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Childhood neurological disorders (NDs) are typically diagnosed by professionals with psychology and psychiatry backgrounds. Parents are often told that their child’s diagnosis is the result of genes and is psychological in nature. Typical “psychological” manifestations of these NDs in children may include delayed speech, lack of eye contact, impaired or non-present social skills, shyness, perseverative behavior (doing the same thing repeatedly), delayed gross or fine motor skills, sensory integration issues (sound and touch sensitivity, etc.), not responding to one’s name, inflexibility with transitions, and major, often unexplained, changes in mood.
Yet, the physical or medical issues that these children often share are rarely noted or discussed. Typical physical manifestations of children with NDs may include food allergies and eczema, general gastrointestinal distress, constipation and diarrhea, yeast overgrowth, immune system disregulation, and sleep disturbances. Typically, proper testing also reveals high levels of environmental toxins relative to neurotypical children.
What has happened to our children? We believe our children’s bodies are overwhelmed by a combination of heavy metals (mercury, lead, aluminum, etc.), live viruses (particularly from vaccines), and bacteria. These toxins serve to slow or shut down normal biochemical pathways in the body and lead to the physical and mental manifestations we call NDs. Perhaps the best description of what happens to our children is Autism: A Twisted Tale of Virus and Thimerosal, by Dr. Amy Yasko.
Biomedical intervention for NDs is based on the belief that the psychological symptoms of NDs are a product of the physical issues the child is experiencing and that addressing the physical issues will lead to an improvement in the psychological symptoms. (We were very pleased to read the recent cover story in Discover magazine that clearly spells out that autism is “not just in the head” but may actually originate in the gut and from environmental toxins.)
The following is our best attempt to get you started on the path to healing your child. This is not medical advice. It is the opinion of parents, not doctors. The most important thing you can do as a parent is find a qualified physician to help you treat your child. All that is written here is for informational purposes only.
The ultimate goal of biomedical treatment is to remove environmental toxins from your child’s body and repair the damage that has been done. Today, there is a bewildering array of potential treatment modalities for parents to follow. Some of the most popular include:
The DAN Protocol. DAN, or Defeat Autism Now!, is a project of the Autism Research Institute. The DAN Protocol is not a clear and explicit protocol, per se, but rather a general approach to treating children that is being followed by a group of doctors known as DAN doctors. The best resource to get a background in the DAN approach is the book Children with Starving Brains, written by Jaquelyn McCandless, MD, a DAN doctor. A complete list of DAN doctors is available at www.autism.com/dan/ danusdis.htm. DAN Conferences are held for parents twice a year. Yahoo discussion groups that include parents working with DAN doctors include ChelatingKids2 and ABMD.
The Cutler Protocol. Andy Cutler is a scientist who developed a protocol for removing heavy metals from the body. His protocol is detailed in his book, Amalgam Illness, and through the Yahoo discussion group Autism-Mercury. Many of the parents using the Cutler Protocol to remove toxins from their child’s body are also using a DAN doctor and many of the DAN approaches to treatment.
Dr. Amy Yasko. Dr. Yasko’s approach to treating children with NDs has many similarities to DAN, but focuses treatment on the specific genes of the child, providing a roadmap that some parents believe is more customized. Her approach is also more focused on the removal of viruses and bacteria from the child’s body. Learn more through her websites, www.dramyyasko.com and www.holistichealth.com, her parent discussion group, and her book, The Puzzle of Autism: Putting It All Together.
Michael Lang’s Natural Detoxification Program. Michael Lang is the founder of Brainchild Nutritionals, a supplement company serving children with NDs. Recently, he published a helpful guide with his own recommendations for how to detoxify a child with an ND safely and effectively.
Methyl B12 and Valtrex. A number of parents have experienced particular success using a combination of Methyl B12 (a vitamin) and Valtrex (a prescription drug that suppresses viruses). This approach has been spelled out by a parent who recovered his son from autism, Stan Kurtz.
Homeopathy. Many parents report great results using homeopathy. The best description of this approach is available in a book written by a parent, The Impossible Cure. Also, check out the discussion group run by the Homeopathy Center of Houston serving children with NDs.
Most parents employ some combination of the above approaches in treating their child. It can be frustrating for a parent to realize how varied the treatment approaches can be, which is why it’s critical to find a doctor to work closely with to find the right approach for your child. Reading about biomedical treatments for NDs is very overwhelming and it is helpful to keep the “big picture” in mind. The 4 most important things you can do to help heal your child are:
1. Bring down the toxin load.
2. Help the gut heal.
3. Get the nutrients up.
4. Get the metals and other toxins out.