As a mother of a child with autism, how often do you witness your child experiencing an outburst where he shouts, screams and cries or where he kicks, bites and lashes out or maybe even everything at once? What comes to mind when your child reaches the point where you can no longer control his behaviour? Are you afraid of him hurting himself or somebody else? Are you scared that he might run away? Are you terrified that your little loved one will be sent away from school or even arrested because of such violent unpredictable behaviour? How confident are you when you look into the future of your dearest child and when you see that he is becoming more stubborn and more aggressive with age because his hormonal changes and physical development are adding up to heighten any already existing problems? Are you emotionally drained ? Then this article is for you!
It is quite typical for children with autism to experience meltdowns from time to time. Some kids experience such moments more often than others! A meltdown is essentially an extreme response to an overwhelming situation. It can happen when the child is unable to face the ongoing situation and loses control of his own behaviour. This can happen to anyone but, in most cases, people can handle their emotions without losing control. Autistic children, however, find this to be more challenging and simply cannot help themselves. But this situation can be improved! In fact, in some cases, it can be changed dramatically! The question is, how?
I have read lots of different articles about meltdowns, including some really good ones. However, they all talk about immediate ways to face this kind of situation; how to help your child to not hurt himself or anyone else and how best to handle this kind of episode. This is, of course, very important information!!! Yes, you need to know that during meltdowns kids need to be given time and space, that you should talk to them calmly, create a safe environment etc. There is a lot of great advice on how to monitor and notice the immediate cause of such outbursts and on how to learn to predict their arrival. All very practical suggestions and I am sure that you follow them very successfully! The question is, WHAT NEXT?
It has been well established that meltdowns are caused by certain triggers, like confusion, changes in routine, anxiety, communication difficulties and informational and emotional overload. Every child with autism is different, but they all have sensory differences and are super sensitive to everything that is going on around them. So, what can be done to change this situation? How can their level of anxiety be modified and level of sensitivity adapted? As always, there is a way!
Just think of the human body as a computer that requires many tiny details to be in place and in excellent condition for it to operate properly and respond to our commands precisely. If one or more details are missing or broken, then the computer will not work properly, will not respond to your commands correctly and will need to be fixed. Sometimes you can see that your computer is overloaded with bugs and viruses; it slows down and at some point may begin to completely misbehave – computer meltdown! Something similar happens with children with autism. Their supersensitive nervous system cannot process all the information and commands they receive from the external world. It simply can not cope with the situation and starts to misbehave; disagreeing with an overwhelming situation and showing its protest. This super sensitivity happens due to the lack of certain details, building materials or connections that are vital for processing information and generating a correct response. If this happens with our computer, we take it to an IT guy who cleans it, restores the processing system, upgrades the existing programmes and so on.
You need to provide your child with similar help, a similar “service”!
Practically, this means following three steps:
- THE BODY NEEDS TO BE CLEANED OR DETOXIFIED
We live in a very polluted world where we are exposed to many unnecessary toxins and chemicals in water, food, air personal hygiene products and so on. Unfortunately, it is impossible to completely isolate your lovely child from all of this damaging toxicity, but a lot of it can be eliminated. By replacing ready-made food with home-made food from organic ingredients, by replacing household chemicals with more natural options such as bicarbonate soda and vinegar, by exchanging standard body care products for more gentle natural alternatives, you can do a lot!
- THE GUT SHOULD BE CLEARED OF PATHOGENIC MICROORGANISMS AND THE MICROBIOME SHOULD BE RESTORED
About 90% of children with autism have significant problems with their gastrointestinal (GI) tract, where the balance between the population of good and of pathogenic bacteria has been disturbed causing many issues such as generating leaky gut, malabsorption of micronutrients, generating deficiencies of vitamins and other molecules vital to one’s health. You are probably familiar with symptoms like constipation, diarrhoea, bloating, heartburn; all of these are precisely signs of GI tract misbalance. Even if a child doesn’t demonstrate these symptoms very clearly, practical experience shows that he is still suffering from a certain bacterial misbalance due to the modern life style. By optimising the eating habits of your child, dealing with picky eating and enriching your child’s diet with probiotics and fermented foods, you can help fix many problems! Of course, you should eliminate all the junk food and drinks and any processed food and beverages. This is an essential action to take! Any food containing chemicals simply cannot be a part of your child’s life. There are great diets that provide step-by-step guidance on how to fix a leaky gut situation and restore GI tract integrity.
- THE NERVOUS SYSTEM AND BRAIN SHOULD BE RESET BY PROVIDING LOTS OF GOOD BUILDING MATERIALS AND NUTRIENTS THAT WILL HELP TO REWIRE CONNECTIONS IN THE BRAIN AND OPTIMISE THE BODY’S RESPONSE TO EXTERNAL SIGNALS
The Human brain is a very complex organ, but it is a part of our body and requires total and constant connectivity and information exchange with all its other systems. It is a multi-layered signalling communication network that involves masses of different molecules derived from the food we eat, being digested and absorbed by the digestive system, and then circulated by blood to their final destinations. These very different molecules are absolutely essential to completing all biochemical signalling inside the human body, including the brain. Furthermore, these molecules only work properly when in the right concentration and combination with other molecules! These correct, such blends of nutrients, our building materials can only be obtained from good quality, diverse food. A child with autism especially requires this kind of meticulous nutritional support!
Therefore, cleaning, removing bad bugs and providing quality building materials is the solution! Do you not find these steps to generating positive changes inside the body to be very logical? But the best part is, you can do all of this by yourself!!! Not to mention, many of these things, once implemented in your family life, will affect your child with autism straight away!
So, to sum up, there are three main steps to reducing anxiety in your child and, therefore, to minimising the number and intensity of their meltdowns, giving your child more self-confidence and preparing him for a more independent and safe future:
- The body needs to be gently detoxed via life style changes or through the application of special techniques under the supervision of specialists.
- The microbiome needs to be reset and enriched by diverse positive microorganisms.
- Nutritional support through food is essential. However, individual supplementation of certain nutrients may also be necessary.
Finally, I want to share with you my experience of working with a teenage boy with autism whose anxiety level dropped dramatically and keeps improving. After one year of following a nutritional programme he has changed so much that his teachers barely recognise him. His increased interest in sport, science and travel are opening up a whole new world to him! His improved communication skills encourage him to spend time together with his relatives, which brings the family together and reconnects him with his parents! His self-confidence gives his mother comfort that her child’s future is safe and under control! Is this not a wonderful position for any mother to be in?
Please, contact me to discuss, agree or disagree. I look forward to receiving your ever valuable questions, comments and feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org