Interview with Dr. Joseph Mercola

June 19, 2009 by Kitchen Table Medicine  
Filed under Guest Posts, Kitchen Sink

If you enjoy what you read here at the Kitchen Table, feel free to stop by and subscribe to Mercola.com as we both are fighting the same cause: disease prevention through a whole food diet and lifestyle. It is one of my greatest honors to bring to the Kitchen Table Osteopathic Physician, Dr. Joseph Mercola:

What is an Osteopathic Physician?

A D.O., or an osteopathic physician, is in many ways similar to an M.D.  A D.O. completes four years of medical school after college, and completes three to eight year residency programs in the specialty they choose. D.O.’s are fully trained and qualified physicians who are licensed to prescribe medication and perform surgery in every state in the U.S.

Philosophically, D.O.’s differ from M.D.’s in that they have more of an emphasis on holistic approaches, and recognize the importance of musculoskeletal alignment and balance to health. In addition to identical two years of basic medical science, they also learn skeletal adjustments, similar to chiropractors.

On a practical level, the drug companies have effectively penetrated the profession, just as they have the M.D.’s, so in reality there are not many differences between the two.

The only practical difference I have observed is that there is typically a difference in the selection process of students that are accepted into the school, as they tend to focus on qualities other than academic credentials that would result in caring and compassionate physicians.

So while the treatment recommendation from D.O.’s and M.D.’s will be very similar, it has been my experience that a higher percentage of people will enjoy their interaction with an osteopathic physician.

How do Osteopaths address and treat symptoms?

Since I really don’t perceive a practical difference on the therapies that are recommended by an M.D. or D.O., I typically advise patients seeking a natural medicine physician to go several health food stores in their area, and ask for the best medical doctor they know, as the people that work in the stores typically have a fairly good sense of who the best local physicians are.

There are too many variables to give a broad recommendation. In my experience most of the important ones are related to personality characteristics rather than actually knowledge.

In your opinion How do Osteopaths differ from Naturopaths?

Firstly, there are two types of naturopaths:

  1. Those that receive training in an accredited four year medical college and, like D.O.’s, have full license to practice medicine in a few states (unfortunately there are not many states that provide them these practicing privileges.)
  2. Those who attend a correspondence school.

Unfortunately they are both given the same degree, even though there is typically a vast difference in the level of expertise between the two.

ND’s from either training can be outstanding, but if you were looking at it from a probability perspective there is a far higher percentage that an ND trained at a four year college would be superior.

However, even with the four year trained NDs, they are very weak on post graduate training and most of them tend to begin practice immediately after their four years of training. There are very few that complete residency training programs.

Most D.O.’s have an additional 3 to 8 years of post graduate residency training. This does not necessarily make them better physicians, but D.O.’s do have more formal clinical training.

What are your favorite tips for disease prevention?

1. Optimize your vitamin D levels, ideally from appropriate sun exposure.

2. Address your emotional traumas.

3. Eat the right fats.

4. Eat plenty of raw food.

5. Control your insulin and leptin levels.

For more information about Dr. Mercola or to set up an appointment, visit www.Mercola.com

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen table, and many thanks to Dr. Mercola for taking the time to continue to inspire me.

Dr. Nicole Sundene

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Stress Management

By Dr. KC Kelly – Ph.D. and Licensed Psychotherapist

headshot_for_nicoles_site1.jpgRichard Lazarus and Susan Folkman suggested in 1984 that stress can be thought of as resulting from an imbalance between demands and resources, or as occurring when pressure exceeds ones perceived ability to cope.

Stress management was developed and premised on the idea that stress is not a direct response to a stressor, but rather one’s resources and ability to cope and makes changes in his or her life, thus allowing stress to be controllable.

Stress can be good (called eustress) when it helps us perform better, or it can be bad (distress) when it causes upset or makes us sick.

The stress reaction results from an outpouring of adrenaline, a stimulant hormone, into the blood stream when a person is feeling distress. This, with other stress hormones, produces a number of changes in the body which are intended to be protective.

Professionals in the field of psychology have called this outpouring of hormones, the fight-or-flight response because when faced with a stressful situation, a person will either fight or run away from danger.

When encountering stress, a person may experience: an increase in heart rate, an increase in blood pressure (to get more blood to the muscles, brain and heart), faster breathing (to take in more oxygen), tensing of muscles (preparation for action), increased mental alertness and sensitivity of sense organs (to assess the situation and act quickly), increased blood flow to the brain, heart and muscles (the organs that are most important in dealing with danger) and less blood to the skin, digestive tract, kidneys and liver (where it is least needed in times of crisis), an increase in blood sugar, fats and cholesterol (for extra energy), and a rise in platelets and blood clotting factors (to prevent hemorrhage in case of injury).

What are the Common Symptoms of Stress?

Physical: fatigue, headache, insomnia, muscle aches/stiffness (especially neck, shoulders and low back), heart palpitations, chest pains, abdominal cramps, nausea, trembling, cold extremities, flushing or sweating and frequent colds, decrease in concentration and memory, indecisiveness, mind racing or going blank, confusion, loss of sense of humor, anxiety, nervousness, depression, anger, frustration, worry, fear, irritability, impatience, short temper, pacing, fidgeting, nervous habits (nail-biting, foot-tapping), increased eating, smoking, drinking, crying, yelling, swearing, blaming and even throwing things or hitting.

What Are the Causes of Stress?

Dr. Selye called the causes of stress stressors or triggers. There are two kinds of stressors: external and internal.

External stressors include:
Physical environment: noise, bright lights, heat, confined spaces.

Social interaction: rudeness, bossiness or aggressiveness on the part of someone

Organizational: rules, regulations, “red tape,” deadlines.

Major life events: death of a relative, lost job, promotion, new baby.

Daily hassles: commuting, misplacing keys, mechanical breakdowns.

Internal stressors include:

Lifestyle choices: caffeine, not enough sleep, overloaded schedule.

Negative self-talk: pessimistic thinking, self-criticism, over-analyzing.

Mind traps: unrealistic expectations, taking things personally, all-or-nothing thinking, exaggerating, rigid thinking.

Stressful personality traits: Type A, perfectionist, workaholic, pleaser.

It is important to note that most of the stress that many of us have is actually self-generated. This is a paradox because so many people think of external stressors when they are upset (it is the weather, the boss, the children, the spouse, the stock market). Recognizing that we create most of our own upsets, however, is an important first step to dealing with them.

Read an article on Basic Breathing Exercises to reduce stress

Read all our articles on stress

**Much of this information was prepared by Dr. David B. Posen Lifestyle Counselor and Psychotherapist, and Author of “Always Change a Losing Game”

Oakville, Ontario. Permission has been given for this information to be copied and distributed to patients.

Other information was obtained from:

Lazarus, R.S., and Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, Appraisal and Coping.

For personalized advice for coping with stress you can visit Dr. KC at www.docinthebiz.com

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Gluten-Free Alcoholic Drinks

58555113905215721By Dr. Selena Eon

As a physician, I don’t encourage drinking alcoholic beverages in the early stages of the gluten-free diet—please give your gut time to heal before adding alcohol to your diet. However, consumption of alcoholic beverages can be part of a healthful gluten-free diet for many, so long as the beverages chosen are gluten-free and consumed in moderation.

There is no one definition of “moderation”, but generally the term is used to describe a lower risk pattern of drinking, as shown in various epidemiological studies.

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, drinking in moderation is defined as having no more than 1 drink per day for women and no more than 2 drinks per day for men. This definition refers to the amount consumed on any single day and is not intended to be used as an average over several days.

It can be frustrating trying to find alcoholic beverages that are gluten-free, primarily because alcoholic beverages are not required to display an ingredient label. Because alcohol is not regulated by the FDA, the FDA ingredient labeling requirements do not apply. How do you know if your beverage is gluten-free when there is no label and no ingredient list? It can be tricky!

The Center for Science in the Public Interest is has been petitioning the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Bureau since 2003 to require ingredients and nutrition facts on alcohol labels, but so far, there is no law requiring ingredient lists on alcoholic beverages. You can help your lawmakers understand how important the labeling issue is to people with food sensitivies, check out this petition for more information.

Finding appropriate alcoholic beverages can certainly be a challenge, but Kitchen Table Medicine is here to help! Luckily, there are many choices that ARE gluten-free!

Alright, enough already—WHAT CAN I DRINK?

Previously, persons on the gluten-free diet were advised to consume only pure wine, potato vodka, rum and tequila. This is still good advice, and the safest approach possible, but I believe this approach is overly cautious and unnecessarily limits your choices.

False information about gluten and alcoholic beverages is rife on the internet, so it is easy to become confused. I agree that being cautious is incredibly important when following a strict gluten-free diet, but I also believe that causing unnecessary lifelong restriction of any food is unacceptable!

Newer wisdom on the subject dictates that all distilled liquors are gluten-free, even those derived from a gluten containing grain. Distilled liquors are gluten-free no matter what the original source ingredients are because the distillation process ensures that none of the gluten from the original ingredients can remain in the finished product.

It is reasonable to assume that all pure distilled liquors must therefore be gluten-free. For more information, check out this article on gluten and distillationThe only exceptions to the blanket statement that distilled liquors are all gluten-free are situations in which gluten-containing ingredients are added in after distillation.

I researched rumors about gluten-containing whiskey mash being added in after distillation of whiskey, but found no major manufacturers in the US who report adding gluten-containing mash to the distilled whiskey.

Another potential problem could be liquors in which caramel coloring is added. Caramel coloring may contain gluten, primarily if the ingredient is produced outside the USA, but not always. Thus, many on gluten-free diets may choose to avoid dark colored liquors because caramel coloring may be in the liquor and represent a potential source of gluten.

It is safest to avoid dark colored liquors because without food labels it is difficult, if not impossible, to know if caramel color is used in the liquor, and if so, if the caramel color is gluten-free. Individual consumers may be able to request this information from manufacturers, but most manufacturers are unlikely to promise the product gluten-free because manufacturers in mass-production environments are typically unaware of the source of an ingredient like caramel color.

If gluten-containing caramel color is present in a particular liquor, it is usually found in very small amounts, and people typically consume small amounts of liquor, so the amount of gluten in the alcohol may be negligible. Even so, I still recommend avoiding these suspect beverages as the safest long-term choice of action because there is no way to know how much gluten is in the drink.

I also recommend avoiding most prepared cocktails (strawberry daiquiris, margaritas, mojitos) when out, as the mixes commonly used contain lots of sugar, usually in the form of disgusting high-fructose corn syrup- a non-food best avoided by everyone.

If you want to order one of these cocktails, it is best to ask your bar or restaurant if you can see the ingredients on their mixer before you order. I found that many of my favorite restaurants carry a high-quality mixer made from real juices and pure cane sugar—but you can only get it if you order the “top shelf” drink with more expensive liquor.

If you mix your alcoholic beverage with another beverage, such as soda, tonic water, root beer, orange juice, be sure to check that your mixer is also gluten free. I have listed some popular mixers below, but did not mention sodas or juices. Most sodas and juices are gluten-free, but check the label to be sure.

Gluten-free alcoholic beverage choices- the list below is in alphabetic order.

  • Armagnac – made from grapes.
  • Beer: most beers contain gluten. However, there are now gluten-free beers on the market!
               Redbridge- easiest to find nationally, produced by Anheiser-Busch.
               Bard’s Tale brand (several varieties, most common is Dragon’s Gold)
               Green’s (several varieties)
  • Bourbon – Makers Mark is definitely GF.
  • Brandy
  • Champagne
  • Cider – fermented from apples or other fruits. Some are safe, however, many add barley for enzymes and flavor. Be sure to read labels or contact manufacturer. Spire Ciders are GF.
  • Cognac – made from grapes.
  • Gin
  • Grappa
  • Kahlua
  • Kirschwasser (cherry liqueur)
  • Margarita Mix:
            Jose Cuervo.
            Mr. & Mrs. T.
  • Martini: traditional martinis are generally GF. Common mixes:
           Club Extra Dry Martini (corn & grape).
           Club Vodka Martini (corn & grape).
  • Mead – distilled from honey.
  • Mistico:
           Jose Cuervo Mistico (agave and cane).
  • Mixes & Cooking Alcohol:
           Club Tom Collins (corn).
           Dimond Jims Bloody Mary Mystery.
           Holland House – all EXCEPT Teriyaki Marinade and Smooth & Spicy Bloody Mary Mixes.
           Mr. & Mrs. T – all Except Bloody Mary Mix.
           Spice Islands – Cooking Wines – Burgundy, Sherry and White. However, I suggest cooking with REAL wine as cooking wines are poor quality.
           Stirrings- they make a variety of cocktail mixes, higher quality that most mixes.
  • Ouzo – made from grapes and anise.
  • Rum
  • Sake – fermented with rice and Koji enzymes. The Koji enzymes are grown on Miso, which is usually made with barley. The two-product separation from barley, and the manufacturing process should make it gluten-free.
  • Scotch Whiskey.
  • SherrySparkling Wine
  • Tequila
  • Vermouth
  • Vodka
  • Wine – all wines, including port wines and sherry, are gluten-free.
    Wine Coolers: Despite the name, most wine coolers are malt based and contain gluten.
           Bartle & James – wine-based beverages only.
           Boones – wine-based beverages only
  • Whiskey- Jack Daniels’ Black Label Whiskey is GF. Maker’s Mark Whiskey is GF. Seagram’s Crown Whiskey is also GF. Other whiskeys likely are, as per previous discussion, however are not confirmed by the manufacturer.

If you have any questions about celiac disease, you are welcome to ask them in the comments section and they will be addressed in future articles.

Dr. Selena Eon practices in Bellevue, WA and you may contact her at
(206) 228-9537 or visit www.drselenaeon.com

Related reading:

Celiac Disease

Eating Gluten-Free on a Budget

Wheat and Gluten-Free Recipes

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Fibromyalgia: Latest Research News

By Dr. Jim Tabios, PhD

Fibromyalgia is a widely misunderstood and sometimes misdiagnosed chronic condition, commonly characterized by widespread muscle pain, fatigue, concentration issues, and sleep problems.

According to the National Fibromyalgia Association, it affects an estimated 10 million people, mainly women, in the United States alone.

The severity of fibromyalgia symptoms can vary from one person to the next and may fluctuate even in a single individual, depending on such factors as time of day or the weather.

Because it is a chronic condition, in most cases, fibromyalgia symptoms never disappear entirely. The good news is that fibromyalgia isn’t progressive or life-threatening, and treatments can help alleviate many symptoms.

Fibromyalgia Symptoms

The symptoms of fibromyalgia and their severity vary widely, although pain and fatigue are nearly always present. Major symptoms of fibromyalgia include: Read more

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Top Ten Tips to Get Kids Playing and Loving Music

by Jeremy Dion

1. Keep it fun – nothings shuts down one’s inherent musical expression like a drill sergeant for a “teacher.”

Goof around, laugh, and know when enough is enough. Sometimes effective practice is done before the egg timer goes off.

2. Play music in the home – make sure you make time to play your favorite music, your child’s favorite music, and new music.

Take the time to explain to them why you love a particular piece of music. They may get it, they may not. But at least they begin to understand that music has unimaginable depth.

3. Sing with and to your child– normalize this mode of expression to combat the “American Idol” message that only polished, perfect singers should sing.

4. Explore rhythm – Our first experience is of our mother’s rhythmic heartbeat while in the womb. We ARE rhythm – our own heartbeat, our breathing, our walking, speaking, circulation, etc. Drum, dance, use pots and pans, etc.

5. Praise their playing, rather than criticizing their “wrong notes.” Blessed is the child who sings what she feels with abandon rather than the child with perfect pitch who is too afraid of criticism to utter a note.

6. Find a music teacher who really connects with your child. Like psychotherapy, the relationship is 90% of the battle. If your child likes the teacher (for reasons other than his or her musical prowess), the practice comes a lot easier.

7. Dance. With reckless joy, dance. With and for your child. Give them the experience that expression, no matter how “ridiculous” it may be labeled in other circles, is fun, free, and healthy.

8. Improvise, improvise, improvise: instead of spending all the time learning songs by rote, stretch. Put up pictures instead of music on the stand, and play a “thunderstorm” on the piano, or “a newborn child.” Take chances and risks, stretching the psyche’s ability to express.

So often we hear, “I can’t sing,” or “I can’t play.” Don’t believe it! It’s just that our cultural standards of what it means to sing and play have been hijacked by popular media. Everyone can play, everyone can sing. Embrace it, and pass it along to your child. In other words, what is life other than a daily improvisation?!

9. Attend live performances. In addition to supporting the arts, we should put our money where our mouths are. Don’t expect them to love their first showing of “The Nutcracker” during the holidays. Take them to local performances, open mics, anything that will help them understand that this mode of expression (playing an instrument, singing) is shared by many, and touches all.

10. Let go of expectation. If you are the one in a million parent who has a musical prodigy for a child, so be it. Nothing will stop him or her from following that path. For the rest of us, the goals and expectations around our child and his or her musical endeavors are best organized around expression, fun, creativity, and joy. When I use musical expression as a way to connect with (instead of to critique) my child, we are rarely more connected.

To purchase Jeremy Dion’s CD’s you can visit www.JeremyDion.com. You can also add Jeremy as a Myspace friend, load his songs to your Myspace profile, and follow Jeremy’s tour updates on Facebook.


Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Researchers Find First Signs of Autism Even in Infancy

“Researchers Find First Signs of Autism Even in Infancy.”

Upon hearing this title, I immediately thought of a baby’s first year of life. In my personal experience, my son’s first year was smooth sailing except for some “annoying” ear infections and food allergies.

It was the second year of his life, around 14-17 months (as mentioned), when things seemed to change for my son. That’s when I really became concerned. No more peek-a-boo. No more pretending with a telephone. Attempts to say words and interest in other people quickly seemed to decrease and then disappear.

I fully agree that earlier detection and diagnosis of autism would be beneficial. Even in my case, knowing what autism looked like in later years, I did not realize that the challenges my son was displaying were the tale-tell signs of the beginnings of autism. Most parents are aware there is a problem before 3 years of age, the typical age of diagnosis.

It is often difficult, not only in figuring out how to get a diagnosis, but also finding out what action to take. Many parents share a similar story of voicing their concerns to the pediatrician only to be reassured, “he’s fine, children develop at different rates.” If concerns are present, organizations such as First Signs will be able to help confirm ‘at risk’ behaviors. Read more

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

One Dad’s Story about Autism

When our daughter was born, I was the most proud daddy in the world.

As I am sure you have read in other stories about autism, she was doing very well until she turned about 18 months.

That was when we noticed that she was losing words and when she stopped interacting with us.

Knowing that the teen years were a LONG way off, my wife knew something was up long before I did. I was the one who believed the doctor when he said she is just a late starter, and since she is an only child we should enroll her into pre-school so she could interact with other children.

My wife was insistent that something else was wrong. After all, yes she is an only child, but we have a HUGE family and our daughter interacts with literally dozens of other children on a very regular basis.

I remained unconvinced. I kept telling myself there was nothing wrong with my little girl. She was going to be ok. All the while, time kept marching on but her progression stopped. We went to see a hearing specialist, and I thought “Yeah that must be it.” Because that was fixable. I could learn to sign and everything would get back on track. My little girl would be ok. Well it turned out she has better than normal hearing! NOW WHAT!?

My wife finally convinced me to come with her to a developmental pediatrician. We filled out a form asking all sorts of questions about our little girl before the appointment. The doctor then took her in and looked her over, observed her for about 30 minutes and gave us her diagnosis, AUTISM. Ton of Bricks!

But wait, I thought, there is the form we filled out – she didn’t even look at that. She only handed it off to an aid who took it back into the room. What was that all about I asked her. She replied, “Oh yes, Kathy can you bring in that M-Chat this family filled out? How did they score?” Kathy came into the room with our paper and the doctor hit me with the other ton of bricks. “It looks as though you have given her the same diagnosis. Look at this document.” And she told us how they scored it what the scores meant.

This was the worst day of my life! I had just been told that all of my hopes and dreams for my little girl were dashed. All the truly horrible things I said about kids who were different when I was a kid were coming back to me. I felt like the entire world was crashing down all because my little girl had Autism.

WHAT AN IDIOT! All of that time and energy in fear, sadness, and anger was nothing more then a waste. That is time that I will never get back that I could have spent learning about autism and how to more effectively communicate with my little girl. I could have spent that time learning how to more effectively pull my little girl out of the world she was in and into the world that we lived in.

Since that time I have learned really, the only one with a problem was me. My focus was the problem. I was focused on autism and not my daughter. I mean really, what is the most important thing in the world to me? My family! How could I take the focus off of them and place it on myself? I am not a selfish guy.

I have learned some very valuable lessons in the 6 years that followed the day I described above. I think the most important lesson was one of the power of action combined with attitude. Before I realized I was being a selfish jerk, I thought there was nothing anyone could do and my daughter would live in a bubble for her entire life.

Now I know that attitude was all wrong. Autism is only a disorder. Through the proper implementation of therapy, education, and discovering just how she learns, we were able to convert that positive attitude into positive action. We have learned how to keep our daughter in our world most of the time. We learned how to teach her how to talk, and we are working on teaching her how to properly communicate with others.

Our daughter is well on her way to living a great life. Is it normal? NO – but really who wants to live a normal life anyway? Do you think Einstein, Gates, or Beethoven lived normal lives? I bet Johnny Smith lived a normal life but have you ever heard of him? Yeah me neither…

Our organization, The American Fathers Autism Network is dedicated to helping dads go from where I was on day one of the diagnosis to the realization that their kids are perfect just the way they are. Our deepest desire is to help dads and families to stop wasting time and help their kids in which ever treatment path they, as a family, decide to follow.

Right now we have an online community and an online monthly magazine filled with useful tips and information about autism, treatment, and just stuff in general. We are currently building programs that will help our kids in emergency situations, and we are even working on a way to help dads become reengaged in the lives of their kids

So check us out at WWW.AutismFathers.Org and www.myspace.com/autismfathers Our web site isn’t what we want it to be, but it is on its way. Soon you will be blown away so keep coming back!

American Fathers Autism Network
A.F.A.N
I am A.F.A.N. of someone with Autism
Ryan@AutismFathers.Org

Related reading:

Autism: A Case Example of Hope

Autism: Lin and Sam Wessel’s Story

The Autism Diet Connection

Autism: 10 Tips for Everyone

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

How Clean Teeth Improve Immune Function

By Dr. P., Piero D.D.S.

Cleaning your teeth helps keep your immune system healthy.

Respiratory infections can be caught at any time of the year.

The standard advice for the prevention of these sicknesses is to wash your hands and keep your immune system healthy by eating properly and exercising regularly.

Washing your hands is one way of keeping the hundreds of different bacteria and viruses from getting into your system.

Individuals with lower immune systems are more susceptible to infections, since your immune system helps to defend the body, if and when a virus slips in.

In addition to the standard advice, a less publicized approach to healthy living and avoiding a respiratory infection is to keep your teeth clean. Here’s why:

  • There are 400-500 species of bacteria that live in your mouth. Viruses can use bacteria as “factories” to grow and multiply. If a virus makes its way into your mouth (usually from touching your hands to your mouth or biting your nails), the fewer bacteria in your mouth, the less likely the virus will grow.
  • Periodontal disease is caused by plaque producing bacteria. The body in defense of the periodontal disease releases cytokines. These cytokines trigger your blood-making organs to constantly fight or defend themselves, thus weakening the body’s immune system to fight other infections.
  • Periodontal disease is a potential contributing factor for respiratory diseases, according to the American Academy of Periodontology.

The bacteria that cause periodontal disease and are taxing your immune system are breeding right now in the perfect environment of your mouth. They love the cozy, moist, dark, warm and acidic ecosystem, which is constantly being fed by carbohydrates. The areas between the teeth are particularly good breeding grounds because the damaging bacteria thrive in the absence of oxygen.

The bacteria grow rapidly – actually doubling their count every hour. There are more bacteria in your mouth than people on the planet Earth. The excrement or bi-product of the bacteria is what forms the sticky film that is a constant challenge to remove and what is called plaque.

Symptoms of periodontal infection are often not noticeable until the disease is advanced. Some of the symptoms include: bad breath that will not go away, red or swollen gums, tender or bleeding gums, loose teeth, or sensitive teeth.

A dentist can diagnose the disease in the early stages, prior to individuals realizing they have it. Because 85% of the population have some degree of periodontal disease, it is extremely important to get regular dental check ups. Professional cleanings at a dental office are recommended every six months. Periodontal disease is the most widespread disease on earth.

Visiting a dentist is only one half of the prevention equation. Daily home care is as important. Periodontal disease is prevented by thoroughly cleaning your teeth, requiring the removal of the resilient bacteria. A toothbrush does a good job in removing the bacteria from the high spots, but unfortunately, not in between teeth.

In addition, most conscientious individuals who try to do a “better” job at cleaning their teeth, end up with toothbrush abrasion. This ridge between the tooth and gum line expose the root. The area then is sensitive to hot, cold, sweets and acids, and requires composites that must be repeatedly replaced.

Flossing is important both in the prevention and the control of periodontal disease according to the American Dental Association (ADA). Because it is a laborious task to floss, most people don’t. The ADA reported that only about 5% of the population actually flosses.

In addition, only 18 – 35% of the plaque between teeth is removed when one does floss, according to The Journal of Clinical Periodontology. Flossing can also move the contagious periodontal disease from an infected site to an uninfected site. Although oral irrigators are meant to replace flossing, they can’t cut through plaque’s sticky biofilm since they only use water.

Once afflicted, periodontal disease is controlled by a disciplined and meticulous oral cleaning regimen, both at the dental office and at home. Professional treatment may require below the gum line scraping, three-month check ups instead of the traditional six-month, and a prescription oral rinse.

Oral health is critical to total health. There is evidence that point to a link between periodontal disease and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), among which is emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Sixteen million Americans suffer from COPD and it is the 6th leading cause of mortality in the US. Studies published in the Journal of Periodontology found that patients with periodontal disease have a 1.5x greater risk of COPD.

The American Academy of Periodontology reported that, “Bacteria that grow in the oral cavity can be aspirated into the lung to cause respiratory diseases such as pneumonia, especially in people with periodontal disease.” The bacteria that are multiplying in the mouth are not only being used as factories for the viruses but are also being breathed into the susceptible lungs.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests that there are over 1 billion respiratory infections each year in the US. Avoid illness – wash your hands, keep them out of your mouth, eat healthy, exercise AND clean your teeth.

Dr. P., Piero D.D.S. is a practicing dentist and inventor of Dental Air Force – a home dental cleaning system that replaces both tooth brushing and flossing by using air, water and all natural cleaner. He can be reached at 616-399-8511, info@dentalairforce.com or visit www.dentalairforce.com

Related reading:

Mercury Filling Removal: Detox Support

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Etiquette: Disease and Dating

No, no, no… this is not a nag about STD’s and dating today, people!

This is a guest post from my favorite Relationship Columnist, and dear friend, “Miss Matchmaker” herself.

She has worked as a social worker, therapist, and has been a professional Matchmaker for the largest Matchmaking company on the Gulf Coast for the past 13 years, and her advice is always spot on.

When I heard this story, I was baffled and asked her to share it at the kitchen table.

Frankly, your health condition is no one’s business but your own, and if you are privileged to be privy of someone’s health condition you should never gossip about it, nor scapegoat it.

Please respect confidentiality with the same professionalism that doctors, nurses and HCPs everywhere kindly maintain thanks to The Hippocratic Oath which I highly recommend everyone in need of a little inspiration reads. ~Dr. Nicole

“The Etiquette of Disease and Dating”


By Denise Paravate, Missmatchmaker

Disease is a very serious component in the life of anyone who must deal with it on a daily basis. We have doctors who dictate treatment and therapy, and sometimes there are people who step in to help with the emotional aspects of disease, but how often is there someone at your side explaining to you the social components of disease when it comes to dating?

Several months ago I was involved in a relationship in which I had kept my physical history private. I did so for several reasons. Number one, I don’t look sick. Number two, I didn’t want to scare him away. This being the most popular route for people in the same situation as myself, I felt it worthy of discussion.

After dating for 6 weeks and spending several nights under the same roof, the inevitable happened. We had been out with friends, and previous to our social engagement we had a bit of a tat, so to speak. After a few cocktails, he pipes up with “well at least I don’t have to drug myself down every night before bed.” In front of all of our mutual friends, I explained to him that I had been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis as a child, Fibromyalgia in college, and Peri-Menopause at the age of 35.

I explained that my evening cocktail of medications helps me to function as a “normal” person and that I was the kid who saw Disney for the first time in a wheel chair. I then went on to explain that I may not be able to ever have another child and that without my hormone pills, I would be the psycho woman throwing chairs out windows between hot flashes as I attempt to stand up from my wheelchair (of which I would be in because I didn’t take my RA meds) and I didn’t think that was a person he would enjoy meeting.

Lesson learned, maybe I should have told him sooner. People have preconceived notions about medications and what “sick” really is. As a matchmaker, I preach to my clients to always be honest with their dates, but at what point is too much information just too much information…

When it comes to dating I believe that yes, honesty is the best way, but “TMI” (too much information) can sometimes scare the potential suitor away. So what is the best policy? From my own experiences I must say that it is probably best to keep things on a need to know basis. I don’t necessarily believe that it is something that should be shared on a first or second date. When it gets to the point where you are seeing someone on a regular basis and they are learning your daily routine, then it may be time to fill them in.

I don’t like the idea of keeping secrets and that is not what I am trying to imply. All I am saying is that if you live with chronic disease, life is hard enough and if you plan on sharing your life with someone, they have the right to know just how hard it is. I think now looking back that the best way to handle the situation would be to talk about it first and educate the other person about your particular issues.

Some people may be scared to do so because they would not want to discourage a blooming relationship, but understand that if you try to keep it a secret, chances are it will blow up in your face at some point later anyway. If that person chooses to not be with you because of the challenges you face, then that just means it was not the person for you and maybe it is best you move on.

Dating is hard enough. Disease is even harder. Combining the two can be a challenge!

~Denise Paravate

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Autism: A Case Example of Hope

Since it is “Autism Awareness Month” I have gathered together all my favorite autism experts to add their two cents to the topic.

Dr. KC Kelly is a psychotherapist who has many years of experience in helping autistic children and their families.

If you are a stressed parent of a child diagnosed on the autism spectrum, I would highly recommend writing in to Dr. KC for support, or seeking support somewhere, whether it be through a local or online support group.

Over at www.DocintheBIZ.com you can write in for professional confidential, caring support anytime. ~Dr. Nicole

“Autism: A Case Example of Hope”

by KC Kelly, Ph.D

Alex’s (name has been changed to protect anonymity) mother sat across from me and cried into her hands. “I just don’t know what to do anymore,” she began.

“From the moment he gets home from school, he races through the door and right to the couch in the living room where he throws all the pillows onto the floor and begins to run back and forth jumping all over both of the couches.

I’ve tried everything to stop him, but he doesn’t even seem to realize that I’m there. He’s in his own world. He climbs on the wall unit, breaking things and one day it almost fell over on him! He will also throw tantrums by screaming and crying at the top of his lungs for hours and I don’t know what he wants!” She stopped talking and continued to cry.

Alex has autism. He is five (5) years old and falls into the lower end of what we call the Autism Spectrum. He does not talk, does not communicate, and exhibits aggressive behaviors such as hitting, biting, pulling hair and scratching when he does not get what he wants.

What is Autism?

The experts define autism, also called autism spectrum disorders (ASD) or autism spectrum conditions (ASC), as a spectrum of psychological brain developmental disorders characterized by widespread abnormalities of social interactions and communication, and often patterns of highly repetitive behavior(s). Just like with any child, or any person with a disorder, symptoms and behaviors can vary greatly amongst those with autism.

The Bad News:
There is no known cure for autism.

The Good News:
No matter how low functioning the child, autism IS treatable and a child with autism CAN grow, learn and change.

The Scenario:
Alex goes to school in an autistic class and follows a schedule throughout his day with his peers. He works with professionals in the field of autism, so his behaviors ARE controlled to some degree. This is a definite indicator that Alex CAN learn at home.

My Challenge:
To help Mom become an expert, not necessarily on autism, but on her son.

How We Started:
Firstly, Mom and I did a home make-over into a child-proof safety zone. Next, we talked for a while about what needed to be done to help change Alex’s behaviors at home. I explained to Mom what Alex needed: Routine, Consistency, and Repetition as I witnessed a complete absence of all three of these imperative factors for change in the home. Sound simple to do? Well, the idea is simple. The execution of the idea? Not so much.

1. Routine: An autistic child needs a steady, consistent and solid daily routine. They also need to know what the routine is in a very visible, clear and easy to understand way. If an autistic child does not have a daily routine, this could be the reasoning behind exacerbated acting out behavior(s).

I made Alex a picture schedule including his entire day of activities from the moment he woke up in the morning until bedtime. Introducing the schedule to Alex was not easy, but with repetition, he stopped testing us and it became routine. Now the test would be to see if Mom could enforce this consistently everyday.

Note: Schedules can be made using either use words or pictures depending on the academic level of the child. The schedule is usually made from small laminated cut outs containing the words or pictures, and with the use of velcro, are put upon a rectangular shaped piece of colored cardboard. (This is how I do it.)

The activities of the day are all present and flipped over to show completion. A child should never start an activity without checking their schedule, and similarly, he/she should never end an activity without flipping the piece over and seeing what is next on the schedule.

2. Consistency: Never break the routine. I understand that “life happens” and we must leave room for flexibility; however, for the most part, the way a child is going to learn best is through consistency. The best way for an autistic child to learn is when they know what to expect. This also helps to reduce anxiety and increase reliability and a comfort level conducive to learning.

3. Repetition: An autistic child needs repetition. In order to learn, things must be done over and over and over again. It is important to have patience and if your child is not “getting it” right away, try not to get upset. Instead, take a deep breath and DO IT AGAIN. Repeat, repeat, repeat. And then praise.

Important: When introducing something new to an autistic child, you want to do so in a soft and gentle, yet firm manner. It may be very frustrating at times; however, use you must use repetition without losing patience. I promise you will be rewarded when manipulation ceases and learning begins. I also showed Mom how Alex learned that FIRST he will do a task and THEN he will get rewarded. I usually like rewarding with verbal praise or a small healthy snack. It all depends on to what the child responds best.

The Terrible Tantrums:

“Alex will SCREAM and cry for HOURS,” said Mom with exasperation. It was indeed a piercing scream that I witnessed myself on many occasions, and when I think of that noise today, my ears start to ring. I made pictures of basic needs, such as bathroom, hungry, thirsty, pain and demonstrated to Mom how to use these with Alex.

If none of those things were bothering Alex, we knew he was attempting to manipulate Mom for attention or because he was upset that he didn’t get something that he wanted. Mom needed to stay consistent in not giving in to Alex’s tantrums no matter how heart breaking they were to watch. She needed to allow him to “cry it out” until he was willing to either communicate with us using his pictures or give up his manipulating tactic.

Remember: We need to never get upset at a child who has difficulty communicating, but help them the best we can to let us know what they want/need.

After working for approximately 6 weeks, 2x/week with Mom and Alex, Alex changed his behavior at home dramatically. It was a long road. It was a frustrating road. But it paid off. Now that I’m not there anymore in the home to help, I can only hope that Mom (and I DO understand how difficult it is) will remain consistent with Alex’s home routine and use repetition, patience, and love when teaching him new things.

If you are looking to get some specific questions answered about autism or to help you with an autistic child, whether the child is your own or a student of yours, please feel free to write to me at: www.DOCintheBiz.com. I would love to hear from you.

All my best,
KC Kelly, Ph.D.

Related reading:

Autism Awareness Month

Autism: 10 Strategies for Implementing Diet Changes

The Autism Diet Connection

Autism: 10 Tips for Everyone

Click Here to Read More Kitchen Table Medicine Articles

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Autism: Lin and Sam Wessels’ Story

April 29, 2009 by Kitchen Table Medicine  
Filed under Autism, Guest Posts, Kitchen Sink

PhotobucketSamuel Fisher Wessels was born on January 19, 2002. He was literally an answer to prayer.

Oh yes, I’d prayed long and hard for little Sam Wessels. I wanted so badly to have a child, and I wanted just as badly for my husband to have a son. Quite frankly, neither of us was getting any younger.

After nearly two years of praying unremittingly, it happened.

We were going to be granted our wish for a child! I then prayed for my child every single day, “Please Lord keep him safe….Please Lord protect him. Please Lord keep him well…Please Lord let everything be okay.” One day, on bended knee, I even went so far as to pray for the son that I knew the man I loved more than life wanted so badly! I continued to pray, “Please Lord….”

When we learned our desire was about to be honored, I knew the name our son must have, Samuel. Ah yes, nothing else would do. Samuel from I Samuel 1:20, “…that she bare a son, and called him Samuel, saying, ‘Because I have asked him of the LORD.”

I loved being pregnant, absolutely adored it! It was quite possibly one of the happiest times in my entire life. I loved having that life growing inside me. I loved the anticipation. I loved the responsibility of caring for someone more than I cared for myself. I loved that he was a part of me.

When Samuel was born ten weeks premature, I was scarcely afraid. Oh yes, I was concerned and anxious, but I honestly felt comfortable that all would be well. I even joked at how badly I felt for little Samuel. “Poor kid he’s going to be just like his mother, has to do everything the hard way.” Little did I know….

We worked very hard for the next six weeks. The hospital had many milestones and stipulations which had to be met by both mother and father as well as baby, before baby Sam was allowed to accompany us home. I visited him every day without fail. We followed the rules to the “T”. All we wanted was for our beautiful little redheaded boy to come home, my little copper top. He weighed all of 3 lbs. 3 oz. when he made his hasty debut into this world, but he thrived! So much so, that his doctor told his hometown pediatrician he was doing “remarkably well” when he called to inquire.

Having spent the past forty days and nights in the NICU, having met all the stipulations and required milestones, little Samuel Wessels was allowed to come home! He was so beautiful! Still is! It was February 28, 2002.

We are fortunate here in Iowa, the state offers to assist parents of premature babies until the age of two, at which time they expect they will have caught up to their peers. As a result, Sam was afforded many state services. A nurse came to our home periodically; they tracked his development and kept us armed with any and all pertinent information on raising a healthy child. Sam continued to do well. He was developmentally delayed by exactly two months which was to be expected. We continued to work hard, especially little Samuel.

As a matter of fact, he had done so well, he had been discharged from nearly all of his state services, all but one. I’ll never forget how disappointed the Sioux Valley Children’s Specialty Clinic doctor evaluating Samuel was when I seemed less than enthusiastic that Sam was being discharged from their care for having met their developmental criteria.

It wasn’t that I wasn’t happy for Sam, I was. It was simply that I wasn’t surprised. Like I said, he had already been discharged from his other residual services, including his Early Intervention Educational program. His Health Families’ nurse agreed to continue only because I begged her to, and she too felt it was in Samuel’s best interest to have some professional support until he actually turned two.

As the two year mark approached, it was becoming apparent that something was not quite right. He had lost the few words he had spoken, he became irritated and agitated; we didn’t know what he wanted or how to console him. He seemed indifferent. And there was something new….he flapped his hands, walked on his toes and paced almost nonstop!

As we sat at the kitchen table one day, I inquired of his Healthy Families’ nurse when he began to flap his hands, “What do you think about that?”

“I’m not sure,” she replied, “What do you think of it? Does he do it a lot? Is it something new? Is it something he maybe learned at day care and is mimicking?”

I started, “I….I…I don’t know.”

“It’s okay, you can tell me,” she continued, “I know you’re thinking something, what is it?”

I took a deep breath, “I don’t know why but for some reason it makes me think of autism,” I confessed. And it was true; I had no idea why his hand flapping caused me to think that. I knew relatively nothing about autism. I had had minuscule exposure to the condition but that is what I thought of, nonetheless.

She began to ask me more detailed questions, “Does he still have the same words he had when we visited last month? Has he added any new words? He has lost language? How many words does he have now? How long has it been since you heard him use them? Does he respond to his name? How is his sleeping? What else have you noticed? Would you mind going to Spencer for an MChat?” I began to realize, she was suspect of autism too. Sam was just twenty-two months old.

Of course, we went to Spencer, to one of our state’s hospitals. We saw the same nurse practitioner who’d been following Sam since he’d come home to us. We did an eval and an MChat. I recall her telling me how he wasn’t closing the developmental gap. I recollect her commenting on how he had been closing the gap but that currently it was widening rather than continuing to close.

I remember taking the defensive and asking her if they realistically expected them to catch up miraculously at two simply because they have now turned two, and asked how it was that he could have been doing so well that all of his previous services had discharged him only to find that a few months later he was falling behind. He wasn’t only falling, he was now spiraling downward! I remember the concern in her face and the compassion in her eyes. She was very gracious and understanding. Sam was now two years, ten days old.

It seemed as though time had stopped. Everyone at work asked how Samuels’s appointment went; not knowing it was anything but routine. Of course they’d ask; he’d always done so well! I told them we were in a bit of shock, telling them, “They think Samuel may have autism.”

Exactly one week later, Spencer called with the results. Barb, the nurse practitioner, called us herself. She told me that the results of the MChat came back as significant.

“Significant? Significant for what?” I inquire, “Delays? Developmental delays?” There is an enormous pause; the silence was deafening!

“No, for autism.”

She wanted to know what we wanted to do next. My mind was spinning! “We are not qualified here to give that kind of diagnosis. You can come back in three months and we can evaluate him again, you can go to AEA (Area Education Agency) in Sioux Center and have him reevaluated in three months or we can send AEA to your home. Which do you prefer?”

“I guess it would be best if they could come here,” I suggested.

This is the first time that my husband and I really began to research autism. We turned to the Internet. Absolutely everything I read says that early intervention is the best chance for a better long-term outcome when it comes to autism. I began to wonder why we’ve been asked to wait an additional three months to repeat the same eval by someone still not qualified to give us a diagnosis. Either it is or it isn’t; I wanted to know! We were wasting precious time! So I got on my soapbox. I wanted a referral.

We visited Sam’s pediatrician a few days later and he tells me that he has patients with autism. He’s seen autism in his practice and in his opinion, Samuel does not have autism. I asked him about his language. “Boys are often slower to talk. He’ll catch up,” is the response he offered.

“What about that?” I asked. Sam was pacing around the exam room on his tip toes, flapping his hands.

“So. So what? I’ve seen plenty of other kids do that. He’ll outgrow it. I wouldn’t be concerned.” Our doctor seemed so certain.

“But he does it all the time,” I countered. “He doesn’t respond to his name. What about that? I know he can hear, he doesn’t respond to us.”

“Samuel. Samuel. Samuel! He’s going to ignore me now,” he insisted.

“He does that all the time, too.” I was weary by that point. “What about Barb in Spencer and Melissa from Healthy Families? Their tests show he is ‘significant’ for autism. Can’t we at least get a referral to someone who can evaluate him?” Now, I insisted and he agreee; however, a week later, we still had no referral. I called Melissa, who joined me on my soapbox! She concurred; either he has autism or he doesn’t and the sooner we can find out, the better.

In the mean time, I called around and found out exactly who WAS qualified to give a diagnosis such as autism. There was one doctor and his assistant within a 150 mile radius, so I called her clinic. Her receptionist informed me that it will take four to six months for an appointment without a referral. I called her office directly and got the answering machine. Sobbing uncontrollably into the phone, I begged her to “Please help me help my son.” No one returned my call.

Melissa did eventually get me a referral. She is a wonderful person to have in your corner! Because of a cancellation, we got an appointment for six weeks later.

As the weeks passed, we continued to search for answers via the net. We convinced ourselves our son didn’t have autism. He was loving after all. He didn’t bang his head, scratch, bite, wasn’t aggressive at all. He was just different, that’s all, just different. When they called two weeks prior to appointment day to confirm, I told them we didn’t want to waste anybody’s time when another family could perhaps put that time to better use. Fortunately for Sam, the hospital’s social worker convinced me that it would be best to know for certain and that finding out one way or the other couldn’t possibly be a waste of anyone’s time.

I’ll never forget that day. I try sometimes, but it is etched in my memory forever! It was March 25, 2004. Samuel Fisher Wessels was twenty-six months old. The room was filled with an entire team of evaluators, each doing their part of the evaluation. They kept both Sam and I very busy! There was a two way mirror in the room and we were told we would be observed as we underwent the process.

The entire evaluation took about an hour and a half. The doctor couldn’t get over what an ordeal it was for me to get to this point, to an actual team qualified to evaluate my son. She couldn’t believe the process was so brutal. Then I confessed to being the mom who called and left the message on her answering machine. I couldn’t help but wonder if she remembers and wondered what she must think of me.

The team of professionals left the room to discuss their results. They were gone about a half an hour, although it seemed like an eternity. When they returned, Ms. Mork informed me, “We have your diagnosis; it is autism.”

I tried with every essence of my being to choke back the tears and maintain my composure. I managed to ask, “So now what?”

“So now you need to go out and educate yourself on your son’s condition,” is what I was told. Something about at least one hour of speech three times a week, an OT and a PT eval to see what he qualifies for and blah….blah…blah…I was having a difficult time absorbing anything more.

I stood there in disbelief. So now I need to go out and educate myself on son’s condition. Is she serious? That’s it? Are they serious? Sadly, they were.

The first book I read was a loaner from our local Area Education Agency. It took me more than three months to read it. It was full of medical terminology I didn’t understand and many of the words had to be looked up on the computer as they were medical terms not in my dictionary. It was awful.

I was very depressed because I felt like I didn’t know how to help my son. I felt him slipping further and further away and I didn’t know were he was going. It was a helpless feeling because I didn’t know what to do. It was a very painful time. I cried a lot! I was often angry at our situation and I barely slept. All I could think was, but what about Samuel? What will become of my precious Samuel?

If I could change only one thing about autism today, it would be this: that it wouldn’t take parents so long to get the help their child needs and deserves; after pushing and prodding to get an eval only to be turned loose; alone, forlorn, terrified and bewildered, not knowing where to turn. I understand that in some areas this has gotten better, but in many areas of this vast nation, we’ve got a long way to go.

I, of course, did come to realize that it was up to me to pull myself up, put myself back together, and help my son, because no one else was going to! He needed me and I was not about to fail him.

Since then, we’ve been through the gamut of experiences, therapies and medications. We’ve found that melatonin is very effective for Sam for his sleeplessness. It has actually been a Godsend. We tried Metadate CD (time released Ritalin) when Sam was only four and a half. It had quite the opposite effect from what was intended. We nearly lost our little boy altogether! The sparkle in his eye was gone; he was no longer my incessantly chattering, clever and inquisitive little boy. He seemed as if to all but disappear.

On two different occasions, when trying to accommodate his difficulties in school, he had been prescribed Prozac and Strattera respectively. He was five. I nearly came unglued! It irritated me that they so eagerly reach for psychotropic meds for our small children rather than commit to them the extra time and one on one attention they require to learn and function in the classroom. Does medication have its place? Of course, but it is not the quick-fix, cure-all they’d sometimes have us believe it is.

We’ve had our educational and insurance battles as well. Sam’s mom’s a fighter, like Sam. I’ll not easily forget the time the President’s office called me concerning an Early Access educational dispute I’d written to him about. What made it especially interesting was the fact that the speech pathologist was here, in our home, when I received the call. She couldn’t help but notice as my jaw hit the floor.

We had been battling the system to obtain more speech services for Sam at the time, as our insurance wouldn’t cover private speech sessions. We couldn’t afford $105 for 15 minute sessions with a half an hour minimum. I wrote to our Governor about that one. His office did conduct an inquiry but had no jurisdiction over the private sector.

We’ve done Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech and Discrete Trial. We’ve spent thousands of hours on the road going to and from each one. There have been many we would like to try but haven’t the funds, or they are simply not available to us in our area, which breaks my heart! You’d think you’d grow accustomed to hearing; “I’m sorry but I don’t know how to help your son, we can’t help your son, or we can help your son, but you can’t afford it.” But you don’t; you don’t ever grow a thick enough skin to accept that as satisfactory. So, I continue to write my elected officials and see them in person every chance I get. I’ve acquired an entire drawer full of responses from them.

We’ve tried a variety of bio-meds. Many different biomedical approaches; some have actually had adverse effects, while others have had none at all. I’ve never felt comfortable enough in what I’m doing with the biomedical approach to do it for very long.

Like so many other parents, I’ve grown weary of knowing Sam has a system which is unique from that of most of us. I know he has underlying medical issues and sensitivities. I’ve grown frustrated with mainstream medical doctors looking at me as though I have two heads when I try to discuss it with them. It disgusts me even more when they patronize me and tell me they will at least order the testing and the labs only to never hear from them again.

It’s exhausting trying to educate each of them one by one; doctors, nurses, teachers, aides, principals, relatives, neighbors, clerks, etc….about autism. I wish there were an easier way. I wish we could educate the masses.

I guess you could say there is A LOT I’d like to change about the realities of autism. It angers me that they’ve neglected to take autism seriously, to the point that is currently an epidemic! It infuriates me that so many of our children are now adults or nearing adulthood with nowhere to go and very little in the way of a support system. I am sickened to think of how their parents must feel. I am nearly consumed with grief when I think of how many parents have traveled this same journey before us, only to have their concerns fall on deaf ears, or worse…

I try to turn my anger into productivity. I am very proactive when it comes to my son and autism. I was appalled to discover how little was known about autism, how little funding has been allocated to autism and that, at the time, one in 166 children had autism. One in 166 is now one in 150. I fight for Sam’s rights and the rights of all the others on a regular basis.

Currently, Sam is in the first grade with a one on one aide, his “helper”, as he lovingly refers to her. With the extra help and attention he requires, that his autism requires, he is holding his own, keeping up with his peers and even learning to read. He is happy and well adjusted. He loves and he is loved, by many! That alone speaks volumes of his progress.

In looking back, knowing what I know now, I can honestly say the only thing I’d do differently is the vaccines. Do I know conclusively that vaccines caused my son’s autism? No, I do not. Do I think it is a possibility? Absolutely, I do! A very real and distinct possibility. What I’d like to have is to have been given the opportunity to decide for myself which vaccines were necessary and which carried entirely too much risk.

I’d like to have not been made to feel as though I had to choose between the flu shot and my job while I was carrying my son, after trying to refuse it not only once, but twice! I’d like to have been given a choice and a say in the matter. I’d like for the hospital to have felt as I do that an entire month before due date seems awfully early for babies’ first immunizations. I’d like to have at least been given the peace of mind in knowing that his autism was not caused by vaccines, because I would have opted to wait and see before allowing him to be vaccinated. Or even better, I’d like to have afforded my son NO autism because I refused to trust the status quo.

I can’t say what the future holds for my little Sam Wessels. I do know that I am going to leave no stone unturned, I am not going to accept no for an answer when it comes to helping him or finding answers, and I AM going to keep fighting the good fight for him and all the others like him!

Related reading:

Autism Awareness Month

Autism: 10 Strategies for Implementing Diet Changes

The Autism Diet Connection

Autism: 10 Tips for Everyone

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Autism: Happy 19th Birthday Jake!

April 27, 2009 by Dr. Nicole Sundene  
Filed under Autism, Guest Posts, Kitchen Sink

By Tanya Dutton

I took my boys to the doctor because my youngest son was sick. After less than five minutes in the exam room, the doctor turned to me and said “Mom, it is your other son you need to be concerned with. I think he may have autism.”

That moment will be embedded in my brain forever. I had known in my heart that something was wrong with Jake after he had his vaccinations at around one year of age.

The milestones he had reached seemed to have been erased, and further development had come to a screeching halt. Prior doctors had brushed off my concerns and told me that every child develops at their own rate, and I was a young mother so what did I know anyway?

For the next 15 years, I read every book I could get my hands on, joined support groups, and prayed every day that God would show me the way to help Jake get better.

I suffered a tremendous amount of guilt, along with sleepless nights, days full of frustration, and emotional breakdowns. Read more

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Autism: Marin’s Personal Story

April 23, 2009 by Kitchen Table Medicine  
Filed under Autism, Guest Posts, Kitchen Sink

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By Marin

I was born healthy in NYC and at that time, nobody knew that there was anything different. However, when I was a toddler, I wasn’t walking or talking, nor did I hit any of the usual developmental milestones.

I don’t remember any of this obviously, but my mom tells me. She kept taking me to different doctors (a speech therapist, a neurologist, a physical therapist, etc.) to try getting answers and they all told her that I’d most likely never learn to do anything and wouldn’t be able to go to school.

There were so many times she would cry because she was scared and confused, so friends and family would rally around her and give her strength to do what was needed.

A breakthrough came when I learned sign language, which was either before or during my time at St. Agnes, a special school for disabled children. My mom told me about the time when she put me in the bath and I signed that the water was too hot; then she burst into tears because she could have placed me into baths that were too hot for years, but never knew.

I think I had a lack of self-awareness in the past which prevented me from communicating…so it wasn’t like I couldn’t, but that I never knew how. The understanding was there; it was just locked away until I learned how to access it. Anyway, when I was older, I attended special-ed in Thomas Jefferson Elementary until we moved to Scarsdale, NY, and then I attended Seely Place Elementary.

I made my first friends there and we ended up going to high school together. To this day, I am grateful to the girls from Seely, as well as those from the other elementary school, Greenville, for accepting and supporting me through the years. I loved being at school because my intellect thrived even though I was socially awkward and always felt like an invisible wall separated me from the other kids.

The teachers loved me because I was such a diligent student and my mom made it clear at every PTA meeting that she would not tolerate slip-ups or misunderstandings from them…I think a lot of them were terrified of her! She was like a lioness protecting her cubs. When I was a teenager going through the wonders and hell of puberty, I experienced emotional upheaval and depression due to hormonal imbalances as well as life circumstances, specifically having to do with my self-destructive father.

I idolized him and he hid his shortcomings well for a long time, until he allowed his mental illness to destroy him from the inside out. My only “role model” at the time had betrayed me, so who could I trust? Bitterness consumed me and I blamed my family for not understanding me and not helping me.

There were terrible things I had done during those times that took me years to recover from…I don’t know which was worse, the intense despair and anger, or the haunting guilt that followed every time I thought about the ones I hurt, especially my mom, who’d never given up on me.

One day, I had a panic attack at school during my sister’s lunch hour and she displayed amazing mercy by coming to my aide. That’s when I realized she wasn’t the enemy. If anything, she admired me (and still does) and wrote essays about me that I never even knew about. Now she and I are tight. I went on an anti-anxiety/anti-depression medication called Paxil for about 5 months until I’d emotionally and mentally stabilized.

When I was about 18, I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism and my mom and I researched it together. It was amazing to finally understand why I am the way I am, and to know that there are communities of people who went through similar things and think the way I do.

I graduated from mainstream high school and sang “The Star Spangled Banner” at the ceremony with two other friends. I remember the tears of joy running down my mom’s face, as she no doubt remembered those ignorant doctors telling her to basically give up on me. After graduation, I attended a 3-year program for learning-disabled adults at the New York Institute of Technology out on Long Island and made new friends.

I’m still close to many of them to this day. After that, I moved to an apartment and have been living in it for 5 years. I also have a step-dad named Alan, who my mom married in 2000, and I call him my “partner in lunacy” since we act goony around each other. He tells me stories that he doesn’t even tell my mom because she would think they’re stupid or gross, but he knows I’d crack up at them!

Also, in 2004, I decided to become a Christian (my family is Jewish) because I needed spiritual guidance and redemption that only Christ could give me. It gave me an opportunity to share my life with a community of accepting and fun people, who would love me because of my differences rather than in spite of them. I love them, my friends, and my family who’ve all made such a profound difference in my life.

Would medication have helped?

If a “vaccine” or meds for autism were to come out, I’d give it a shot (pun intended, haha!) just to see if anything dramatic would happen…actually that’s what scares me. I’m afraid that these things would mess up my brain and take away my personality and strengths, as well as my weaknesses. If someone is willing to take that risk, then God bless them, but I don’t know if I would.

Asperger’s isn’t a disease that can or even should be cured…it’s part of who I am as a person. Don’t I have a right to be happy and fulfilled exactly as I am? I know people may think that my limitations get in the way of doing better for myself, but the fact is, I’ve already overcome so much and will continue to do so. People should have more faith in me.

I even tried that gluten-free/casein-free diet that everybody raves about as a “cure” for autism, for about a month, but it was just too difficult (the GFCF waffles and pizza were delicious though!). My mom has regrets about not introducing the diet when I was a child because then I’d have accepted it. I guess that makes sense. I don’t want to look back at the past any more and I don’t like “What if’s”, since they are useless, so the only thing I can change is what I do now. Besides, I always thought laughter really was the best medicine!

Do you have a message for society?

Try to love one another and learn about the differences that make each person beautiful and special. You might learn something new! Don’t take life too seriously and don’t be afraid to be who you are.

God bless!
~Marin

Related reading:

Autism Awareness Month

Autism: 10 Strategies for Implementing Diet Changes

The Autism Diet Connection

Autism: 10 Tips for Everyone


Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Autism Treatment Center of America: The Son-Rise Program

April 23, 2009 by Kitchen Table Medicine  
Filed under Autism, Guest Posts, Kitchen Sink

PhotobucketAutism Treatment Center of America: The Son-Rise Program

By Tara McClintick

Parents and others who care for and work with children with special needs will find The Autism Treatment Center of America to be a breath of fresh air. Located in Sheffield, Massachusetts at The Option Institute, the program is designed to support and inspire adults as well as the children.

The staff receives extensive one-on-one, observed (through a one-way mirror), training with children having a variety of challenges. Parents and others who attend their programs are also trained in the basic principles as outlined in the book Son-Rise. The program originated in 1974 from Bears and Samahria Kaufman’s successful efforts to reach out to their son Raun (now the CEO of the organization).

In this video of various staff members working with children using the Son-Rise method, notice that the program is flexible to meet the individual needs of the child. The child’s inner motivations are used as bridges for connections and opportunities to encourage the next developmental steps.

Some Key Features Include:

*Joining the child in exclusive behaviors to learn about him/her and building a trusting relationship.

*Encouraging the child to make eye-contact, develop language skills, and learn to attend and be comfortable with people.

*Sincerely celebrating the child with energy, excitement and enthusiasm.

* Embracing the parents as the child’s primary advocates and most significant relationships.

*Training and encouraging the parents to work with their child as much as possible.

*Providing guidelines on creating a specially designed play room or specialized learning environment to minimize distractions and make it easier for the child to connect with people.

* Believing that there are NO limits to your child’s potential to learn and grow.

*Helping parents develop an un-waiving attitude regarding their abilities to support their child.

Various levels of support and programs are offered and can be reviewed online. Son-Rise also offers a free inspirational DVD detailing the stories of three different families, and they offer a free 25 minute consultation and other start-up packages. If you are interested in becoming a certified Son-Rise Child Facilitator, professional training is available.

Make a donation to offer hope for families and these amazing children. Donations are tax-deductible.

Author: Tara McClintick is an Early Childhood/Special Education teacher as well as a Son-Rise mom. A great deal of Tara’s 20+ years experience has been working one on one with her youngest son, Jake, who was diagnosed with severe autism shortly after his first birthday.

Jake is now 13 and together they continue the journey towards learning and recovery through nutritional and natural methods. Tara also creates fun, unique picture books for kids using real-life scenes and images www.BooksByTara.com.

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Autism: Tara’s Story “My Introduction to Autism”

April 21, 2009 by Dr. Nicole Sundene  
Filed under Autism, Guest Posts, Kitchen Sink

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By Tara McClintick

I’ve always LOVED kids. Unlike most of my friends who weren’t sure what route they wanted to take in life, I was confident in my choice to become an Early Childhood Teacher.

My first post-college position was to teach a preschool class for the County MR/DD program. It was here I was introduced to the diagnosis of “autism.” No one told me about it, I found a list of the symptoms while searching for answers.

Most of the kids in my classroom played and interacted as I expected kids to do. A few of the kids, however, did not play. They did not respond to other people in the usual ways. I was concerned because I knew play and interaction are how kids learn about the world.

Yet, these kids were smart. Little, surprising things they would do demonstrated there was a lot going on in those brains. What was my role as their teacher? Obviously language skills and small motor skills were lacking or far behind, and I wanted to know how to help them. I began seeking any information I could find on the autism.

A Teacher Becomes “Mom” After three years of teaching, I began having my own kids. I have been blessed with two boys –Derek and Jake. Both of my pregnancies went smoothly right up to the delivery. Jake, in fact, was an all natural child birth –as he was born 15 minutes after arriving at the hospital.

Despite my begging for an epidural, there wasn’t time! Jake was 8 lbs. 10 oz, so compared to Derek’s 6 lbs.9 oz, he was quite the solid baby. Derek was born 2 weeks before due date, Jake was 2 days before due date.

Especially with my first child, Derek, I was naively shocked at the intensity of the 24 hour care and millions of parental decisions involved. Like every parent, I wanted to do everything right! So, we got all the immunizations right on schedule. I breastfed both kids their entire first year.

I decided to post-pone teaching a while and do child care in my home. To prepare myself for returning to teaching I began working on my Master’s degree in Special Ed. one evening class at a time. My hope was to learn how to be a better teacher for the kids diagnosed with autism.

The Miracle of Child Development Taking care of babies and preschoolers at home could be quite chaotic at moments, but I loved it. It was fascinating to hear new words popping out, watch new skills develop, and watch those curious eyes and hands explore the world brand-new. Derek’s development was like magic. By 2 he was extremely verbal, and quite the drama child. He literally thought himself as “the king” at times and would demand control, “I do SELF!! I do SELF!!”

Jake’s development also moved along nicely up until slightly past his first year. The only concerns I had were oozing red sores on his cheeks that the doctor called “eczema” or “extremely dry skin.” Ok. Why would he just have extremely dry skin on his cheeks? He also had chronic ear infections. Go to the doctor, antibiotic, infection clears up, a week later after stopping the medicine the infection comes back.

They were pretty constant. I figured that I was being a good mom by doing what the doctor told me to do. You hear about kids getting chronic ear infections all the time, so it didn’t seem alarming in my mind. I had no idea how antibiotics could damage the digestive system.

Later I read that a milk allergy could cause eczema, so I took dairy out of my diet. Jake’s eczema cleared right up. Despite these seemingly minor annoyances, he was walking at 10 months just like his brother did. He seemed aware, active, good-natured, and I was deeply in love with him. He loved his mommy right back.

Jake’s cuteness was undeniable, and our entire family was excited about watching every little step of his development. By one year he was saying single words, keenly observing his big brother’s every move, and playing chase games with another toddler I was caring for at the time.

Hearing the Alarm At 15 months, Jake got his MMR vaccine. The changes came in like the tide. Except unlike the tide, they stayed put.

First I noticed he started constantly leaving the activities of kids I cared for and going off by himself. He’d either look at books alone or pace back and forth. He let me read him books, but any amount of chaos or rambunctiousness from the other kids –he was off by himself again.

The words he was using seem to fade away too. Once he excitedly stood up in his high chair, and was holding out his bib which had a picture of a Christmas tree on it. He struggled to comment “tttrrrEEEeeeee.” He had my full attention, and I remember reassuring him, “That’s right, Jake, that’s a Christmas tree.” He continued to try to say “tree” over and over. It kept coming out in various distorted ways. He sat back down with a defeated look on his face.

Another evening he took my hand and toddled to the fridge with me, and we opened the door. “What you want Jakey?” I asked him. He looked at me, opened his mouth, and jerked his arms wildly. No sounds came out of his mouth. He did this a couple more times, then got the most confused look on his little face, and wandered off. I remember saying to my husband, “it’s like he’s trying to talk, but the words are getting lost in there.”

What’s Going On? Jake became more and more unresponsive. I remember one day watching him pace in his room, totally unaware of my existence anymore. I stood and watched him for a long time. In frustration and fear, I began screaming his name. Not a flinch. Not a glance. It was as if he didn’t even hear me. Thus began my journey for seeking answers that continues to this day….

Jake is 13 years old now. He is nothing less than a miraculous gift in my life. I have learned so much about this condition called autism, more generally known as PDD –Pervasive Development Disorder. It is indeed, pervasive. It effects not only every area of a child’s development, but every level of society in profound ways.

How we live, how we learn, how we treat each other, and what we do daily is shaping the future of our world. It is up to society to open our hearts to what these lives can teach us. The impact each one of us has is significant, whether we know it or not.

The aim right now seems to be to help (or even try to force) these kids to adapt to the real world. What doesn’t make sense is – these kids are our real world now. Why can’t we adapt to them? There are so many things we can all learn from the condition of autism. So many ways we can change for the better. These kids may be here to help us. We may need their help, as much as they need ours.

“We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.”

– Marian Wright Edelman

Related reading:

Autism Awareness Month

Autism: 10 Strategies for Implementing Diet Changes

The Autism Diet Connection

Autism: 10 Tips for Everyone

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Autism: Gretchen Wilson & Sean Ashley’s Story

PhotobucketBy Gretchen Wilson

When my grandson was four years old, we went through a very difficult time.  He is both autistic and blind, and I really thought placement in a foster home would help me to care for him and keep him safe while I dealt with a few situations. Unfortunately I was wrong. In foster care, he was neglected. He looked like a starving war orphan with a distended belly – he was chubby before.

So I took pictures, went to the judge, and he had Sean at the courthouse within two hours and I was able to take him home. The attorney advised me to put Sean in a state institution, stating that I was young and needed a life of my own. Sean’s case worker said that she was placing him in a state institution because he was a vegetable, that he did not talk, and threw fits. I told her “over my dead body”.

When Sean was small, he had tactile issues and ate mostly bread type foods. He now eats almost everything. He loves milk a lot, but would never drink water. I started mixing whole milk with water, just to get some water into him. Once, I accidentally bought 2% milk and he would not touch it, even with no water in it. He would make an angry sound and shove it away.

To help him with his memory skills, I would sing songs and then leave a blank for Sean to fill in. He knew every word I left blank!!! I also used a drum beat to modulate his language. I would put his hand over my mouth so that he could feel how I said the words.

In fact, he still loves to do that, even at 29 years old, especially when we are in the car. Sean has enough language now to let one know just about everything he wants and has a great memory. His mobility skills are great; it’s like he has a sensory antenna in his head.

I founded The Sean Ashley House in 1994 so that I could be assured that he would always have a happy, loving and safe environment, even when I could no longer care for him. He now thinks his last name is House. If someone says “Sean Ashley”, he adds the “House”.

When I founded the House, I made sure to offer the services that autistic children need. He now loves swimming, music, horse riding therapy, dancing, using the treadmill… and I could go on. He loves to go up and down my stairs, and the minute he gets into my car, he doesn’t stop saying “hamburger” until we finally stop to get one.

Now when I bring him home for weekends, after about 24 hours, he starts saying “Sean Ashley House.” This makes me feel so very good that he loves his home. I’m at peace now when I think about what will happen to him when I can’t take care of him any longer.

Everyone, even the court system and social workers, needs to be educated on autism!!!!

Related reading:
Autism Awareness Month
Autism: 10 Strategies for Implementing Diet Changes
The Autism Diet Connection
Autism: 10 Tips for Everyone
Autism: A Brain Under Attack
Read more stories in the Autism Category

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Autism: Debi’s Story

April 17, 2009 by Kitchen Table Medicine  
Filed under Autism, Guest Posts, Kitchen Sink

PhotobucketBy Debi Tyree Haney

I had a normal pregnancy with my second daughter, the only exception being that I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes at week 34 of pregnancy. In July of 1999 I gave birth to a 7lb, 13oz baby girl named Allie. For the entire 9 months following her birth, she cooed, babbled, reached out, and made all her major developmental milestones within appropriate time frames.

At 9 months old she contracted chicken pox. Two weeks after the onset of her illness, while still scabbed over, she was given a hepatitis B vaccine. Within two weeks, she rejected my breasts for nursing, refused all foods but a handful of hard, crunchy, white foods, stopped pulling up to stand, stopped making eye contact, and virtually stopped doing anything but laying on her back with her feet in the air most of the day.

While I made multiple trips to the pediatrician to complain about what she was not doing, each time I was met with excuses and was basically blown off. When I complained at 12 months that she appeared to be blankly staring off into space, the pediatrician asked me if it was getting worse in frequency or length. As a layperson, seeing her do this at all was pretty unsettling.

Unfortunately, again, I was blown off. Finally at 18 months of age, someone at church asked me if we’d had her hearing tested. At that moment, I knew I was no longer just a paranoid parent and called the pediatrician while crying to insist that we test her for something, anything. I even shared my fears that it may be autism, which terrified me. By 18 months, she was beginning to show some of the characteristics of autism that I had read about on the internet; remember, in 2000-20001, there still wasn’t a lot of info on autism and younger infants.

On July 16, 2001, at 23 months old, we received the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Since that time, we have found biomedical treatment to be extremely helpful for Allie. She has lab tests which confirm a plethora of physiological anomalies including gluten sensitivity, markers of mitochondrial disorder, immunological anomalies, gastrointestinal issues, and the list goes on.

Her growth rate stayed at the 50th percentile mark until she was 12 months old and she began to drop off the growth charts. At 9 years-old, she is still below the first percentile in height. She has normal genes, as confirmed by electrophoresis and microarray testing from two different geneticists.

Today, Allie is doing far better but still has a way to go. She is now verbal, and loves to play with her 11 and 6 year-old sisters. Her favorite activities are art, hiding our cats in her bedroom, and playing Super Mario Brothers on her sisters’ Nintendo DS. She’s still saving up her allowance money and/or waiting on her birthday for a DS of her own.

She is essentially on grade level. She reads her Bible independently and talks about God and Jesus. When she’s sick with respiratory or gastrointestinal issues, which is often, she tells me she is dying and tells me what her funeral will be like.

If I could tell society anything, it would be that we have to come together to find the cause of autism, to provide support and treatment for those with autism and their families, and we have to embrace those with autism as valued members of society.

Those with autism deserve quality health care as much as everyone else. Those with autism deserve education as much as their non-disabled peers. Those with autism have a right to live full, independent lives as much as any other adult.

We have to stop arguing about whether or not vaccines cause autism, and accept the fact that there is a large body of evidence showing the possibility they do, and commit ourselves to finding the answer. We need to stop ridiculing those who seek answers. As Dr. Healy, former NIH director, has suggested, we should not be afraid to seek the answers because we fear what we may find.Photobucket

We have to respect parents who live with autism and the many challenges that can come with it. We need to celebrate with parents for the incredible blessings their child or children with autism bring to this world. Those affected by autism need faith, hope, and love, with the greatest of these being love.

Related reading:
Autism Awareness Month
Autism: 10 Strategies for Implementing Diet Changes
The Autism Diet Connection
Autism: 10 Tips for Everyone
Autism: A Brain Under Attack
Read more stories in the Autism Category

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Autism: Seth’s Story

April 17, 2009 by Kitchen Table Medicine  
Filed under Autism, Guest Posts, Kitchen Sink

My name is Kelly, and I am the very proud mom of a beautiful little boy named Seth. He is seven years old and has Autism.

PhotobucketBack when I was pregnant with Seth, I never knew that Autism was becoming the most rapidly growing epidemic of our time. Back then, I’m sure it was still around 1 out of 500 or so. Did I ever think that I would be here today, fighting this battle? No, in fact, the only time I had ever heard of autism was when I saw a primetime movie about a young child with autism back in the 80’s. I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would be living out that movie myself. Never did I think I would be in the forefront, fighting for my son.

Firstly, I had a normal pregnancy! I was a single mom, but Seth’s dad and I made the decision to live together and raise Seth, even though we didn’t have a relationship anymore. It was a good decision.

Seth was no ordinary baby and he loved to be loved. I would sing to him or play music to him while giving him a bath. He loved to be held, he smiled, laughed, had the most beautiful blue eyes. We were so proud of him when he began walking on his own at 10 months old, speaking his first words, and reaching his milestones much earlier than normal.

Being good parents, we kept up with his physicals and vaccines. Around 18 months, things started to change. I really noticed big changes around age 2. He spoke, but made no sense; he had bowel issues, he flapped his hands, made us read the same book over and over, ran in circles. He would get up every morning, take the register off of the heating/air duct in the kitchen, stand INSIDE it, and proceed to take out everything and line it all up.

What’s more, he was sick constantly with fevers that seemed to come out of the blue. He developed pneumonia, his ears would drain, and he cried more than usual. Still, I had no idea this raging epidemic that was going on all around us had its latest victim right in front of my face. No clue that it could have been related to his last vaccination.

We moved to a larger house. My oldest son finally got his own room, and Seth got a yard! I thought it would be great! It gave Seth all the room he wanted. He became obsessed with trains. He still talked, but still didn’t make a lot of sense. He just wasn’t where he should be at three years old. It bothered me but his dad would say “oh, he’s just odd, he’ll grow out of it.” I actually remembered that TV movie from 25 years prior, and thought to myself, “Could my son ALSO have autism?” I didn’t want to think about it.

PhotobucketWhen Seth was 3 1/2, his dad and I parted ways and I worried about the impact it would have on Seth, but he adjusted quite well. Not long after that, I met a wonderful man. From day one he was on the bandwagon with me. The first time he met Seth, he immediately knew something was amiss; did he have a delay? I said “No, but I think he may have Autism.” He BELIEVED me and encouraged me to have Seth checked. I actually had someone on my side.

When Seth was four, this boy who never said “I love you” walked up to me, put his arms around me and said, “Mommy, I love you.” I looked at Alan, tears in my eyes. This was the first time that my son had said this to me and I’ll never forget it. Alan looked at me and said “That was huge, and you KNOW he meant it.” Still, even with all of the signs, I didn’t have him checked. I should have taken that boy the next day, and the bottom line is that I didn’t. Denial still had its hold on me.

Fast forward a year to kindergarten. Seth had an EXTREMELY rough time adjusting to a new schedule. He cried every morning when I left him. His teacher would send notes home about the troubles he was having. What was I going to do? I knew what was wrong, but didn’t want to admit it to myself. My answer came during parent-teacher conferences about a month after school started.

We talked about Seth, I mean really talked. Then there came a point where I looked into her eyes and she didn’t have to say a thing, her silence said it all. Neither one of us could say the A word, but when I told her that I was going to take him to have him evaluated, she said to me in a very soft voice, “I think that’s a good idea.” I left that room with tears in my eyes for my child.

At his next physical, Seth was sick (once again.) When he had a fever, oddly, he was more coherent – almost normal. So during this visit, when I told his doctor that I thought Seth had Autism and I would like a referral, he looked at me like I was from Mars. He said: “Well, he’s acting fine NOW. Why do you think there’s something wrong with him?” I said “I didn’t say I thought there was something WRONG with him. I said that I think he may have Autism. He’s sick today! See him when he’s NOT sick!” He took my word for it, and referred us to a child psychologist.

This man was absolutely fantastic. He saw us within a week, observed Seth and worked with him. After five days of waiting, he told me what I knew in my heart all along. Seth had Autism. Funny thing is, he never said “I’m sorry, but…”

I like to describe his diagnosis like this: “Here is your son. I’m giving him an Autism Badge, NOT a label. Yes, he will always have it; however, great things lie in store not just for him but for YOU as well, depending on what you do. Now, here’s a sword, a shield, and a suit of armor, you go out of this office a Warrior Mother, go fight the monster and get your son! You make him the best thing he can be!”

ME? I know nothing, and I’m no fighter! Soon, Google became my best friend. I read a ton of books, joined a support group, and made a few friends. I learned to work WITH Seth, not against him, and learned to give him the strength he needs to just be Seth.

Since that day, Seth has blossomed. He still exhibits some signs of Autism, but for the most part he is so much better than he was last year at this time. My fears have been put to rest. This monster isn’t so scary, because a mother’s love for her child is the most powerful force in the universe. Autism may have won a couple of battles, but this mom has won the war.

Related reading:

Autism Awareness Month

Autism: 10 Strategies for Implementing Diet Changes

The Autism Diet Connection

Autism: 10 Tips for Everyone

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Autism Awareness Month

PhotobucketBy Trécera Lee

April is Autism Awareness Month.

Sad that we have to have special “days” in order for the world to recognize that autism is EVERYWHERE!

Today, I’m asking, “What do YOU want the world to know about autism?”

What information are you willing to share in the hope that others may learn from you?

It can be:

  • How do you feel about autism?
  • How do you feel your child is affected?
  • How is your family/life affected?
  • Struggles of autism?
  • Joys of autism?
  • ANYTHING

Here’s what I want the world to know: Read more

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

One Soda Per Day Can Change Your Waistline

PhotobucketBy Bonnie Pfiester Fitness Trainer

America’s obsession with soda has nearly doubled since the early seventies. According to the American Beverage Association, the average American drinks an estimated 54 gallons of soda per year – that’s about 19 ounces of soda per day. The average teenager drinks 31 – 42 ounces of soda a day.

What if I said you could drop 26 pounds if you just drank one less soda a day? It’s true. A regular 20 ounce coke accounts for 250 calories. One coke a day doesn’t sound too bad until you add it up over time and realize it could mean a couple of dress sizes. One soda a day adds up to a whopping 91,000 calories over a year’s time – that’s 26 pounds of fat.

“Liquid candy”, as many dentists call it, often times fall between the cracks when people begin a diet. Sometimes it is more obvious to get rid of unhealthy snacks, like cookies and donuts, and forget about what we drink. The truth is that a small can of coke has more sugar in it than most snacks. Although there are very few of us who would eat 10 teaspoons of sugar, we quickly drink it in just one 12 ounce can of coke.

To help feed America’s infatuation with soda, manufacturers and fast food chains offer more variety and larger sizes than ever before. When coke products first came out, they came in 6 ½ ounce bottles and were considered a treat. Now sodas aren’t special at all but more like a staple in most homes.

Manufactures have kept up with America’s demand for cola. Unfortunately though, more soda means more weight gain. If that wasn’t bad enough, now manufacturers have taken it up a notch introducing a large variety of “energy drinks”. What most people don’t realize is a lot of the “energy” coming from energy drinks comes from high amounts of sugar. Some popular energy drinks contain as much as twenty teaspoons of sugar in one can.

What if you aren’t a coke drinker? You’d be surprised how many calories are in beverages most people would consider healthy. Cranberry juice is just one example of a high-calorie ‘healthy’ pick, having 18 teaspoons of sugar. Other popular juices like orange juice, apple juice and grape juice are actually higher in calories than an equal portion of regular soda.

The bottom line is that you can’t forget how drinks affect your family’s waistline. There is nothing your body wants or needs more than water – especially living in Florida. Water should always be the go-to drink. Not only is it healthier for you, it can actually help improve the way you look.

~Bonnie

Bonnie Pfiester is a Personal Trainer, wife to the famous fitness trainer Steve Pfiester of the reality TV show “Fat March”, and owner of the women’s health club Longevity Fitness.

You can enjoy more of Bonnie’s fitness and beauty articles at www.BonniePfiester.com or here at the kitchen table by visiting the Bonnie Pfiester page.

You are invited to leave your fitness and sports nutrition questions in the comments below for Bonnie to briefly answer or write about in future articles.

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

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