Autism – An Integrative Medicine Approach

Diana Kopatsy - Senior Naturopathic Physician - Bayleaf Wellness

M.Ed, BHSc (Nat), BHSc (Hom), Dip Teach

According to the Oxford dictionary, Autism is defined as:

a developmental disorder of variable severity that is characterized by difficulty in social interaction and communication and by restricted or repetitive patterns of thought and behaviour.’

Generally, a diagnosis is based on three criteria which includes:

· Qualitative social interaction impairments,

· Qualitative verbal and nonverbal communication impairments

· Limited, repetitive, stereotypical behaviour patterns, interests and activities concerned with imagination impairment.

Whilst the specific causes of autism are not yet known the current medical thinking is that 90% of all cases are genetically determined and the chance of one family member suffering from autism increases by 50 to 100 times if another member of that family suffers from it. It is understood that more males suffer from autism because females appear to be better protected against congenital diseases and it is thought to involve a disorder in the functioning of the brain, developmental lags or is halted due to damage to the nervous system.

Aside from biological inclination, autism is explained by surrounding factors (10% of all cases) or determinants: prenatal risks, delivery (for instance anoxia), early childhood infections and exposure to certain toxins. In 10% of all cases, autism results from a bodily disorder. Tuberculosis is said to be 100 times more abundant in autism sufferers. Epilepsy is also more abundant, depending on the type of autism, age and IQ.

The management of Autism Spectrum Disorders can be quite complex and needs to involve qualified experts within the field and ongoing care and attention as part of an integrated approach to care. However ongoing attention and support can mean significant improvements in behaviour, communication, sleep and social interactions and the benefits can be greatly rewarding.

In my own clinical practice, I am one of two people who are trained in delivering CEASE therapy in Victoria and one of three who practise this method in Australia. CEASE therapy is based on detoxification, specific homeopathic medicines tailored to the child and orthomolecular support including practitioner prepared nutraceuticals and a personalised nutrition plan.