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Charleston Holistic Medicine

Our focus is on identifying imbalances when ayou're under stress with symptoms, not discovered elsewhere by traditional medicine. Much of what we fix are deficiencies in nutrition, hormones, neurotransmitters and a balanced lifestyle.

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Many people recognize autism as a disorder that inhibits a person to function normally in society. What many people don’t understand is the range of disorders that fall under autism, which is used as an umbrella term that encompasses a wide variety of situations. This range of disorders is referred to as the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and includes a variety of unique definitions. Every case is different and unique within ASD, where one child may struggle with speech, and another is highly verbal but cannot function socially. Some traits that define autism include difficulty with social skills, repeating behaviors, and verbal and nonverbal communication challenges. ADD (attention-deficit disorder), ADHA (attention- hyperactivity disorder), and PDD (pervasive developmental disorder) are all examples of autism that fall on this spectrum.

Children who fall onto this spectrum may show signs that are obvious to the people around them. These signs could be verbal outbursts, tics, avoiding eye contact, repeating words or phrases, flapping their arms, rocking, or extreme awkwardness. Other signs may not be as obvious to an observer such as the child preferring to be alone, the inability to pick up on social cues, not understanding other people’s feelings, or the child may have an intense passion for one topic. Even though you may be aware of the signs and symptoms, you should never diagnose your own child and should consult a physician for evaluation.

Autism is normally diagnosed during childhood because this is when the sign become apparent, sometimes as early as four months. It is important to consult with a physician if you suspect your child may fall into ASD because early intervention is more effective. According to an article written by Dr. JP Saleeby, interventions will look different from case to case due to the unique nature of each disorder. Dr. Saleeby attributes this to the cause of ASD not being fully understood. Without this understanding of how the disorder is specifically caused along with each case being unique, treatment options will look different from child to child. Health care providers need to target the strengths of each child and see which techniques are working best. For example, one child may show a positive reaction to a certain medication, but another child may not show any reaction at all or even a negative reaction. Both the health care provider and the family have to be patient and willing to find what treatment option works best for the child.

When people think about ASD, they typically think about children and not about adults. This is because many people who fall on the autism spectrum have a lower life expectancy than the average person. Dr. Saleeby points out the seizure rate among ASD people being as high as one in three, and things like nervous system dysfunction and drowning/suffocation being risk factors for early death. People with ASD also tend to have issues with their digestive systems. All of these added stresses on the body make living with ASD both difficult and dangerous if not properly addressed.

Autism Spectrum Disorder has so much room to grow in terms of research, acceptance, and individualized treatment. ASD has no cure and the cause is still not fully understood by researchers. In the future, more funding could be provided to better the scientific understanding of this disorder to better treat or even prevent ASD. Acceptance is vital for people with ASD because people who have a strong support system are more likely to succeed. With acceptance also brings more resources for ASD individuals. The biggest thing health care providers can do now, is utilize individualized and inclusive treatment plans for people with ASD. The ability to treat individuals with a unique plan that is inclusive to several aspects of the person could prove to be most effective. Overall there needs to be a shift in this community to further scientific research, gain acceptance, and provide the best treatment plan possible.

--- By Christina Justice

Christina Justice is a senior intern from the University of Georgia. She is completing her BS degree in the field of Health Promotion. She is currently writing educational articles as part of her final year internship project for Carolina Holistic Medicine. For more information please visit www.CarolinaHolisticMedicine.com

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About Carolina Holistic Medicine

Our focus is on identification of imbalances when a patient is under stress with symptoms , not discovered elsewhere by traditional medicine. Adequate time and attention to details prevail in our setting. We provide intensive patient education to allow our clients/patients the ability to help themselves and prevent disease without too much oversight or reliance on healthcare providers. Much of what we fix are deficiencies in nutrition, hormones, neurotransmitters and a balanced lifestyle.

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