Dr. Anke Zimmermann, ND, FCAH, Naturopathic Pediatrics. Naturopathic and Homeopathic Care for Children in Victoria, BC. Practice Focus on Developmental Disorders, Child and Youth Mental Health, Auto-Immune Disorders and Vaccine and Medication Injuries.
Autism is a complex, heterogeneous condition with skyrocketing incidence. It is becoming increasingly clear that autism is a whole-body, auto-immune/inflammatory disorder caused by interactions of genetic and epigenetic predispositions and various environmental toxins, infections and other stressors.
Currently government-approved therapies such as occupational, speech, and behavioral therapies are very helpful and I highly recommend them, but they could work much better if the child's physical health, including brain, gut and immune system health, was addressed as well. Nutritional and homeopathic interventions can be highly effective, as new research had demonstrated. I offer both in my practice and have many years of experience with the treatment of autism.
60 children were treated after a 6 month observation period. The study demonstrated significant improvement of autistic features with mean change in ATEC score (ATEC 1 -pre-treatment with ATEC 5 -post-treatment) was 15.12 and ATEC mean percent change was 19.03. An impact was observed on all core autistic features, which included communication, 12.6%, socialization, 17%, sensory awareness, 18.82%, and health and behavior, 29% (P = 0.0001). Significant improvement was observed in behavior by Autistic Hyperactivity Scale, AHS 1 36 to AHS 5 14.30 with F-value 210.599 (P = 0.0001). Outcome assessment was carried out using MANOVA, which showed statistically significant changes in post-treatment scores, P < 0.005. Total 88.34% cases showed improvement, 8.33% showed status quo, and 3.33% cases worsened. Nine out of 60 cases showed a reversal of CARS putting them into non-autistic zone, P = 0.0001. A sharp decrease (34%) in ATEC scores, in the first quarter implied positive effect of homoeopathic medicines, prescribed, as per the homoeopathic principles. Conclusion: The study has demonstrated usefulness of homoeopathic treatment in management of neuropsychological dysfunction in childhood autism disorder, which is reflected in significant reduction of hyperactivity, behavioral dysfunction, sensory impairment as well as communication difficulty. This was demonstrated well in psychosocial adaptation of autistic children.
Integrated Nutritional Programs and Autism
Another new, exciting study looked at the long-term results of an integrated nutritional program on individuals with autism: Comprehensive Nutritional and Dietary Intervention for Autism Spectrum Disorder—A Randomized, Controlled 12-Month Trial. This study involved a randomized, controlled, single-blind 12-month treatment study of a comprehensive nutritional and dietary intervention. Participants were 67 children and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) ages 3–58 years from Arizona and 50 non-sibling neurotypical controls of similar age and gender. Treatment began with a special vitamin/mineral supplement, and additional treatments were added sequentially, including essential fatty acids, Epsom salt baths, carnitine, digestive enzymes, and a healthy gluten-free, casein-free, soy-free (HGCSF) diet. There was a significant improvement in nonverbal intellectual ability in the treatment group compared to the non-treatment group (+6.7 ± 11 IQ points vs. −0.6 ± 11 IQ points, p = 0.009) based on a blinded clinical assessment. Based on semi-blinded assessment, the treatment group, compared to the non-treatment group, had significantly greater improvement in autism symptoms and developmental age. The treatment group had significantly greater increases in EPA, DHA, carnitine, and vitamins A, B2, B5, B6, B12, folic acid, and Coenzyme Q10. The positive results of this study suggest that a comprehensive nutritional and dietary intervention is effective at improving nutritional status, non-verbal IQ, autism symptoms, and other symptoms in most individuals with ASD. Parents reported that the vitamin/mineral supplements, essential fatty acids, and HGCSF diet were the most beneficial.
Are you concerned about long wait times or costs for autism assessments? If you have any concerns about your child's development you are probably right. Research shows that parents are extremely accurate at assessing their child. Trust yourself and take action, every day counts.
Meanwhile, I can also help to make a preliminary diagnosis and you can start nutritional and homeopathic care right away. You can also start other interventions such as ABA and speech therapy, which I highly recommend, but you will need to pay for them out of pocket until you obtain a formal government or private autism assessment and qualify to access funding. Unfortunately wait times can be up to many months on Vancouver Island, precious time during which your child could start recovering.
The younger the child, the faster the recovery. If your child is less than three years old chances of a full recovery are quite good in my experience. If the child is older than four he or she may also still recover, but more likely at a slower pace. Some children won't be able to fully recover, however, quality of life can usually be improved in some areas, for example tantrums, GI function and sleep.
Melt-downs and aggression
Eye contact and socials skills
Repetitive and OCD tendencies
Constipation and/or diarrhea
Oversensitivity to environmental stimulati such as sounds and light and clothing
A Quick Fix - Not!
Due to the inherent complexity of this condition there is no quick fix. Treatment with homeopathy and naturopathy takes time and commitment. Your child's brain and immune system need time to recover, but they can. Plan on treatment for 1-4 years, depending on the age of the child. Follow-up visits are more frequent initially and later only every 3-6 months.
What to Expect
Assessment involves a very detailed case taking. I usually meet with parent and child for the first visit of one hour and then with the parents only for another hour. I review baby photos, medication and vaccine records, diet intakes, reports from other professionals and samples of art and handwriting as well as a detailed family history.
I may or may not recommend further testing. Sometimes stool testing, allergy testing or a hair mineral analysis can be very useful. I don't find that extensive testing is necessary and it can be very costly.
A treatment plan is usually designed after the second visit. I then consult with the family every two weeks for about 15 minutes for the first several months, then less often as he or she improves.
Questions? I offer a free 15-minute consultation. Please call 778-352-0806 or book a convenient time online.
Serving Families with Integrity and Compassion Since 1991
Dr. Anke Zimmermann, ND, FCAH, Naturopathic Physician West Sooke, BC, Canada
Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10-6 and alternating Saturdays from 10-4
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