The rate of children being diagnosed with autism has more than doubled since 1996. Characterized as a developmental disability, autism affects the lives of an estimated 1.5 million people in the United States alone. How can something that was considered a relatively obscure condition 40 years ago suddenly rise to epidemic proportions, while the rates of other developmental disabilities, such as Downs Syndrome and mental retardation, have remained relatively stable? The answer is simple. It can’t. It is scientifically impossible to have an epidemic of a developmental or genetic disorder.
If Not Autism, Then What?
When a child is diagnosed with autism, there is a laundry list of therapies available to them, including Applied Behavioral Analysis, speech therapy, occupational therapy, social skills training, and special education. While these therapies may address a child’s core deficits, at this point, they are little more than a bandage on a gaping wound. Sure, the bandage will help, but it won’t heal. What these children need is for the medical community to recognize that they are suffering from a devastating medical illness—NIDS, neuro-immune dysfunction syndrome. Their brain’s immune system is under attack by a treatable neurological disease. Treatments that have shown significant success focus on reducing immune system stressors, such as food intolerances, respiratory allergies, activated viruses, and overgrowths of bacteria and yeast. These treatments help normalize the immune system, thereby improving the overall health of the child. In turn, rehabilitative therapies, such as speech, occupational and ABA , will have a better chance of helping these children catch up to their peers and succeed both academically and socially.
A Medical Community in Denial?
As the parent of a NIDS child, understanding your child is sick is half the battle. Convincing doctors, nurses, and therapists is the other half. To date, there is little acknowledgment from the mainstream medical community that children diagnosed with autism have significant neurological and physical ailments that directly contribute to—if not outright cause—their developmental delays. Although behavioral therapy and powerful psychiatric drugs administered to control behavior often are recommended, there is currently no medical treatment recommended for autism. This leaves parents desperately searching for costly and largely unproven alternative treatments for their children. These treatments include high doses of vitamin supplements, HBOT, and chelation—all of which can pose serious risks to a child’s developing brain and body and often drive desperate parents to the brink of bankruptcy.
Quality Medical Care for Sick Kids
The children diagnosed with autism should have the same right to quality medical care as any other child diagnosed with a disease. Continuing to ignore this epidemic is unfair to the children who are ill, to the parents who provide for their care and comfort, and to the society that must bear the financial consequences of what could turn out to be the most disabled generation the world has ever known.