistic?”
No. I’m suggesting you have a constellation of issues in your family that might benefit from a “functional medicine” approach that’s working with your kid who’s at the extreme end of the spectrum of metabolic, neurologic and immune dysregulation.
I’ll let you digest that for a second…
I’m looking at the environment, more of an epigenetic theory of autism. The environment affecting how genes are expressed. My understanding is that methylation can switch genes on and off and you can inherit them in the on or off position. Improving methylation can flip the switch in your favor. Methylation, boosted by targeted nutrition for instance, can also improve the bio-availability and uptake of neurotransmitters. The environment that your whole family shares–food, flora, toxic exposures, and likely genetics (I’m an adoptive mom, so I understand that’s not always the case). If those numbers listed above are only half right, we’re toast. What are you willing to do to address this? Are you willing to pop a few bubbles?
Also, we’ve pretty much accepted that autism is a full spectrum of affected behaviors and impairments. The kids are like snowflakes–similar, but highly individual. The line drawn around autism–what it is, what it isn’t–is up for official review, but for an autism mom, you know it when you see it, right? Autism isn’t one thing. When do the observed behaviors social impairment, stereotypic behaviors, etc., stop short of autism? Is this still a kid who needs some help?
Damn straight he does, Skippy.
What if some of the functional biological issues we seek to address through a biomed approach–poor detoxification, gut healing, lowering inflammation, improving nutritional status, optimizing neurotransmitters, improving mitochondrial efficiency and function–have gone haywire in one of your other kids? What if you have another kid, like I do, who has a bag of issues, but no autism diagnosis. What do you do for that kid?
Would you take this on for fibromyalgia, ADHD, seizures, asthma…? Have you noticed you kid on the spectrum has more than just autism–he has peanut allergies, asthma, horrible digestive issues, a chronically running nose…?
Well, in my house, we have all that and a little more. My own focus over the past 8 years has evolved to include my littlest guys, as well as my own health issues. It’s all connected. I am definitely suggesting that what’s benefitted kids on the spectrum–from special diets to high-dose fish oil–will benefit you and the rest of your family.
So, in the interest of being inclusive and focusing on total brain and body health, I’m going to be changing this blog to http://www.MoreThanAPuzzlePiece.com in the next few weeks. My focus will remain on biomed, diet, recipes, and the occasional rant. Please join me.