The bottom line is that autism is treatable and recovery is possible.

By William J. Walsh, PhD

INTRODUCTION

Over the past 50 years, autism has transformed from a rare childhood disorder to a major epidemic impacting one in every 110 childrenin the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Fifty years ago, most schoolteachers experienced one or two autism cases in their entire career. Today, teachers learn of new cases each month. For several decades, the increasing numbers were attributed to better efficiency of diagnosis. However, this cannot explain the continuing sharp increases from 1990 forward, during which time the syndrome of autism has become well-known throughout the medical field.

Until 1960, most autism cases involved clearsymptoms at birth. During ensuing decades, however, regressive autism rates gradually increased and now represent about 80% of cases. The reason for increased prevalence of regressive autism is considered by many to be unknown. In typical regressive cases, children develop normally until age 16-22 months and then a fairly sudden and shocking decline in functionality occurs. Typical cases involve loss of speech, a divergent gaze, odd repetitive movements, disinterest in parents and siblings, and emotional meltdowns. Most parents are horrified upon receiving a diagnosis of autism
and being told the condition is incurable and will lead to a lifetime of severe handicap.This scenario is still common in mainstream medicine, with many families advised to institutionalize their child. Fortunately, many doctors and families have refused to accept this dismal verdict and have engaged in promising

exploratory treatments, based on available scientific evidence.

In my experience with 6,500 children onthe autism spectrum, thousands of families have reported exciting improvements, with hundreds reporting complete recovery. Many of my medical colleagues have achieved similar successes. The bottom line is that autism is treatable and recovery is possible.

Some of the mysteries of autism have been resolved by new research. For example, it is now clear that high oxidative stress and undermethylation are distinctive features of this disorder. In addition the emerging science of epigenetics is providing insights into the underlying causes of autism.

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