Saturday, April 18, 2009

Autism - Behavior Problems, Allergies, and the Onset of Spring

I have noticed a trend over the past month - right around the beginning of March - that many parents were calling my office (and still are) commenting that they were (are) seeing increased negative behaviors in their children on the autism-spectrum. These include hyperactivity, irritability, lack of focus and eye contact, emotional lability, tantrums, aggression, and even self-injury. I have even had many parents post me through my online website at that they are seeing this same type of change with their child(ren). Many of these kids live in various places throughout the United States - from Southern California (where I live and practice) to Idaho, the midwest, and down south in Florida and the Gulf Coast. All over the country the pattern has been the same.

I have noticed a trend over the years that when spring season comes so do pollens, and other other airborne allergens. We can all be susceptible to these spring time allerges with sneezing, itching eyes, and sore throat. These allergies lead to histamine release and the corresponding inflammation causes the aforementioned symptoms. One issue with seasonal allergies in children on the autism-spectrum is the onset of inflammation in the body that can trigger unwanted chemical changes neurologically. Also, with an increase in inflammation from allergies digestive yeast and bacteria can become exacerbated leading to adverse behaviors as well.

Yeast (aka. Candida) is commonly a trigger for inappropriate laughter (goofiness, giddiness and silliness), loss of eye contact, inattentiveness, and increase stemming behavior. Bacteria - commonly clostridia species - which is commonly found in the digestive tracts of autistic individuals can trigger aggression, irritability, and self-injury behavior. In some circumstances both bacteria and candida can become problematic making matters worse.

If you are seeing a pattern with your child as described above one thing you can implement is an over-the-counter allergy medication such as Claritin or Zyrtec. Be sure to check with your primary care physician about any interaction with other medication your child may be taking.

Great Plains laboratory carries an Organic Acid Test (urine) - that evaluates for yeast and clostridia bacteria toxins. If present these can be treated with various antifungal or antibiotic remedies.

Sometimes simple changes in weather patterns and/or seasons can bring about chemical changes in susceptible children on the autism-spectrum with negative behaviors as a consequence. With this understanding and the use of biomedical intervention for autism much can be implemented to help remedy the situation and improve the quality of health for your child, both physically, mentally, and emotionally.


camilynn said...


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Tracey said...

This is exactly what I'm seeing with my 10 year old autistic son. Increased behaviors, hyperactivity, aggressions...that are not typical of him at other times of the year. Very discouraging!! I had a suspicion that it could be related to the many pollens in the air. We are in Florida and the pollens are so thick they coat your car hood. It makes sense to me that these allergy issues can trigger behaviors. My son's behavior seems best during the winter months.

Kelly said...

My son had the same thing every year since he was 3. For the last few years I've included some of the supplements here and have noticed a huge improvement. He still gets the sniffles but the behavioral regressions have stopped.

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