Thursday, April 1, 2010

Autism Awareness Month

April is autism awareness month. In years past I was very excited about this month and hopeful that the extra press and raised awareness would bring us closer to revealing the causes of this epidemic and turning the tide of autism. This year I feel less enthusiasm and less hope that the necessary changes will be made to curb this epidemic. I continue to do my part to educate those in my circle of life about the risks of vaccines, overuse of antibiotics, and other environmental toxic exposures that are causing the autism epidemic.

20 years ago 1 in 10,000 children were diagnosed with autism. Today 1 in 100 are diagnosed; 1 every 20 minutes. Every 20 minutes a family's life is forever changed; dreams for their child are forever altered, marriages are put in greater jeopardy with a divorce rate of 80% in the autism community, and family resources are strained while providing therapies and treatments. This is only a few of the stresses that autism places on a family. The cost is simply too high to sit back and allow this to continue.

Unfortunately the powers that be have decided that facing the truth will be too expensive for them which I believe is very shortsighted when you consider the enormous financial burden this ongoing epidemic will have on our country in the years and decades to come. This causes me great sadness; not only for my family and the daily struggles we face but for the many families new to this journey who need not have faced this struggle. Autism is preventable!

So how do we turn the tide of this epidemic? How can we prevent autism? There are a few basic things we as parents can do that will make a huge difference.
1) Educated yourself about vaccinations. We can determine the right vaccine schedule for our children - the schedule set out by the CDC is a guideline, not the law! You can choose to wait, stagger, or refuse vaccines all together. I believe it would be best to wait on the vast majority of vaccines until a child is 2 years old and their immune system is better developed. At that point take one vaccine at a time and never vaccinate when a child is sick or getting over an illness.
2) Green your cleaning products. Change over to non-toxic cleaning products and be aware of the many chemical products that you might be bringing into your home that do not have to be tested for health safety such as room freshening sprays and devices, febreeze type products, and wood polishes.
3) Control what your child eats. Go organic whenever you are able and to the best of your ability do not feed your family foods that are highly processed and contain preservatives and food dyes. These are chemicals that our bodies don't know how to process and can affect our children's brain development.
4) Limit antibiotic use. Only use antibiotics when absolutely necessary. Antibiotics deplete the balance of our GI systems which is our primary immune fighting system. Over 50% of ear infections in children are viral and therefore won't respond to antibiotics. Our bodies will fight even bacterial infections, so even in those cases antibiotics are not always necessary.

We can turn the tide!! Join me in praying throughout the month of April - check out this website to download a prayer guide for the month.