The beginning of October I went to the DAN conference in Dallas, TX. I went to learn ways of treating Autistic children, but walked away with a new respect for families dealing with children on the spectrum. The challenge of treating children on the spectrum is that they are all so different: one child might only have mild symptoms while another child is unable to communicate in any way with their parents. The solution to this challenge is to always consider that each child is unique and their treatment should be specific to them, which is how Naturopathic Doctors treat all their patients.
In the clinician training 1 at the DAN conference, we learned about different disease processes of Autism; Gastroenterologic, Behavioral/Neurologic, Immune and Biochemical/Metabolic. Gastroenterologic was a big focus of the conference. As a Naturopathic Doctor, I am always focused on the "gut," for if the gut is not healthy then the rest of the body is going to be suffering. A few of the gastroenterologic focuses were food sensitivities, intestinal dysbiosis, nutritional deficits, and gut inflammation. We learned how each one of these will manifest in children on the spectrum along with conventional and alternative treatments.
For behavior/neurological we focused on brain inflammation, dysregulated neurotransmitters and autonomic dysfunction. We learned the role that neurotransmitter play in the brain and how epinephrine, norepinephrine and s serotonin levels can influence children. During the immune section we focused on infections, chronic inflammation, autoimmune reactions (PANDAS) and environmental allergies. It is amazing that about 80% of our immune system cells line our gastrointestinal tract and 70% of the serotonin is produced in the gastrointestinal tract. In the final section of the conference we learned about the role biochemical/metabolic conditions can affect our children, especially looking at oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction and glutathione depletion. The mitochondrial are the "power house of the cell," from them we get ATP which powers everything in the body. It has been shown that some children on the spectrum have mitochondrial that is not properly function leading to a wide range of issues.
This conference opened my eyes to many different ways to look, listen and evaluate children on the spectrum and to work to help them along their path in life. I know each child is an individual and each family is focused on caring for and supporting their child to the best of their ability. Together we can make a difference in your child's life. Call to set up your free 15 minute consultation with me at (415) 912-9934.