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Autism-coping techniques can be good for everyone

March 26, 2012
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It’s hard for anyone to learn, relax, or be social when in pain. People with autism are even more vulnerable than the general population to physical and environmental stresses, and what is good for them, in terms of general lifestyle habits, is often good for most everyone. The whole family might benefit from changes in these four basic areas:

FOOD: Many people with autism eat very restrictive diets, missing out on valuable nutrients and eating too many starches. A healthier approach would be to eat a largely organic, plant-based diet, avoiding highly processed foods.

BUGS: Immune problems that often accompany autism can limit energy and impede metabolism. Support the immune system with a healthy diet, avoid allergic triggers and infections, and help keep stomach bugs away by eating yogurt and probiotics.

TOXINS: Genes and immune problems associated with autism can increase vulnerability to toxins, so it’s best to minimize exposures. Use fragrance-free and “natural’’ household and personal-care products whenever possible.

STRESS: Anxiety is common among people with autism, who are often easily overwhelmed by the world around them. Many have sensory problems - they feel, hear, and see more acutely. A doorbell might sound like a cannon, a clothing label feel like a porcupine. This can easily lead to stress. Slowing down, limiting stimuli, and getting training to better handle sensory stimulation can make a big difference for people with these challenges, research suggests.

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