We’ve heard about the growing numbers of children being diagnosed with autism. Many of us have a family member or know a friend with an autistic child. Why is this happening and what can we do about it? Autism statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identify around 1 in 68 American children as on the autism spectrum –a ten-fold increase in prevalence in 40 years. Careful research shows that this increase is only partly explained by improved diagnosis and awareness.
Studies also show that autism is four to five times more common among boys than girls. An estimated 1 out of 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls are diagnosed with autism in the United States. Signs of autism usually appear before age 3. The symptoms of autism influence a child’s behavior, language and social skills.
The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) lists five behaviors that warrant further evaluation:
• Does not babble or coo by 12 months
• Does not gesture (point, wave, grasp) by 12 months
• Does not say single words by 16 months
• Does not say two-word phrases on his or her own by 24 months
• Has any loss of any language or social skill at any age.
Any of these five “red flags” does not mean your child has autism. But because the symptoms of the disorder vary so much, a child showing these behaviors should have further evaluation by a developmental pediatrician knowledgeable about autism. Autism is not a hopeless condition. Children with autism do progress and early intervention is key. Each child with autism is unique. Many of those on the autism spectrum have exceptional abilities in visual skills, music and academic skills. They may find moving objects such as tops or cars that will run by themselves quite intriguing. They may like to spin their bodies or develop other self-stimulating behaviors.
They may experience extreme sensitivity to touch, light, and sound. Conversely, the actions that will cause others pain may not seem to bother them. When I work with children with autism, I address the whole child and the whole family if needed. I have found that through changes in diet and nutrition and using energetic healing, the manifestations of autism can be successfully reduced or even eliminated. Future entries in my blog will discuss how I help the child with autism in my holistic chiropractic practice. I know you will find this information enlightening and promising for the children and families that are dear to you!