Autism Treatment: Why We Treat Autism Holistically

All parents want the very best for their kids. Autism parents are no different, and we want to help our kids in every way possible. Parents often have their own autism treatment plans that include traditional therapies like speech, OT, and ABA.

Many other parents will even take this autism treatment a step further and look at autism holistically. My wife and I are in this category. While we value traditional therapies, we place a greater emphasis on addressing autism more from a medical angle. In this post, you’ll hear about why we choose to look at autism this way and learn the basis of our autism treatment plan.

Autism Treatment: Why we are treating autism holistically.

Autism Treatment

Why Are We Treating Autism

First, we are NOT treating autism. We are treating the symptoms that often accompany autism such as poor sleep, irritability, bloating, constipation, skin rashes, frequent infections and illnesses, anxiety, …etc. I need to emphasize that we love our son, and we always will no matter what.

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It’s not about fixing his autism or curing his autism. It is about making him feel better and taking him from dysfunctional to functional. If he loses his autism diagnosis then so be it. If not, it will not change our love for him.


Low Functioning Autism

My son is on the low end of the spectrum or what some would say is severe. He cannot really effectively take care of himself. Unfortunately, that means Ethan cannot really communicate the way he is feeling.

If he has a headache, there really is no way for us to know. Upset stomach? There is no way for us to know. If he feels weak or dizzy- if his eye or some other random body part hurts, there is no way for us to know.

The best we can do is put our detective hats on and read his behavior, body language, and of course his physical appearance.

Autism Treatment: Why we are treating autism holistically.

Detective Dad

Like I mentioned, my son cannot really communicate how he is feeling either physically or emotionally. That leaves Mom and I to put our detective hats on and try to figure it out. When things start to feel off we start to look closer at his activity and his appearance. 

“I wonder what’s going on inside”
  • He seems sad today?
  • He’s more tired than usual?
  • He looks really bloated today.
  • Why does he keep curling up in a ball on the floor?
  • I wonder why he keeps turning off all the lights in the house.
  • Why does he keep waking up at 2am wide-awake?
  • Why does he keep crying on and off today for seemingly no reason?
  • Is that another random rash or just a bug bite?
  • He’s been really aggressive lately.
  • He keeps biting himself and scratching others.

When addressing these behaviors, his Mom and I often say, “I wonder what’s going on inside his ailing body.”


Autism Treatment

It’s Not Just Autism

Common belief is that rocking back and forth, tantrums, aggression, and even self-injurious behaviors are simply just part of autism. There is no reason behind the rocking, the biting, or the constant wet pants- “It’s just autism,” they say.

Doctors and people following that mainstream belief will tell you things like, “Yes, sleep issues are common in kids with autism. There’s nothing you can really do about it. Maybe try melatonin.” However, many autism parents, doctors, and researchers believe that these behaviors are caused by underlying medical conditions.

Autism is a medical condition, and there are underlying medical reasons that cause these types of behaviors.

For example, research demonstrates that sleep disturbances in kids with autism may be caused by GI problems, seizures, anxiety, or hormone deregulation. Personally, our son’s 2am wake up calls are usually associated with a yeast infection in his gut.

[tweetthis]#Autism is a medical condition. There are underlying medical reasons that cause behaviors & sleep problems[/tweetthis]

Autism Treatment: Behaviors can be Improved

Many parents and doctors are realizing that symptoms can be improved if you provide the body with the support it needs. Likewise, giving the child with autism the wrong things or exposing the system to toxins can worsen cognitive function, ticks, and other problem behaviors. I’m not just talking about gluten and dairy or even junk food. For some kids, eating a simple bowl of grapes can send them into an emotional tirade.

Just recently, our son stole a quick swig of Grandpa’s beer. Grandpa caught him in the act, so he only got maybe 3 ounces of beer. An hour later, Ethan was out of his mind. He was giggling uncontrollably, spitting at his grandparents, and yelling a delirious giggle-infused scream. He was jumping on beds and peeing on the floor. Simply put, he went nuts.

This went on for at least a couple of hours until he crashed and went to bed.Now, in this case, beer has alcohol. You may be pointing to the alcohol that caused those behaviors. However, in 3 ounces of beer there is not enough alcohol to cause that reaction. More likely, it was the gluten and yeast in the beer. Both probably flared up his yeast infection, which released chemicals in the body that sparked the outburst and then of course led to another middle of the night wake up call.

Gradual Declines

Sometimes the behavior is not always obvious like in Ethan’s beer theft incidence. Most often the changes happen gradually, and all the sudden you realize, “his language has really been lacking lately. What happened?

It’s our jobs as parents to identify changes in behavior and then try to track down just what caused the regression, outburst, or the increase in anxiety. (easier said than done of course)

Since entering the world of autism 7+ years ago, we have worked with several doctors and have learned a ton about how the body works. We try to support his body in a way that will allow him to be the best Ethan he can be.

Currently, we are working through an autism treatment plan to address 5 key issues that we, in conjunction with his doctor, have identified to be areas of most need.

  1. Chronic infections and a poor gut microbiome
  2. Poor sleep quality
  3. Heavy metal burden
  4. Oxalates
  5. Acidic Internal Environment

Autism Treatment: Why we are treating autism holistically.


While these areas seem unrelated, it is quite interesting how they all contribute to one another. The body is a complex machine that requires all systems to work efficiently. If one gear becomes weak, then the whole machine gets thrown off.

These issues are not uncommon in the autism & ADHD community and they are actually quite common in the autoimmune population as well. In our situation, we are implementing an autism treatment plan that I like to call the 4D Plan. (Diet, Detox, Debug, & Destress)

If you are interested in autism treatment from a holistic angle, follow the links below to learn the details on each of the elements in our plan. You can take this information and start your own protocol for your child.

I hope you will find this information useful, as I know our son is responding to it well.

Our 4-D Autism Treatment Plan

One comment

  • Sara

    You and your family rock! It’s so refreshing to see this. We have (almost 13 year old) twin boys with autism and we are also going the holistic route and healthy bodies are a priority with us as well. I get tired of the “Don’t try to cure autism. It’s just neuro-diversity” comments. If your kid gets diagnosed with cancer, you don’t do nothing and say they’re just health diverse. Just because what’s going on inside our kids’ bodies also affects their brains and behavior doesn’t mean they aren’t suffering and especially doesn’t mean there’s nothing to be done for it. Tests have been done on my kids. There are many things going on internally that contribute to their autistic behaviors. Like you said, trying to resolve these issues doesn’t mean we don’t love our kids any less. If we didn’t love them, we wouldn’t be working so damn hard to give them the best chance possible. If they spend the rest of their lives being autistic, I won’t love them any less or cease to be amazed by the gifts they do have.

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