Sunday, September 10, 2006

Clinic Notes: Why the Causes of Autism Are so Illusive

Recently, a pediatrician who had just had a child diagnosed with autism, emailed me. "The neurologist told me that autism is a brain disorder," she wrote. "And the gastroenterologist told me that autism is a gut disease, and the immunologist says that it is an immune disorder. Please tell me what autism is and how to treat it."
Of course, I told her about ABA, speech, OT, and the meds pediatric neurologist prescribe, but I could not answer her question completely. I don't think her question will be answered until we get a better classification system of autism spectrum then we have now. If you saw the kids in my clinic who are diagnosed with autism you would see so much variation in symptoms that you would wonder if they all had the same disorder. Some self-stim others don't, some are verbal others are not, some are compliant others are not, some have sensory issues others don't, some are remote ohers are very loving, some have digestive problems others don't, some have immune problems others don't, and so on. If all these children all have the same disorder, then why the wide variation in symptoms? I think autism will turn out to be a disease like cancer. There are many different types of autism with different causes and different treatments.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Enjoy your blog very much. Quick question--if a child 29 months has a 'tentative diagnosis' (doctor's words) of "characteristics of pervasive development delay" and the only salient problem is a speech delay, would ABA help? Language stimulation speech therapy has been marginally helpful.

Dr. Brown said...

Yes it would help greatly. The ABA eBook on my website has ABA programs specific for this child. Please let me know it you have additional questions.

Mary Valentic said...

Dr. Brown,

Hormones...

Hormones can cause all of the various signs and symptoms of autism, the brain being the largest endocrine organ, yes?

What if bovine hormones - oxytocin (Pitocin) displaced human oxytocin in utero prior to or during birth?
What would be the ramifications to the newborn?

Please consider this question especially from your published observations regarding the similarity between children with autism and animal behavior ("What Horses Tell Us About Autism").

Mary L. Valentic, Founder
C.A.I.R. (Center for Autism Intervention and Research)