Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Getting Started
The first thing that you want to do when beginning the GFCF diet is to set up a schedule, determining when you are going to eliminate groups of foods. For example, the very first week, we eliminated all extra sugar. Two weeks later, we slowly removed all dairy from our sons diet. During the following week, we began removing wheat products. You want a schedule that fits your child best, and always consult with your doctor.
Great Tips and Tricks
Finding and Altering Recipes
Sloppy joe's and chicken nuggets are a huge hit with my children. When you start this diet, you need to remember what the huge hits are in your home. To help make the transition as easy as possible for your kids, start with their favorites. The best rule of thumb is to serve it to them no less than four times before giving up on a recipe or new food. Most children will eat something new by the second or third time that you serve it to them.
A great resource is your local, hometown grocer. It will be a rare moment when something you need will be on the shelves. Mega grocers will not be likely to help. Most local grocers and health food stores will be happy to assist you. Simply give them a list of items you need, with the brand names.
When buying foods, you must always read the labels first, even if you've bought it a hundred times. GFCF foods have to be free from additives and preservatives. You're best to buy organic foods, but because it's organic, doesn't mean it's GFCF. Buy the freshest, most natural foods you can. Vegetables have to be fresh or frozen, as well as fruits. This ensures that there are no toxins sneaking into your foods as there are with canned foods.
A lot of GFCF foods can be frozen. This is a real help when you find yourself in a hurry. Noone wants to be in the kitchen, preparing food all day. Make batches of favorite foods and put single servings into freezer bags for a quicker lunch.
Since beginning the diet, we no longer use butter. Instead of frying with butter, we use olive oil. It's great when you're frying eggs or potatoes, and it's great for your skin and hair. Even if you are not on the GFCF diet, this is something you should consider doing, if only for the health benefits.
Many times recipes call for butter, or other things you cannot use. If a cookie recipe calls for 1 TBSP. of butter, I use 3/4 TBSP. olive oil, and 1/4 TBSP. honey. Most of the time it's the consistency that you need, not necessarily the exact ingredient.Nearly any recipe that you have can be made GFCF. Be creative!
A Few Good Recipes
GFCF Bread
2 C. Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free all purpose flour
1 Tbsp. Clabber Girl baking powder
2 Organic eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/3 C. Water
2 Tbsp. Bob's Red Mill white rice flour (for coating)
1 tsp. Sea salt
1 Tbsp. Bob's Red Mill xanthan gum
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 Tbsp. Honey
2 Tbsp. Flax seed
preheat oven to 350. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Mix rest in a separate bowl with a mixer. Add ingredients to dry, and mix slowly just until they're combined.Pour batter into bread pan coated with white rice flour. Bake 1 hour, or until golden brown and passes the fork test. Cool on rack. Can be frozen.
GFCF sloppy Joe's
2 lb. Lean ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 1/3 C. Heinz ketchup
2 Tbsp. Lea & Perrin's Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. French's mustard
2 Tbsp. Lemon juice
1 Tsp. Garlic powder (McCormick's)
1 Tsp. Salt
1 Tsp. Pepper
Cook hamburger and onion in skillet over med. heat until browned.Drain and return to skillet. In a medium bowl combine remaining ingredients. Add to hamburger and stir. Let simmer for twenty minutes and serve. Can be frozen.
GFCF Chicken Nuggets
6 Organic chicken breasts
2 C. Bob's Red Mill all-purpose baking flour
2 Tbsp. Pepper
2 Tbsp. Sea Salt
1 Tbsp. Garlic powder
1 Tbsp. Paprika
2 Organic eggs, slightly beaten
Rinse, dry and cut chicken breasts into nugget- sized pieces. Put eggs in a small bowl. In a mixing bowl, stir spices and flour together. Heat olive oil in frying pan over med. heat. Dip chicken into eggs, then flour mixture, and fry. Let cool on paper towels when golden brown. Can freeze.
Poor Man's Stew
About 10 potatoes rinsed, and quartered
1 package of cubed ham
1 large package of frozen green beans
Put all into crock pot and salt and pepper to taste. Cook on low for about 8 hours and serve.
Jaime Lyons
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Monday, February 18, 2013

The Evolution of Autism

What is Autism?
Autism is a developmental disorder that begins early in childhood; it is usually noticed in children by age 3. Defining characteristics of autism include communication deficits, poorly developed reciprocal social interactions, stereotyped behaviors, and restricted interests. These deficits occur at different levels of severity which has evolved into the contemporary view of autism as a spectrum disorder, and it is often referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Autistic Disorder (AD), or Autism.
Traditionally, the autism range has included Autistic Disorder, Asperger Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS).
Autistic Disorder is sometimes called classic autism. It is characterized by:
  1. Significant language delays including reduced instances of language that has communicative and reciprocal intent.

  2. Minimal reciprocal social interactions. For example, avoidance of eye contact, lack of appropriate facial expressions, inability to appropriately communicate emotions, lack of understanding of shared emotions, and inability to use verbal and nonverbal behaviors for social interchange.

  3. Stereotyped behaviors and restricted interests. These may include unusual sensory interests toward objects, unusual or repetitive hand and finger movements, and excessive interest or reference to either unusual or highly specific topics or objects.
Asperger Syndrome, while somewhat milder than Autistic Disorder, has both similar and distinct characteristics including:
  1. Difficulty with the social aspects of speech and language such as limited range of intonation, one-sided conversations, literal interpretations, and inability to shift topics. Vocabulary development is usually advanced while understanding of figurative language is a weakness.

  2. Difficulty with social cognition a lack of social and/or emotional reciprocity, eye contact, and friendships. Social awkwardness such as not reacting appropriately to social interactions and not recognizing other's feelings or reactions. Difficulties with social cognition may result in behavioral rigidity.

  3. Restricted and repetitive behaviors, interests, and activities. This may result in inflexibility in regard to routines. Preoccupation with a narrowed topic of interest which often dominates conversations and thoughts.
Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified is used to categorize those individuals who meet some, but not all, of the criteria for Autistic Disorder or Asperger Syndrome. PDD-NOS is usually marked by fewer and milder symptoms than Autistic Disorder or Asperger Syndrome. Pervasive deficits in the development of reciprocal social interaction, communication, or stereotyped and restricted behaviors are apparent.
History of Autism
Assuming that Autism is a neurological disorder and not caused by "bad" parenting or environmental toxins then it has, most likely, always existed among human beings; however, it was not scientifically described or empirically researched until the 20th century.
Early 1900s
In the early 1900s autism was thought to be a form of childhood schizophrenia, feeble-mindedness, or childhood psychosis.
The term autism was first used by the Swiss psychiatrist Paul Eugen Bleuler between 1908 and 1912. He used it to describe schizophrenic patients who had withdrawn from social contact, appeared to be living in their own world, and were socially disconnected. The root of the word autism is derived from the Greek "autos" which means "self". That root is combined with the Greek suffix "ismos," meaning the act, state, or being of. Bleuler used the word "autism" to mean morbid self-admiration and withdrawal into self. It suggests a state of being absorbed by oneself, lost in oneself, removed from social interaction, and isolated from social interaction. While Bleuler described and documented characteristics of autism, his adult patients were diagnosed as having schizophrenia and children were diagnosed as having childhood schizophrenia.
1920s and 1930s
In 1926, Dr. Grunya Efimovna Sukhareva, a Russian psychiatrist described what would later become the core deficits of Asperger Syndrome in boys that she labeled as having schizoid personality disorder of childhood. In 1933, Dr. Howard Potter described children who would now be identified as autistic as having a childhood form of schizophrenia.
1930s and 1940s
The two main pioneers in autism research, Hans Asperger and Leo Kanner, began working separately in the 1930's and 1940's. In 1934 Hans Asperger of the Vienna University Hospital used the term autistic and in 1938 he adopted the term "autistic psychopaths" in discussions of child psychology. However, Leo Kanner of Johns Hopkins Hospital began using the term autism to describe behaviors that are now recognized as Autism Disorder or classical autism. Leo Kanner is the one who is usually credited for using the term autism as it is known today.
Kanner's 1943 descriptions of autism were the result of his observations of eleven children who showed a marked lack of interest in other people, difficulties in social interactions, difficulty in adapting to changes in routines, good memory, sensitivity to stimuli (especially sound), and a highly unusual interest in the inanimate environment. These socially withdrawn children were described by Kanner as; lacking affective contact with others; being fascinated with objects; having a desire for sameness; and being non-communicative in regard to language before 30 months of age. Kanner emphasized the role of biology in the cause of autism. He felt that the lack of social connectedness so early in life must result from a biological inability to form affective relationships with others. However, Kanner also felt that parents displayed a lack of warmth and attachment to their autistic children. In his 1949 paper, he attributed autism to a "genuine lack of maternal warmth."
In 1944, working separately from Kanner, Hans Asperger described a "milder" form of autism, known today as Asperger Syndrome. Asperger also studied a group of children who possessed many of the same behaviors as described in Kanner's descriptions of autism. However, the children he studied demonstrated precocious vocabulary and speech development but poor social communication skills. These children appeared to have a desire to be a part of the social world, but lacked the necessary skills. He also mentioned that many of the children were clumsy and different from normal children in terms of fine motor skills.
During the 1950s, Bruno Bettelheim, a University of Chicago professor and child development specialist, furthered Kanner's 1949 view that autism resulted from a lack of maternal warmth. Bettleheim's view of autism being caused by emotionally cold and distant mothers became known as the Refrigerator Mother Theory of autism. The idea behind the theory was that children became autistic because mothers didn't interact, play, or them; in a sense, they were "frigid." He published articles throughout the 1950s and 1960s to popularize this position. Proponents of this view were searching for a place to lay blame for autism.
It was also during this decade and into the next that parents were counseled to institutionalize their children in order for them to receive appropriate treatment.
Beginning in the 1960s there was increased awareness within the professional community that the refrigerator mother theory did not adequately account for autism. The theory ignored the fact that siblings of autistic children were not autistic despite having the same mother, and scientific advancements began to suggest more biological causes.
In 1964, Bernard Rimland, a psychologist with an autistic son, stressed the biological causes of autism in his book "Infantile Autism: The Syndrome and its Implications for a Neural Theory of Behavior." The publication of this book directly challenged the prevailing refrigerator mother theory of autism. In 1965, Rimland established the Autism Society of America, which was one of the first advocacy groups for parents of children with autism. He established the Autism Research Institute in 1967 to conduct research on treatment for autism.
In 1967 autism continued to be classified under schizophrenia in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems. This promoted the view that autism was a mental illness rather than a developmental disability.
There was a push during this decade to better define autism and, with scientific advancement, there was better understanding of autism as having a neurobiological basis.
The publication of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) in 1980 finally set autism apart from schizophrenia as it was now categorized as a neurodevelopmental disorder. Autism research continued to increase during the 1980s along with recognition within the scientific community that autism resulted from neurological disturbances rather than pathological parenting.
It was during this decade that Asperger's work was translated to English and published. The term, "Asperger's Syndrome" was first used in 1981 by the British psychiatrist Lorna Wing. She also developed the Wing's Triad of Impairments, which is Impairment in Imagination, Impairment in Social Communication, and Impairment in Social Relationships to describe autism.
In 1994 Asperger's syndrome was officially added to the DSM-IV as a progressive developmental disorder. Two nonprofit groups, the National Alliance for Autism Research and Cure Autism Now, were founded to stimulate autism research and raise awareness about the disorder. Research starts to suggest that autism is a spectrum disorder. Near the end of the decade, as autism rates rose, it was speculated that autism was due to mercury in vaccines.
In 2000, vaccine makers removed thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative, from all routinely given childhood vaccines. Public fears were that exposure to the preservative were related to autism. The National Institute of Health estimated that autism affected 1 in 250 children in 2001. The Institute of Medicine found no credible evidence of a link between thimerosal or any other vaccine and autism in 2004.
The prevalence of autism increased significantly during this decade as a result of better detection, broader diagnostic criteria, and increased public awareness. In 2007 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that approximately 1 in 150 children were diagnosed with autism. Part of this increase is a result of better understanding of autism as a spectrum disorder.
A hundred years later, the term autism describes a neurodevelopmental condition that results in significant social cognitive and social communicative impairment. Current research is focused on identifying biologically distinct subtypes of autism. The belief is that once subtypes are understood advance can be made in regard to understanding cause and developing effective treatments. The ultimate goal of this line of research is to eventually find a cure and be able to prevent it.
Until that time, the prevalence of autism continues to increase. In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that approximately1 in 88 children are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.
The upcoming publication of the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) in May 2013 will remove Asperger Syndrome and PDD-NOS as separate from autism. Instead, diagnosis will be autism spectrum disorder in an attempt to more accurately reflect the continuum and severity of the types of symptoms and behaviors displayed.
It will be interesting to see how these diagnostic changes and research into the biological subtypes of autism impact the future evolution of this neurodevelopmental disorder.
David Pino school psychologist has worked in education for the last 20 years. He has significant experience and expertise with learning disabilities, psychological evaluations, behavior, and special education.
He is currently serving as an educational advocate to assist families with the special education process.
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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Autism or Allergies - Or Both?

Could there be a link between autism and allergies? Could severe allergies cause an autism misdiagnosis? Could allergies themselves contribute to autism? A lot of things are still unknown about autism but as a parent of a child who was diagnosed at the age of three and by the age of 11, no longer displaying symptoms of autism, the above questions are important ones for me and my family.
Autism is a disorder that affects the brain development in children and is usually diagnosed by age three or four. It affects the child's social interaction and communication skills and it can limit behavior patterns. Autism is believed to be genetic but there are also environmental factors that are believed to influence the disease.
In recent years, reports of several studies done (mostly in alternative medicine) have suggested the idea that diet and food allergies could play a role in either causing or worsening autism. In particular, gluten (a wheat protein) and casein (a milk protein) were both believed to worsen the symptoms of a child with autism. It is believed that these food proteins are broken down into smaller proteins called peptides, that will function like narcotics in autistic children, worsening the symptoms.
My son's food allergy diagnosis came after his initial autism diagnosis. It was later found that all 4 of my children had allergies to gluten and casein with the older ones outgrowing it around ages 6-10. However, only one of the four ever displayed the symptoms and signs of autism. He now no longer displays symptoms of autism, although he is not on the same behavior maturity level as his peers. He has outgrown most of his food allergies and intolerances but still receives treatment for seasonal and environmental allergies.
We're unsure if he was misdiagnosed in the first place or if the food allergies somehow played a role in the severity of his autism at a young age. Diet change alone was not the only thing we did for him. Years of counseling and therapy on all levels- speech, behavioral, family, etc., have helped him learn to overcome many of the challenges he had when he was younger and when he carried the diagnosis of autism. The doctors will say nothing more than "Before he displayed the signs and symptoms of autism and now he doesn't". While he still has some symptoms on the spectrum, they are not enough for him to be considered autistic.
Autism is a touchy subject and a condition that still asks a lot of questions. Each time I write about it, I get my fair share of hate mail telling me to "check my facts" but the fact of the matter is that even the experts disagree on many aspects of autism, what causes it and what might treat it. I write from my 10-year experience with a child who was diagnosed, as well as my experience coaching children with autism and Asperger's. I'm not claiming to be an expert; only looking to share information and experiences.
I can't say it's fact that there is a link between allergies and autism but in my experience there is, on some level. My children's allergist as well as other medical professionals seem to think there is some type of link as well, even if we are not all 100% certain of what the link is yet.
The bottom line is this: if it helps a child to live a more productive and functional life, does it really matter who is right and who is wrong? I want what's best for all of my children, regardless of labels or conditions. If changing their diet helps, I'm going to do it.
Note: Changing and/or restricting your child's diet should only be done under the supervision and advice of your doctor. This is especially true when limiting important nutritious foods such as milk and wheat. It's important to be sure you are replacing these omitted foods with something equal so that your child does not suffer from malnutrition due to restricted diet.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for personal care by a licensed physician. The author is not a licensed medical professional.
Sources and references:
Personal Experience
Millward C, Ferriter M, Calver S, Connell-Jones G. Gluten- and casein-free diets for autistic spectrum disorder. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2004, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD003498.
Kidd PM. Autism, An Extreme Challenge to Integrative Medicine. Alternative Medicine Review. 2002; 7(6):472-99.
Sun S, Itokazu N, Le HT, et al. Innate Immune Responses and Cytokine Production Against Dietary Proteins in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Those with Dietary Protein Intolerances. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2002; 109:S222.
Lisa Mason is a freelance writer with a specialty in Internet content and SEO articles and the author of How to Earn a Living Writing for the Internet. She has written thousands of articles, hundreds of ebooks and thousands of website pages and related content in more than 10 years as a professional writer.
See her website for a free article writing template guide as well as more information about writing and the writing services she offers.
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Monday, February 11, 2013

What Are The Autism Rates For Children?

Autism is a form of developmental disorder that is commonly identified in children under the age of three years. The condition commonly impacts the communication and social skills of the child. Autism is also known as a spectrum disorder as the symptoms can vary significantly from one child to another. Children with mild forms of the disease can function normally in the society. However, those with severe symptoms may require assistance and therapy.
Autism rates for children are growing at an alarming pace. Recent statistics indicate that about one percent of children between 3 and 17 years of age suffer from some form of the disease. Boys are more likely to suffer from the condition than girls. It is estimated to occur in one out of every 88 births this year. In fact, it is the fastest growing developmental disorder in the country. The high autism rates are also causing some economic concern. Experts believe that caring for an individual with autism costs about $3.2 million over his lifespan, meaning that the annual cost of autism care will be anywhere between $200 and $400 billion dollars over the next decade.
The high autism rates in children are also concerning because the medical community has been unsuccessful in finding the exact cause for the condition. Some of the possible causes include:
• Diet
• Mercury poisoning
• Changes in the digestive tract
• Increased sensitivity to vaccines
• Inability to absorb and use vitamins and minerals effectively
• Genetics
Critics of modern lifestyle also blame high autism rates on toxic environmental conditions prevailing in the world today. The air, water and food pollutants can impair the development of the brain and lead to high prevalence of autism. They support changes in lifestyle to improve the symptoms. They also support the use of certain natural supplements to treat the condition. However, you should remember that these alternative treatment methods have not been tested scientifically.
The high autism rates in children can also be attributed to the lack of proper treatment method. Most experts agree that early diagnosis is the key. Children who receive behavioral therapy and other supportive therapies such as occupational therapy and speech therapy early on in their lives have a greater chance of leading successful and independent lives. You will notice high autism rates in children who were diagnosed late or did not receive the required therapy immediately due to poor economic or social conditions.
In spite of the high autism rates, only 5 percent of total research funding in the country is dedicated towards finding a cause for the condition. Many private and government agencies are working hard to improve this funding. They are hoping to find the exact cause and cure. Life can be a challenge for children with autism and their families. Some children improve over time and become independent. Others may remain dependent on therapy all their lives. They may always require supportive assistance. The outlook essentially depends on the severity of the symptoms and the type of treatment.
MyReviewsnow.net offers information regarding autism rates. For more on supporting autism awareness, please visit us at MyReviewsNow.net.
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