Parents as Healers

You can help your child in profound ways with or without a doctor. I encourage you to trust yourself and begin to act, taking one step at a time.
SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA Dedicated, wise, and persistent parents have played an enormous role in bringing effective treatments to children with autism and related disorders. Children with autism, with obsessive-compulsive disorder, with mood disorders, with ADHD, with sensory processing disturbances, with seizures, with severe complex allergies and other chronic disorders all of have much in common. One strong commonality is the failure of conventional medicine to cure or fully resolve the underlying health issues of these children. A second commonality is that environmental influences including toxins, poor nutrients, infectious agents, and allergens play a major part in the genesis of these disorders. A third commonality is that the majority of medical research into these disorders has been committed to finding pharmaceutical remedies, rather than causes, prevention, and cures. Innovative parents, often working together with open-minded, innovative health professionals, have brought many solutions to their children, relying most commonly on natural remedies and diet.

For example, you may start with a gluten free, casein free, soy free, and corn free diet and see some encouraging improvements over several months. Upon learning that many children with autism are not able to properly digest starches and sucrose, you may decide to further modify the diet by removing potatoes, rice and other gluten free grains and switching to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) or GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) Diet. Upon seeing improvements in behavior and intestinal function with one of these specific carbohydrate diets, you may decide to continue with this approach. Should your child develop rashes or yeast problems or new behaviors on SCD or GAPS, you may hypothesize that too many oxalates or too many phenols or sensitivity to large amounts of almonds and eggs could be affecting your child. Exploring this might require a further modification of the diet, with careful observation of response. Every change of diet needs to be monitored and best recorded.

I have talked a lot about diets, as they are powerful tools and help to illustrate home-based safe interventions. Also, it is important to realize that when you make an intervention, you are doing a scientific trial aiming to help your child. You need to always make good observations and avoid being too strongly attached to your hypothesis, which is that this is a good thing to do for my child. You will have the best success discovering the most effective interventions for your child if you adhere closely to the regimen you are following, while making regular observations and being willing to modify your program if progress is not substantial.

This method of forming a hypothesis, performing an intervention, and evaluating by observation is the best way to go about providing nutritional supplements, herbal therapies, homeopathic or energetic treatments, and also pharmaceuticals. The process of forming a good diagnostic hypothesis can be further helped by laboratory tests to address your questions. For example, if you suspect your child has adrenal fatigue, you could provide specific adrenal supports such as Adrenal Cortex, licorice root, Ashwagandha, rhodiola, magnolia, Isocort, and watch for positive effect. As with diet, each supplement should be introduced one at a time, recording your observations. You could also do a salivary or 24-hour urine adrenal hormone testing to see if the cortisol is low. Finding low cortisol in a lab test would further strengthen your decision to provide adrenal supports, while also working to reduce stresses on your child.

It is evident as you begin to consider the complexity of childhood illnesses, that working with an open-minded, well-trained health professional is optimal. Our purpose is to support you and your child in your healing work. If you are able to work directly with us by in-person visits, video-conferencing, and phone consultations, we welcome this affiliation. Alternatively, check out our Treatment Resources page, join communities of like-minded parents such as TACA  and autism360.org, and begin to intervene on behalf of your child.

John A. Green III, MD