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Posts Tagged ‘symptoms of autism’

6 Great Diets for Autistic Children

Monday, June 6th, 2011



What are the best diets for children with autism? Here are some gluten-free diet dips, plus 5 more great eating plans for kids with special needs.


Autism is a brain disorder that affects a child’s ability to communicate feelings, desires, and needs. Autistic children are often referred to as “special needs,” because they require individualized attention.

One common symptom of autism is the tendency to suffer gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea, stomach cramps and constipation. According to Livestrong, almost half of all children diagnosed with autism spectrum require a special diet, such as a gluten-free diet plan, to prevent stomach upset. Additionally, scientists have also noticed a decrease in some of the behavioral signs of autism in children who followed special diets.

Below is a list of 6 popular diets for children with autism which have been found to drastically improve their health:

1) Gluten-Free Diet (GF)

Gluten is a protein which occurs naturally in grains such as wheat, barley and rye. Many individuals, in addition to children with Asperger’s syndrome or other forms of autism, have benefited greatly from removing all products which contain gluten from their diet. A wide range of bakery items, mixes, packaged snack foods and flours which are labeled gluten-free are available at most health food stores. Grains which do not have gluten are popcorn, brown rice and whole-grain corn meal.
2) Casein-Free Diet (CF)

Casein is a protein found all milk products, including milk, cheese, yogurt, cream and milk derivatives, such as whey. Many people who benefit from a dairy-free diet will often omit gluten as well.  The gluten free-casein free (GFCF) diet has helped children and adults manage allergies and promote intestinal health.

3) Body Ecology Diet (BED)

The Body Ecology Diet was developed to correct digestive flora when fungal infections occur in the gut.

Based on the theory that autism and a multitude of other health problems are caused by pathogenic organisms which escape the infected gut and attack the rest of the body, the BED diet incorporates a combination of cultured foods, healthy oils and reduced carbohydrates and sugars for generating good bacteria in the intestines.

4) Low Oxalate Diet

Oxalates are salts which occur in naturally in many vegetables, fruits and other plant-based food items, such as sweet potatoes, strawberries and chocolate. A low-oxalate diet is often prescribed for people who get kidney stones.

Many autistic children whose parents have restricted oxalates from their diets have experienced improved urinary tract health, clearer skin when eczema was a factor, better digestive health, and enhanced feelings of wellness.

5) Nutrient-Rich Diet

The inclusion of various vitamin-rich foods, supplements, healthy oils, lean proteins and dietary fiber has been used as an autism treatment for children with autism spectrum and Asperger’s, in addition to children with ADHD.

Children with autism who suffer vitamin B12 deficiency, for example, often feel fatigued, irritable and restless. Nutritionists who treat special needs children have noted a rapid improvement in mental clarity, energy levels and overall health with the addition of beneficial vitamin B12 supplements and omega-3 foods, such as salmon, flaxseed and walnuts, t0 their diet.

6) Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SC)

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet was originally developed for patients of Crohn’s disease and colitis, and is based on the premise that rotted, undigested carbohydrates sit in the gut and harm our immune system. The SC diet recommends restricting certain carbohydrates, while encouraging the consumption protein foods such as meat, fish and eggs, vegetables and fruit, and healthy oils, such as nuts and seeds.

If you liked this article, you might also like:

10 Great iPad Apps for Autistic Children

Can a Gluten-Free Diet Ease Symptoms of Fibromyalgia?

Top 10 Children’s Books Which Raise Autism Awareness

Autism, B12 and Your Child

Support for Parents of Autistic Children







B12 Deficiency: Don’t Ignore the Symptoms

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011



Vitamin B12 deficiency can start with a few symptoms like tiredness and slight tingling or numbness in hands and feet; ignore the symptoms and low B12 levels could escalate into severe nerve damage, disease or death.


What are the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency?

Below is a list of some of the most common side effects which may arise from insufficient stores of vitamin B12.

(Please note that the severity of the symptoms may vary according to the stage of B12 deficiency.)

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Hallucinations
  • Sleep problems
  • Frailness
  • Imbalance, difficulty walking with coordination
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands and/or feet
  • Altered taste perception
  • Heart palpitations
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Also read: B12 Deficiency can really Get on your Nerves

B12 and your body

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble nutrient. Therefore, your body is only able to store it for a short time. Vitamin B12 has many important functions in your body.

  • Vitamin B12 is essential for producing plenty of healthy red blood cells and for synthesizing DNA. A lack of B12 severely reduces your body’s ability to make sufficient red blood cells for carrying oxygen throughout your body.
  • Pernicious anemia is a life-threatening condition that is often the cause of vitamin B12 deficiency.
  • Your nervous system is dependent on vitamin B12, which enhances communication between the brain and your many nerve sensors, such as those in your fingertips, feet and mouth. This explains why sufferers of B12 deficiency notice a sensation similar to wearing gloves throughout the day; others report that their food tastes unusual, another clue that the body’s neurons are not operating correctly.
  • A deficiency of vitamin B12 compromises your nervous system and could result in permanent neurological damage.
  • Researchers have found a direct link between vitamin B12 deficiency and brain atrophy among the elderly. In one study which appeared in the Journal of Nutrition, senior citizens who had the highest levels of B12 experienced healthier cognitive functioning skills.
  • Also read Now Eat This: Preventing Age Related Hearing Loss
  • Vitamin B12 helps your body monitor already healthy homocysteine levels, a factor in heart health.

What diseases are associated with B12 deficiency?

There are many illnesses which occur when B12 levels are low; some conditions may be caused by vitamin B12 deficiency, while others are closely correlated. Below are some common illnesses associated with B12 deficiency, including many which most people don’t realize are affected by vitamin B12 levels.

  • Alzheimer’s disease, brain deterioration, cognitive decline, memory loss and other forms of dementia
  • Neurological diseases such as Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Cardiovascular disease, caused by high homocysteine levels
  • Mental illness, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and psychosis
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Autoimmune diseases, such as AIDS and pernicious anemia
  • Infertility

Eating Your Way Out of Depression with B-12

B12 deficiency is often misdiagnosed

According to a Tufts University study, 40 percent of people between the ages of 26 and 83 have low to medium-low B12 levels, indicating a deficiency severe enough to cause neurological disorder symptoms, while 9 percent are depleted enough to the point of irreversible neurological damage and life-threatening symptoms. Approximately 16 percent are close to becoming vitamin B12 deficient.

Why is vitamin B12 deficiency overlooked?

Only a blood test can properly determine if somebody is suffering from B12 deficiency, and most physicians don’t include a B12 screening with yearly check-ups. Also, many of the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are similar to common health disorders, such as diabetes, chronic depression and fatigue.

How can you get enough B12?

Vitamin B12 is found in many high protein foods. Excellent sources of B12 are:

  • Lean beef cuts, such as chuck and sirloin
  • Poultry
  • Fish, particularly salmon, tuna and halibut
  • Shellfish, including crab meat, mussels, clams and oysters
  • Dairy products, such as swiss cheese, yogurt, milk and cottage cheese
  • Eggs

Vegans are at a high risk for developing vitamin B12 deficiency, as their diet specifically excludes food items which provide vitamin B12. Other people who are at risk of getting B12 deficiency are patients of weight loss surgery, diabetics on metformin, individuals with gastrointestinal disease, people who lack intrinsic factor and anybody taking prescription heartburn medication.

The only way to prevent becoming deficient in vitamin B12 is by constantly replenishing your body with B12-rich nutrients.

Alternatively, patients diagnosed with vitamin B12 deficiency are encouraged to take vitamin B12 supplements, such as sublingual B12 tablets, B12 shots, or over-the-counter (OTC) vitamin B12.

Find more information on preventing vitamin B12 deficiency:

Getting Enough Vitamin B12? Three Reasons Why You Might Not B

On Becoming Vegan: Avoiding Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Others

New Health Screening Detects Signs of Autism in Babies

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

Can a simple questionnaire pick up signs of autism in your baby?

A 5-minute screening test could warn you if your baby has any of the signs of autism or autism spectrum disorder, from as early as 12 months of age, which, on the heels of Autism Awareness Month, is good news for parents everywhere.

Scientific study buys parents and children more time to get treatment


Recently, researchers tested a questionnaire designed to diagnose autism on 10,500 children in San Diego, California.

  • The study was led by Dr. Karen Pierce, neuroscientist at the University of San Diego School of Medicine, and involved 137 pediatricians in the San Diego area.
  • Parents who brought their children in for their 12-month checkups were asked to fill out a 24-part survey which inquired about their children’s emotional health, communicational abilities and eye contact.
  • Out of the 10,500 toddlers tested, 32 were diagnosed with autism or autism spectrum disorder.
  • Also, 100 children were diagnosed with language-related disorders or delays.
  • Children whose parents participated in this study were able to begin treatment as early as 19 months of age.
  • According to the Journal of Pediatrics, most children don’t begin to show noticeable signs of autism such as eye contact avoidance until the age of 2 or 3. Another study suggests that autistic children don’t usually get diagnosed before the age of 5 or 6.  This simple checklist means that autistic children will be able to be diagnosed and start receiving therapy for autism as many as 1 to 5 years earlier.

Also read: Support for Parents of Autistic Children

What kinds of questions were used to detect autism?

In this study, parents of toddlers were asked to answer questions such as:

  • Do you know when your child is happy and when your child is upset?
  • Does your child do things just to get you to laugh?
  • Does your child wave to greet people?
  • When you call your child’s name, does he/she respond by looking or turning toward you?
  • Does your child smile or laugh while looking at you?

What symptoms of autism were included in this test?

The checklist given to parents of 1-year-olds was designed to detect autism, autism spectrum disorder, delays in communication and other developmental issues. Symptoms of autism include:

  • difficulty communicating, both verbally and nonverbally
  • low attention span
  • obsessive compulsive behavior, such as fixations on certain objects, repeating words or phrases, body rocking and hand flapping
  • difficulty being in a group or social gathering
  • avoidance of eye contact
  • difficulty bathing, grooming, feeding and dressing oneself

How effective was the survey at diagnosing autism?

According to Dr. Pierce, the survey was wrong only 1 out of 4 times- meaning it was 75% accurate at diagnosing children with autism, autism spectrum disorder or other language problems. Currently, approximately 1 out of every 110 children exhibit some of the symptoms of autism or autism spectrum disorder.

Treatments for autism

Many researchers and physicians confirm that vitamin B12 supplementation is an effective treatment for some of the symptoms of autism, including anxiety, depression and digestive disorders.  Numerous studies have indicated a high correlation between vitamin B12 deficiency and autistic behaviors.

For more information about the benefits of vitamin B12 for treating autism, read: Autism, B12 and Your Child

Also read:

10 Great iPad Apps for Autistic Children

Top 10 Children’s Books Which Raise Autism Awareness

Equine Therapy and Autism: They’re Not Just Horsing Around


US News, WebMD, Businessweek, Wall Street Journal, LA Times, Livestrong

Top 10 Children’s Books Which Raise Autism Awareness

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

April is National Autism Awareness Month; numerous charity foundations have been in full force this month raising funds for autism research in the hope of finding some cures for the many symptoms of autism. On the flip side, it’s also important direct some focus on some of the non-autistic children in the world, including the  siblings and classmates of children who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder or Asperger’s syndrome.

Support for Parents of Autistic Children

Here is a list of books which may be read to non-autistic children to help them better understand the struggles autistic kids go through, and the many ways they are just like you and me. Also included are some excellent guides for parents or educators of autistic children.

  • Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew, by Ellen Notbohm: winner of several distinguished awards, this book uses humor and compassion to describe personal interactions with children on the autism spectrum.
  • 1001 Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism or Asperger’s, also by Ellen Notbohm: a bestseller among parents, educators and therapists who deal with autistic children, and winner of Teacher’s Choice Award, this book is chock full of helpful advice related to teaching children with autism spectrum disorder.

  • All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome, by Kathy Hoopmann: this picture book used playful and colorful photos of kittens to illustrate some of the attributes of children with Asperger’s, drawing on research which proves that autistic children who have difficulty interacting with peers often find comfort with animals. Also by the same author: All Dogs Have ADHD.

Equine Therapy and Autism: They’re Not Just Horsing Around

  • The Butterfly’s Flight: A Story About Autism And Hope, by Heather Porazzo: Baby butterfly was reluctant to come out of his safe cocoon, but with some help from his loving parents, friends and neighbors he slowly emerges into the big and sometimes overstimulating world.
  • Freaks, Geeks & Asperger Syndrome: A User Guide to Adolescence, by Luke Jackson: It’s hard enough being a teenager; add Asperger’s Syndrome and four teenage siblings to the hormonal mixture, and you have a sometimes witty and always enlightening story of a teenager who comes to terms with Asperger’s Syndrome and being “different.”
  • What’s Wrong with Timmy? By news anchor Maria Shriver, a sensitive picture book about 8-year-old Kate, who meets a boy with autism and finds that he is not so much different from her in the ways that really matter.
  • Rules, by Cynthia Lord: for grade school children, Catherine tries to teach her younger autistic brother David some “rules” of behavior so he won’t embarrass her in front of her friends, but she ends up learning a few rules for herself.
  • Louder Than Words: A Mother’s Journey in Healing Autism, by Jenny McCarthy: author of many bestselling books about children with autism, McCarthy gives us a window into the world of a mother raising her autistic child with love, hope and faith.

10 Great iPad Apps for Autistic Children

All books listed are available at Amazon.com.

Also read:

Celebrities for Autism Awareness Month

This Autism Awareness Month, Embrace a Special Person

Autism, B12 and Your Child

Equine Therapy and Autism: They’re Not Just Horsing Around

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Autistic children who have difficulty interacting with peers have been finding comfort in a radical new therapy: hippotherapy, also referred to as equine (horse) therapy.

Children who have been diagnosed with autism, including Asperger’s Syndrome, are developmentally delayed in many areas, including communication and social interaction.


Support for Parents of Autistic Children

Symptoms of autism include:

  • difficulty communicating, both verbally and nonverbally
  • low attention span
  • obsessive compulsive behavior, such as fixations on certain objects, repeating words or phrases, body rocking and hand flapping
  • difficulty being in a group or social gathering
  • avoidance of eye contact
  • difficulty bathing, grooming, feeding and dressing oneself

What is horse therapy?

Equine therapy and therapeutic riding involve many different types of interactions with a horse or pony under supervision.

  • patients are taught to observe the rhythmic motion of the horse’s gait, which is similar to our own
  • students are taught various sitting positions for horse riding, including sitting upright, laying forward or backward, leaning sideways, riding while standing up in stirrups and riding without holding onto the reins.
  • horse therapy is used by speech-language therapists, occupation therapists and physical therapists to work with autistic children and with teenagers who also have developmental or psychological difficulties

Autism, B12 and Your Child

The philosophy behind horse therapy

Most horse riding camps and equestrian areas offer equine therapy for children who are autistic or otherwise developmentally disabled. Therapists have found that interaction with horses releases a hormone called oxytocin; quite literally, there’s something about the smooth rocking motion of riding on a horse that relieves anxiety.

Autistic children who refuse to look a peer or social worker in the eyes have no qualms about staring a horse in the face while gently petting its bristly mane. For some, communication with horses becomes their first attempt at forming words or phrases.

What are the benefits of horse therapy?

Riding a horse is a multi-sensory experience which has many positive impacts on an autistic child’s physical and emotional development. Some benefits of horse therapy include:

  • relaxing the muscles
  • improved balance
  • increased muscle strength
  • improved hand/eye coordination
  • increased sense of body awareness
  • gives self confidence and control
  • builds communication and socialization skills
  • improves attention span
  • teaches patience
  • increased fine motor skills coordination
  • builds sensory integration

Want to help an autistic child get horse therapy? The Horse Boy Foundation raises funds to send low income families with autistic children to therapeutic riding centers.

Also read:

Celebrities for Autism Awareness Month

10 Great iPad Apps for Autistic Children


The Telegraph, Daily Mail, Healing Thresholds

Celebrities for Autism Awareness Month

Friday, April 8th, 2011

This Autism Awareness Month, celebrities all over Hollywood are doing their part to help fund research for autism; for many celebrities, autism is a personal battle, as some of their own children have been diagnosed with symptoms of autism.

Here is a list of celebrities who have been touched by autism:

Celebrities reaching out to spread autism awareness


Kate Winslet authored a collection of celebrity self-portrait photos by Ben Stiller, Jude Law, Christina AguileraMeryl Streep and many others.  Proceeds from The Golden Hat will go to Winslet’s charity for autism research organization, The Golden Hat Foundation.

CELEBRITIES FOR AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH, WWW.B12PATCH.COMThe Lindt Gold Bunny Celebrity Auction on eBay gave people a chance to bid on a signature porcelain gold bunny signed by one of many celebrities. 100% of proceedings went to Autism Speaks, a non-profit organization which funds research, prevention and awareness efforts for children with autism. Celebrities who contributed include Jennifer Garner, Orlando Bloom, Celine Dion, Gwyneth Paltrow, Reese Witherspoon and many others.

Celebrities who have autistic children

Actress and Playboy model Jenny McCarthy‘s son Evan was diagnosed with autism; McCarthy is an outspoken activist against vaccines, believing that vaccines are responsible for giving her son autism.CELEBRITIES FOR AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH, WWW.B12PATCH.COM

R&B singer Toni Braxton‘s son Diesel was diagnosed with autism; Ms. Braxton is now an advocate for parents of children with autism.

Sylvester Stallone’s son Seargeoh was diagnosed with autism after his father noticed that he was having speech delays. Stallone organised the National Society for Children and Adults with Autism, a foundation for research on autism.

actress Holly Robinson Peete’s son RJ (Rodney Jackson) was diagnosed with autism; she and husband NFL quarterback Rodney Peete have set up HollyRod, a non-profit organization which helps parents of autistic children.

Celebrities who have been diagnosed with autism

Millionaire Bill Gates was diagnosed with Asperger’s as a child; many sufferers of Asperger’s experience social awkwardness but find comfort in focused hobbies such as math and computer science.

CELEBRITIES FOR AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH, WWW.B12PATCH.COMActor Dan Aykroyd, famous for Ghostbusters and his Saturday Night Live skits was diagnosed with Tourette and Asperger’s syndrome. He has spoken openly about the struggles he faced as a child because of his neurological impairments.

Actress Darryl Hannah, best known for her shy, yet demure demeanor in films such as Splash and Blade Runner, was diagnosed as borderline autistic as a small child.

Albert Einstein, renowned genius and world-famous winner of the Nobel Prize in physics, would undoubtedly been diagnosed as a sufferer of Asperger’s had he been born today.

Also read:

This Autism Awareness Month, Embrace a Special Person

10 Great iPad Apps for Autistic Children


Bright Hub, Celebrities with Diseases, Associated Content, Autism Speaks, The Golden Hat Foundation, The Lindt Gold Bunny Celebrity Auction

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