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Autism (Part I)

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), commonly referred to as “Autism”, is a disability that impedes the way a child relates and communicates within the world around himself/herself.  Autism is usually diagnosed by the age of three and can range in degree of severity.  Today more than ever children are being diagnosed with Autism. It is considered to be one of the most puzzling childhood disorders today, with no known cure.  Most notably what makes it difficult is that every child responds differently to treatments and there is no “cookie cutter” approach.   While medication is often implemented as treatment, there are other ways to consider.  In fact, there are a variety of approaches that should be considered. On one side there is the main stream, standard approach. This includes educational intervention, developmental therapies, and behavioral treatments.  On other side are the holistic approaches, also known as CAM therapies.  There are four parts which include mind-body medicine, biologically based practices, manipulative and body based practices, and energy medicine.  Nutrition is an approach that is now being used to supplement with other types of approaches.  The right nutritional intervention can have a huge impact on the child’s brain function, memory, learning, attention, focus, mood, behavior, growth and overall health.  Nutrition can improve the immune system and help protect the gut.  Nutrition is the basis upon which all other treatments are built, and nutrition therapy should be a part of every autistic child’s comprehensive treatment plan (Strickland ix-x).

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