1. What is "biomedical" treatment?
Since 1995, ARI has convened recurring meetings for carefully selected physicians, researchers, and scientists committed to finding effective treatments for autism. Their work has become known as Defeat Autism Now! . This integrative approach to treating autism is often referred to as a "biomedical" approach – meaning it combines a variety of strategies to address the physical and behavioral symptoms of autism.
3. My pediatrician doesn't believe biomedical treatments will help my child. He/she is prescribing medications. What can I do?
Unfortunately, parents often report to us that their regular pediatrician is not supportive of the biomedical interventions we research and advocate. Some parents have told us they began basic interventions on their own without telling their pediatrician and as improvements were seen their doctor became more supportive and began investigating the Defeat Autism Now! approach. Some doctors may not change and in this case we encourage you to find other support, see: Defeat Autism Now!
You can also provide your doctor with ARI's treatment effectiveness ratings.
4. Where can I find information about the possible adverse effects of prescription drugs used for ASD?
Most commonly prescribed drugs have side effects -- ranging from minor to severe to potentially fatal. One of our goals at the Autism Research Institute (ARI) is to inform parents of the efficacy of various treatments for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). See possible adverse effects.
8. My child is getting much worse since we started biomedical – should I give up?
Every child will react differently to biomedical treatments as every child is a unique person. Don't get discouraged! There are many treatment options and a clinician can work with you to find an appropriate treatment plan for you child.
Other parents in your community can be a great resource as well - search on the internet for Yahoo Groups in your area.
9. If I do biomedical treatments, do I still need ABA?
Many parents feel an all around approach covers all bases. To find the most qualified provider, be sure they are a "Board Certified Behavior Analyst" and contact the nearest FEAT(Families for Effective Autism Treatment) organization for provider information.
Treating digestive injury is a key aspect of treatments based on a Defeat Autism Now! approach. Physicians have observed that a lot of information is gathered by observing and testing stools. Color, texture, consistency, and other 'properties' can give clues to what is happening in digestion. For clues to what may be contributing to your child's digestive issues, see: TACA
11. My adopted child has been diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder. Are biomedical treatments just forbiological children with Autism, or is it possible this approach might help my child, too?
Yes, it is possible. Some children have been diagnosed with RAD by reputable attachment professionals and the families have come to find out that the RAD looking behaviors were actually being caused by underlying biomedical problems.
Adopted children who had been previously diagnosed with Bi-Polar, FAS, OCD, ODD, ADD/ADHD, SPD, Tourette's, Autism, Asperger's, PDD-NOS, and a variety of other disorders have also been helped with biomedical treatments.
12. My child doesn't have digestive issues or any of the symptoms other parents describe? Is it still worth pursuing biomedical intervention?
Yes. Many asymptomatic children have responded behaviorally to dietary intervention.
14. What is secretin?
Secretin is a hormone extracted from duodenal mucosa of pigs and is administered by injection – either intravenously or subcutaneously. It is believed secretin aids in the digestive process by stimulating the pancreas to produce helpful enzymes. It is available by prescription.
Parents and physicians using the Defeat Autism Now! approach have reported improvements in their children using secretin.
ARI articles about Secretin: The Use of Secretin in Autism: Some Preliminary Answers
A summary of research from Europe: The Use of Secretin for the treatment of Autism
15. Is there any "safe" sedation? Are some safer than others? Are there some to be concerned about?
Surgical: Parents often ask ARI for information about anesthesia for autistic children. Several years ago, ARI published a request for input from anesthesiologist Louise Kirz, M.D. who has two autistic sons.
16. What is LDN for?
From Jacquelyn McCandless, MD: LDN is low dose naltrexone, a generic, FDA-approved opiate antagonist that has been used widely in its regular doses to combat drug addiction for more than 20 years. At less than one tenth the usual dose, LDN has been found to be an effective immune system modulator that is non-toxic, non-addicting and inexpensive, with only a small capsule or small amount of transdermally applied cream once daily at bedtime needed. I originally wanted it for immune modulation/enhancement, but the first and most noticeable effects are an increased socialization and language facility for most children. The immune effects take longer to show up, and my studies showed that even after 16 weeks some markers were still not enhanced. Whether this is because it only helps certain aspects of the immune system or just takes longer for these changes to take place, the jury is still out - more testing is needed. However, some important immune markers were elevated in the majority of children tested, and a sizeable number of parents report improvement in overall health of their children.
Should you try it on your child?
Since LDN is non-toxic and inexpensive, I believe all autistic children should be given a trial to see how your child responds. There is no test to see who might benefit; a trial is the only way. About 15 percent may show hyperactivity and insomnia when first started; especially those who have not been on dietary restriction are more likely to have this side effect. This usually subsides by a week or less. Lowering the dose helps in some, restricting diet helps in others, and there are always a few who cannot tolerate it. It must be prescribed and in these tiny doses it must be compounded, as it normally comes only in 50 mg tablets. 75-80% of parents in our database report positive experiences, especially in children's socialization and language. Anyone may join: the Autism_LDN Yahoo Group to check out other parents' experiences in our database to help you in your decision to try it.
18. How can I get my pediatrician to do an allergy panel for IgG and IgE?
Ask another parent for the name of the test they recommend (reputable companies are listed in Autism: Effective Biomedical Treatments… by Pangborn & Baker - pages 189-209). Order the test kit and take it to your physician.
20. I can't afford the expensive doctor visits that don't accept my insurance. What can I do myself for my child?
You can start diets and some supplements without a clinician, however, there is no one "protocol" for successfully treating autistic children, so educating yourself is key. Free lectures and tutorials from the latest Defeat Autism Now! Conferences are available online
Find a mentor through Talk About Curing Autism - Talk about Curing Autism's Parent Mentor Program
Find a rescue angel through Generation Rescue.
21. What can I do while I wait to see our clinician using a Defeat Autism Now! approach – are there biomedical interventions I can try that are safe without a doctor's supervision?
Many families have contacted ARI over the past 40 years describing successful initial interventions at home using a variety of strategies, including:
- Eliminating toxins in their child's environment
- Trying restricted diets like gluten/casein/soy free, SCD, etc.
- Using over-the-counter nutritional supplements
Autism Network for Dietary Intervention
What is the right 'dosage' for Vitamin B6, DMG, and other nutrients in autism?
Vitamin B6 (and magnesium) in the treatment of autism
Suggested Dosages for Nutritional Supplements
Generation Rescue, What To Do: Action Plan