Autism, more correctly named as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a group of complex developmental disorders, which are characterized to a different degree and with considerable individual variations, by impaired verbal and non-verbal communication, limited or no social interaction, restricted repetitive patterns of behavior and interests and activities markedly different from those of typical children.
These are only the visible symptoms that don’t tell us what the real problem is, but they are, more or less, the only thing about autism the specialists agree about. As for causes, treatment and prognosis, one can hear everything. It is irreversible, according to some and completely reversible, according to others. You can read that it is genetic and you can read completely the opposite – it is not, it is vaccine induced. It is heavy metal poisoning, some tests show, and it is a bacterial, viral or/and fungal infection, according to other proofs. Some argue that autism is definitely all about parasites and others say it is all of the above-mentioned. And it goes on. Growing number of people believe that autism might be caused by the modern ultrasound exams during pregnancy and the television and other electronic devices our children are engrossed in since babies. Others blame it on the Wi-Fi and the rest of the sources of electromagnetic fields or the GMO foods. There isn’t an agreement even among specialists who admit that almost every patient with autism has gastrointestinal problems. According to one part of them, toxins are leaking from the damaged gut into the bloodstream, thus altering the brain chemistry. The other part believes that it is completely the opposite – it all starts in the brain and the nervous system and it is the vagus nerve damage that causes the stomach and guts problems. “Stop calling it autism!”, the American Pediatrician Dr Michael Goldberg even says, ‘It is a neuro-immune disease”. The same controversial theories apply to the behavioral therapies offered for autism. One says you have to eradicate the self-stimulatory and ritualistic behaviors and another claims the key is in exactly the opposite – you have to follow those behaviors and even imitate them. Maybe all these theories are wrong and maybe they all are right… After all, every human being is a universe on its own. No wonder every treatment has parents that swear by it as a life savior and, yet, others say it did nothing for their child.
If you do the Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ATEC) of the Autism Research Institute on a regular basis, you can see how effective is the therapy you are currently doing. You can find this link on our homepage too.
For many years autism was rare – occurring in just five children out of 10,000 live births. However, since the early 1990’s, the rate of autism has increased dramatically around the world. Despite autism awareness being on the rise too, studies on prevalence are somewhat lacking. An European study from 2012 shows that ASD affects around 1 in 100 children. The study we quote bellow from the Center of Disease Control in the USA is dated back to 2012 again but there isn’t more recent official data. It states that 1 in 68 has been identified with ASD (1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls). A previous study shows also that about 1 in 6 children in the United States had some kind of a developmental disability in 2006-2008. There are no official statistics for autism rates in Bulgaria but there is no reason to think that the situation here is much different than the one in the USA or the rest of Europe. And more recent data, although not official, in these parts of the world is even more startling than the cited above.
ANY OF THE FOLLOWING SYMPTOMS MAY BE AN EARLY RED FLAG THAT YOUR CHILD IS AT RISK OF AUTISM:
- No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter.
- No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions by nine months.
- No babbling by 12 months.
- No back-and-forth gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving by 12 months.
- No words by 16 months.
- No meaningful, two-word phrases (not including imitating or repeating) by 24 months.
- Any loss of speech, babbling or social skills at any age.
Below is a link to AUTISM SPEAKS organization’s autism checklist for toddlers. Completing it, will help you realize whether you need a professional assessment for your child. You can find the link on our home page too.
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT DEVELOPMENTAL PROBLEMS
BONITATIS site does not intend to provide neither a comprehensive view on all developmental disorders, nor detailed information about every one of them. It does aim, though, at letting the public know about the newest and not widely known yet but very effective shared therapies and treatments for those disorders. Moreover, BONITATIS aspires to make them available to Bulgarian children.
WHY SHARED THERAPIES AND TREATMENTS?
It is no news that Autism, Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD), Dyslexia and Dyspraxia considerably overlap. Approximately half of the dyslectic children are dyspraxic too and about 30% of children diagnosed with ADHD have dyslexia. Many autistic children are hyperactive and have dyspraxia and dyslexia. A good number of children, diagnosed earlier with ADHD, after a year or two, receive the diagnosis of autism.
No doubt, more research must be done, but there is enough evidence, by now, that almost all the children with the above-mentioned conditions share similar learning difficulties and at least two serious physical problems – digestive abnormalities and neuro-developmental delay. It is beyond the scope of BONITATIS to join the discussion whether the latter are part of the cause of the disorders or their co morbidities. The important thing to have in mind is that the children with all these disorders get better on an appropriate nutritional protocol and a specialized exercise program, aimed at overcoming the neuro-developmental delay. BONITATIS strongly supports the combination of both strategies as part of an even more holistic approach.