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Autism news: Causes of Behavior Problems Part I
September 27, 2019

I’ve seen my share of allergies enough to know this: if a child with autism has an allergy to chemicals, it could be responsible for a lot of that child’s behavior problems.

Consider a true story of a boy I’ll call “Johnny”, and how his family discovered his chemical allergies…

“Hey! What’s wrong with Johnny?” David, Johnny’s brother said with alarm.

While sitting in the back seat of the car, Johnny had, without warning, begun shaking, hitting himself, and violently shaking his head back and forth.

“Johnny!” Mom cried. “Please calm down!”

Just moments before the incident, Mom had just pulled into a gas station and parked the car.

David made the connection. “Mom, we just pulled into the gas station here, and I smell really strong gas fumes. Do you think Johnny could be allergic to gasoline? I think we’d better leave this place right away.”

Mom wasted no time leaving the gas station that day.

Later episodes of reactions to gas fumes, along with appropriate tests, confirmed that Johnny was indeed allergic to gasoline fumes.

And gasoline wasn’t the only chemical that Johnny had to avoid. Experiences similar to the gasoline incident as well as other tests showed he was allergic to harsh cleaners, synthetic fragrances and other toxic chemicals.

Johnny isn’t alone in his allergies to chemicals. Multiple Chemical Sensitivities has increased by 300% in just the last decade alone.

And because children with autism tend to have a lot of allergies, some may be allergic to chemicals in the environment.

So if your family struggles with behavior problems, this is one possibility you may wish to explore.

If you suspect that your child might be allergic to chemicals in her environment, it's a good idea to switch to using natural cleaners such as borax and white distilled vinegar. I can get a gallon and a half jug of distilled vinegar at Costco for $2.99, so that is a cheap, non toxic cleaner I rely on heavily.

You can also find brands of cleaners such as Seventh Generation at a number of grocery stores.

And don’t forget to consider the type of laundry detergent your family uses, because some children are allergic to traditional brands of laundry soap. We have used both Seventh Generation and Ecos brands of laundry detergent and have been happy with both.

But for now, keep observing your child while researching to find answers. And enlist your child’s doctor to help you figure out what’s causing your child to misbehave.

As Sheri Marino, MA, CCC-SLP, former Director of the Pediatric Health Initiatives has said, children with autism are often “medically complex.” So if your child has unexplained behavior problems, it would be best to see your child’s doctor, because any number of medical issues could be causing her to act out.

We have had our own share of behavior problems in our family, and for us, physical or medical issues are usually the cause.

Remember that medical problems, if left untreated, can become more serious. So it’s really important to begin investigating this as soon as possible.

Understanding the cause makes all the difference in the world because not only can we can work on relieving our children’s suffering, but we can also learn to view their struggles with empathy rather than impatience.

Think of their behavior issues not as attempts to bother you, but as cries for help. Some kids can’t tell anyone what’s wrong, and that makes it even more frustrating for them.

Imagine if some chemical in the environment was driving you nuts or making you feel terrible, and you couldn’t tell anyone how you were feeling.

As many have said, “My child isn’t giving me a hard time—he’s having a hard time."

Warm Regards,

Kay Donato

Discover Autism Help, LLC

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