Homesteading for Autism

I get anxious every time I see my son’s pediatrician.  From ages 6-8, he developed persistent and worsening dermatitis around his eyes and face.  I scheduled a check-up and went in determined to get to the root cause of it; my belief being that it got worse after eating certain foods.  He looked at me incredulously as I offered that it was due to a food sensitivity.  He huffed a bit and said, “So you think this is happening because of one thing that he’s eating?”

I can’t even remember my response; I was paralyzed with embarrassment and self doubt.  I should have commented on such an inappropriate comment from a doctor, first of all.  Secondly, I should have answered yes and no.  That I think that his body may be sensitive to several foods because of underlying inflammation.  Where this underlying inflammation is coming from is where I needed help but wasn’t offered any.  

I’m not the only parent with a special needs child who is shamed for questions outside of the experience of the Association of American Medical Colleges and its curriculum.  We are only now discovering the Gut-Brain axis and the fact that we have bacteria in our gut that can directly communicate with the brain.  We haven’t had enough time to develop research studies, or even find the funding for them when the pharmaceutical industry isn’t involved.  Envita Medical Center wrote a comprehensive, in-depth article on why complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is not covered by the insurance industry, and therefore not used by insurance funded practitioners.  There is promise for our children, however, in the departure of physicians from following the guidelines of the AMA, to functional and integrative medical practices dedicated to treating the whole body. 

These practices take into account toxic loads, nutrition, food sensitivities, mitochondrial and genetic abnormalities, etc.  Many parents and individuals on the spectrum have been finding relief from symptoms such as anxiety, digestive disorders, tics, and improvements in focus and speech with this type of approach.  Unfortunately, because it falls outside insurance coverage, the individuals needing it most cannot access this model of care.  

This is why, on a limited budget, dietary intervention should be the first and most lasting treatment for children with learning and developmental disabilities.  Unfortunately, sourcing organic foods and meats that weren’t pushed antibiotics, hormones, and fatty foods is a feat that should be awarded an olympic medal.  My advice?  Grow as much food as you can at home!

Homesteading can sound intimidating, especially if you have a false belief that your thumb isn’t green and you kill whatever plants you try to grow.  Successfull gardening, poultry or livestock management doesn’t require a degree, only experience.  We are also inundated with multiple sources of information that can help you determine where to start, and how to do it.  From the internet to your local library, you can easily  find answers to any question.  So don’t be afraid to start your homesteading journey to improve the health, and subsequent quality of life, of yourself and your children.

If it really is too much to add to your plate, or you live with only a five square foot patio, there is a growing, beautiful movement of people who are homesteading and farming.  Find out where your local farms are, if they use pesticides, or just go to a local tailgate market.  Tailgates are more trustworthy than the traditional farmer’s markets where individuals have purchased large amounts of produce to resell at a profit.  Most farmer’s market items are also conventionally grown without restorative soil practices that make the produce more nutritious for you.


CSA directories:

A google search for local tailgate markets in your area

Homesteading quick start: