Last year, Autism was deemed as a national health emergency with public health officials in Washington. It is now estimated that 1 in 100 children suffer from one form of Autism or another. However, as abundant as it is in America, there is still so much that is unknown, the most disturbing of which is that scientists still do not have any solid conclusions as to what causes Autism.
In the last decade, there has been a scientific push to discover just that. What causes Autism? Once that question can be answered, doctors can begin finding the most effective methods of treatment. Here is some insight into how close we are to finally understanding this disorder quickly become an epidemic in American children.
Autism is a spectrum disorder facing about one in every 44 American children, boys being four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls. The causes of Autism are still unknown but research indicates that genetics are involved in the vast majority of cases. In the last few years, scientists have been able to identify the early signs in toddlers. Various forms of Autism can now be identified from the womb but the other symptoms are definitive before the child reaches three years of age.
While there is no one cause for autism, some specialists believe that a diet high in nutrients can help to increase brain function in autistic children to ensure a greater chance of normal development.
Common nutrient insufficiencies in autistic children were folic acid, fiber, calcium, iron, zinc, as well as vitamins A, C, D, E, B6, B12, and K. Food aversions or sensitivities cause some children to have too much or too little of certain nutrients.
Can a Raw Food Diet Benefit Children with Autism?
The Raw Food Diet was created in the late 1800s around the fact that the longer food is cooked, the more of its nutrients it loses. Therefore raw food is not cooked above 116 degrees Fahrenheit to keep it at its peak. People who follow the Raw Diet are often known as Vegans meaning that their diet is free of meat, dairy and eggs. About 75% to 80% of what raw foodists eat each day will be plant-based foods.
Prenatal doctors are starting to recommend that mothers-to-be change their diet to be 75% Raw. A complete overhaul of a personal diet is never a safe move but setting up a diet plan with a doctor is one step specialists are taking to help reduce a child’s risk of autism after birth. By increasing the amount of vitamins and minerals in a mother’s food intake while reducing the amount of toxins and preservatives in the prenatal stages can help to increase the fetus’s brain functions.
A raw food diet typically contains a lot of familiar foods that are considered nutritious choices, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, sprouted legumes, sprouted grains, and fermented foods.
Some examples for raw foods include but are not limited to:
Raw and dried fruits and vegetables
Raw coconut oil or butter
Raw flaxseed oil
Seeds and nuts
What Benefits Does a Raw Food Diet Provide to Children with Autism?
Even after birth, doctors recommend keeping the child on a 75% Raw diet. As a child, it is important to increase the child’s nutrient intake and the enzymes found in raw foods help to increase digestion to increase vitamin absorption in the body.
Vitamins such as Vitamin E and B3 are found in most greens and increase blood circulation to the brain. The Raw Diet also reduces the intake of refined sugars and flours which can aggravate symptoms of autism in most children.
Raw food diets also are typically high in fiber, supporting healthy digestion and low in sodium.
What Risks are Involved in Changing to the Raw Diet?
The Raw Diet is not a change that can be made in one day. It takes research and careful planning with the aid of a healthcare professional, especially for expecting mothers and young children. The diet needs to be based around whole grains and legumes that will provide the nutrients and protein needed to replace meats and dairy. Vitamin B12, the most essential vitamin to the human body, is difficult to find in a Raw diet so it is important that it is safely supplemented.
Switching to a Raw diet, even a 75% Raw diet, takes time and effort but studies have shown that it is well worth it in the fight against autism. Please speak to your doctor to determine if a raw food diet is right for you and your child with autism.
Autism Live is an interactive web show that provides support, information, resources, facts, entertainment and inspiration to parents, practitioners and teachers that work with children on the Autism Spectrum.
They have started a petition, petitioning the Honorable Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The point of the petition is to make sure that Applied Behavior Analysis is kept for individuals with Autism. The Affordable Care Act could actually result in individuals with ASD getting less coverage.
The reason this is important, Congress had directed Secretary Sebelius to define ten essential health benefits that make up the minimum insurance coverage required by the Affordable Care Act. Secretary Sebelius, instead of defining them on her own, directed each state to define the essential health benefits. This move puts in jeopardy existing health care coverage that those with Autism have and overlooked that intent of the coverage, as it is meant to cover vulnerable populations.
Written by our Family Outreach Coordinator, Lisa DelPrete
I recently read an article from the BBC news entitled “Robots in the classroom help autistic children learn” and I have to say that I do not totally agree with the entire article and this is why. In the summer of 2010, our entire family experienced how the use of a robot could help our then 10 year old son, Mateo, who was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 4 ½. Mateo spent about two days a week throughout that summer working with a robot through the University of Notre Dame’s FUN Lab.
Lighthouse Autism Center would like to thank all of you for taking the time out of your day to come to the Northern Indiana Autism Expo and for stopping to talk with us at our booth. For us it was an absolute joy to meet everyone!
If you didn’t get all of your questions answered, we are having a Call Out Meeting on November 7th at 6:30pm. We hope to see you there, and as always please feel free to call us at 574.387.4313 with any questions.
Now, the moment everyone has been waiting for! The winners of the raffles are: