In Chapter 1, I start out by discussing what I feel is a huge problem, one I noticed when my children were little. The diagnostic criteria for autism do not mention or even acknowledge the invisible health challenges of the spectrum or how they can dramatically affect mood, behavior, sleep patterns, language, learning, colds, allergies, asthma, constipation, diarrhea, and more.
Figures 1.1 and 1.1 sum up “what you see” versus “what you get” with ASD, illustrating the difference between the description of autism in the diagnostic criteria and the medical challenges of ASD.
Figure 1.3 dramatically illustrates the fog that ASD adults or your child may have to power through to get through the day. This book is going to help identity and then minimize or eliminate the things in your child’s fog (or for autistic adults, your own cloud of fog!) so that you can have a better day and get on with the life you are meant to live.
If you take your autistic child to the pediatrician (and the same thing happens when adults go to their doctor), and you tell the doctor there are problems with constipation, acid reflux, sleep, irritability, behavior and the like, you will walk out about 20 minutes later with prescriptions and instructions for laxatives, sleep meds, reflux meds, and an antipsychotic or two.
Why is this a problem? Because this approach is a matching game, and just suppresses symptoms, it doesn’t fix anything. Believe me, if all the answers came in a bottle, I’d be the first in line to get them! Meds are important, but shouldn’t be used to address symptoms while leaving legitimate health problems unaddressed (and still driving behaviors!)
And the side effects of these meds create more constipation, stomach upset, brain fog and…the list goes on! You know the drill. We need to get off of this merry-go-round and find something that really works! Let’s save the meds for a little later once the health challenges have been properly supported and we see what drops out of the picture symptom-wise.
Notice that I use “superscripts”, little tiny numerals that are elevated at the end of a word or sentence, to direct you to the science in the Endnotes to back all of this up. Go to the Endnotes that begin on page 239 for Chapter 1, and look up the matching numeral. It will give the scientific reference, or even group of references, for that numeral.
Next, I lead you through a modified version of the new patient questionnaire I use at my center, which is a fantastic tool I have developed over many years to see what your child or an autistic adult needs for support.
I’ve placed “Why I Ask” boxes along the right side of each page to be my voice in your ear as you read, to explain why I’m asking such unusual questions, to point out the science or some cool facts, and explain what it means for you or your child.
As I go through each health section of the new patient questionnaire, I point out that you have lots of options and tools for your toolbox here, and after a while, you may begin to wonder where to start! No matter how many things we talk about in Chapter 1, don’t be confused – there is only one place to start and that will be the protocols in Chapter 6. Just relax for now, and work through the sections to explore the challenges you or your child may have.
Here is a link to the actual New Patient Questionnaire I use at my center. I update it frequently, so feel free to check back occasionally. I spend about two hours going over this on someone’s first visit to my office, and I have to say, no matter what is marked in the boxes before people arrive, it usually changes once we talk about it during the visit. So, don’t rush, take your time and really think about each answer. Pay attention to the Why I Ask boxes in the book as you go through it.
The purpose of this questionnaire is to open your eyes to what you may need to do to support the health of you (autistic adults) or your child. I will go section by section and discuss each one in
upcoming blog posts.