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One of the most frustrating things about the disorders on the Autism Spectrum (anything from ADD, asthma, allergies, sensory integration disorder, pervasive developmental disorder,  to severe autism) is that most all medical information declares that there is no known cause. In regards strictly to Autism, the medical community forcefully says that it is not caused by vaccines (of course the research is paid for by the pharmaceutical companies who want to sell millions of their vaccines), they spend lots of money researching genetics, but all in all, they say they do not know what causes it. Yes, genetics is a cause, but only in about 5% of cases. Well, what about the other 95%? This 95% is why the prevalence of it has exploded to epidemic proportions in recent years. It’s the same reason why allergies and sensory disorders are exploding too.

A few statistics on Autism:

  • 1 in 150 children in the US now have Autism
  • 4:1 ratio of boys to girls
  • 1 in 94 boys in the US have Autism
  • Fastest growing developmental disability
  • More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than cancer, diabetes, Down’s Syndrome and AIDS combined
  • $100 Billion annual costs
  • In 10 years the annual costs are projected at 200-400 billion.
  • Cost of lifelong care can be reduced by 2/3rds with early intervention
  • A family with a child with autism will fund 3 to 5 million dollars of services throughout the lifetime of the child
  • Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding of most of the more prevalent childhood disorders
  • Approximately 1 million individuals in the US have autism

(From Generation Rescue)

Those are the currently published statistics, and some of those numbers, like the 1:150, are old. The ratio is dropping, and it’s dropping fast.

CAUSES

There are many causes. The contributing factors are different for each child (or at least the 95% of them that isn’t not genetic). But, they all come back to the same thing – toxic overload. Here are the pieces of Jordan’s puzzle that caused his allergies and PDD (pervasive developmental disorder). At least these are the pieces I’ve figured out so far, I could very well find out more in the future. In chronological order (not order of gravity of contribution to his problem).

  1. Aluminum & Other Metals (heavy metal toxicity) – Before I knew I was pregnant, I was having horrible abdominal pain every evening and through the night. I figured out it was trapped gas and started taking antacids like crazy. Guess what? Most antacids contain aluminum. Guess what? I was pregnant with Jordan, less than 10 weeks along (but didn’t know it). There was no blood brain barrier in him yet, the metals had free access to every developing cell of his body, including his brain. We’ve all heard about the dangers of lead poisoning, the scares of lead paint, etc. Same thing, aluminum and other metals just don’t get as much media attention.
  2. Stress & Poor Nutrition – During the pregnancy we moved and were living with family and in-laws alternately. Very stressful, poor eating habits. Also, with the birth of my first child I had 4th degree tears, causing the worst pain of my life during the following months. I was hardly able to stand or sit because of the pain, had to have surgery 4 months later to correct things, and it took 11 months before I could sit down without pain. To say the least, I was stressed about giving birth again. Stress = raised cortisol levels. Raised cortisol levels during pregnancy, especially the 3rd trimester, not good.
  3. Yeast Overgrowth – During pregnancy I had several bouts with yeast infections. This indicated that I had poor gut bacteria and overgrowth of yeast, but I didn’t know that then and only treated the local yeast infection. During the birth process, the baby’s digestive tract is colonized with the gut bacteria from the mother. And, while breastfeeding the baby’s gut bacteria closely resembles the mother’s. Yeast overgrowthin the gut, unchecked, can lead to leaky gut syndrome. With holes in the gut, partially digested foods, proteins particularly (peptides), can enter the bloodstream. These peptides are not recognized by the immune system as food, but resemble foreign invaders such as bacteria or virus. The immune system attacks and you have food allergies. Also these peptides can reach the brain and act as opiates, contributing to some autistic symptoms – how would you act if you were high all the time? Allergies also cause inflammation throughout the body = lots of problems.
  4. Hepatitis B Vaccine & Others – Day one of life Jordan had the hepatitis B vaccine. Guess what is in the hepatitis B vaccine? Aluminum! The known toxic dose of aluminum for a baby is 20 micrograms. The amount in the Hep B vaccine? 250 micrograms! At 2 months he was fully vaccinated with the recommended vaccines. The aluminum content? 1,875 micrograms! (from Dr. Robert Sears who gathered the data from the FDA’s data and web site). I know he has issues with other heavy metals too, it’s just not as obvious how he might have gotten them (although they are in the air, water, food, vaccines, etc) Heavy metals also cause yeast overgrowth problems and yeast actually bind onto the metals. So, until you get rid of the metals, you won’t completely get rid of the yeast problems. Metals also cause allergy problems. Also in vaccines: formaldehyde, antifreeze, arsenic.  Obviously, not good things to put in a baby already struggling with so much junk in him. These early vaccines (Hep B on day 1 of life) can also cause an inflammed gut with a result similar to yeast overgrowth were proteins can cross into the blood, resulting in allergies. They also can overload the immune system creating an overactive Th2 response and underactive Th1 response. 
  5. Environmental Toxins– we’re surrounded by toxins in our air, water, cleaners, personal care products, food (pesticides, metals, chemicals, excitotoxins), perfumes, air fresheners, etc. With all the other toxins in his body, his little system quickly became overwhelmed and couldn’t clean the junk out like most of us are able to and so it just kept accumulating, wrecking havoc with normal body and brain functions.

So far, those are the pieces of our puzzle. Maybe we’ll find more, maybe not. Everyone’s puzzle will be different. But I’m satisfied that I have a good enough grasp of the causes to know the target for healing.

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hay-bales2Wow, where do I start? The last year and a half has been the most difficult of my life. It all started when Jordan was just 3 weeks old. He started screaming for hours on end, projectile vomiting, got a rash, had a little eczema, raspy breathing, anal fissures, and green poop.  I called the doctor and received no help. It took one week before we figured out I needed to stop eating dairy. (He was nursing). The day I took dairy out of my diet, he stopped screaming. Several days later I substituted soy milk, the screaming came back. So, I took out soy. This process continued for 8 months, by then I had to remove ALL dairy, soy (including soybean oil), all beans, peanuts, oats, and beef from my diet . Then, he stopped spitting up. 🙂 By then his other symptoms had cleared as well. During this time we saw 3 different doctors, none of them were able to help at all. When he was 4 or 5 weeks old, I had begun asking the question, “What caused this?” Where did these allergies come from?  And, I started researching. I read everything I could about allergies and their causes.

  

When he was 10 or 11 months old, we started trying to feed him some foods directly. He reacted to everything except sweet potato, pears (later to discover it was causing his horrible constipation), and animal crackers.  Behavioral issues (or more subtle reactions) started coming out too: tantruming – a lot; disturbed sleep, and  fussing and crying constantly unless he was held – I developed great bicepts. 🙂  The doctors still couldn’t help. I was still researching and found some alternative medicine treatments that held some possiblities.

 

 Jordan turned 13 months old and we embarked on trying acupressure treatments called NAET and BioSET. He had 5 months of allergy treatment through an acupunturist which has allowed him to eat fruits, vegetables, rice, beans, and some other things. And, it broke the cycle of him developing an allergy to everything he ate.  However, there is still a lot he cannot eat. His allergies also caused some Autistic-like or PDD (Pervasive Developmental Disorder) symptoms of speech delay, behavioral, and physical issues. But, I was still researching.

  

He is now 21 months old. We have finally found a doctor who understands allergies, the underlying physiology and causes, how it relates to behavioral and developmental stuff, AND how to treat it!!! Wahoo!!! We can officially say that Jordan has a leaky gut (holes throughout his intestines); Candida overgrowth (a fungal infection); toxins in his blood, and his immune system is messed up and operating incorrectly.  We are awaiting more tests to come back in January to see what shows up on those, but already know the treatment plan will take 3 years.  This doctor sent us to a cranial sacral specialist who also found that the bones in his head are overlapping, one side of his skull is more forward and larger than the other side, and the valves on either side of his large intestine are not working very well. The treatment for these additional things is only 2-3 months!

 

Prayer. One huge answer/praise is that I’ve been chasing this problem and trying to figure it out for 20 months.  Every spare minute I’ve been researching and finally figured it out a couple of months ago, and found a doctor who can help him!!! So, praise, we have answers and I have help – that’s HUGE!!!

Prayer #1 – the treatment to be effective

Prayer #2 – the treatment program has strict dietary requirements (many of them we were already doing). I’m going to need energy, patience, endurance, etc. and that’s once I figure out how to cook differently and where to get ingredients we’ll need.  We are now gluten, casein, yeast, and egg free – among other things.

Prayer #3 – the down side to all this – these doc’s aren’t covered by our insurance. So that’s prayer #3 – paying for his treatment.

 

Thanks for caring, reading all this, and praying! I’d love to hear from you, Sarah

  

 Update – 23 months old (Feb 24, 2009)

Wow! The last 2 1/2 months have been absolutely amazing! The final test is in – Jordan has heavy metal toxicity as well. Now the amazing and exciting part – check out the post on February 20, 2009!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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