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Pediatric Integrative & Functional Medicine

Autism and Behavior Management

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Autism and Behavior Management

It is now reported by the Center for Disease Control that 1 in 68 children have the diagnosis of autism, and the incidence rate is continuing to rise. This neurodevelopmental disorder is diagnosed on a spectrum ranging from mild cases diagnosed as pervasive developmental disorders (PDD-NOS) or Asperger’s Syndrome, to more severe cases. Some clinicians approach autism as merely a behavioral or psychiatric disorder, which guides their treatment to solely prescribing behavioral therapies. While these therapies are essential in the treatment of a child with autism, they are not exclusive to what is needed to treat this systemic and inflammatory disorder. Our expanded view of autism as a medical disorder leads to our integrative and functional medical approach.

Not every child with autism looks the same. There is no one single treatment or cure for autism. Children with autism have systemic dysfunction, and each body system is connected to the next. Just as autism is diagnosed on a spectrum, treatment will vary from child to child, depending on their unique clinical presentation and severity of their body burden. We use a biological systems-based approach to identify what area of the body needs to be addressed and in what priority. We evaluate:

  • Genetics- Methylation, enzyme dysfunction, mitochondrial dysfunction, glutathione production/detoxification
  • Neurologic/Neurotoxic- Neurotransmitter imbalances, heavy metals and other toxins
  • Nutrition- functional nutritional deficiencies and imbalances, food allergies/sensitivities, maldigestion and malabsorption
  • Endocrine- thyroid disorders, growth factors
  • Gastrointestinal- intestinal dysbiosis, hyperpermeability, leaky gut, inflammation, food intollerances
  • Immunologic- oxidative stress, infections, allergies, immune deficiencies, autoimmunity, uncontrolled inflammation

While our treatment is specific to the child, we typically use a set of modalities to target individual needs. The duration of therapy is dependent on the child’s response. We may use, but are not limited to:

  • Medications
  • Nutritional Supplementation
  • Allergy Immunotherapy
  • Detoxification Therapies
  • Dietary Modifications
  • Behavioral Therapies
  • Collaboration and referrals to other needed specialist

We believe that some children with autism can be recovered. We believe that all children can progress, even slow and non-responders to traditional autism therapy. Autism recovery is hard work and takes time. Though we cannot guarantee recovery, we can guarantee that we will work together with parents and our patients using the most cutting edge medicine to help those with autism become a healthier and happier version of themselves.