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What is Autism?

      Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication.

Autism affects an estimated 1 in 59 children. 

      Many people with autism also have sensory issues. These can include aversions to certain sights, sounds and other sensations. 

 In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association merged four distinct autism diagnoses into one umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). They included autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome. 


  • Repetitive behaviors

  • Trouble with social interaction

  • Inappropriate toy play ex. Lining up toys)

  • Language delay or lack of language

  • Behavioral issues

  • Irritability

  • Tantrums

  • Self-Injurious behaviors

  • Aggression

  • ​​​Anxiety

  • Sleep difficulties

  • Developmental delays

  • Seizures

  • Chronic infections

  • Recurring infections

  • Poor eye contact

  • Echolalia

  • Obsessive tendencies

Dr  Amber Brooks Dietary Interventions for Autism

Dr Amber Brooks Dietary Interventions for Autism

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As you glance over the root causes below it is important to remember that a child may exhibit 2 or all of them,

there is no magic number because all children express their root cause(s) differently.

You may want to consult with your primary care provider and discuss these factors

Children with Autism can exhibit a plethora of symptoms; no two kids are exactly the same. In fact, boys and girl often display different symptoms. This list is not inclusive but gives a glimpse of the more common symptoms parents may see their child exhibit. Please note symptoms and their severity vary widely. 


Root Causes of Autism

Despite the decades of research done on autism no one knows the exact cause of autism in children. This is in part because there is no one single cause, making it hard to nail down, especially when you try to make it applicable to every child diagnosed. In fact, most of the proposed causes of autism are considered to be controversial in the medical world. Many have presumed that the cause of autism is only genetic, some feel it is triggered by vaccines, or simply a psychological disorder and many see it is an immune dysfunction. So who is correct?


According to the science, children with autism have abnormal GI, immunological and/or toxicological systems due to a combination of genetic factors, undiagnosed food allergies, chronic infections, overuse of medications, GI dysbiosis (imbalances in the gut), vitamin/mineral deficiencies, and poor diets to name a few. In the last 10 years studies have shown a strong genetic link between the Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase (MTHFR) mutation and autism, Dr. Brooks, DC, MSN, CACCP, BCIP, RN has also seen this link in her practice. In addition, there is research from the Autism Research Institute (ARI) discussing the nutritional aspects of children with autism and their inborn deficits. For example, Nutrition Research Reviews published an article in July 2014, which reported the continued connection between autism and nutrition as is relates to the brain and gastrointestinal system. They specifically noted the differences in GI flora between those with autism and controls. They concluded nutrition-related factors play a causal role in autism and its symptoms.


When you put the whole picture together you can see why a child with autism is at a higher risk for injury. As the environmental toxins and exposures accumulate, the struggling body can no longer deal with them appropriately and damage occurs. This damage may be the first symptom a family sees. There is not one event that causes a child to be diagnosed with autism, not every child with autism acts or looks the same, nor is every child medically treated the same. There is no such thing as a one size fits all treatment for autism.

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