- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Treatments we've tried for autism (enzyme update 7/5)
We have tried several treatments for autism for Michael. A little at a time, I will let you know what we tried what we won't, what worked, and what didn't.
Michael has always suffered with constipation. As an infant he would go for several days without having a bowel movement. He would be so uncomfortable. Our doctor at the time recommended glycerin suppositories. These are pretty gentle and usually would work. They aren't very fun to administer, much less receive! The thing is they never corrected the problem. We are a family that uses wheat pasta, bread, and has a fruit or veggie with every meal so it wasn’t that his diet was missing fiber. He is also a child that drinks plenty of water and isn’t a huge milk drinker. Diet wouldn’t fix it.
When we started seeing the biomedical doctor, she recommended taking magnesium. This is a nutrient that many of us are lacking. The specific form she suggested were Oxy-powder capsules, mainly because this is a relatively pure company and you can open the capsules and mix with food or water for a non-pill taker. Michael takes pills like a champ so this is a non-issue for us. I’m sure that other version of magnesium would help but we’ve stuck w/ the Oxy-powder so far. We’ve kept him at one a day but the doc told us we could go as high as three. Michael now goes at least once a day. He’s not straining to push out his bowel movements and we’ve had no need for other interventions to help him produce one.
Michael had a LOT of trouble sleeping. Therefore his doc suggested 3 mg of Melatonin about a half hour before bedtime. These are available at almost any store (we buy ours at Vitamin world) and have worked wonders for him. He falls asleep easier and actually stays in his own bed. I would definitely recommend these supplements to anyone who has a child like this who has trouble sleeping. They have been a Godsend both in Michael’s behavior and in the whole family’s ability to get a good night’s rest.
Because Michael tested high for multiple toxins, especially arsenic and aluminum, doc we had been working with in Illinois had us put him on an organic diet. This is a very expensive diet and so Michael was the only one in the household to eat this way, which also meant I was cooking two meals at every mealtime. We attempted this for four months.
During this time, Michael didn’t eat well and lost approximately five pounds. This was primarily due to the fact he didn’t like a lot of the food and that he could sometimes tell that what he was having was different from what we were having. It is also hard to find breads that are organic but don’t have that whole grain texture. I can’t say that I blame him on some of the items. I must say though, if you can afford it, cottage cheese, and ground beef are delicious though!
HyVee was my main source of organic foods. My main complaint there was that different HyVee’s carried different items. So I might find a tortilla shell that works at one store and not remember which store it was and have trouble finding it again. We also found a lot of items at the Pioneer coop. I never did invest in a membership.
The other thing we did is to limit Michael’s sugar intake. This was difficult as he has quite the sweet tooth. I tried hard to get creative using Truvia (the only sugar substitute the doc allowed) but just couldn’t get things to taste right, resulting in a quite unhappy little boy.
None of these treatments improved Michael’s behaviors. As a matter of fact, he slid backwards at this time, getting MUCH less focused. I wouldn’t say that there was an increase in tantrums but they certainly didn’t improve. I honestly feel like we lost this time with his teachers and therapists because he just couldn’t stand to sit still, much less focus on what they were trying to help him with.
My guess is that the poor child was hungry and didn’t know how to express it except by acting out. After we introduced non-organic food back into his diet, he started eating like crazy and put the weight back on. He started to be able to focus better and came back up to the point where he was before the diet.
As far as treatments go, I don’t regret trying this as it isn’t something that would hurt him, just our pocketbook. The food is healthy, the side effects are reasonable, and although it didn’t work, I’m glad I tried it so I never have to think about the shoulda, woulda, coulda’s about a non-invasive treatment.
I've recently finished reading the book, Enzymes for Autism and have decided to give Enzymes a try for Michael. Enzymes help with the breakdown of food we eat and there is one mix in particular that is in clinical trials as an actual autism treatment. Unfortunately location is an issue for participating in the trial and who knows how long the FDA will take. Enzymes are natural, sold over the counter and so here we go. I'll provide an update once I have some definite opinions on results.
Update - Problem... Can't get a "prescription" for these and since you must take them at each meal and two out of three meals are eaten away from home - who knows. Taking them once a day has really shown no improvement.