Monday, January 5, 2009

Help for Hyperactive Monkeys!

Ok, so our autistic kids are not actually monkeys, but they can sometimes act like them! I know my son does anyway! Some days he will be jumping on his bed so much Im afraid he is going to come through the ceiling! Seriously though, kids with autism can be extremely hyper at times, enough to make you feel like you are going to go crazy trying to keep up with them! My son will sometimes just run around the house, making silly noises and giggling. Most of the time he seems really happy, which is great, but sometimes I just wish he would calm down just a tad.

Anyway, there are actually some things that can help with hyperactivity. Alot of kids with autism have a bunch of excess energy to burn off. One thing I try to do is make sure that my son has a chance during the day to get his energy out. He has a mini trampoline inside and a swing set outside. My son LOVES to swing. I think the swing set is the best investment we have made so far! Actually its not even that expensive. You can get one starting at about $100 at Toys r Us. Just make sure that you cement it in or it could go flying!

Anyway, I believe one of the main things that can cause hyperactivity is yeast overgrowth. From having my son tested, I know his yeast was off the chart. I do think that I have gotten it somewhat under control now with the use of probiotics. You can also read more about controlling yeast in one of my previous articles.

Some other things that can help are certain supplements. I have heard that melatonin has a calming affect, though this can cause drowsiness. A few other supplements that some have had good results with are GABA, taurine, magnesium, and DMG. I have not personally tried these but have heard positive results from other parents. Make sure to check with your child's doctor before trying any type of new supplement and find out the appropriate dosages.

One thing that I have actually tried that helps immensely is something as simple as an epsom salt bath. I just pour a cup into my son's bath water and let him soak for about 20 minutes and he comes out a very calm child, most of the time anyway! There is also an epsom salt cream that I order from Kirkman Lab's, though I am not sure it works as well as baths. Then again my son loves his baths. I think flooding the bathroom floor while he is splashing around is fun for him!

So, I hope these things are somewhat helpful. I definitely think that core issues such as yeast and bacteria need to be addressed before hyperactivity can be taken care of.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Gut and Psychology Syndrome Book Winner

I have randomly chosen Wendy to receive this book. Thanks everyone for your interest and make sure to check back for new articles and possibly more giveaways!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Free "Gut and Psychology Syndrome" book

"Gut and Psychology Syndrome" is an extremely enlightening book written by a doctor and mom of a child diagnosed with autism. It explores the connection between the digestive system and immune system and how an unhealthy gut can contribute to the many learning disabilities and mental issues that children have today, including autism, ADD, depression, etc.

Here is a quick description of the book:

Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride set up The Cambridge Nutrition Clinic in 1998. As a parent of a child diagnosed with learning difficulties, she was acutely aware of the difficulties facing other parents like her, and she has devoted much of her time to helping these families. She realised that nutrition played a critical role in helping children and adults to overcome their disabilities, and has pioneered the use of probiotics in this field.
Her willingness to share her knowledge has resulted in her contributing to many publications, as well as presenting at numerous seminars and conferences on the subjects of learning disabilities and digestive disorders. Her book "Gut and Psychology Syndrome" captures her experience and knowledge, incorporating her most recent work.
She believes that the link between learning disabilities, the food and drink that we take, and the condition of our digestive system is absolute, and the results of her work have supported her position on this subject. In her clinic, parents discuss all aspects of their child's condition, confident in the knowledge that they are not only talking to a professional but to a parent who has lived their experience. Her deep understanding of the challenges they face, puts her advice in a class of it's own.
About the Author
Natasha Campbell-McBride holds a Degree in Medicine and Postgraduate Degrees in both Neurology and Human Nutrition. In her clinic in Cambridge she specialises in Nutrition for Children and Adults with Behavioural and Learning Disabilities, and Adults with Digestive and Immune System Disorders. Her son was diagnosed with autism.

You can read reviews here

This book was very eye opening for me, and I learned alot from it. I have implemented many things that are talked about in this book with my son. I would like to pass it on to someone else who can get use out of it.

So, if you are interested in this book, please click on the follow button to follow my blog or post a comment and mention that you would like to have it. On December 30th, I will randomly choose someone to receive this book. It does have alot of earmarks and some markings because I found so many parts of it that interested me that I liked to look back on, but it is definitely in good readable condition still. It retails for $30, so you will definitely be saving some money! Please make sure to check back as I will be posting the winner after December 30th. Thank you for your interest!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Finding a good ABA therapist

ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) Therapy is one of the most widely used and most effective therapies for autism. I started ABA therapy for my son a few years ago and I believe it has helped him considerably as far as his imitation skills, ability to follow simple commands, and word approximations. At the beginning of therapy, my son would not sit down and do anything that was asked of him. He would scream and cry whenever we tried to get him to work. Now, he will usually go right to his chair as soon as the therapist arrives and is ready to work. He has also learned how to use word approximations or babbling to ask for what he wants. Before therapy, he would just throw a tantrum to try and get what he wanted because he didn't have an effective way to communicate what he wanted.

The therapist uses a child's favorite foods, toys, etc in order to motivate the child to do tasks. ABA therapy can also help with a child's problem behaviors, such as tantrums and aggression.

You can learn more about ABA therapy here

Now finding an ABA therapist can be tough. Many are very busy and have long wait lists. I am also in a small area so I had to find a therapist that would be willing to travel. And, I needed to find one that accepted Tricare insurance. My son's ABA therapy is covered through the ECHO program with Tricare.

For more information about the ECHO program if you have Tricare insurance, click here

For a link to an informative page on how to go about obtaining insurance coverage for the therapy, click here

To find ABA therapists in your area, you can use the Behavior Analyst Certification Board where you can search by zip code or city and state for certified therapists. Click here

ABA therapy is definitely worth checking into if you haven't already.

I hope this has been helpful!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Special Diets for Autism

Many autistic children have digestive issues and "leaky gut syndrome" which is explained well here

Therefore most can benefit from a special diet. There is the Gluten Free Casein Free diet, which means wheat and dairy free. This is probably the most well known and most widely used diet for autism. I started my son on this diet a few years ago and noticed big improvements such as less hyperactivity and the ability to focus.

To help you get started with this diet, click here

Another diet that seems to have good results is the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, which I have not personally tried but I have heard from other parents that it has helped their children significantly, especially with yeast overgrowth. Basically, it cuts out grains like rice, wheat, and corn.

For more information concerning this diet, click here

The last diet I will talk about is the Body Ecology Diet. This diet is similar to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet but differs in that it offers certain very digestible grains such as quinoa, millett, buckwheat and amaranth. This is a diet I have used with my son and I have found it to be very beneficial for him, along with Vitality Greens, which I mentioned in a previous article.

For an excellent article explaining this diet, click here

I hope that this has been of some help to those of you who are trying to find a suitable diet for your child. Please make sure to check with your child's doctor before making any major dietary changes.

Yeast Overgrowth and Bacteria

For many children with autism, yeast overgrowth is a big problem. When my son was tested for yeast, his levels were so high that I almost thought it was a typo on the lab report! Yeast in children with autism can cause many problems, such as hyperactivity and inability to focus. Once I started treating my son's yeast, he became less hyperactive and was able to concentrate more on tasks.

Here are some of the signs and symptoms of yeast overgrowth in autistic children.

Signs and Symptoms of Candida Overgrowth:

On Candida Overgrowth Dr. Kenneth Bock writes:

Bloating in the belly, particularly after eating a yeast promoting food.
Thrush, a thick white coating on the tongue, or white patches in the mouth.
Itching or redness in any of the mucosal membranes, or in any external body tissue that is in a warm, moist area.
Recurrent vaginal infections, or "jock itch" irritation in males.
Recurrent fungal infections of the toenails and fingernails, or recurrent athlete's foot.
Swelling throughout the body, particularly in the hands, face and feet; or a tendency to suffer from chronic water retention.
Fatigue, for no apparent reason.
Depression, for no apparent reason.
Poor memory, poor cognitive function, and brain fog.
Chronic nasal congestion from mucus or swelling of the nasal membranes.
Insomnia, restlessness.
Joint pain, with or without swelling.
Muscle aches, or headaches.
Weight gain, or difficulty losing weight.
Cravings for sweets and other refined carbohydrates, including bread and pasta.
A history of steroid use.
A history of frequent antibiotic use.

Even with just this list, you can see how yeast overgrowth can negatively impact a child's mental state and ability to learn.

There are many treatments for yeast, many that I have tried and alot that I haven't but have heard good things from other parents, such as herbal antifungal treatments like grapefruit seed extract or oil of oregano. But I believe one of the most important things to combat yeast is probiotics. There are many different strains to choose from. I find that a probiotic with a wide range of probiotic cultures is the best kind. Probiotics help to keep the immune system in good working condition and also help to control yeast and bad bacteria in the body.

Right now I am using a product called Vitality Greens by Body Ecology.

It is rather expensive, but well worth it! It contains fermented vegetables which contain many different probiotic cultures. It also contains enzymes, which help with digestive issues that many autistic children have, and antioxidants, which help repair damage caused by free radicals.

This is actually part of the body ecology diet, which I will talk about more in a later post.

I hope this has been helpful!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Homeopathic remedy potencies

There are many different potencies of homeopathic remedies. It can all be a little overwhelming at first to understand. It is best to consult with a qualified homeopath to learn more. From my research and talking with others, I believe that the LM dosing is the most effective for a chronic condition like autism. The LM potencies work gently, while still being very potent.

Here is an excellent article explaining about different potencies and how they are given.