Today I'm going to continue my weekly series aimed at raising awareness about autism by sharing and dispelling some of the common myths associated with this disorder.

Refrigerator Moms
In the 1950s, autism was much less prevalent and less was known about its origins. It was commonly held that a mother's cold and disengaged demeanor was responsible for her child's autistic behavior. This myth has been debunked by research that shows that parenting style has nothing to do with whether or not a child has autism.

Not an Epidemic
The rates of autism in the US have increase drastically over the past 50 years. Some argue that the rates are increasing, not because the disorder is becoming more prevalent, but because definitions have changed and the criteria for diagnosing it are becoming wider. While it is true that not much was known about autism in the 70s and many cases were likely mis-diagnosed, the changes in definitions and diagnosis are not solely responsible for the rising rates. The rise in rates is real and studies have shown that.

GI Issues Not More Common in Autism
In many of the most severe cases of autism, the child affected also experiences severe gastro-intestinal problems. This is the case with my youngest nephew, Elijah who suffered from chronic constipation before being put on a special diet. Many pediatricians will write-off parents' concerns and say that these are common problems for all children. But research is showing that GI issues are more common in children with autism. Many researchers now believe that autism is triggered by an auto-immune process, affecting multiple systems including the GI tract, the brain and the liver. Click here to read more and find some recommended treatments for GI problems linked to autism.

Mercury Doesn't Cause Autism
Every major characteristic of autism has been exhibited in at least several cases of documented mercury poisoning. Exposure to mercury can cause immune, sensory, neurological, motor, and behavioral dysfunctions similar to traits defining or associated with autism. Thimerosal, a preservative added to many vaccines, has become a major source of mercury in children who, within their first two years, may have received a quantity of mercury that exceeds safety guidelines. Research shows that genetic and non-genetic factors cause some children to be affected by thimerosal's adverse effects while others are not.

Autism isn't Treatable
Many parents over the years have been given the feared diagnosis of "autism" for their child and then told by their doctors that nothing can be done. Some were even told that they might as well institutionalize their child. But in more recent years parents and professionals have begun to realize that the symptoms of autism are treatable. Cilck here to find resources that will help in pursuing treatment for autism.

In September I will be leading a team on a walk in Phoenix to raise money and awareness for Autism. If you'd like to join us, you are more than welcome! And please, please, please consider donating to help us meet our goal of raising $2,500!! Funding is desperately needed!

Click here to donate or join our team and thanks again for reading!
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