Remove, Replenish, & Repair = Recovery! Part ll

January 26th, 2010

Today I am blogging on Replenish!

Actually Replenish and Repair ( and Remove for that matter) almost always overlap. And that makes sense, because most people will REMOVE and start supplements at the same time.  But for today, I will focus on Replenish!

So, today I will go over supplements and how to REPLENISH your child’s body.  There are many great books on this subject, for example, Children with Starving Brains by J McCandless, and Unraveling the Mysteries of Autism by Karyn Seroussi.  There are many more great books and articles, but to get the most reputable, I would check on the ARI (Autism Research Institute) website.

Most research shows that spectrum kids have many nutritional deficiencies in Vitamins, Minerals, Amino Acids, and Essential Fatty Acids.  Almost always Calcium, Zinc, Magnesium, Iron, B-12, B-6, and Selenium are low.  These nutritional deficiencies cause disruptions or “slowing” of cellular activity.  The Krebs cycle, Neurotransmitter production, and ATP production (energy) and …well everything depends on having enough substrate (building materials).  Ideally, we would all like to get our nutrients through our fabulous, well balanced, organic diet!  And that is what I plan for, but until your child is eating THAT DIET, he/she will need supplementation.

Every child’s supplement regiment is different, but there are several basic supplements that I think all would agree are Tier One.

Tier One Supplements

Multivitamin–Many of our kids do not eat well.  In fact, most of our children will cut out an entire food group (or two!).  I have MANY patients who only eat french fries and chicken nuggets.  A good multivitamin  is so important and there are so many great bio-available choices out there now!  GF/CF, non corn, non soy, Vegan, not to mention no artificial colors or flavors, pills, powder or liquid!  I stock Kirkman’s and Integrative Therapeutics brands in my office, but there are so many others that are just fine!  I even have some formulated at Pure Compounding.  Whatever you have is fine, just read all the ingredients and then give it!  I recommend dividing the dose between the day for a better absorption.  Our bodies can only absorb so much of a  vitamin at one time, and we don’t want to feed our gut flora too well!

Essential Fatty Acids–Yes, I am talking cod liver oil or fish oil.  EFAs (essential fatty Acids) are supposed to be abundant in brain cells, but are commonly low is ASD kids.  There is plenty of documented benefits from Omega 3, 6, and 9s.

Digestive Enzymes–GI disturbance is common in ASD–from reflux esophagitis, to gastritis, malabsorption, diarrhea, and /or constipation.  There are many choices and some are expensive.  My recommendation is to start with a basic DE and monitor your child’s response, then change to a different brand to get a better response if needed.

Extra Zinc–Helps with immunity, and with digestion from the taste buds ( helping kids expand their range of foods) down to absorption of foods, and also aids brain function.

Extra Vitamin C–Powerful antioxidant, helps with detox, helps with neurotransmitter balance in ADHD symptoms, modulates immune system, relives constipation, just to mention a few attributes!

Calcium–good for growing children with bad diets and poor absorption and has a calming effect as well.  The best calcium supplement is one with a variety of calcium forms, especially calcium carbonate, calcium citrate and calcium ascorbate.

Probiotics–Bowel dysbiosis is SO common in ASD kids.  The first goal that MUST be accomplished in RECOVERY is healing the LEAKY GUT!  Probiotics lead the way in this endeavor by promoting good digestion and controlling yeast over growths.

Tier II-III Supplements

There are numerous other supplements, and I could go on and on with lists and descriptions!  Just know that other supplements are added by combining blood and urine TEST RESULTS with OBSERVATION of your child and RESPONSE to the current supplement program and any new or unresolved SYMPTOMS.  My goals are usually the same with every child…1. restore methylation, 2. support liver detox, 3. correct deficiencies, 4. lessen hyperactivity, and 5. improve cognitive function (language, understanding and more awareness), and 6. improve other physical illnesses (asthma, allergies, eczema, chronic diarrhea, failure to thrive, chronic constipation etc…).

What next?

Supplements are expensive and I always consider the cost.  This investment in your child is critical.  Children on the correct supplements usually progress FASTER in their therapies (ABA, RDI, PT, OT, SpT, etc…).  These supplements need to be PURE and therefore need to be obtained from a reliable source.  Also, blood and urine testing of these levels should occur periodically.  Sometimes children do not want to take supplements, and we have to be creative to ensure delivery!  We can give some supplements orally, by nose, sublingually, by injection, rectally, or transdermally.

I hope this helps on your QUEST for the RECOVERY!

Yours, Dr. GF

Remove, Replenish, & Repair = Recovery!

January 5th, 2010

One of my patient’s mom asked me last week about my PLAN for their child and his recovery.  I paused, then answered…”My plan is the same for every child, but each child takes a unique path to get there!”  (“Clever,” I thought!)

We all want RECOVERY!  But, how to get there?

Laura (Dr. Moore) and I have coined the THREE R’s to Recovery.

Remove, Replenish, and Repair= Recovery! How easy does this sound?  Simple, until I explain the system to you.

I will elaborate on REMOVE today!  Replenish and Repair to follow…

Remove

Remove means remove all harmful elements from your child.  This is by far the most time consuming and frustrating step.  Environmental toxins are everywhere and you may go through a period of distrust of our own Government and Corporate America…did I say Conspiracy Theory?

Environmental toxins are chemicals and other materials produced by industry and carelessness.  Most of these were not known to be harmful at first.  But these chemicals have saturated our water, food and air.  No one can see or smell most of these toxins, but we feel the results only years later in the form of a chronic disease.

Diet is important and  for your child that may mean the Gluten Free/Casein Free diet or the SCD ( low carb diet) or Low Oxalate Diet or simply a fresh Organic Diet.  No more RED DYE!  I usually outlaw tuna, and all non organic meats ( no antibiotics, hormones or steroids).  I may recommend food allergy testing and then recommend an avoidance or a rotational diet.  I always recommend drinking/eating nothing with artificial color or flavor OR out of an Aluminum can.  I like to store left overs in glass containers only to avoid reheating in plastic (Phthalates).  Please cook in stainless steel, ceramic, glass, or cast iron.  I use a stone muffin pan and cookie sheet ( not aluminum).

Make sure the air is clean and pure in your house.  Avoid fumes around you and your child.  If you are re-painting, investigate different types of paint.  Check out what chemicals are being put out on your lawn.  One of my parents got water test kits and toxin test kits off the internet and found interesting results….some of her plates tested positive for lead.  We wondered where his high lead level was coming from.

Here are some other tips to avoid toxins:

1. AVOID processed foods…processed means chemicals were used

2. SWITCH to natural cleaning products in your home

3. USE natural brands of toiletries

4. REMOVE metal fillings by a qualified bio-medical dentist

5. BOOST your vitamin D level and your Immune system with safe amounts of sun light

6. AVOID using artificial air fresheners, fabric softeners and dryer sheets or other synthetic fragrances

MOSTLY…I recommend no more VACCINES…at least until recovery is complete.  (by then, you parents are much more militant than me and would never dream of risking re-injury of your precious child!!!  HaHa!)  Who knows…maybe we will have better, safer vaccine choices soon!  I believe that we are getting better food choices at the grocery stores now!

Now, I will say that this is a process.  I am still removing or replacing things around the house.  You will go crazy if you try to REMOVE all at once.  First, focus on the food issue, then just make a list of the big offenders and work your way down.  Like, mattresses…I have covered all of them, but I have not found a better choice.  Does anyone have any ideas for an toxin-free mattress?  Oh…organic cotton pajamas!  I buy from Hannah at www.hannaandersson.com.

Replenish & Repair–to follow!

Yours,

Dr. GF


Out of the Parent Training phase!

December 17th, 2009

Hello everyone!

My husband and I have finally made it out of the Parent Training Phase of RDI, and it feels great!  Now, we can start working on our child!

The parent training has been really tough on me and my husband, because it held a magnifying glass up to our parenting styles (in a very constructive way, of course) in order to better improve our skill set.  We have always thought we were doing a good job with Sam, but NO ONE is born with the skill set to successfully handle a child on the spectrum with out guidance…and these wonderful children do not come with instructions!  I really feel like I understand his actions and reactions better AND how my actions and reactions help or hurt him with his resilience and attaining life skills.

The next phase is for both parents to video tape our interactions with Sam one on one.  I have to video–just the two of us–interacting (cooking or playing a game or any regular activity around the house).  Then, I must upload the video to the RDI- operating systems website myself.  The idea is that I need to be able to do all the steps without my husband’s help, so I do not have to depend on anyone else!!!  Okay, I can do that!

Then, we have our next appointment with our RDI consultant (Jennifer Perry) in January, so that she can further test Sam and fine tune his program by targeting his weak areas.

No one will love your child and fight for your child like you will.  I have heard so many stories of courageous mothers and fathers improving and recovering their spectrum children by NEVER giving up!

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year AND Happy Holidays!  Have fun over the next few weeks and relax.  Try not to overstimulate yourself OR your child…Doctor’s Orders!  …hahaha!

Your,

Dr. Girlfriend

Dynamic Communication

December 1st, 2009

I Love RDI!

Today, I learned about Dynamic Communication.

Communication is really about building bridges or connections between our minds.  We use many forms of communication and verbal is just one form.  My son has plenty of words and scripts, but, he does not really communicate with me or anyone else for that matter.  He and I do not really have “shared” experiences like I have with other people or even my other kids.  When I talk with Sam, I explain someting, and then he talks for a while, then I talk for a while, then he sort of wanders away from me in mid diolague, humming to himself.  I realize now, that he has already “ended” the conversation.  There is little “back and forth” with Sam, and certainly no “shared experience.”  Does this sound familiar????

How is communication supposed to work?

Dynamic Communication is really about what we think and feel IN RELATION to what our partner thinks and feels.  In a conversation, typically, we are constantly shifting and re-assessing the shared experience based on gestures, facial expression, and non-verbal vocalizations (hmmm or ahhh) AND words spoken.  There are multiple channels to “speak” through and to interpret, and it all happens simultaneously.  Also, the process is fragile and imperfect–which makes it unpredictable and challenging and frustrating!

Why does it breakdown?

True communication is very complicated, frustrating and unpredictable.  There will be breakdowns.  No one communicates effectively 100% of the time.  Our spectrum kids get easily overwhelmed and withdraw.  Our kids need resilience and a much slower pace than our neurotypical kids.

This type of communication is a lot to ask our children to learn, but is is what RDI is all about.  Communication is social, emotional, and it is based on cognition and problem solving and flexibility.  I know that my relationships with my other two children are much deeper and richer than my relationship with Sam.  I also know that I “put in” more effort, more time, more patience–more everything with Sam than any other relationship I have (he puts in little effort with any of his relationships)–Why is he so one-sided with his relationships?  …because he does not have the capacity to SHARE in the fullness of a richly communicated conversation.  He must not “see” all the ways people communicate with him non-verbally PLUS, he must does not communicate that way either.  Therefore, the conversation is more scripted than fluid.  Hmmmm….

So…communication is what I want to work on with Sam!  RDI makes it easy by breaking tasks down and working on small bits at a time.  More to come!

Toxins…Sources and How to Avoid Further Exposure!

November 19th, 2009

Many parents ask me why OR if I think their child is/was exposed to toxins…OR should we test their child for toxic exposure..OR how did this exposure happen?

My answer will not be comprehensive as there are entire books devoted to this subject…but here is a thumbnail with some pointers of how to avoid further exposure and what to do next.

Sources of Exposure

Mercury in seafood, dental amalgams, environmental pollutants, and vaccines.

Tuna is the most commonly consumed fish in America…especially among children.  Tuna fish contains such high levels of mercury now that the federal government recommends only one serving per week, and that no tuna should be consumed by pregnant women.  I would like to add that I LOVE tuna fish…white albacore!  YUM!!!  But I have not bought OR eaten tuna since I began biomedical treatment for my son several years ago.  I would like to add all Autistic spectrum children and ADHD children to the list of tuna NON consumers.

Other seafood to avoid would be swordfish, sea bass, and shark.

Silver Dental Amalgams need to be avoided!

Do not get you or your child’s caries filled with “silver” amalgams.  NEW FLASH…these fillings are not really silver, they a “quick silver…AKA Mercury!”  These amalgams are 50% mercury by weight are are very toxic to put in and continually release small amounts of mercury daily with normal wear, eating and teeth grinding!  There is ongoing controversy about how harmful these amalgams can be.  Please contact me if you are interested in having them removed.  There are 2 dentists in Atlanta who have  proper training and equipment needed for safely removing dental amalgams.  I will design a removal protocol for you as this can temporarily increase you toxic load.  Apparently drilling out these amalgams can vaporize the amalgam and CAN do more harm is precautions are not taken.

Environmental Pollutants

Toxic Exposure occurs every day for all of us.  Protect you kids as much as you can by avoiding the common daily exposures.  This can really add up over a year or a lifetime!  Think about your air…do you live near a coal burning plant?  Any treated lumber on an outdoor deck or play equipment…or treated mulch?  What about the food you grow or buy?  Is it organic or has it been sprayed with herbicides or pesticides?  What about your pots and pans?  Are they aluminum?  Do you let your child drink out of aluminum cans?  Do you microwave your food in plasticware or glass?  Have you tested your water for purity?

Vaccines and Heavy Metals

A comment on vaccines.  I feel that we need some vaccines to protect from Polio and Lock Jaw(Tetnus), and Whooping cough(Pertussis) and Diphtheria and others.  I WISH that all vaccines were GREEN.  Bur for now, I recommend that if your child is on the spectrum OR has ADD/ADHD symptoms, avoid all further vaccines until neurological development is complete.  I have an extremely modified schedule for Neurotypical children either with affected siblings or without affected siblings.  I have different Detox protocols that I use while administering my modified vaccine schedule.

Arsenic in chicken

Kids love chicken nuggets!  I love chicken nuggets!  Inorganic chicken will likely have arsenic in it. Tyson has stopped using arsenic, so if you do not go organic, at least chose Tyson!  Please see this article from the NY Times for more info.  You may want to borrow my tinfoil hat after you read this.  Who in the government gets and approves these great ideas?

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/05/dining/05well.html

Here is another great article…

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070409115746.htm

Happy reading…

Yours,

Dr. GF

RDI training continues…Loss of Resilience!

November 3rd, 2009

How many of you out there have done this training already?  Please encourage me to persist!!  hahaha!

Seriously though, this week we learned about the Breakdown of the Guided Participation Relationship between the parent and the child.  I just want all of you to know how fascinating this is to me.  All behaviors in the/my child are the direct result of the loss of resilience.  …(this is key here!!!)

Here is the definition from the dictionary…

Resilience: 1 : the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress.
2 : an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change

(Sounds like me and Sam at the mall 2 saturdays before Christmas of 98–a tantrum that has been written down in history!  I sill remember the stares from the other mothers who could control their children!)

Basically, as parents, we are responsible for developing resilience in our children by ” stressing” them with new situations as a part of growing up.  But, we can not stress our child too far, just far enough to learn, then give them a safe place to escape back to.  If we push too far and too fast, we get a meltdown.  All children learn by this relationship between parent and child.  You see, the alternating between STRESS and SAFETY builds resilience in your child.  They no longer have to fear change because they KNOW that they can survive or “adjust easily to misfortune or change.”

In the child with ASD, this relationship tends to breaks down early because the slightest stress will trigger a meltdown.  The child will “escape” the stressful situation by averting his eyes, rocking, or other stim.  The child, then, is fearful to try anything new in order to reduce stress.  Any input from a parent my be stressful at this point and the child may “cut out” or limit contact with us.   All this leads to no interactive learning and no Dynamic Intelligence being developed.  This leads to underdevelopment of the brain in certain areas which is termed Neuronal Underconnectivity!  Sounds terrible, doesn’t it?

Neuronal Underconnectivity on the brain level equals poor resilience on the social level.  This leads to dependence on Static Intelligence such as learning words, scripting actions or conversations, forcing eye contact at certain times etc…  So, the child has a hard time putting all these bits of static knowledge together when faced with a new situation.  If a new situation occurs, then the child gets stressed, which leads to rocking, stimming, humming, biting fingernails, or possibly a full fledged meltdown!

The bottom line is this: Restore the parent-child guided relationship, and navigate through a series of stress-coping real life situations and voila!  …resilience is restored to your child who can now navigate alone through life’s unknown turmoil…Maybe have a friend, or drive a car, hold a job, go to college, or gasp…even get married!  The end goal is to make your child be the best that he/she can be, what ever level of functioning that is.

The end goal sounds delightful, but you and I know that there is a lot of work required to restore resilience.  I will tell you this…Shoot for the stars!  If you only land on the Moon, it is still better than where you started!

Ever the Optimist,

Your Dr. GF

Curcumin

October 27th, 2009

What is Curcumin?

Curcumin is a substance derived from the spice Tumeric and is responsible for giving curry its yellow color and delicious flavor.  This spice is from the Curcma Longa plant which is native to Indonesia and South India.    Curcumin was first used as a spice and then was found to have fabulous medicinal qualities.

Has Curcumin been proven to help anything?

YES!  In many studies, Curcumin has been proven to fight cancer and inflammation.  Curcumin possesses anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic and anti-microbial properties.  WOW!!!  This herb contains important phytonutrients as well as natural COX 2 inhibition.

Are there any other medical benefits?

YES!  Studies show many other benefits as well.  Curcumin improves cholesterol by lowering LDL and raising HDL.  It also preserves kidney function, protects against Alzheimer’s disease, improves indigestion, fights Chron;s disease, and decreases liver inflammation.

Are there medical benefits specific to Autism?

YES!  In autism, Curcumin has been shown to reduce gas and bloating, while aiding in the absorption of protein and the ability to digest fats.  Curcumin maintains and improves GI flora and supports liver function and the body’s natural Detox system.  Many Biomedical MDs use curcumin to reduce gut inflammation and thereby, healing the “leaky gut” phenomenon  (this is why our kids respond to special restrictive diets).  I have seen Curcumin heal several children’s inflamed GI tract enough to allow resumption of a regular organic diet. Once the tight junctions in your child’s gut heal, your child can eat gluten and casein again without the terrible side effects (because the excitotoxins will not be leaking anymore)!!!

Many Biomedical MDs report that Curcumin helps with kids that are suffering from bloating, gas, reflux, diarrhea OR constipation.

If you think you would like to try Curcumin, then do this simple test on your child…give motrin once daily for 1 week and if your child seems improved, then Curcumin will likely work for him/her!  Motrin and Curcumin are both anti-inflammatory and work by COX 2 inhibition.

What is the safety record?

FDA trials prove that Curcumin is very safe.  Humans were given up to 10g of curcumin daily and the FDA found no evidence of toxicity.  Some cases of contact dermatitis and mild stomache upset have been reported.  A rare case of liver toxicity has been reported in someone with liver disease who was taking high doses for a long period of time.  .

How do I get Curcumin?

You can get Curmcumin just about anywhere.  It is available in healthfood stores and widely on the internet.  I would caution everyone to get Curcumin from a reputable source as it is an herb and could have any number of toxins sprayed on the leaves…etc.  I recommend Lee Silsby Compounding Pharmacy because they constantly test for purity and they offer Enhansa–the most potent curcumin available.  Some insurances are covering Curcumin if you have a prescription.

DO NOT USE IF YOU ARE/HAVE:

…pregnant, gallstones, liver disease, or are a heavy drinker.

Drug interactions:  None.

Caution: Please stop taking Curcumin at least 7 days before surgery and it may thin the blood.

I hope this helps everyone understand Curcumin.  I am very excited about this herb and am using it more and more.  My own son, Sam, is taking it now and is doing great!

Questions are welcome!

Your Dr. Girlfriend:)

RDI parent training continues!

September 22nd, 2009

Below is my RDI update/ lesson plan for the week…

1. Am I ready to take the necessary steps to help my child, even if it is difficult?  YES!

2. I must know that I have failed as a parent because I do not have the needed “tools” for my special needs child.  YES, I GET THAT!  I AM ALL OUT OF IDEAS NOW AND AM NOW GETTING HELP FROM AN EXPERT!

3. I must treat the whole child from 3 perspectives, biologically, psychologically and socially.  ON THIS ONE THING, I AM AHEAD!  I AM TREATING HIM BIOMEDICALLY AND I HAVE FOUND THAT IT IS NOT ENOUGH, EVEN THOUGH SAM HAS MADE GREAT IMPROVEMENTS.  HE WILL NOT JUST CATCH UP WITH HIS PEERS ON HIS OWN

4. Sam has learned static skills (like using the potty and zipping his zipper).  Now, he must learn to be dynamic!  I AM SUPER EXCITED ABOUT THIS!

Yours, Dr. Girlfriend

What about TMG?

September 22nd, 2009

TMG is composed of three methyl groups attached to a glycine atom. It can “donate” methyl groups.

TMG is a metabolite of the B vitamin family product called Choline. Choline has 4 methyl groups, TMG has 3 and DMG has 2. These substances plus Folic acid, Vitamin B-12 and SAM-e are all methyl donors. Methyl donors can contribute methyl groups to biological processes such as liver function, detoxification and cellular replication (production of new cells). Methylation protects the kidneys and stimulates production of the fat-transporting molecule l-carnitine.

TMG helps the liver metabolize fats, preventing the accumulation of fats in the liver. It also helps to detoxify chemicals in the liver, while protecting the liver from being damaged by those chemicals.

Methylation with TMG helps to convert the dangerous, inflammatory chemical homocysteine into the amino acid methionine. TMG may lower homocysteine when B-6, B-12 and folic acid cannot.

TMG is also known as Betaine.  TMG may be useful for autistic children, along with B-6 and magnesium. It may also be useful in strengthening the body’s immune response against pathogenic bacteria. There is very preliminary evidence that TMG and methyl donors may help against some forms of seizures.

TMG is 50% more effective than DMG in any application where the methyl groups are useful. Otherwise, they can used interchangeably.  Most Biomedical MDs will start with TMG and if no response or a hyper response, will switch to DMG.

Personally, if I get “hyperactivity” as a side effect of TMG or DMG, I always go back to the GUT!  What am I feeding down there?  Yeast or a bacterial imbalance?  It may be time for a stool culture!

Otherwise, I am looking for increased focus and attention and language as the child makes their own neurotransmitters.  The Detox that occurs in the liver is an added benefit, but one that parents can not “see” right away.

I hope this helps you all to understand TMG and Methylation!

Your Dr. Girlfriend,  Jennifer

PS…let me know if any of you have a supplement that you want to know more about!

Parent Training for RDI

September 15th, 2009

Wow…Who knew “parent training” would take so long?

Well, I am here to report on our RDI progress, and yes, I am like anyone else…I want instant results instantly!  Too bad, I must get trained first..hahaha!

We have signed up and paid our first installment.  We registered and paid for the OS (operating system) and we have completed our first assignment!  This assignment was informative and very relevant as the title was Quality of Life.  This assignment  was a 30 min video on what were the predictors of a high quality of life followed by a quiz.  The million dollar question was..does IQ OR early speech OR early intervention predict a better quality of life for our Spectrum children?  The answer is NO!!! None of these predict anything about the quality of life for our kids!

The quality of life for all children of the Autistic Spectrum was poor, whether the IQ was 70 or 150 OR the speech was normal in development or late, OR despite early interventions vs. no interventions.  In fact, most research shows that less than 10% of Spectrum Adults have friends, jobs or live independently, even if they managed to graduate from college.  Spectrum kids want the same things out of life that neurotypical kids want…despite that others may think they are happy to be an “island”.

The key was that all children on the Spectrum have Static IQ rather than Dynamic IQ.  Our kids may acquire static knowledge–like facts–but this does not improve their life or future happiness.  Basically, our children have trouble making and keeping friends, finding and keeping jobs, and living independently because they are too inflexible in their approach to life…IE poor problem solving skills.

I don’t know about you, but I have experienced this daily with my child.  He has rigid thinking and when interacting with his siblings, he does not “listen” or take advise or consider their opinions.  I see how this lack of DYNAMIC IQ would make others not want to be his friend or work on a project with him.  I can see how employers would want to hire a problem solver, and not someone who can not be a team player, while making co workers mad.

If RDI can help Sam acquire the skill of Dynamic Thinking,I will be impressed!  I will personally thank Dr. Gutstein.

More later!

Your Dr. Girlfriend,

Jennifer