April is Autism Awareness Month
April is Autism Awareness month, an important time to recognise the valuable contributions that individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder make to their families and communities.
It is also a perfect time to acknowledge the invaluable work of the Integrative and Natural Healthcare community in enhancing the lives of our ASD family members with safe, science-based therapies.
For a few decades now, a growing number of us have watched in alarm as more and more children struggle with Autism which now affects 1 in 54 children in the US and 1 in 63 in Australia. An epidemic of overlapping childhood epidemics has emerged; in Australia 1 in 10 struggle with ADHD, 1 in 3 with allergies, 1 in 4 with a mental health condition and 1 in 4 with asthma. Similar trends exist in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom where healthcare and food policies are similar.
Since epidemics are by definition driven by environmental factors it makes sense that so many advances in personalised healthcare for ASD have come from Integrative and Natural practitioners who specialise in Nutritional and Environmental healthcare. Thankfully these pioneering practitioners have quietly been in the trenches for decades helping our children (and entire family cohorts as the merits of their care become apparent).
Many of us who have benefited from natural therapies with the aid of highly-trained and skilled practitioners (Naturopaths, Chiropractors, Nutritionists, Functional MDs) who understand the body’s innate ability to heal. In General, Natural Health practitioners follow 2 simple principles; good stuff in (nutrients, pure water, fresh air, sunlight) and bad stuff out (heavy metals, pesticides, denatured food, synthetic substances). The immune system in turn can handle a startling amount of stress as has been proven by our ancestors over the past 6 million years.
The past 2 years of mandates have been challenging but it’s also ushered many more people into the natural healthcare fold. So much research has emerged over the efficacy of Vitamin C, D & zinc fighting infections. Thankfully the slow drip of information from a handful of Corporate-controlled media outlets is being replaced by thousands of internet channels featuring tens of millions of “citizen journalists” dedicated to truth. They may not wear a white coat but they are able to read and identify unbiased research when given the chance.
Change is painful but inevitable. And there is always hope. You close one door and 100 others open. Our loved-ones on the Spectrum have certainly changed many parents, schools and communities who have navigated the challenges of a new epidemic for which Government was ill-prepared. This burden has become a blessing, developing skill sets at a time when we all need to work together to create a new paradigm outside the emerging Corporate Fascist structure.
The solutions we have found have been local not global; coaching the local butcher to remove gluten from the sausages; stocking up on fresh and organic at the farmers market; getting tips on herbs and natural remedies from a trusted, local practitioner; leaning on the shoulder of a loved-one when it all feels too much.
That past hard work puts us a few steps ahead as we face a new call to strengthen local communities and reduce our reliance on box stores and fast food. The environment will thank us for buying less and growing and making more. It will also benefit from smart people more than from smart homes or smart cities (and the associated electromagnetic radiation that harms our eco-systems). Less TV “programming” is also an important measure freeing up time to find real heroes in our neighbors and ourselves rather than in fiction.
There is a controversial expression going around parent circles which triggers extremely strong and opposing reactions in this age of intolerance. But since there is no time like the present to role model for the next generation on how healthy debate can be followed by a handshake and a cup of tea (or a pint for the younger crowd), I am going to throw it out there – “Let us not normalise” and you can fill in the list of childhood conditions; diabetes, obesity, asthma, anxiety, autism and now heart conditions.
I have never met a caring parent or well-adjusted adult, for that matter, who did not offer acceptance and love for any human being regardless of their health status. And these same well-adjusted individuals are no less caring or less humane because they keep asking more questions and pushing for more answers when it comes to health mandates. Division through fear has always been the tool of tyrants and it’s something all strong communities banish.
We have learned so much from our Autistic brothers and sisters. They have stirred millions out of passive complacency to fight for a just and equitable world where all races, genders, ethnicities, classes and abilities live harmoniously. And where meritocracy is not about getting an upper hand from anointed institutions and self-appointed elites.
Rest assured that decent, caring people are the majority and thanks to the Integrative Healthcare community more and more people of all abilities are finding their voice. And as more of us speak our truth we can build a happier and healthier future that is our children’s birthright.
Executive Director, Mindd Foundation