PEDIATRIC & AUTISM CARE
At Belmont Natural Health Centre we integrate our practitioners’ specific expertise to help children and families feel their best.
Ask the Expert -
Tom Daly BSc, ND, graduated from the University of Toronto with an Honours BSc in Biology and Environmental Science. He has continued to pursue his focus on pediatrics with ongoing training in the naturopathic treatment of Autistic Spectrum Disorders and the full range of pediatric conditions.
What are the 3 main symptoms of Autism?
The diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) represents a range of complex neurodevelopmental disorders. An important key to the treatment of ASD is early recognition and diagnosis. Behavioural and developmental symptoms of ASD can range widely in appearance and severity depending on the individual. For this reason, screening tools such as the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers Revised (M-CHAT-R), have been developed to help identify if a child should have further professional assessment. Diagnosis would then be confirmed by a specialized diagnostic team.
The earliest signs generally appear at 12-24 months.
Here are some key signs:
-Often begins to develop language then loses it, or doesn’t acquire language at all
- Does not “point and look”
- Failure to bond (e.g. child is indifferent to parents’ presence)
- Limited imaginative or pretend play
- Not interested in playing with other children
Not interested in playing with other children
Can a child with Autism live a normal life?
This is a difficult question in that it delves into the potentially charged area of ability/disability, normal/abnormal. One key word in the diagnosis of ASD is "Spectrum" - the diagnosis encompasses a wide range of abilities. As outlined in the DSM-5 manual, this may range from "Requiring Support" to "Requiring Very Substantial Support" One of the wonderful aspects of working with Biomedical treatments for children with ASD is that we can see positive progression and improvements along this spectrum when these treatments are integrated into the totality of care provided for a child.
What is Biomedical Treatment of Autism?
Much of the early intervention in ASD provided by the social healthcare system is the assessment of developmental and behavioural cues in order to confirm a diagnosis, degree of severity, and ideally develop a behavioural intervention plan appropriate for the child. This is very important. Also important is the assessment of nutritional, environmental, and physiological factors affecting the development of a child.
As indicated by 50+ years of research by organizations such as the Autism Research Institute understanding how foods, toxins, nutrients, infections and other variables affect an individual child's development are very important to achieving the best possible developmental outcome for that child. This is where Biomedical (also referred to as Functional) assessment and treatment shine. Similar to how your MD would want to test your vitamin D level if you are diagnosed with osteoporosis, a Biomedically trained doctor will want to assess various nutrient levels and dietary factors that research has shown to impact the progression of ASD. The Biomedical approach covers a range of options from basic nutritional changes to more extensive testing and interventions. Testing and assessment help guide these various treatment options such as: nutrition, dietary changes, detoxification, and immune, digestive, and nervous system support. As with early diagnosis, my experience has been that early implementation of key nutritional and dietary changes can bring significant developmental improvement.
What is NAET? How does it help with pediatric wellness?
NAET (Nambudripads Allergy Elimination) is a medical technique which works with the nervous system to help resolve a wide range of health conditions related to sensitivities and intolerances. It can be used for symptoms and reactions ranging from seasonal allergies to food and chemical sensitivities. NAET has been a very important part of my pediatric and adult practice since 2008 when I completed training with Dr. Devi Nambudripad, the developer of this technique.
It has had profound impact on my pediatric practice because it helps support a child's development in a way that I have not seen with other interventions. I use NAET in the treatment of pediatric conditions including asthma, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, eczema, digestive concerns, chronic infections, and many other concerns.
NAET has such a wide range of uses in both pediatric and adult practice because it impacts the body's ability to process information about anything it meets. In this way, rather than simply giving certain nutrients in the hope that they will push a person into better health, NEAT affects how the body responds to and processes those nutrients. In a similar way, rather than telling a parent that their child must avoid a certain food to prevent a symptom such as eczema for example, NAET allows us to impact how the body responds to that food so it is not causing the eczema in the first place. NEAT has is very effective as a stand-alone technique, and even when combined with the other tools of Naturopathic medicine.