Autism in Children

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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), more commonly known as Autism, is a neurological disorder characterized by developmental delays in communication, socialization, and repetitive behavior; Autism has several levels of severity including the mild form known as Asperger Syndrome and the severe form called Rett Syndrome (X-chromosome linked disorder, affects mostly girls). Autism is usually recognized and diagnosed before the age of three years old.

Signs of Autism can vary from person to person but one of the most common signs of classic Autism include the inability to interact with others socially; kids with autism tend to withdraw from social engagements, avoid eye contact, and seem to be "socially awkward" because they cannot pick up on social cues such as facial expression and tone of voice. Repetitive behavior is also another classic symptom. Repeating the same word or phrase over and over, rocking back and forth in a chair, or even banging their head repeatedly on a desk or wall is not uncommon. Other symptoms can include not responding to names, referring to themselves by their name (rather than "I" or "me"), and lack of emotion and empathy for others' emotions.

Researchers are still unsure as to the fundamental cause of Autism. but most believe that it is a combination of both genetics and the environment. Studies indicate that children with Autism have higher levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain. The long-time argument of "Nature or Nurture?" has now come to a point where they say "both!". Though we cannot (yet) control the genetic/inheritance factor, we DO have a lot of control over the environmental factors. Research has shown that contamination in our drinking water and food may play a role in our rising number of diagnoses of Autism and other neurological disorders. In particular, heavy metals in our drinking water and food seem to have a correlation with the number of Autistic cases. Having good, clean food and water has always gone hand in hand with the notion of good health and these cases are no exception.

Would you want to drink water contaminated with heavy metals like mercury? Why then, would you give that same water to children, especially young ones that are still developing? The simple act of filtering out drinking water could go a long way in not just improving overall health, but decreasing the chances of Autism in children. Although it has been disproved that prenatal practices have any effect on Autism, women who are pregnant should try to reduce the amount of heavy metal buildup in their own bodies by avoiding drinking non-purified drinking water to reduce the chance of contamination reaching the developing fetus.

The Autism rate has jumped from the ratio of 1 in 500 children to 1 in 150 children. The cause may be genetic, environmental, or most likely, it is both. Though it is inconceivable right now that doctors can "fix" the genetic side of it, we can certainly control a lot of the environmental side. Uncontaminated purified water, clean organic food, and good health for our children is a good start.

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