Autism is a complex disorder that affects nearly 1 in every 88 children in the United States alone. If you or your family is one of those affected, you know the difficulties that face an individual with autism. Our goal is to offer you effective natural treatment suggestions, such as fish oil, magnesium, and melatonin, that pair well with traditional treatments to best support a balanced therapeutic approach.
What Is Autism?
Autism is the general term given to a group of serious developmental conditions that collectively are known as autism spectrum disorders. The condition typically manifests in early childhood, usually before age 3. While symptoms vary, any form of autism spectrum disorders affects an individual’s ability to communicate and interact with others.
Autism spectrum disorder or ASD is considered a serious neurodevelopmental disorder that affects communication and social interaction as well as several other potential areas. In many cases, affected individuals exhibit repetitive behaviors, intensified interests in specific subjects, and preferred activities. Different forms of the condition include autism, Asperger’s syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder, which were previously considered separate.
What Causes Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Many individuals and even families given a diagnosis of autism wonder what they have done wrong. Autism is really no fault of anyone, especially not the mother during pregnancy or birth. Autism spectrum disorder has no single known cause and is likely the result of a variety of factors. Genetics as well as environmental factors are believed to play a role in the presentation of autism.
One of the longest standing controversies regarding autism hinges on whether there is a link between ASD and certain vaccines. Despite a range of research, no reliable study has identified a link between ASD and any vaccine.
How Do Traditional Medicine and Natural Remedies Work Together?
Autism is a disorder that responds best to treatment that is holistic and addresses all aspects of the condition. Recent research has shown a benefit for what is considered complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) or integrative medicine that focuses on pairing natural treatment approaches with behavioral therapies and treatments. This approach facilitates a more balanced treatment plan as it allows families, like yours, to treat the individual with autism as just that – an individual affected by autism.
What Are the Best Natural Remedies for ASD?
We suggest combining natural remedies with behavioral treatments for the best results. Nevertheless, anecdotal evidence points to fish oil, magnesium, and melatonin as three of the most effective natural treatment options.
1. Fish Oil
Fatty acids, in general, are essential for the effective development and function of the brain. Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids and is a balanced nutritional supplement. Studies suggest that this oil helps reduce repetitive behavior and hyperactivity and improves socialization.
Autism is a condition that is highly influenced by nutritional deficiency. Magnesium deficiency can lead to a number of disruptive behaviors including restlessness, body rocking, teeth grinding, hiccups, noise sensitivity, poor attention span, and poor concentration. Taking a magnesium supplement will help reduce these behaviors and support overall function.
Nearly half of individuals affected by ASD also struggle with sleep disorders, which only exacerbate the condition. A regular dose of melatonin helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle, reducing the prevalence of associated behaviors as well.
4. Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency is not uncommon for individuals with autism and it is commonly recommended for autistic children. If you choose to use a vitamin D supplement with your child, it is important to keep his doctor informed and have your child's blood monitored to ensure that the vitamin D levels are in an appropriate range. Vitamin D toxicity is a serious health problem that can sometimes arise with vitamin D supplementation.
No two individuals experience autism in the same way, and individuals do not respond to the same treatments. Let us know if you try one of these natural remedies or add your own suggestions to our extensive reader-contributed list below.