What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Leaky gut syndrome in conjunction with autism is still being researched; a number of studies and research are under way to better understand how the syndrome starts, why it can be prevalent in autistic children, and how to treat it. Simply, leaky guy syndrome is the inability of the intestinal wall to keep out large, unwanted molecules. This symptom of autism most often signifies that the intestinal wall has been altered to become permeable. Leaky gut syndrome in autistic children may occur because of increased sensitivity or allergies.

Leaky gut syndrome is problematic for one’s health because it allows molecules and substances (such as proteins) that are normally filtered out of the intestinal tract into the intestines. Because these molecules are not usually allowed inside the gut, the body misinterprets these non-harmful substances as a virus or infection and begins to produce antibodies to attack them. In turn, this creates a process where one’s body recognizes certain foods, as well as any of the body’s regular molecules that are similar to these foods, as harmful, causing an auto-immune disease where the body attacks itself. These are merely two possible outcomes with leaky gut syndrome. Others include the transportation of bacteria normally found within the intestinal tract to move into the bloodstream and cause an infection anywhere in the body as well as a weakening of the liver, which causes more toxins to circulate throughout the body, leading to a number of medical problems.

What can cause leaky gut syndrome? Researchers are still working to more fully understand the causes, but current medical diagnoses suggest that a diet high in alcohol and caffeine intake, certain drugs like ibuprofen and antacids, or a diet high in carbohydrates can decrease the thickness of the intestinal wall as well as other possible reasons. These are just a few possible reasons, and ways to treat leaky gut syndrome are just as uncertain as the reasons. Because of the sensitivity of the digestive system with leaky gut syndrome, many parents of autistic children find that putting their child on gluten- and casein-free diets can help. Both gluten and casein are proteins, and a diet with these proteins may irritate and inflame a leaky gut syndrome – though at the moment, researchers are still studying this. You may also treat leaky gut syndrome by avoiding alcohol, caffeine, ibuprofen, or spicy foods – all of which can cause irritation in the intestines.

Understanding leaky gut syndrome is an ongoing process, for parents with autistic children, doctors, and researchers, but this does not mean that there is nothing you can do to treat it. Simply being aware that your autistic child may have leaky gut syndrome will help you to better understand and improve his or her life.

The Unfortunate Epidemic: Sexual Abuse in the Autistic World

One of the most perverse problems in an autistic individual’s life is the threat of sexual abuse. This can come in the form of rape or simply be in an abusive relationship. Because autistic people spend much of their lives feeling different and left out, they often enjoy sexual experiences for one reason: it puts then on a playing field equal to others. It is very easy for this to become a controlling part of a relationship. The most important thing to remember is that autistic people experience sexuality in much of the same way that others do, no matter how highly functioning they may be. Parents should teach their child about sexuality from an early age in order to prevent sexual abuse from happening.

The most valuable command that anyone can learn in relationship to sexuality is “No.” Teaching this to even children can be very useful. In this respect, treat your autistic child as no different than you would another child-teach him or her the parts of the body from a young age and be very clear, as the child matures, about what happens during puberty and what kinds of behaviors are appropriate and inappropriate. Be sure that your child understands the differences between good touches and bad touches. This can be extremely difficult for autistic children who are sensitive to touch in general. It may be helpful to label “zones” on the body where no one should touch without permission.

Also make sure that as your autistic child grows into an adult, he or she understands what rape is and what to do if this happens. As many autistic children are hands-on learners, it may be best to role-play some potentially dangerous situations. If your child communicates non-verbally, teach him or her clear signs to show a person to stop what they are doing. Autistic people can often not understand that others have their own thoughts and emotions-they believe that everyone thinks and feels what they do. Because of this, many are shocked to find that “bad” people in the world will take advantage of sexual situations. You may need to explain to an autistic individual what kinds of dress and conduct are appropriate in public so that he or she is not unknowingly attracting sexual attention.

You child should learn to respect his or her body and understand that others need to respect it as well. This is only possible if parents and educators teach autistic children about their bodies from a young age. By learning how to stop sexual abuse, you can keep you children, autistic or not, safe from predators.

The Terrible Teens – Dealing with Autistic Teenagers

For most parents, one of the most trying times in their lives is during their child’s teenage years. When puberty hits, young adults go through serious changes in their bodies and minds, and parents have little or no control over many situations. In an autistic child, puberty is no different. Although your autistic child is not experiencing puberty in quite the same ways as others his or her age, major hormonal changes still occur in the body. This can lead to extreme results, and this can be either good or bad depending on how your child reacts to the new hormone levels.

One of the scariest side effects of changes in an autistic person’s body is the onset of seizures. Many autistic individuals experience seizures from birth to adulthood, but even if your child does not suffer from these episodes, he or she may begin to experience seizures during puberty and afterwards, due to the new levels of hormones in the body. Strange as it may sound, violent shaking seizures are not necessarily a bad thing. Almost a quarter of autistic children experience seizures, but many go undetected because they are not textbook versions of seizures. If you recognize that your child is experiencing a seizure, you can do something about it, and doctors will be able to better treat your child. However, if the seizures are subconsciously happening, you and your child may not realize it. The result of these small hidden seizures can be a loss in function, which can be devastating, especially if you child was improving before puberty. Regular check-ups during puberty, therefore, are extremely important.

The changes might not necessarily be a bad thing. New hormone levels in the body and the other changes associated with puberty might help your autistic child grow and succeed in areas in which he or she normally had no skill or interest. Many parents report that their child’s behavior improved, and that learning in social settings was easier.

The important thing about puberty is to learn to monitor the changes in your child very carefully and to ask your doctor lots of questions. Remember that puberty is a difficult experience for any young adult, and so it will be even more difficult for someone with autism. Try to practice patience and understanding with your teen, and be careful to regulate his or her autism so that the transition from child to adult will go more smoothly.

The Power of Music – Musical Therapy to Treat Autism

Musical therapy is a relatively new treatment method for autism patients, but one that should not be overlooking when discussing options. Patients who receive musical therapy often should great improvement in temperament and learning skills. Music connects to the non-verbal part of our brains, making it a perfect therapy for disorders in which the patient has trouble communicating, such as autism. Research this innovative treatment method if you are looking for some help with autism and haven’t had much luck in the past.

Musical therapy is effective because it can be used in conjunction with learning social skills. Music is a very non-threatening medium for patients, and many games can be played using music to help improve social and behavioral skills. By encouraging eye contact while singing or using instruments that need to get close to the face, musical therapy can help autistic individuals break social barriers.

The number one way that musical therapy can help children, as well as older autistic patients, is by helping with the development of speech skills. Music is a way to connect the verbal and non-verbal functions in the brain. Autistic individuals may have various forms of speech problems. Some can only hum, grunt, or make other non-word noises, while others babble nonsensical phrases or cries. Still others gain the capability to put together phrases and sentences to communicate with the world, although these usually lack emotion. Autistic people are known for monotone voices. However, no matter how skilled the individual is with speech, he or she can participate in musical therapy by clapping rhythms, humming along, or doing simple echoing songs.

Autistic individuals are commonly found to be particularly good at music. Some, for instance, have perfect pitch. Others can play a particular instrument very well, with little instruction. Even if he or she shows no genius musical ability by normal standards, you may find that a particularly hard to deal with autistic person has abilities in music that exceed his or her other abilities. A musical therapist can use music as a way to link this kind of learning with other kinds of learning, not only as speech development and social behavioral development as previously discussed, but also as a way to communicate emotions and develop memory.

By using all of these techniques in conjunction with one another, musical therapy can work wonders with people who are autistic. Trained professionals can use music to teach children and others how to communicate in nonverbal ways, making it easier for patients to learn. Research the musical therapy option to provide you or your child with another choice when treating autism.