Parenting is always a difficult task, no matter who you or your children are.
However, children with behavioural or developmental issues can make things even more difficult.
Autism and ADHD are two very different conditions, but both can cause distress for you as a parent, as well as for your child.
Fortunately, there are naturopathic treatments available for ADHD and autism, and Dr. Maria can help.
What Is Autism?
Autism is a neurobehavioural condition with a wide range of symptoms. As a result, it’s no longer referred to as just a single disorder (autism), but rather as autism spectrum disorder, or ASD. Autism is still used as a shorthand in everyday language, however.
Many children with autism are able to grow up and live healthy lives, though they still face unique challenges. Others experience extreme disabilities that prevent them from living a normal life.
A common feature of autism, however, is difficulty with communicating. This can cause problems with spoken language, but children with autism also often have a difficult time picking up on subtler social cues, like facial expressions, hand gestures, or other body language aspects.
Autism has many other common symptoms, however. If you find your child exhibiting the behavioural traits listed below, they may have an autism spectrum disorder:
- Sensitivity to sound, light, or other sensory inputs
- Not responding to their name
- Obsessive behaviour and interests
- Impulsive behaviour
- Overly fearful behaviour
- Short attention span
- Rocking back and forth or spinning in circles
- Playing with toys the exact same way each time
- Not speaking, or having delayed speech
- Answering questions with confusing, unrelated answers
- Avoiding eye contact
- Easily upset over minor issues
- Prolonged periods of isolation
- Poor social skills
- Unusual phobias
- Unusual eating or sleeping habits
- Difficulty with physical contact
- Difficulty understanding the feelings of others
These symptoms generally appear within the first three years of a child’s life and is more common in boys than girls.
What Causes Autism?
The true cause of autism is not yet fully understood. However, there are a number of risk factors associated with autism. These include:
- Age of mother – the older the mother, the higher the risk of autism
- Diabetes or obesity in mother
- Drug or alcohol use during pregnancy
- Use of anti-seizure drugs during pregnancy
- Rubella in mother
- Genetics – autism tends to run in families
Although parents of autistic children often wonder if there was something they could have done differently, there is no evidence that a child’s upbringing has anything to do with autism. There is also no credible evidence that vaccinations are linked with autism.
Naturopathic Treatments For Autism
Autism is a very complex disease and is not yet fully understood. As a result, there is currently no known cure for autism.
However, naturopathic treatments are quite common for autistic children. One study found that nearly three quarters of parents with autistic children had sought out help from outside of the medical establishment.
These treatments, again, do not cure autism. However, there is evidence they can reduce the severity of autism-like symptoms, making it easier for those afflicted with autism to live a normal life.
One of these treatments is detoxification. Children with autism have been shown to be sometimes deficient in the nutrients the human body needs to remove toxins from their body. The autism detox process may involve eating a gluten-free diet, removing other food allergens and intolerances, and eating a low-sugar, low candida diet.
Treatments to address the gut microbiome are often important as well. Autistic children frequently suffer from ear infections and other childhood illnesses at a higher rate than adults do, and as a result they generally have a higher frequency of taking antibiotics. Antibiotics are effective at treating bacterial infections, true, but they also kill off most of the beneficial bacteria in your gut. As a result, harmful bacteria are given more of a chance to thrive, which can severely affect your child’s cognitive functions as well as their ability to digest and absorb food.
Dr. Maria may also recommend a number of other naturopathic treatments for autism, including supplementing with vitamin B12, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, or vitamin C, among others.
If your child has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, or you believe they exhibit signs of it, Contact the Mindful Healing Clinic today. Alongside traditional medical and psychotherapy-based approaches, naturopathic medicine can help.
What Is ADHD?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is the most common mental disorder in children, though it can affect adults as well.
It’s more common with boys, though girls can also develop ADHD. The most common associations with ADHD are hyperactivity and difficulty concentrating. As a result, it’s usually diagnosed when a child begins school.
It isn’t known exactly what causes ADHD. However, it tends to be hereditary. Poor nutrition and substance abuse have been connected with ADHD as well, as have brain injuries or chemical imbalances.
Children are generally restless, excited, and active. However, if your child is exhibiting any of the following symptoms at an unusual rate, they may have ADHD:
- Easily distracted
- Doesn’t pay attention
- Doesn’t listen, daydreams
- Doesn’t like to sit still
- Often fidgets or squirms when told to sit
- Forgets easily
- Doesn’t follow directions
- Doesn’t finish what they start
- Is disorganized
- Is unnecessarily loud
- Uncommonly talkative
- Interrupts others
- Difficulty following protocol, especially in a classroom setting
In adults, ADHD manifests itself in a similar fashion. Adults with ADHD may exhibit the following symptoms:
- Anger management issues
- Addictive personality
- Frequent boredom
- Difficulty concentrating
- Low self-esteem
- Chronic procrastination
- Relationship and work difficulties
Naturopathic Treatments For ADHD
There is no known cure for ADHD, but there are several treatments available which may help your child manage their ADHD symptoms.
Nutrition is one important factor. It has been shown that children with diets high in caffeine (generally from soft drinks), trans fats, and refined carbohydrates, are more likely to develop ADHD. Dietary changes to avoid these elements may help your child manage their ADHD symptoms.
At the same time, ADHD has also been associated with children who have diets low in omega-3 fatty acids, as well as children with undiagnosed food sensitivities. Food sensitivities can cause a host of other concerns as well, so if your child is exhibiting ADHD-like symptoms, it’s a good idea to get them tested. In general, reducing your child’s intake of sugar and trans fats, and serving more whole foods, may help reduce their ADHD symptoms.
There are a number of herbal remedies and nutritional supplements which may help with ADHD as well. These include the omega-3 listed above, as well as B-complex vitamins. Calming herbs can make a difference as well, including skull cap, gotu kola, and chamomile.
If your child is exhibiting ADHD-like symptoms, or has been diagnosed with ADHD, your medical doctor may recommend Ritalin® (methylphenidate) or other pharmaceutical drugs. However, these drugs often come with their own side effects, and can be addictive.
Contact Dr. Maria at the Mindful Healing Clinic to discuss your treatment options for your child’s attention issues managed naturally.