Autism is one of the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Autism is a brain disorder that limits a person’s ability to communicate and relate to other people. It affects the way a child interacts with both their environment and with others. It is a life-long developmental disability with varying degrees of severity and intelligence (meaning children with autism can be highly intelligent). According to statistics from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, ASDs are increasing dramatically. One of every 110 children will receive an ASD diagnosis by the time they are 8 – a rate 10 times higher than it was in the 1980s. It affects boys four times as often as girls and may be genetic. Most people with autism will always have some trouble relating to others. But early diagnosis and treatment have helped more and more people who have autism to reach their full potential.


According to the Better Health Channel, some children will have signs of autism by age two, but a proper diagnosis may not occur until they are three or older. Children with Autism have three main impairments. These are:

  • Language difficulties:  Children may be non-verbal or have delayed language development. Those who speak may have difficulty constructing sentences or take speech too literally.
  • Social difficulties:  These include communication problems, and understanding non-verbal cues such as reading people’s expressions. They may also struggle with eye contact.
  • Difficulties with imaginative play:  For example, children with autism have difficulty playing with everyday household items and making them into a game. They also have restricted, or repetitive interests, which limit their play.

Children with autism may also have a range of other impairments, including:

  1. They may engage in repetitive behaviours, such as arm flapping
  2. They like routine and order and can get anxious if these are not adhered to
  3. They may have increased sensitivity to senses, such as smell and sound


Autism. There is no single test to diagnose autism. Diagnosis is made after three different health professionals assess the child: a psychologist (or psychiatrist), paediatrician and speech pathologist. Once diagnosed, there is no single ‘treatment’ for autism. However, the earlier you implement help for your child, the better. Multi-disciplinary care is important. This means engaging a range of services to help your child. These include speech pathology, behavioural therapy with a psychologist and other allied health staff. Having a child with autism can be very challenging. If you feel you are not coping, speak to your GP.

The Mindd Foundation provides an Integrative Treatments Overview:

In order to obtain optimal results, the patient might consider a holistic approach that integrates several treatments to address biochemical, physiological, energetic, emotional and/or spiritual imbalances.  These treatments can include Allopathic Medicine, Complementary Medicine, Biomedicine, Nutritional & Environmental Medicine, Functional Medicine, Orthomolecular Medicine, Energy Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Naturopathy, Ayurvedic, muscular-skeletal support, Psychology and more.  It’s important that treatments are overseen by experienced and certified practitioners who are able to work in teams (see below for where to find one).

For Treatment options see Treatments menu at

Nutritional & Environmental Medicine Overview

Nutritional & Environmental practitioners focus on cellular health by optimising nutrient uptake while minimising toxic exposure.  Biomedicine, Functional Medicine and Orthomolecular Medicine are all subsets.  The overall goal is to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress which are key drivers in chronic modern disease (e.g. asthma is inflammation of the lungs, arthritis is inflammation of the joints, eczema is inflammation of the skin, IBS involves inflammation of the gut and ADHD and Autism include inflammation of the brain).  A combined approach of diet, lifestyle and natural therapies supports the body’s innate ability to heal and prevent disease by maintaining homeostasis (balance).

It is recommended that a patient consult a certified practitioner to assess their symptoms and case history and explore their individual need to:

  • Screen for food sensitivities and allergies
  • Implement dietary intervention geared to the individual (e.g. GAPS, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, FodMAPS, Evolutionary, low oxalate/salicylate, Ketogenic)
  • Supplement with vitamins, minerals, amino acids and probiotics
  • Improve gastro-intestinal health to support the vagus nerve and brain and immune function
  • Support neurotransmitter function
  • Supply fat soluble nutrients for brain structure and function
  • Reduce toxicity and heavy metal accumulation
  • Minimise infections (e.g. bacteria, yeast, virus, parasites) to reduce immune response and nutritional deficiencies that can impact on mental and physical health
  • Regulate blood glucose and establish healthy eating habits
  • Use energy healing (acupuncture, homeopathy, kinesiology, Emotional Freedom Technique)

Where can I find a certified practitioner?

Finding a well-trained Integrative practitioner requires research.  You can reference the lists below for one in your area and should consider checking references and interviewing several before you select one.


The World Anti-Aging Academy of Medicine can help you find Integrative practitioners throughout the world.

United States

Generation Rescue has a list of Integrative practitioners who specialise in childhood neurobiological disorders (Autism, ADHD, allergies). If they do not treat adults or your condition, they might be able to refer you to someone in your area who can.

Australia & New Zealand

Mindd Foundation trains Integrative practitioners in Australia and New Zealand and is partnered with the Medical Academy of Paediatric Special Needs (MAPS).


The British Society for Ecological Medicine has a list of practitioners in the UK

Mindd Foundation gratefully acknowledges the contribution of Metagenics in supplying the Definition, Causes and Diet & Lifestyle Considerations for this page.

Reviewed by Dr Evelyn Lewin 25 February 2015 references
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This document has been developed and peer reviewed by a KIDS HEALTH Advisory Board Representative and is based on expert opinion and the available published literature at the time of review. Information contained in this document is not intended to replace medical advice and any questions regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment should be directed to a medical practitioner.

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