(NaturalHealth365) For years parents of children with learning disabilities have been stating that these health issues are more than simply a psychological diagnosis. In truth, poor gut health has been the culprit for many children with autism. Thankfully, parents have noticed improvements in behavior and learning after changing diet and adding supplements that ease gastrointestinal issues.
So why is autism still primarily diagnosed as a ‘mental health’ issue – without a comprehensive approach for overall symptoms?
The scientific link between autism and poor gut health
The Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders compared over 900 children who fell into one of three categories: autism, developmental delay or typical development. Children with autism or developmental delay were more likely to have at least one frequent GI symptom. Maladaptive behaviors such as irritability, social withdrawal, stereotypy and hyperactivity correlated with GI problems in both the autism and developmental delayed group.
In fact, children with autism were six to eight times more likely to have frequent bloating, constipation, diarrhea and food sensitivities than those with typical development. A review of medical charts in Olmstead County Minnesota comparing children with autism to controls found that constipation and food refusal were the two most commonly reported GI problems.
Since many people with autism do not have the language to communicate discomfort, a change in behavior may be the only way parents or teachers know that they are in pain.
Another study published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology linked GI issues with behaviors such as extreme anxiety as well as regressions in behavior and communication skills. Some physicians suspect that psychotropic drugs often prescribed to many children with autism can actually intensify digestive issues; suggesting that treating GI issues first can reduce aggressive and problematic behaviors.
What is the best way to treat digestive problems?
Change of Diet – Keep a food journal and start a rotation diet. Introduce new foods every few days to determine if the food is causing issues. A lot of parents report improvements when gluten, dairy, soy and food coloring are eliminated. Every child is different, so your child could have fewer or more sensitivities.
Take probiotics because they are often very helpful in aiding with GI issues, specifically in children with autism. I use several brands in my practice such as HLC or SCD with great success.
Eliminate fungal infections. Yeast has been found to be a culprit in many GI issues. At Healing 4 Soul, we use Great Plains Laboratory testing to determine if a fungal infection is impacting your child.
Consume digestive enzymes. One study found that 49% of children with autism had deficiencies in one or more disaccharidase enzymes – particularly lactase and maltase – resulting in loose stools and gas. Supplementing with digestive enzymes can provide relief. On the Healing 4 Soul home page, we have a free enzyme deficiency test that is helpful in determining which enzymes are needed.
Homeopathy – Bowel nosodes and other remedies can have a huge impact on GI issues.
CEASE Therapy is a very individualized program that uses homeopathic and orthomolecular medicine to provide healing through detoxification.
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About the author: Sima Ash of Healing 4 Soul is a clinical and classical homeopath and certified clinical nutritionist who utilizes a unique approach pioneered by Tinus Smits, M.D. called CEASE therapy. The aim of CEASE treatment is systematic detoxification of the causes of illness, leading to step by step improvement and restoration of health in the individual. For additional information, please visit – Healing4Soul.com. You can follow Sima on Facebook at ‘Cease Therapy California’ and through her weekly blog on NaturalHealth365.com
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