What does the pediatrician say to the parent of an ASD (Autism Spectrum Diagnosis) child?
No, it’s not the beginning line of a joke. The answer is far less funny and typically involves a pediatrician simply referring out to a pediatric psychologist or support group. After my son’s diagnosis, we were sent home with the First 100 Steps pamphlet and a point towards the support desk in the lobby. Oh if I could go back to that day with the new language I’ve learned, courtesy of being a special needs Mom. There are so many questions that I would have asked! That day, unfortunately, I was in a fog. I had zero knowledge of autism. So I was silent, scared and heartbroken, scratching my head as to what I should do next.
Months of silence from my son’s pediatrician and no guidance birthed an obsession with researching the body and brain. Every question opened up a Pandora’s Box of more questions. Rabbit trails led to more rabbit trails. After a few years, correlations started to appear. The shocking conclusion, which everyone already knows and I needed reminding, is that Autism isn’t just one thing.
There isn’t just one miracle pill or intervention that can cure Autism. The whole of the autism spectrum is an aggregation of neurological, biological, developmental, social, and behavioral symptoms (to name a few) that are due to…well, no one can seem to put a finger on it. Some individuals have a genetic micro-deletion or mutation that permanently places them under this diagnosis while others have symptoms with no glaring cause. It is so important to keep in mind that even though a person is neurologically unable to heal because of genetics or trauma, that there are still symptoms caused by these genetic/neurological variations that can be addressed to the benefit of that individual.
So what is Biohacking?
“Biohacking is the process of making changes to your lifestyle in order to ‘hack’ your body’s biology and feel your best” (Munoz).
For example, consider a child with abdominal pain, aggression, and diarrhea. A pediatrician is familiar with the diagnosis, stool impaction or constipation, but does not go further to figure out what is causing the issue in the first place. Repairing the leaky gut would be the first step to see genuine recovery from symptoms instead of a prescription for Miralax. The “hack” would be the nutritional supports that repair the intestinal wall, reducing pain and associated aggression.
This is just an example. There are many different symptoms, some more puzzling than others, that can be addressed with biological, natural interventions that improve the suffering individuals quality of life.
Are you overwhelmed? Take a breath and understand that healing is a process. Here is a short video to get you started and a list of resources.
Simple Steps to Biohack Autism
Watch this informational video to get you started. Below, you will find the steps written out with corresponding links to back up any claims. Please let me know if I miss one.
- Log all suspicious symptoms
- Start a food diary. For both, make sure to include time and description of symptom or ingredients in the meal. If you have room, write both lists side by side so you can see any correlations.
- Eliminate. Take out as much processed food as possible. Begin eliminating common food triggers such as gluten and dairy (casein). Focus on gut healing foods made with quality ingredients.
- Supplement. Start with a food based multivitamin with methylated b-vitamins or folate, fish oil, vitamin C, magnesium, vitamin D, inulin, probitics, glutathione, acetyl-carnatine, CoQ10, etc
- Test, test, test. Ask your pediatrician for any testing they can order and make sure to call your insurance company to see if it is covered. You can order your own tests at mymedlab.com. Great tests to start off with are OAT by Great Plains Laboratory, Heavy metal hair test, Ige food sensitivity, genetic, and mitochondrial tests.
Frequency of MTHFR gene in children with Autism compared to neurotypical
Probiotics and Autism
Common missing and needed supplements
Comprehensive review of GF/CF diet
Food diary for food triggers
MAPS and DAN doctors
Talk About Curing Autism, or TACA, is an organization comprised of parents, doctors, nutritionists, etc that have all come together to champion the cause of curing autism. Not a one step cure, but several methods of addressing needs to improve, and even eliminate, the symptoms of autism. Their guidebook is massive, and free, and TACA provides one on one mentors for parents who want to begin their own journey into helping their child improve. Their website is Tacanow.org.
TACA also hosts national conferences dedicated to sharing up to date research, information, and products specifically for those on the spectrum and their families. They graciously provided a scholarship for me to attend a conference in Orange County California. Let me tell you, I felt alone and isolated before attending but when I walked down into the lower levels of that swanky hotel conference area, I realized that we were all a family. The feeling of togetherness was overwhelming. We all fight the assumption that this is the best it can get, and with TACA, it feels like we are fighting together.
Facebook has become a great gathering place for parents and individuals looking for support. There are many different groups dedicated to treating Autism. From the Nemecheck Protocol to GAPS diet, whatever you are interested in trying, there’s a group for it. One particular group has impressed me with the sheer amount of research available in their files as well as the amount of people pitching in with advice. Recovering Kids Biomedical Healing is a facebook group and blog that helps parents treat their children through natural and biomedical healing.
Autism Support Network
ASN has supplanted Autism Speaks as the most reputable and helpful website and local support network. Use them to find therapies, connect with other parents, and get up to date information on Autism. ASN also is growing their local chapters to provide monthly support meetings for helping families meet with the resources they need to best serve their families and for parents to meet with others going through similar experiences. I find these meetings to be invaluable and highly suggest giving them a call to see if they have a chapter in your area.
Important Side Note
Some of you might be cursing under your breath right about now. There are a large amount of parents and family members that argue someone can not cure Autism and that we shouldn’t demean our “different” children by thinking they should be fixed. If every person on the spectrum is different, then how is it that they are all the same in that they need no interventions to help them improve? If occupational, speech, physical and behavioral therapies work, why can’t biomedical be included? If there is something that we can do in order to help our loved ones overcome some of their difficulties and discomfort, and we refuse because of the mantra Autism can’t be cured, aren’t we doing them a disservice?
Munoz, Kissairis. “What is Biohacking? 8 Ways to Biohack Yourself for Better Health.” Draxe.com, Dr. Axe, 6 July 2018, https://draxe.com/what-is-biohacking/.