Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurological disorder that typically develops in early childhood and remains for the entirety of a patient's life. Autism is a developmental disorder that affects communication, learning abilities, and behavior.

The CDC estimates that 1 in 54 children are diagnosed with ASD. The disorder is characterized by problems with communication and social interaction.

Social and linguistic indicators of autism include: delayed speech and language skills, flat or robotic speaking voice, frequently repeating phrases that have been said or heard (echolalia), difficulty using pronouns (i.e. saying “you” instead of “I,”), the inability to understand or reciprocate common gestures such as pointing or waving, lack of an ability to stay on topic when responding to a question, and the inability to recognize sarcasm.

Behavioral indicators of autism include: hyper behavior such as constant motion or pacing, repetitive movement such as rocking, hand-flapping, or jumping, hyper fixation on activities or objects, specific routines or rituals (and being upset when this is even slightly changed), sensory sensitivity (especially to touch), picky eating habits, and impulsivity.

As of the most recent edition of DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), there are currently five types of autism that a patient can be diagnosed with:

  • with or without accompanying intellectual impairment
  • with or without accompanying language impairment
  • associated with a known medical or genetic condition or environmental factor
  • associated with another neurodevelopmental, mental, or behavioral disorder
  • with catatonia

It is recommended by The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that all children are screened for an autism spectrum disorder between the ages of 18 to 24 months.

Later in life, there are a variety of tests that can be done in order to diagnose ASD which include DNA testing for genetic diseases, behavioral evaluation, visual and audio testing, occupational therapy screening, and developmental questionnaires.

As a spectrum disorder, there are variations in the severity of autism. Although there is no clear understanding of what may cause autism, the disorder can be treated in a variety of ways. Amino acid imbalances are frequently underlying factors that contribute to autism. Holtorf Medical Group offers amino acid testing, which analyzes 40 amino acids and provides a detailed explanation of the possible causes and consequences of detected abnormalities, such as autism, along with nutritional information.

Autism is a disorder that can be treated in a variety of ways. One method that is often forgotten is diet. With 30 years of data supporting a growing body of evidence that dietary intervention is an effective treatment for ASD, it is important for people with autism to receive ALCAT testing, or the antigen leukocyte antibody test, which measures adverse reactions to dietary substances. This can be helpful in determining which foods are cognitively impairing someone on the spectrum. A change in diet can alleviate brain fog, improve verbal and communicative skills, and improve emotional responses.

At Holtorf Medical Group, we also treat this spectrum disorder with decellularized growth factors and peptide treatment. Contact us today to see how we can help you!

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