If you have questions, we have answers! Feel free to email us if your question isn’t on this list.
1. What do you do at your Center?
We offer natural approaches to support health and independent living for children and adults on the Autism Spectrum. Autism itself isn’t treatable or curable – We treat underlying medical problems that often cause difficult behavior and aggression, sleep problems, constipation, delayed language, poor social skills or “being in their own world”. So don’t worry about labels, we are more focused on helping your son or daughter feel better and function better, than putting a label on them!
2. How do you evaluate my child?
On your initial visit, we’ll spend up to 2 hours with you and your child going over our extensive questionnaire. This questionnaire helps us identify different underlying medical conditions and impaired areas of behavior , language and function that may respond to support. We may do a physical exam and order lab tests as well.
I do not need for your child to already have a diagnosis, and he or she does not already have to be on any special diets or therapies before you come. Some families are anxious for a diagnosis that will help them understand their child’s behaviors or problems, and many are just as anxious to avoid a diagnosis or label. The good news is that we do not need to “label” your child for him to receive help at our center!
3. What are these “underlying medical conditions and impaired areas of function”?
The American Academy of Pediatrics has published a guide for pediatricians called “Management of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders”. It acknowledges that up to 83% of the children with autism may have an inflamed, painful gut condition. Experts at Harvard Medical School also acknowledge this painful condition and feel it is responsible for much of the night awakenings, constipation and difficult behaviors of autism.
Children with autism often have foul-smelling gas and bowel movements. These gut problems are the cause of dramatic constipation, diarrhea, very poor sleep patterns, irritability and “bad” behavior. They can make the child foggy and make language difficult.
At our center, we target the source of the pain with a program to support gut healing and optimal gastrointestinal balance. The constipation and difficult behaviors may lessen or be eliminated. And when the children begin to sleep through the night, the whole family feels better!
4. What else do you do?
Children with autism may also have problems with chronic inflammation and oxidative stress, impaired methylation cycles, poor ability to detoxify their bodies, dysfunction of the immune system, and poor nutritional status. All of this affects their health, self control, language and communication, as well as attention and concentration. At our center, we try to support these issues with a step by step treatment plan.
5. I thought autism wasn’t treatable.
Autism itself isn’t treatable, but people with autism are! We don’t use the word cure, but most children will respond positively with improved behavior, language, alertness, better learning, calmness, better sleep and improved bowel habits. Some improve a little, some improve dramatically, it is hard to predict. Don’t worry, you won’t change who your child really is, just help them feel better and be healthier.
6. What are these natural approaches?
Depending on what your child needs, we may recommend a combination of digestive enzymes, probiotics, antifungals, improved diet, special supplements and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. We have protocols to support healing of the gut, balance the gut microflora, support a healthy response to inflammation, support the methylation cycle, help with attention problems, and balance a suppressed immune system.
7. What is hyperbaric oxygen therapy?
Research shows that some individuals on the autism spectrum have chronic levels of inflammation. Increased pressure and oxygen levels within a hyperbaric chamber may support a healthy response to inflammation.
8. Does my child have to do a special diet?
Not necessarily. The gluten-free, casein-free diet is very helpful to about 3 out of 4 children with autism, and is usually helpful to those with GI dysfunction. However, we use digestive enzymes to “fake” this diet and get many of its benefits. There are other diets that may be used in more unusual cases, but most patients are fine with just the enzymes. Whatever your child eats, we advocate eating cleaner, greener and more organic.
9. What does it cost at Autism Health?
Dr. Lintala donates her time and does not draw a salary, which makes it possible to offer reduced fees. New patient visits are $175 and must be prepaid in advance. Follow-up visits are $85. Many supplements are discounted.
The Autism Angel Fund was created to help pay for office visits, supplements and lab tests at our center for children and adults with autism. Families who want to apply must fill out an application which requires proof of income, public assistance, expenses and assets.