Dr. Amber Brooks
Why Autism Rates Are On The Rise
How common is autism?
Autism statistics in the U.S. are hard to determine however the numbers seemed to jump to 1 in 80 according to a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) from 2011-2013. The CDC announced that this number may actually be lower. The results of the 2014 National Health Interview Survey suggests that as many as 1 in every 45 children in the U.S. displays signs of autism. Research shows that this increase is only partially due to improvement in diagnosis and awareness of the disease. Autism is 4-5 times more common among boys and girls and is estimated to affect 1 out of 42 boys vs 1 in 189 girls in the U.S.
What is Autism?
Autism and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are terms that identify a group of complex disorders of brain development. They are also called pervasive developmental disorders (PDD) due to the delay in many areas of development. Previously the category of ASD and PDD were recognized as distinct subtypes that include the following disorders of development:
Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)
Childhood Disintegrative Disorder
In 2013 all autism disorders were merged into one umbrella diagnosis of ASD.
These disorders have a varying degree of effect and are associated with difficulties in social interactions, both verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.
ASD can be associated with:
Difficulties in motor coordination
Physical health issues (sleep disorders and gastrointestinal disturbances)
Autism appears to begin very early in brain development however the symptoms tend to emerge later usually between 2 and 3 years of age. They include:
Need for repeated rituals
Repetitive and compulsive behaviors
Repetition of certain motor activities: (Head banging, Hand or limb flapping, Spinning, Body rocking, Flicking, Scratching, Tracing, Feeling textures, Tapping, Teeth grinding, Grunting, and/or Yelling.
What causes these differences in brain development is not known for sure. However, a variety of factors are being investigated. These include metabolic, genetic and environmental factors. A combination of exposure to toxins, medications taken during pregnancy, infections, inflammation, leaky gut syndrome, inborn errors of metabolism, food allergies, and nutrient deficiencies may also contribute to the disorder.
Some of the best autism natural treatments include:
Omega fish oil
High potency multivitamin
What is Asperger’s Syndrome?
This is often seen with social disorders, symptoms of Asperger’s often involve inhibited social skills and include:
Awkward social skills – difficulty interacting with others and maintaining conversations
Repetitive and eccentric behaviors
Unordinary rituals or preoccupations – getting ready for the day in a specific order
Communication troubles – avoid eye contact, don’t display expressions, neglect body language
Limited range of interests – obsessive in nature
Coordination difficulties – clumsy and awkward movements
Highly skilled in one area – typically excel in visual skills, music, math and art
Asperger’s patients typically function at a higher level than children with autism, which seems to show lower IQ and more difficulty with verbal communications. In both cases it is difficult for children to express their feelings, they don’t hold eye contact, and have trouble picking up on body language and gestures of others. Also both display obsessive behaviors as well as can be oversensitive to sounds, clothing and even food.
Similar to autism, there is currently no cure for Asperger’s. However, research suggests that it may be hereditary to some degree and symptoms may appear from a variety of factors.
Treatment Options for ASD:
Currently there is no cure for Autism or Asperger’s; however, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the effects of these disorders. A combination of the following therapies can help reduce problem behaviors and improve overall functioning.
Functional medicine approach that addresses underlying issues such as nutrient deficiencies and/or infections
Behavior modification – supporting positive behavior and decreasing problem behaviors
Occupational, physical and speech therapy – increase normal functioning
Social skill therapy – build social skills and ability to read verbal and nonverbal cues
Medications – symptoms can be treated, however there is no medication to specifically treat Asperger’s or Autism
Don’t be over alarmed just yet, but we suggest everyone limit their risks by maintaining a healthy, healing diet and avoiding any and all toxins that you can.
While autism rates are reportedly on the rise, please note that the new umbrella classification of autism spectrum disorder partially contributes to this. The sooner you can determine whether or not your child has autism or ASD, the sooner you can find the best ways to enhance and encourage their mental development.
If you are concerned about your child’s health and think autism may be involved, I invite you to a FREE consultation so you can get start getting the answers and solutions you’ve been searching for to help uncover the root problem of your child’s struggles.
Think nutrition or diet may be the cause of your child’s challenges?
Are you considering or desiring alternatives to medication?
Have you tried other therapies with little or no success?
If you’ve had tests done that did not lead to a diagnosis; tried treatments, medications or supplements with little or no success; or are generally frustrated and want answers to your questions and solutions to the underlying cause of your child’s developmental delay, we will help you understand why they don’t always work and what can be done to help.
You will walk away from this consultation with a better understanding of what cause might be behind your child’s condition as well as steps you can begin taking to help your child through their developmental delay.
Many of my patients tell me that this is the MOST eye opening and helpful consultation they have ever had. We know you will feel the same. To claim your free consultation, call us at 469-547-1173.