treatment for autism in children

The Best Treatment For Autism In Children

Do you live in Ottawa? Are you looking for the best treatment for Autism in children?

If so, in the right place.

Today, I will discuss how starting with gut health is the best treatment for Autism in children.

In This Article:

Let’s jump in and start with what I consider are the achievable goals when in the treatment of children with Autism.

What Are The Achievable Goals?

My Pediatric Functional Medicine approach to the achievable goals of treating Autism includes the following: 

  • Don’t treat Autism; I treat the child.
  • Never look to cure children of Autism.
  • I first look at optimizing gut health.

Let’s examine why gut health is important when treating children with Autism.

Why Look At Gut Health In The Treatment Of Autism In Children?

Researchers are finding more and more the link between gut health and Autism.

For example, a conclusion from a 2014 paper said,

“emerging evidence for a gut-brain connection in Autism wherein GI dysfunction may contribute to the pathogenesis or severity of ASD symptoms”

Typical gut symptoms I observe in Autistic children include:

  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Diahrrea
  • Gas

Clinical signs of poor gut health include Dybiosis (an imbalance of bacteria, fungi and parasites), Bacterial and Fungal Overgrowth (SIBO and SIFO) and Intestinal Permeability (Leaky gut).

What Are The Consequences Of Poor Gut Health?

Poor gut health can lead to the following:

  • Poor Neurotransmitter (NT) Function – NTs control GI gut motility, bile, and enzyme secretion. Inadequate secretions can lead to poor absorption of nutrients.
  • Neuroinflammation – Inflammation in the gut can lead to inflammation in the nervous system, especially if there is a leaky gut. Neuroinflammation can lead to anxiety and behavioural issues such as aggression.
  • Imbalance In Gut Microbiota – This can lead to anxiety and behavioural issues.

How Do I Assess Gut Health?

There are three primary resources I use to assess gut health:

  • A Comprehensive Case History – gathering information about current symptoms, past medical history, family history, and diet and lifestyle all help me understand the current state of the child’s gut health.
  • Muscle Response Testing – Muscle testing is beneficial. I use it to help confirm the conclusions from the case history.
  • PCR Stool Testing – PCR Stool testing, such as a GI Map Test, shows me the composition of a child’s microbiota, including bacteria, parasites, fungi and viruses. In addition, it looks at secretion function and inflammatory and leaky gut markers.

Let’s now look at the typical stool test findings in Autistic children.

Typical Stool Test Results

The following are the typical GI Map stool test results I find in Autistic children:

  • Overgrowth of gut pathogens
  • Overgrowth of normal bacteria
  • High beneficial bacteria
  • Poor digestive function
  • Gluten sensitivity
  • Inflammation
  • Intestinal Hyperpermeability or Leaky gut

Let’s now look at how these imbalances in gut health can affect symptoms in an Autistic child.

How Do Imbalances In The Gut Composition Affect Children With Autism

The GI Map stool test may show the following:

  • Overgrowth of a gut pathogen such as C. diff can lead to a build-up of the neurotransmitter, Dopamine, which can cause behavioural issues.
  • An overgrowth of E.coli can affect serotonin uptake, which can cause issues in children with Autism.
  • Overgrowth of friendly beneficial bacteria such as Clostridia can lead to anxiety and impulse control in children with Autism.
  • The overgrowth of opportunistic bacteria can cause anxiety and behavioural issues.
  • The overgrowth of opportunistic bacteria commonly triggers anxiety and mood issues.
  • Candida overgrowth, which can promote high histamine.

Let’s now look at how poor digestive function affects children with Autism.

How Does Poor Digestive Function Affect Children With Autism

The GI Map stool test may show the following: 

  • High-fat levels in the stool may mean poor fat digestion. Autistic children are often low in Omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Low levels of enzymes, which will mean poor digestion and absorption of nutrients.
  • High levels of b-Glucuroiddase may indicate poor Liver function and detoxification.

Finally, let’s examine how inflammation and leaky gut can affect children with Autism.

How Does Inflammation In The Gut Affect Children with Autism

As I said, gut inflammation can lead to neuroinflammation and behavioural issues, especially aggression.

The signs of inflammation on a GI Map stool test include the following:

  • High or Low Secretory IgA – A sign of food sensitivities
  • High Anti-gliadin antigens – Gluten Sensitivity
  • High Calprotectin – A sign of inflammation and possibly Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • High Zonlulin – A leaky gut

How I Treat The Gut?

The following is a summary of how I treat the gut in children with Autism:

  • Removal of all inflammatory foods – Including food sensitivities, fodmaps and sugar.
  • Treat any dybiosis – Using probiotics and antimicrobial herbs.
  • Heal a leaky gut – By lowering inflammation and using probiotics and healing supplements like glutamine.

Treating children with Autism can be challenging. 

Let’s look at the unique challenges I see when treating children with Autism.

Unique Challenges

When treating children with Autism, I face some unique challenges, including:

  • Communication of symptoms: the child may be unable to express their concerns.
  • Physical exam: the child may not want me to touch them.
  • Specimen collection: if I recommend a blood or stool test, the sample collection may be difficult for the child. 
  • Dietary changes: if I recommend dietary changes, these may be difficult for the child.
  • Texture and flavour of supplements

As you can see, there are various unique challenges to treating children with Autism, which often require practical solutions.

Finally, let’s look at what other factors I look at when treating children with Autism.

What Are The Other Factor I Consider When Treating Children With Autism?

The other factors I consider include the following:

  • Structural Issues, especially cranial dysfunctions.
  • Nutritional Deficiencies – including Omega 3 and Vitamin D.
  • Current stress – Is the child unhappy with anything in his everyday life?
  • Past Emotional Trauma
  • Past Physical Trauma – including during the birth, operations, vaccinations and concussions.
  • Environmental Toxins – including heavy metals, mould, and glyphosate.

Now It’s Over To You

Do you have a child with Autism?

What treatments for their Autism have you found most helpful?

Leave me a comment below.

Do You Need Help?

If you need help, I suggest you book a free functional medicine discovery session with me to determine whether my approach fits your child’s needs.


The information provided on this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease. Please do not apply this information without first speaking with your doctor.

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