Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) refers to a group of complex neurodevelopment disorders characterized by repetitive and characteristic patterns of behavior and difficulties with social communication and interaction. The symptoms are present from early childhood and affect daily functioning.1
The term “spectrum” refers to the wide range of symptoms, skills, and levels of disability in functioning that can occur in people with ASD. Some children and adults with ASD are fully able to perform all activities of daily living while others require substantial support to perform basic activities. ASD occurs in every racial and ethnic group, and across all socioeconomic levels. However, boys are significantly more likely to develop ASD than girls.1
There is no cure for ASD. Therapies and behavioral interventions are designed to remedy specific symptoms and can substantially improve those symptoms. The ideal treatment plan coordinates therapies and interventions that meet the specific needs of the individual. Most health care professionals agree that the earlier the intervention, the better.
A new government survey of parents suggests that 1 in 45 children, ages 3 through 17, have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This is notably higher than the official government estimate of 1 in 68 American children with autism, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).2
“The 1 in 45 estimate is not surprising and is likely a more accurate representation of autism prevalence in the United States,” comments epidemiologist Michael Rosanoff, Autism Speaks director for public health research. “This means that 2 percent of children in the U.S. are living with autism. The earlier they have access to care, services and treatment, the more likely they are to progress.”
Research suggests that autism develops from a combination of genetic and nongenetic, or environmental, influences.3 There is reason to be concerned about high levels of exposure to toxic chemicals in our environment. For this reason, Autism Speaks continues to support research to better understand the effects of chemical exposures during pregnancy, as there is preliminary evidence that pesticides may increase the risk of autism. Although researchers cannot confirm that avoiding exposure to pesticides or any specific chemical can reduce autism risk in a child or future child, they do say that exposure to toxic chemicals during pregnancy or early infancy poses a general threat to future health. High lead exposure has been shown to lower IQ scores. Certain endocrine disrupting chemicals have been linked to birth defects. So it’s reasonable for parents to take reasonable steps to avoid these exposures.4
Scientists also have been reporting links between the composition of bacteria in the gut and autistic behavior. A review of more than 150 papers on ASD and gut bacteria found that since the 1960s, studies show that restoring a healthy balance in gut bacteria can treat ASD symptoms.5
Dr Qinrui Li of Peking University, China says, “The environmental factors include the overuse of antibiotics in babies, maternal obesity and diabetes during pregnancy, how a baby is delivered and how long it is breastfed. All of these can affect the balance of bacteria in an infant’s gut, so are risk factors for ASD. Efforts to restore the gut microbiota to that of a healthy person has been shown to be really effective. Our review looked at taking probiotics, prebiotics, changing the diet – for example, to gluten- and casein-free diets, and fecal matter transplants. All had a positive impact on symptoms such as increased sociability, a reduction in repetitive behaviour, and improved social communication: all hugely beneficial to the life of an ASD sufferer.5
Carla P. says, “My son James was diagnosed with autism before he turned three. Over the years, we made progress, but James still had difficulty sleeping and this child would get up and roam all over the house, turn on lights, turn on TVs with loud volume, and go into his brothers’ rooms and wake them up. It disrupted the entire household. I decided to try a Kenko Mattress Topper on his bed. It still amazes me. He continues to sleep every night, and he is now making progress through the day because of this good sleep he is getting.
“He has had other positive effects from Nikken products, and if I didn’t experience this myself, I would have never believed it. The best part was how non-invasive all of these products are. Autism is like a puzzle, and you are always seeking the right pieces that fit. Well, I definitely found some of the biggest pieces to help my son. It didn’t cure him, but his quality of life is so much better. And isn’t that ultimately what we all desire?”*
Lorri from Alberta, Canada says, “After two weeks of sleeping on the Kenko Sleep System, Brody was sleeping well and this good sleep has helped him function better during the day. Brody wears the magnetic insoles and necklace during the day to help him feel more relaxed and calmer. After using all of these magnets, his behavior has also improved. Now, a year later, I can’t believe it! Wow oh wow, it’s wonderful stuff! Everyone notices such a huge difference in him.”*
Beth says, “My cousin’s adopted son is a five-year-old who is autistic. He has always been a high energy, non-speaking autistic child. Since the day he was put on the large Kenko PetPad and the insoles in his shoes, he has calmed down considerably. When my cousin unwrapped the PetPad, he walked up to it and wrapped his arms around it. It seemed to immediately ‘soothe’ him and help him feel more relaxed and calm. He now goes to sleep at regular hours, remains calm throughout the day and is able to function better as a result of the Nikken products. Nothing else in his life has changed, only the addition of Nikken products.”*
Gretchen T. says, “I worked with a woman with a 21-year-old autistic son. She used the Kenko Sleep System for him because he had never been able to sleep an entire night in his life. He would wake up several times. He would also pull his covers over his face, which made his mother very nervous. From the first night on the system, he slept all night long and never pulled the comforter over his face, and was more relaxed. So she then tried the PiMag water with him. He always hated drinking water and would only take a few sips. The first glass of PiMag water he was given, he drank right down and even asked for another one. Was she ever delighted!”*
Do you know someone with a child who is on the spectrum and might benefit from a Nikken Wellness Home? You could be the one who helps improve lives with Active Wellness!
*These testimonials are not paid for or endorsed by Nikken.