Autism has long been viewed as a static condition, with little change. Scientists have thought the brain for someone with Autism has damage, and will never be able to overcome its limitations. For many years, parents were told there was little hope for a child with Autism, and view treatments existed. However, science has found little difference between an Autistic’s brain and a Neurotypical brain, suggesting physical problems may not be the cause of Autism. Doctors, therapists, and parents are now seeing radical changes in children with autism, providing hope for many. New therapies, new diets, new lifestyle changes are showing promise. Much of this information can be found in The Autism Revolution, by Martha Hurbert; a book that changed how I view autism.
I, like many in mental health, assumed Autism was a purely genetic condition. I had success in working with Asperger’s, or high functioning Autism, as I have seen how effective therapy can be with many of my clients. However, anyone who works in health or mental health cannot stop learning and needs to continue researching and studying, for the improvement of their clients. In my research, I found The Autism Revolution and decided to give it a chance. I was not prepared for how impactful this book would be, for my practice, and my life. After reading it twice, I have conducted Autism is a dynamic, fluid condition, manageable with changes in diet, behaviors, and attitude. The following will contain a sample of what I have learned from the Autism Revolution.
Autism is Not a Death Sentence
The book gives case studies of mostly children with severe autism, highlighting symptoms, treatments, and results. These case studies are informative, as they are typical of what you would see in the population. The children in these case studies are suffering, and their parents have been told by traditional doctors that there is little hope. All of the children in the book show impressive gains; with some going so far as to no longer being classified as on the Autism spectrum. This is not a book on doom and gloom but of hope and change. These children improved, dramatically so, with techniques that can be followed by anyone. Not only did the children improve, but their families did as well.
One thing that impressed me was how real Martha Hurbert is. She is a scientist, a neurologist, and a person who wants to help. She will admit if an approach does not have scientific backing. She will state case studies, research, and give pros and cons to all treatments. She does not tell you what treatments to use but asks you to make up your mind. She is not someone who is going to tell you to do but will give you information, and work to find more. This is the main reason I enjoyed this book; she made me think and helped me to change my opinions of Autism.
Our Diets are Killing Us
Diet is a huge part of the Autism Revolution. Processed foods, sugars, and artificial foods are killing all of us. Our bodies are not designed to handle the chemicals we are putting in our foods. For someone with a Neurotypical brain, their body may be able to filter and process these foods; however, someone with Autism may not. She defines Autism as stress placed on the body system, causing limitations. These foods are putting massive strain on our systems, causing them to show down if other problems exist.
The follow is a small sample of the foods and chemicals people with Autism should avoid: Gluten, sugar, milk, most dairy products, processed foods, soda, non-natural juices, and artificial sweeteners. The book goes into far more details and also breaks down how the body processes these foods. She recommends eating a “rainbow” diet, consisting of bright and colorful fruits and vegetables, such as peppers, mushrooms, lettuce, kale, and others. The more natural and colorful the foods, the better. Just the section on diet is worth the price of the book. After reading this book, I changed some of my diet. I am eating a more rainbow diet now and am not eating as much processed foods. I feel better, and am noticing I am slowly losing weight. This diet is good for everyone, as who knows what health conditions our diets are causing.
Become an Investigator
As Martha Hurbert is a scientist, she knows how to study a problem. Her view is every parent with an autistic child needs to become a scientist, an investigator, of what makes their child function. To that end, she recommends starting out with 1 or two changes, and monitor them over time. For example, say you eliminate Gluten from the diet; do not do any other changes for three months, and note how your child performs. Is he crankier now, or less? Has his focus improved? How are his speech patterns? Some changes may cause problems. If you change too many things at once, you have no idea what caused the changes. These changes could take years to go through. However, this will give a better overall picture of what works, or does not, for your child. Each cause of Autism is unique. Therefore, different treatments and techniques will work for some, and not for others.
Patience is Required
If you are a parent of a child with Autism, you want help now. Life is very difficult and frightening. Parents want treatments that work and fear the longer it takes, the more behind their child will become. There is hope for you and your child. Do not believe anyone who says there is no hope, and no life for your child. Each case is unique, with its own set of strengths and weaknesses. Begin to try some of the techniques listed in the book, and give it time to see changes. Some of the changes were quick for some, others it took months or years.
Look as Strengths, not just Weaknesses
Often in the medical and mental health world, we focus on what is broken. We see a problem and look for a solution. The problem is, sometimes we miss strengths and positives, leading to an incomplete picture. Someone with Autism might have amazing strengths. Many of the people I treat with Asperger’s are highly intelligent, creative, and can focus more than someone who is Neurotypical. Instead of focusing on the problems, we should focus on how people with Autism can use their strengths. This view is present in this book. This is what we all need to do. Instead of seeing someone as broken, that’s view them as someone who has positives, and not just weaknesses.
Get This Book Now
I have not gone into much detail of what is in this book, because there is so much, and I would not do it justice. This book is for everyone; your parents, your doctor, your therapist, you. It goes into scientific detail that anyone can understand. I am recommending this book to all of my clients with Autism, and many are beginning to make changes. If you want to learn more, I suggest buying this book and reading it. It is available in Print, E-Book, and Audio Book. If this book changed how I thought of Autism, and I treat it, what can it do for you and your child? Now, I see Autism as a condition that can be changed and am much more hopeful for the future of our children.
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