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The Autism Revolution

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The Autism Revolution

Whole-Body Strategies for Making Life All It Can Be
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Move beyond conventional thinking about autism. . . . After years of treating patients and analyzing scientific data, prominent Harvard researcher and clinician Dr. Martha Herbert offers a...
Move beyond conventional thinking about autism. . . . After years of treating patients and analyzing scientific data, prominent Harvard researcher and clinician Dr. Martha Herbert offers a...
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Description-
  • Move beyond conventional thinking about autism. . . .

    After years of treating patients and analyzing scientific data, prominent Harvard researcher and clinician Dr. Martha Herbert offers a revolutionary new view of autism and a transformative strategy for dealing with it. Autism is not a hardwired impairment programmed into a child's genes and destined to remain fixed forever, as we're often told. Instead, it is the result of a cascade of events, many seemingly minor: perhaps a genetic mutation, some toxic exposures, a stressful birth, a vitamin deficiency, and a series of infections. And while other doctors may dismiss your child's physical symptoms--the diarrhea, anxiety, sensory overload, sleeplessness, immune challenges, and seizures--as coincidental or irrelevant, Dr. Herbert sees them as vital clues to what the underlying problems are, and how to help. In The Autism Revolution, she teaches you how to approach autism as a collection of problems that can be overcome--and talents that can be developed. Each success you achieve gives your child more room to become healthy and to thrive.

    Drawing from the newest research, technologies, and insights, as well as inspiring case studies of both children and adults, Dr. Herbert guides you toward restoring health and resiliency in your loved one with autism. Her specific recommendations aim to provide optimal nutrition, reduce toxic exposures, shore up the immune system, reduce stress, and open the door to learning and creativity--all by understanding and truly meeting your child's needs. As thousands of families who have cobbled together these solutions themselves already know, this program can have dramatic benefits--for your child with autism, and for you, your whole family, and your next baby as well.

    A paradigm-changing book that offers hope and healing for the millions of families who have autism in their lives, The Autism Revolution shows that there's plenty you can do every day to give someone you love the best possible gift: a life lived to the fullest potential.


    From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpts-
  • From the book

    CHAPTER 1



    Go for the Extraordinary

    Caleb tore himself away from a game with his sisters, bounced into the kitchen, and asked his mom what she was making for dinner. It was one of his favorites: gluten-free pasta and ground beef.

    He started to turn back to the girls, but paused. "Mom," he said, as casually as if he were commenting on the weather, "my autism is gone."

    "How do you know?" his astonished mother managed to ask.

    "It's easy to be with people now," the ten-year-old said matter-of-factly, and then headed back to his younger sisters.

    Joy Petersen stared, dumbfounded for a few seconds in the middle of the kitchen. It wasn't until two months later that she realized he was right.

    Caleb has his father's bright blue eyes, his mother's dark hair, and a complexion that reflects his mixed Dominican American heritage. He is still looking up at five feet, and his voice remains a little boy's for now. He wants to be a zoologist when he grows up, and is already talking about going away to college, although he understands that his parents will be sad to see him go.

    Joy recently took him to a new doctor, a specialist in treating children with autism and other special needs. Caleb noticed the photographs covering the doctor's wall and asked why the doctor was holding a gun in one of them. After talking to Caleb and his parents for a while, the doctor announced that Caleb didn't fit the criteria for autism anymore. "Yeah!" Caleb said, jumping up and pumping his arms. His mother began to sob uncontrollably.

    Joy used to dream of the day someone would say her son was no longer autistic. Of the day he'd come up to her, say he loved her, and really mean it.

    That day was unimaginable when Caleb was four, still had no language, and was so afraid that he would wail and cry when anyone other than his parents came within five feet. Joy said she would put her fingertips on his body and he would scream as if somebody had hit him. Taking care of Caleb was so overwhelming that she would often find herself in tears. There were times when she was so afraid of hurting him in her anger and stress, that she'd put him down, walk into her bedroom, shut herself in her closet, and collapse on the floor, crying.

    The doctors and therapists told her she had to be realistic. Your son will probably be like this forever, they said. You can try lots of different things, but none has been proven to work.

    Joy decided to start trying them anyway. And to her surprise, everything seemed to work, at least a little. No one thing took the autism away, she said, but all of it put together helped a lot.

    By the time Caleb was in first grade, everyone thought she'd succeeded. He was able to follow simple instructions. His repetitive behaviors--the spinning, stick tapping, and high-pitched noises--had mostly stopped. He was able to sit in a mainstream classroom with an aide. This is as good as he's going to get, they told Joy. You've done the best you can.

    But she wasn't satisfied. Her heart told her that there was more to do.

    "I still had a disconnected boy," she said.

    "People would tell me he's high functioning, he follows directions--and I'm like that's not what I want . . . I want a boy I can look in the eye and tell him I love him, and he knows what I'm saying . . . I want a boy who can look me in the eye and tell me he loves me . . . I want a boy who can take in the world and absorb it, not run away from it . . . Absorb it, not run away from it," she repeats for emphasis.

    She has that boy now.

    See What We Believe or Believe What We See

    For decades, most doctors told parents that...

About the Author-
  • Martha Herbert, MD, PhD, is an assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and a pediatric neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she is the director of the TRANSCEND Research Program. She sits on the Scientific Advisory Committee for Autism Speaks.

    Karen Weintraub, MA, is an award-winning journalist and freelance health writer for outlets like The Boston Globe, USA Today, and the BBC. A past recipient of a prestigious Knight Center for Science Journalism fellowship, she also teaches journalism at the Harvard Extension School and Boston University.

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Whole-Body Strategies for Making Life All It Can Be
Martha Herbert
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