Saturday, October 30, 2010

Autism - Children and Learning Disabilities

There has been an overwhelming increase in the number of children faced with perceived and real neurobiological-based dysfunctions resulting in an estimated 5-15% of our nation's children on medications for a variety of learning, mood and behavioral issues. IT should be noted, however, that other factors may create inattentiveness, lack of focus, impulsivity and hyperactivity which contribute to a misdiagnosis of ADD/ADHD. For example, food, chemical and environmental allergies can effect attention, focus and concentration.

Dr. Donald W. Miller, Jr. blames the high rates of neuro-dysfunction on the modern rushed vaccination schedule to which very young children are subjected.

Dr. Miller explains the problem: "The brain has its own specialized immune system, separate from that of the rest of the body. When a person is vaccinated, its specialized immune cells, the microglia, become activated (the blood-brain barrier notwithstanding). Multiple vaccinations spaced close together over-stimulate the microglia, causing them to release a variety of toxic elements - cytokines, chemokines, excitotoxins, proteases, complement, free radicals - that damage brain cells and their synaptic connections."

What is Autism?
Autism is an early-onset biological disorder that causes severe deficits of higher mental functions, as well as behavioral manifestations. There is no single, clear-cut cause and no complete cure for autism. Causally speaking, immune factors, neuro-chemical factors, genetic susceptibility factors and environmental factors (such as microbial infections and chemical toxicity) have been implicated. Autism is a very complex, multi factorial disorder.

Many parents believe that a mercury-based preservative in the vaccines, as well as severe exposures, are indeed contributing factors to autism.

1. Autism involves a gender factor, affecting males about four times more than females.

2. Autism often occurs in conjunction with a family history of autoimmune diseases, e.g., multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.

Autism Rates
Some put autism rates at 1 in 100 children. That's astounding. Even Tom Insel, head of autism research at the National Institutes of Health, said: "There is no question that there has got to be an environmental component here." Still, the medical community at large, especially the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and its related agencies, attribute the rise solely to better diagnosis. Health Freedom Alliance says the CDC is guilty of spinning numbers in its denial that rates are up because of legitimate factors like environmental pollution. The organization scrutinized the latest report from the CDC released just before this Christmas when no one was watching and point to exploding rates in highly polluted states like New Jersey, as just one example (Arizona and Missouri rates also boomed).

Autism and the Immune System
Vijendra K. Singh, PhD. (Source: Department of Biology & Biotechnology Center, Utah State University, Logan Scientific Board Member, Autism Autoimmunity Project) believes that up to eighty percent of the cases of autism are caused by an abnormal immune reaction, commonly known as autoimmunity. The autoimmune process in autism results from a complex interaction between the immune system and the nervous system.

He believes that autism can be treated successfully using some of the therapies proven effective in treating other autoimmune diseases, specifically the role of autoimmune factors, (e.g., viruses, autoantibodies, T cells, and cytokines) because they serve as the prime targets of therapy with immune-modulating agents. He says there is enormous potential for restoring brain function in autistic children and adults through immunology.

Learning Disabilities & Neurodevelopment
An interesting process called brain mapping can actually be used to rule out autism and better pinpoint the source of learning disabilities. A complete assessment procedure which includes a FDA QEEG brain map, cognitive abilities assessment, neurodevelopment assessment, auditory processing and visual processing assessment and when indicated a communication assessment would be able to indicate which regions of the brain may be adversely affected. After the collection of data, a report of findings is put together and based upon those findings, a specific neurodevelopment program that targets your child's specific imbalances and deficiencies would be recommended.

The neurodevelopment program ensures that any missed stages of neurological development can be corrected so that the child can engage completely within his or her learning and social environment. Auditory processing therapy works with hyper- and hypo- acoustic issues (over-sensitivity to sound or apparent lack of hearing certain sounds). Social and behavioral issues would also addressed. Home based programs are outlined so that parents may work with their child at home and in between sessions.

J Bartell, M.A. is a behaviorist specializing in Left-Right Brain behavior modification using subconscious conditioning. For more information on brain function and brain mapping, visit

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