Team GR: Off the heels of another successful conference in Dallas, we asked one of our favorite warrior dads to give us his top 5 takeaways from the 2017 Autism Education Summit!
Top Takeaways from the 2017 Autism Education Summit
Written by Dave Borden
They’ve done it again! The team at Generation Rescue put together an incredible event again this year. I have attended all 4 years of this conference, and I have to say that I think the 2017 Autism Education Summit (AES) was the best one yet.
AES featured some heavy hitters in the world of functional medicine including Dr. Will Cole, Dr. Ben Lynch, and Dr. Josh Axe. All of the speakers at AES delivered incredible presentations, and once again, my wife and I left Dallas energized, filled with hope, and ready to implement some of the things we learned.
1. It’s All About Your Genes
Epigenetics is the study of how the internal and external environments impact our genes. In nearly every presentation I attended, the speaker mentioned genes in some way. Many even mentioned specific genetic SNPs (“snips”) to watch out for and how to manage any issues. For instance, Dr Ben Lynch mentioned that the DAO gene and linked it to histamine intolerance. Kids with this SNP would likely benefit from a low histamine diet.
As you can see, knowing your child’s genetic deficits is important and can provide your doctor with valuable insight into how your child’s body works. 23 and Me is one of the easiest genetic tests to have completed. It’s a simple saliva collection that can help guide future treatment.
Dr Ben Lynch’s book “Dirty Genes” will be released this January. I’m putting it on my Christmas list this year, and I would highly recommend you check out this book too. Don’t forget to use Amazon Smile to help raise money for Generation Rescue!
2. Reduce EMFs
EMFs (electromagnetic frequency) are something that I pushed to the back of my mind for years now. It’s not that I wasn’t concerned about them. I just didn’t think there was anything I could do about it. Peter Sullivan opened my eyes in his presentation: “Wireless: A Key Piece of the Puzzle”.
Peter talked about how EMF exposure can promote the fight or flight response and cause inflammation in the body. 2 issues that are huge for my son. If your ASD kiddo is like my son, then they are likely always attached to their iPad. This means his stress response is being activated by the very thing that we think is reducing his stress.
Peter also mentioned that he believes kids are sensitive to certain frequencies. When the kids are stressed out, it makes them hypersensitive to certain sounds. I wonder if this is why my son seems to respond to sound differently depending on the day.
The big recommendation was to unplug your WiFi, and if you can turn off the bedroom circuits at night. This ensures that we sleep with much less EMF activity thus facilitating a deeper and potentially more healing sleep.
3. Autism & Stress: No Healing if the Body is Stressed
Another common theme this year was reducing stress for our kids. Many kids on the spectrum can have adrenal dysfunction, elevated levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), or are in a constant state of fight or flight. This fact was reiterated by various different presenters throughout the weekend, but I think Dr. Axe said it best when he said, “it’s important to get the body into a parasympathetic state.” There can be no healing if the body is in a sympathetic state (stressed). One way to help is by reducing EMFs as mentioned earlier, and another way is through the use of adaptogens.
4. Adaptogens Can Restore Balance
Adaptogens are herbs and other plants that can have a balancing effect on the body. If you’re too down, they can bring you up. Conversely, it you’re too wired or anxious, they can help bring you back down. There are a number of different adaptogens that are available, but rhodiola, ashwagandha, and holy basil were the ones that I heard mentioned repeatedly throughout AES. These all can help lower cortisol and/or bring the body into the parasympathetic state.
5. There’s a lot of Wisdom in Ancient Medicine
Dr Axe gave the medical keynote at this year’s AES. His presentation was titled “Ancient Medicine for Autism”, which was really about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). I was completely blown away. Something about the way he presented the TCM model of health really spoke to me. I couldn’t believe it, but it made perfect sense.
He mentioned that in Chinese Medicine emotions are tied to specific organs. For example: fear is linked to the kidneys and bladder while anger can be linked to the liver. On the surface that seems a little out there. However, in my experience it’s spot on.
A couple years ago, my son went through a 2 week period where he spent most of the day crying seemingly for no reason. His doctor recommended we add some kidney support in within hours we had our happy son back.
Another occasion, we were going through a period of aggression and his doctor added some liver supports. Within a couple days, the aggression had gone away. I had no idea that his doctor was following this ancient model of health, but I’m so glad she was. Yet, another reason for finding a good doctor to drive your child’s treatment.
Going Back Next Year
Once again, the Autism Education Summit connected parents with one another and allowed us to learn cutting edge research and treatments from experts in a variety of fields. I left AES full of hope and ready to implement the things I learned. Generation Rescue has announced they will be holding AES in Dallas again next year. My wife and I will be returning in 2018, and we hope to see you there.
Register for the next Autism Education Summit now at autismeducationsummit.com
Follow Dave at @ImSimplyADad and share your feedback from AES with us at @GenRescue