Autism and related disorders have confounded doctors and parents alike for decades; treatment options and methods have done the same. Our children are individuals who deal with many varied issues that fall under the same, all-encompassing banner of “Autism Spectrum Disorders” and they should be treated as such when it comes to looking for that perfect treatment option.
The one thing however, that should be considered for all suffering from an ASD is their environment. Some of our children may need the GF/CF diet, some might need to chelate, while others benefit from hyperbaric oxygen therapy. A clean and healthy environment, however, will help not only the child with autism, but every member of the family as well. Our environment makes a difference; it’s your choice whether that difference is positive or negative.
We should all be concerned about our environment, either as stewards of the earth or caregivers to our children. Being the parent of a child with an autism diagnosis myself, I can fully appreciate the fact that many of us do not have the time, energy or resources to become global environmental activists, but we can make a difference in our homes and at our dinner tables that, combined with other like-minded individuals and families, can make that “global” impact realized.
Our choice of cleaning supplies, laundry soaps and clothing are just one way we can reduce the toxic environmental impact on our children. It’s no secret that most of our children are especially vulnerable to toxic assault, and many suffer from a decreased ability to cleanse themselves of toxins. Carcinogens, excitotoxins, allergens and irritants are just a few of the chemicals found in many household cleaning products and fabrics.
What we put on the dinner table provides one of the greatest opportunities to improve our children’s health as well as our own (moms and dads, your children benefit when you are healthy!). Putting pesticide- and herbicide- laden food into our children is analogous to putting gas in our cars but refusing to change the oil. Sure, gas will keep the car running, but only for a short time. Sooner or later, the car will stop running altogether because of the lack of maintenance.
This “maintenance” for our bodies is the nutrients and minerals found in our foods and these are sadly lacking in today’s food supply. Farmers have to increasingly add chemical fertilizers to our soil to get their crops to grow. These have no nutritional value whatsoever and are actually quite harmful. Organic, sustainable farming is not something for the commune-living hippie-types anymore. Sustainable farming allows our food to grow with the natural nutrients and minerals in the soil which are in turn taken up by the plants that end up on our dining room table.
If we continue to feed ourselves and our children food that is completely devoid of any positive nutrition, eventually the body breaks down. As we are trying, seemingly against all odds, to help our children become healthier, many of us are not giving them the tools and resources necessary to get started on the road to recovery.
An organic diet should be considered as the first step to ensuring that your child’s engine will run and be maintained correctly, thus ensuring that his or her body has the nutrients and minerals available to heal optimally. I know that organic food can be more expensive but one has to consider the bigger picture: how much are you spending on doctor co-pays, prescriptions, biomedical interventions, etc.? Are you concerned with spending an extra 25% on your grocery bill even as you are spending thousands on biomedical treatments?
Are you trying to paint the Mona Lisa on the back of a cardboard box? Consider giving your children the proper canvas and they might just turn out to be the masterpiece you are striving for.
To read more about optimizing your family’s environment, see issue number 32 of the Autism File, “Toxic Children: How U.S. babies became born pre-polluted, and what can be done to fix this silent, insidious pandemic,” by Ken Cook.