Autism and ADHD

Posted by Melissa Callaghan on

Autism and ADHD

Sometimes in a child’s early years, a parent may notice that there are some differences between their child and other children as they play. This usually occurs as a child begins either at childcare or school. These differences are not always noticeable in the home environment. You may have noticed the day to day struggles of parenting, finding it tough but just thought it was normal and thought that you are just not as good at coping as others.

It may be that there are some imbalances occurring in your child’s brain development. These imbalances can present themselves in many ways such as Autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). They become more obvious around 3 years of age although signs can be seen earlier around 1 or 2 years.

No two children with Autism are the same, it is a spectrum which means that there is a range of difficulties that can be experienced and each person will experience them at different levels.

Autism usually affects a child’s language, behaviour, and social skills. This can be seen through difficulty or non-existent interacting and communicating with others eg no eye contact, being very interested in maybe only one particular toy and playing with it the same way every day, eg lining up cars, there may also be repetitive behaviours such as grunts, throat clearing or repeatedly doing one thing over and over again. You may have noticed that there is a particular avoidance to certain noises such as a vacuum cleaner or hair dryer or avoidance of textures such as sand.

Children with Autism may experience digestive issues which may include constipation, diarrhoea, bloating and malabsorption.  I often see that once we work on repairing the gastrointestinal tract we are able to improve these signs and symptoms which allows for improvement in food choices.  Fussy eating is also a concern for parents, this can be improved with specific techniques and digestive repair.  It is important to understand what your child should be eating and should be avoiding.  There are particular healthy fats that are essential at the right dosage to assist in reducing inflammation and certain foods need to be removed to avoid inflammation. 

Sleep is another concern for most parents.  It is often the case that my patients have been prescribed melatonin to help in this area and they always tell me that it just doesn't work. This is because for the most part it isn't melatonin that is the problem, there are other areas that need to be regulated which will allow the body to sleep, these include specific neurotransmitters and hormones.  

There are almost 230000 Australian’s with autism and it affects four times as many boys than it does girls. Whilst Autism and ADHD are different they are also very similar.

Children with ADHD may still have the struggles with social interactions that children with Autism have, however, they still may have the ability to do other things such as take turns, respond to their name, have empathy for others, and still have a sense of humour. All of which are traits that are usually absent in Autism. Children with ADHD may still struggle with these skills such as taking turns, however, the big difference is that they understand it.

As an Early Childhood Teacher and Director in childcare, it was my role to recognise signs at an early age so that I could assist parents with their child’s learning and prepare them for future schooling.

Now, as a Naturopath who specialises in children’s health my role is slightly different. Now I am able to help even further. I can help source where the main imbalances and nutrient deficiencies are occurring, help improve gut health, improve sleep and social skills.  Having had many years working with children in this area there is one thing I know and that is that even though each child may present differently with different symptoms they all have similar root causes and we can test and provide herbal and nutritional support to help improve any signs and symptoms. 

Who am I?

I am a Bachelor qualified Naturopath who specialises in improving metabolic processes in the body. Major areas for improvement include gut, thyroid, kidney, skin and liver health. Conditions such as hypothyroidism, fatty liver, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type II diabetes, & irritable bowel conditions. I help my patients by giving them symptomatic relief while working on repairing the underlying causes of metabolic stress and waste accumulation. Patients experience amazing results which are seen in their blood tests with improved thyroid markers, cholesterol, and liver markers.  As well as lower blood pressure and see relief from improved gastrointestinal symptoms like the ones that mean you need to know where every single toilet is before you leave the house. 

Melissa Callaghan ND, BHSc, BTeach
Clinical Naturopath


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