About Autism / DAN! Doctor
If you are doing research for a child with Autism you are perhaps looking for something specific or this may all be very new to you and you may not know exactly what you are looking for. You may have been told that your child has a problem for which there is no cure, and that medication and behavioral therapy can help but that it is, ultimately, a lifelong condition.
There is new and mounting research that shows conditions on the Autism Spectrum (as well as Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity disorder, asthma, allergies and other similar problems) may be due to environmental exposures that aggravate small inborn problems in several body systems including: digestion, the immune system, and the nervous system, including the brain which ultimately leads to the end Syndrome.
The DAN! or Defeat Autism Now! approach was born out of the Autism Research Institute (ARI), which is a fantastic resource for many families. They were founded by medical physicians and parents and do extensive research into the triggers and therapies for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Through their hard work that of many wonderful families and practitioners the belief about ASD has shifted, it is no longer considered lifelong and incurable. Many families are seeing vast improvements and some children are even losing the diagnosis of Autism they once had. ARI also set up Defeat Autism Now! conferences and biomedical training program, which trains practitioners in the most current research and treatment methods for these children.
Below is a road map for the general biomedical approach to Autism Spectrum Disorders. Your child may not need to address each area and we may not follow this sequence directly but this should give you an idea of the therapeutic journey. Please note that this is a progression and our first steps clear the way for us to make progress later on. This plan is based on the Defeat Autism Now! principles and the Autism Research Institute's research in addition to the Naturopathic model. I always strive for collaborative care and you will be able to tailor the treatment plan to suit your family's needs and budget.
What to expect from your first few visits:
1st Visit (1hr)
The primary focus is to collect a very detailed and complete history.
- Remove dietary irritants -GFCF Diet trial, shift to clean Whole Foods
- Replace deficiencies - often Zinc, Calcium/Magnesium and Omega 3 Fats
- Address most acute symptoms - often sleep, anxiety, constipation
- Consider testing to evaluate the system most in need of support
Most patients do each of the Complete Stool Analysis, Red Blood Cell Minerals, Organic Acid Testing at some point in their treatment but not all in the same visit.
2nd Visit (1/2 to 1 hr. Generally in 2-4 weeks)
The goal is to evaluate progress and adjust plan to suit and to review labwork and address results. For example: a Stool analysis shows yeast overgrowth and low digestive enzymes and so we will treat or remove yeast and replenish enzymes, repair the digestive system.
Future Visits (1/2 - 45 minutes. Generally at 1-3 month intervals)
The ongoing goal is to repair systems and replenish deficiencies. To do so we work through lab testing and symptoms to pinpoint dysfunctions. When we are confident detoxification systems and the gut are healthy, we will evaluate for heavy metals and treat any toxicities. This is never a first step as the treatment requires those two processed to work well or the side-effects can be too severe for the child.
Testing options (why we might choose each and the cost)
Please note that we only choose the tests that are applicable for your child.
We use these testing options as sometimes it takes detective work to discover the source of the problems inherent to these kids. Some tests can be done through a family medical doctor, but to determine food allergies/sensitivities or levels of toxic metals, solvents or yeast, we recommend accredited labs in Canada and the US that specialize in these areas of testing and are considered leaders in their field. Some of the diagnostic tests may be covered by extended health plans or autism funding in BC. Check with your plan or with the Ministry of Children and Families in Victoria, BC for specifics about autism coverage.
Descriptions of the common tests we recommend can be found below:
- Zinc tally test. A basic screening tool to assess Zinc status.
- Complete Stool Analysis. A complete analysis of gut microbes and yeast, digestive status and inflammation. May include parasite testing.
- OR Microbiology testing. Analysis of gut microbes and yeast.
- RBC elements. Analysis of mineral status.
- WBC Micronutrient testing. General overview of nutritional status: B vitamins, some amino acids, some fatty acids, some minerals, carbohydrates, and antioxidants.
- Fatty acids. Measure of essential Omega 3 status.
- Urinary Organic Acids. Comprehensive analysis of metabolic function, vitamin status and gut bacteria health.
- Urinary Amino Acids. Basic to Comprehensive amino acids testing for protein deficiencies.
- Yeast testing. Various methods for analyzing yeast overgrowth and the immune response to yeast.
- IgG and IgE food testing. Various tests available for measuring food sensitivities and allergies.
- In office food sensitivity testing. Basic food sensitivity testing.
- Heavy metal analysis . Urinary test to evaluate heavy metal load. Can also be used to roughly identify nutritional element status.