The Un-Prescription for Autism: A Natural Approach for a Calmer, Happier, and More Focused Child

The Un-Prescription for Autism: A Natural Approach for a Calmer, Happier, and More Focused Child


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814436639
Publisher: AMACOM
Publication date: 04/01/2016
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 515,447
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

JANET LINTALA, DC founded and heads Autism Health!, serving children and adults in 12 states. Her advice integrates the clinical expertise of a nonprescription autism practice with the firsthand experience only an autism parent can deliver. MARTHA W. MURPHY is an award-winning health writer.

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The Un-Prescription for Autism

A Natural Approach for a Calmer, Happier, and More Focused Child

By Janet Lintala, Martha W. Murphy, Jill Seale


Copyright © 2016 Janet Lintala, DC
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-8144-3664-6


The Rules of Tack Sitting

"Tacks" Rules, By Sidney MacDonald Baker, MD

Rule Number One: If you are sitting on a tack it takes a lot of aspirin to make it feel good. The appropriate treatment for tack-sitting is tack removal.

Rule Number Two: If you are sitting on two tacks, removing one does not produce a 50% improvement. Chronic illness is, or becomes, multifactorial.

"May I be blunt? You have a thirteen-year-old daughter who weighs forty-eight pounds. She's less than five feet tall, and you keep an appetite suppressant patch on her from morning till night. I think she's starving." Ava was on her first visit to my office and quietly played with a game on her iPad the entire time.

Her parents wore stunned expressions. "What do you mean, an 'appetite suppressant patch'? It's for behavior and she's worn it for years," they say.

Ava is on the autism spectrum, and had the typical trio of problems I see in my patients: chronic constipation, disrupted sleep patterns, and irritability. Apparently Ava behaved quite differently — lots of hitting and biting — when she wasn't wearing this ADHD stimulant-type patch. Her doctor prescribed it to control aggression and irritability, without delving deeper to find out why her behavior was so difficult, and told the parents to keep it on from the moment she woke up to right before she went to sleep at night.

Three months later, Ava's parents returned to my office for a follow-up visit. "I took the patch off over the school break and she ate from morning until night," her mother reported. Ava had gained fifteen pounds and grown an inch since her first visit. The school nurse takes the patch off at lunch time now, and Ava is eating and growing normally again.

In 2007, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) encouraged pediatricians to assess and treat underlying medical conditions before prescribing medications for difficult behaviors in ASD and went as far as to state, "Medications have not been proven to correct the core deficits of ASDs and are not the primary treatment." AAP went on to say, "In some cases, medical factors may cause or exacerbate maladaptive behaviors, and recognition and treatment of medical conditions may eliminate the need for psychopharmacologic agents." I thought this would change the way children on the spectrum are assessed and overmedicated. It did not. The conventional medical approach to children with ASD continues to match prescriptions to behaviors.

For many years, the public seemed superficially aware of gastrointestinal (GI) troubles on the spectrum, although these children have so many issues that it got lost in the noise. Then, in January 2010, a stunning consensus report headed by Dr. Timothy Buie of Massachusetts General, the teaching hospital for Harvard University, brought these issues into better focus and connected the dots between gastrointestinal issues, disrupted sleep patterns, and difficult behaviors such as irritability, self-injuring, and aggression. I thought it would dramatically change the way children and adults with ASD are evaluated and overmedicated. It did not.

I think it's time we change the way conventional medicine looks at and treats children with ASD.

What You See Isn't What You Get

The DSM-5 description of ASD is what we see, what we know, and what we expect when it comes to autism spectrum disorder, as in Figure 1-1.

Typically, when a child is diagnosed with ASD, we launch into intense therapies and classroom supports designed to address the deficits described in the DSM-5. Rigorous demands are placed on the child as we try to improve communication, social skills, behavior, and learning, to name a few. A lot of time, effort, and expense are put into improving function, and the child is working harder than anyone else.

What the DSM-5 doesn't indicate is that the child may actually be staggering under a silent burden of health challenges, such as those in Figure 1-2.

These health issues may dramatically affect your child's brain, mood, language, energy level, and ability to learn. Our current conventional approach is focused on medicating behaviors caused by these medical issues into submission (while still leaving the tack in the child's hind end!). In reality, we have suppressed the symptoms, while leaving the original underlying health challenges simmering beneath the surface.

Meanwhile, we continue placing demands on the child in the classroom and in therapy sessions. Interventions, therapies, and behavior programs cannot possibly be at their maximum potential for success when the child they are aimed at is powering through a haze of discomfort and dysfunction. We are asking these children to do their best while they feel their worst.

The children are struggling through their day in a fog of unaddressed health issues. (See Figure 1-3) The perfect storm continues to build, as the medications used to control behavior and mood often amplify and exacerbate these underlying health conditions.

No wonder skilled therapists and teachers feel they can't get through to them. One speech pathologist describes it "as if the child with ASD is in a locked room, and I'm standing outside yelling through a locked door."

Did you know that when your child's health is properly supported, these issues can often be minimized, allowing for better focus and function? What am I saying? I'm saying your child will still be autistic but may eat, sleep, and play better, be in a better mood, and have better speech and social skills when these health issues are properly addressed. With some simple natural support strategies, ASD children may catch fewer colds and see their allergies calm down. Every child responds differently, but wouldn't you love for yours to just have a good day most of the time?

I often hear autism parents say their child doesn't need to be "fixed." They accept him just as he is. I get that — I'm an autism mom and I love my son just as he is — but this host of physical and medical issues, which can affect everything from language, eye contact, and social skills to sleep, constipation, irritability, and aggression, shouldn't be part of who any child is. Accepting your child for who he is doesn't mean you have to accept poor health and impaired function as part of the package. Pulling out these tacks will let his true personality shine through and give him his best chance of success with therapies, school, and life. We need to support vibrant health in these children so that they can be who they are meant to be.

And that's what this book will help you do. We'll explore these underlying health challenges and some simple ways to support balance and healing for your child. Your child must feel his best to do his best.

Would you love to try therapies and programs available for autism, but your child can't even get invited to a birthday party right now? With a calmer child whose gastrointestinal dysfunction, immune dysfunction, and sleep deprivation have been addressed, families can access services and begin therapies they never would have been able to before. The tremendous hope and joy this new reality brings to parents is something I have experienced firsthand and see time and time again at my center.

The medical model in our country is based on very brief visits, at which well-meaning doctors who are pressured for time tend to offer a prescription or even a supplement that "matches" any behaviors or symptoms you might mention during your allotted time (see Table 1-1).

Prescriptions and medications are useful tools (after all, this is not the Anti-Prescription you're reading!), but now that you've gotten the Mira-LAX, clonidine, and risperidone, you're probably finding they aren't the complete answer you were hoping for. They seemed to help at first with the constipation, lack of sleep, and irritability. They gave you a brief honeymoon period and, after a while, seemed to lose effectiveness. Then the dosages had to be increased, right?

The trouble is, these behaviors and symptoms — can't poop, can't sleep, can't behave — are signs of deeper internal problems that these medications do not address. I've seen parents put young children on enough melatonin to put down a horse in an attempt to keep them asleep all night! But no one is asking why they can't sleep soundly. Doctors are putting two- and three-year-olds on risperidone! But no one is asking why they are so irritable and restless. Although clinicians and researchers have found many of those answers, sadly, conventional medical approaches do not reflect that yet. You need a plan that addresses the source, not the symptom.

These helpful medications and supplements may be employed as temporary "bandages" without your realizing there is more that could be done to bring real relief. And while they may be helpful on a short-term basis, our parent radar is telling us that they aren't the complete answer. Check Table 1-2 and see if your child is using any "bandages" before we get started:


Let's continue to explore the health challenges of autism spectrum disorder-how they affect the brain, behavior, and speech-and discover the areas where your child might benefit from the tools you'll find in this book.

My New Patient Questionnaire

The New Patient Questionnaire may at first seem overly long, but it is designed to shine a light on things other doctors may not even notice (but I'll bet you have!) that are vital to figuring out how to help your child. This questionnaire, which I use at my office, not only reveals areas of concern that can be addressed, but also helps build a custom Action Plan and team of experts for your child. It will show us when a referral is appropriate for therapy, a psychological evaluation, a developmental optometry evaluation, a sensory program, a behavioral program, and so on. If indicated, lab tests may need to be ordered. The plan will include everything you need to know to maintain the gains, too, so you can say good-bye to the two-steps forward, one-step backward dance you have probably been practicing.

So what are some of the signs and symptoms that may indicate health problems in your child? Who makes a good candidate for the Un-Prescription Action Plan? Let's start by stepping back and taking a really good look with new eyes at your son or daughter.

Here's a clinical snapshot of common characteristics I see in about three out of four of my patients. Children with some or most of the characteristics are usually the most dramatic responders at my center. If your child has these characteristics, sit up and take notice. Better yet, take action!

Common Characteristics

[] Pale, pasty skin

[] Deep, dark under-eye circles

[] Puffiness under the lower eyelids

[] Frequent colds

[] Runny nose

[] The "allergic salute" — that frequent vertical hand swipe at a runny nose that can create a horizontal crease across the tip of the nose

[] A sleepy, foggy, or tired look

[] Acting wired but tired

[] Eczema

[] Rashes on face, bottom, arms, legs, back

[] Red ring around his bottom

[] Poor eye contact

[] Chewing on clothing

If you checked off some of these, your child may have GI challenges that could benefit from proper support. This could eliminate pain and discomfort that is causing challenging behaviors and sleep disruption. And there is a good chance he may respond with improved alertness and eye contact, and better immune response, language, and imagination, because as you'll see, the brain is downstream from the gut in a number of ways. In other words, some pollution is being made in the gut that affects brain function. It's not news anymore that ASD children have gastrointestinal issues. Doctors are relying on MiraLAX, clonidine, and risperidone to fill the gap, but your child needs more.


Next, let's sneak a peek at the medication log, because it will tell me right away many of the things your child is struggling with. See Table 1-3.

Which medications and supplements does your child take, and what does that tell us about him or her? Are you just going to accept those issues as "who your child is," or would you like to look deeper?

If you need an official diagnosis to obtain an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or another source of aid or support, or just to satisfy personal curiosity, I suggest you take your child to a psychologist who specializes in comprehensive psychological testing.

Don't settle for someone spending fifteen minutes in a room with your child and then telling you that he is on the spectrum. Why comprehensive testing? Because it may not be autism you're dealing with, or your child may have autism in addition to a mood disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive–compulsive disorder, or an intellectual disability. Each child deserves a complete evaluation.

Before you get started, take photos and videos of your child. You'll have something for comparison later, when you wonder if you're dreaming or not.

Let's go on a virtual "New Patient" visit to my office. Let's start at the beginning — with your pregnancy — and look for early indicators that your child may need specific health support. Watch your Action Plan components build as you work through each section. Write down any suggestions as you go, especially if a suggestion comes up repeatedly for different sections of the questionnaire. When you're finished, you'll have an idea of which protocols you will need (many can be found in Chapters 6, 7, and 9 and others in the Chapter 9 Online Action Plan), what other therapies and professionals to add to your team, and which testing might be of use. We'll arrange them in a logical order later. I'll teach as I go.

The Pregnancy

Any problems with the pregnancy?

[] Bacterial Infections

[] Antibiotics

The Birth

[] Vaginal

[] C-section

* If yes, did your doctor transfer birth canal bacteria to your baby with gauze?

[] Did the baby receive any antibiotics at the hospital?

Infancy/Toddler Years

Research indicates that children on the spectrum may struggle with GI dysfunction including reflux, Candida, constipation and diarrhea, mitochondrial dysfunction, and alterations in their immune system. 12 Answer the following questions and see if your child may be affected, too:

[] Breast-fed or bottle-fed

[] History of thrush (white overgrowth of yeast in mouth)

[] Prone to diaper rash

[] Prone to body rashes

[] Red ring around the anus/cracking/ bleeding

[] History of strep infections

[] Sinus infections

[] Ear infections

[] Caught a lot of colds as an infant

The gut is the "local neighborhood" for the immune system and 70 percent of the immune system lives there. How nice the neighborhood is determines how healthy the immune system is. GI support becomes important here.

[] Asthma

[] Allergies

[] Age solid foods were introduced

[] Sleep habits as an infant and as a toddler


[] Did your baby hit milestones on time and then regress?

[] Did your baby hit milestones on time and then hit a plateau?

[] Was your baby just different from the beginning?

[] Was head circumference larger than average?

Language and Communication

Research indicates that children on the spectrum may have inflammation, including brain inflammation, oxidative stress, and nutritional deficiencies, that may affect their language, social skills, and communication. Answer the following questions and see if your child may be affected, too:

[] Does your child understand what is being said to him?

[] Does she use low-tech methods of communication like sign language or picture communication systems?

[] Does he use high-tech communication such as an iPad app like Proloquo2Go?

[] Can your child speak?

[] Does he express needs and wants?

[] Does he use "I want" statements?


Excerpted from The Un-Prescription for Autism by Janet Lintala, Martha W. Murphy, Jill Seale. Copyright © 2016 Janet Lintala, DC. Excerpted by permission of AMACOM.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Foreword Elizabeth Mumper xi

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction: A Mother's Story 1

Part 1 Why-Learning the Rules

1 The Rules of Tack Sitting 9

2 Get Organized Before You Start 55

3 You Are What You Don't Poop: Be Amazed by Enzymes 78

4 Dirty Jobs: The Power of Probiotics 104

5 Shlts and Giggles: The Antimicrobial Rotation 122

Part 2 How - Taking Action

6 The Un-Prescription Action Plan for Basic GI Support 147

7 Why Is My Child Always Sick?: How to Stop Catching Colds Right Away 168

8 The Forgotten Ones: Adults on the Spectrum 186

9 A Sample Year of the Basic GI Support Protocol 203

10 Oops, My Bad!: How to Prevent and Handle Setbacks 217

Epilogue: Twenty Years on the Front Lines-Evan, Liam, and Eli 235

Endnotes 239

Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations 265

Helpful Resources 271

Testimonials from Parents 275

Index 277

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The Un-Prescription for Autism: A Natural Approach for a Calmer, Happier, and More Focused Child 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
ReadersFavorite4 8 months ago
Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite The Un-Prescription for Autism: A Natural Approach for a Calmer, Happier, and More Focused Child by Janet Lintala is a wonderful tool for parents, guardians, and teachers handling kids with autism, a book written by a professional in the field, and the founder of the Autism Health center. This book offers non-medical tools that can dramatically transform the lives of children with autism. In this book, readers will learn to understand the underlying conditions affecting the behavior of autistic kids, determine the best protocols to apply to them, and correct the disregarded health conditions with probiotics, digestive enzymes, anti-fungal, and other treatments. The explanations are so clear that they provide a wealth of knowledge to readers. It is interesting to notice how the author weaves personal experience, the most recent research in the field, and her clinical expertise into this informative book to provide clear answers to readers with children who are autistic. Janet Lintala’s voice is both sympathetic and eloquent, charged with authority and confidence, and the reader has the clear feeling that they are dealing with an expert in the field, someone writing from their own intimate experience with autism. The language is accessible and it flows beautifully. Readers will enjoy the manifold examples that are provided, the convincing facts that corroborate the author’s insights and practical advice. The Un-Prescription for Autism: A Natural Approach for a Calmer, Happier, and More Focused Child is an invaluable tool to help readers successfully deal with autism in kids and the protocols and solutions offered tackle the underlying issues behind this condition painlessly.
ReadersFavorite3 8 months ago
Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite The Un-Prescription for Autism: A Natural Approach for a Calmer, Happier, and More Focused Child by Janet Lintala is an invaluable tool for families and parents with children diagnosed with autism, a book that offers answers to the pressing questions that most readers face when it comes to determining the best way to help their children with autism. It is interesting to note that the author of this book is an autism mom herself and the founder of Autism Health center. In this book, she shares the natural and best protocols to help improve the well being of children with autism, making relevant references to recent research and developments in the field. Readers will learn to walk past the easy fixes — dishing out medications to suppress the problems — and focus more on handling the underlying issues. Janet Lintala’s expertise, experience with patients, and wisdom come across powerfully in this book. She writes with simplicity, a style that makes her work accessible to a wide audience, and her voice comes across as sympathetic and understanding. The Un-Prescription for Autism: A Natural Approach for a Calmer, Happier, and More Focused Child is a compelling, information-packed book that offers clear explanations and advises parents with autistic children on what to do to help their children. If you are looking for a book that will help you understand the factors that affect the health of your autistic child most, then this is the book to read. The confidence with which the author writes is clear proof that she has mastery of the subject. This book is a great gift for families with autistic kids.
ReadersFavorite2 8 months ago
Reviewed by Gisela Dixon for Readers' Favorite The Un-Prescription for Autism: A Natural Approach for a Calmer, Happier, and More Focused Child by Janet Lintala is a break-through book for autistic children and adults. Janet Lintala, herself a mother of a child on the spectrum, as well as a medical professional, brings her personal and professional experience to this book. The Un-Prescription for Autism covers several important tips, strategies, and information about how to support good health on the autism spectrum. Some of the important points covered in this book are the connection between physical ailments and irritability and behavioral issues in ASD, including common physical conditions found in people with ASD such as gastrointestinal issues, colds, runny nose, sleeping problems, immune system dysfunction, irritable bowel movement, and the ways to manage these using probiotics and altering the body chemistry naturally. Also included are case studies and examples with some short questionnaires and exercises interspersed throughout the book. I thought The Un-Prescription for Autism was an excellent book for anyone who has autism, or knows someone who has autism or any of the disorders on the Autism Spectrum. This book is unique in my experience in the sense that it actually provides some illuminating insights about the connection of the GI tract and the immune system to some of the behavioral and attention problems associated with ASD. I don’t know how many people are aware of this fact, and that not only can this be managed with probiotics, etc. but it actually provides results! Although this book predominantly discusses ASD in the context of children, it does devote a chapter to adults, and these support protocols are certainly applicable to both. Janet’s humorous and engaging writing style makes this an easy and extremely educational read. I highly recommend it.
ReadersFavorite1 8 months ago
Reviewed by Vernita Naylor for Readers' Favorite What is autism? Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects the social interaction and communication skills of the individual. Celebrities from Sylvester Stallone, Holly Robinson Peete and Ed Asner to Dan Marino all have family members that are autistic. The Un-Prescription for Autism: A Natural Approach for a Calmer, Happier, and More Focused Child by Janet Lintala is more than a book; it's a self help resource where you will have assigned reading and action plans to be accomplished throughout the book to help you to better understand the disorder. This book was developed as the author and her husband went through the challenges of raising their sons. Janet Lintala is also the Autism Health! Founder, a center which provides the formula and encouragement that all is not lost. Her son, Evan, who was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, was able to reduce 80% of his difficult behaviors within three weeks by being given a special diet. Despite a few small challenges, Evan is now in college and achieving many accomplishments; and the family has now been able to settle into a more comfortable and relaxing family pattern. Regardless of where your child’s circumstances fall within the spectrum, Janet Lintala has thought of everything from the financial effects and the various levels of discord to the challenges that your child will experience. This book was extremely informative and confirmed my suspicions of why autism is so prevalent in today’s culture. Our lives are centered around a variety of things, from what we eat to our environment, and there is a cause and effect syndrome that occurs. Children diagnosed within the autistic spectrum are no different. For me, it was interesting to learn that there are different types of Autism Spectrum Disorders, from Autistic Disorder and Asperger Syndrome to Pervasive Developmental Disorder. Janet Lintala provides some explanations as well as clarity from her own experiences about not only its effects, but in providing support. She has also created a website dedicated to the continued effort of supporting those that either have children or family members affected by autism. In this book, you will read parent testimonials, find a list of healthy resources from liquid supplements and helpful articles to locating a specialist, learn a glossary of terms and abbreviations, and see charts and graphs to make the material easy to read. The Un-Prescription for Autism can definitely be useful for understanding the path and the journey that you, your family and your child are experiencing.
ReadersFavorite 8 months ago
Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite The Un-Prescription for Autism: A Natural Approach for a Calmer, Happier, and More Focused Child is a book on how parents can help their autistic children to live a healthy life as it is possible. Written by Dr. Janet Lintala, who is mother to an autistic child, this book details how parents can support the health of their ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) children without giving them medications that just simply cloak the symptoms. The medications make the child “submissive;” however, Dr. Lintala believes that is unnecessary. Instead of feeding the parents of autistic children medical jargon and information that is not useful for them, the book gives sound advice and a plan of action that they can actually work on. This book can help parents with nonverbal autistic children and children displaying varying levels of issues. This is not a cure! This book gives parents a chance to heal their children so that they can grow and function better. This is a natural method of support for autism that helps to make aggressive children calmer, helps them with their speech and to simply get better with time, patience and the loving care of their parents. What I really appreciated about this book was the fact that it did not give any false hope, saying that autistic children will be cured and be like other children of their age. The book is informative without being too complex and helps parents really understand what they should do rather than jam their minds with ideas and procedures that don’t actually work. Sound advice from a professional and it shows!