The Canvas Grey

Inspiration, Perspective, Insight


Posted by TheCanvasGrey on June 26, 2007

My eldest is high-functioning and a JOY! He is nine-years-old. He has a brother that has no autistic characteristics at all. In fact, his brother is quite the opposite; chatterbox, inquisitive (actually asks questions), super-hyper friendly.

I’ve researched this top to bottom, left to right, as a layperson. I’ve read medical journals, most every website containing the word autism that the search engines could find, notebooks, handbooks, manuals from the old and new schools of thought; from preservatives to glutens to genetics to research in Europe where measles were found in the intestines of autistic children who were only exposed to it through vaccines and on and on.

I’ve learned about families like mine that only have one autistic child to a family with all autistic children (three or more). Autism has a HUGE spectrum now that includes those that are unable to respond to those who are just quiet, studious or “geeks.”

My observation on the subject: They haven’t found any ONE contributing factor to the rise in autistic children. I emphasis ONE because I also believe there isn’t just ONE factor.

As frustrating as this can be we are finding DIFFERENT solutions to treating the symptoms for DIFFERENT children. Just like autism may be “triggered” by a gene OR a series of genes, the ways we are finding relief or treatment for our children varies widely. From gluten-free diets, to sensory deprivation to early intervention (which I deem CRITICAL) we have to keep our minds open to more than just one cause and more than just one type of treatment.

I am for a broad array of studies on “like” genetic backgrounds and “like” spectrum disorders to determine if these can correlate. We need more studies from different and/or INDEPENDENT groups on environmental changes over the last decades in developed countries; studies on diet and links to genetic background; there is so much more to do and study to find the cause(s).

There are so many possibilities for the cause and so little time when you have a child growing up with autism. That is why I’m a strong advocate for early intervention when a child isn’t hitting milestones (not talking and no eye contact are classic signs).

I do believe that there could be links to gluten as so many families have found successful results when removing gluten from the diet. It is difficult to do this because gluten is in so many foods. I have done a non-scientific analysis of my own son and I do see a difference when he eats less bread products and more fruit and vegetables but not enough of a difference to warrant a radical change in our daily diet. I’m sure if I KNEW it would make a major difference we would all change our diets immediately.

In my humble opinion, we have only scratched the surface of what could be going on with the increased autism in developed countries. I would STRONGLY disagree with those who state there isn’t an increase in the percentage or that it is being rightly diagnosed (they are in complete denial).

Something new is developing in the world of high-functioning autistics; a growing number of voices banding together who believe that autism is the “next step” in our evolution; because so many of the high-functioning autistics are genius in mathematics, science, language, etc. I am keeping my eyes and ears on this as well.

I’m keeping an open mind, staying involved and actively advocating for my son and other children in my community like him.



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