Raising Awareness of ASD: Find Support, Get Involved with National Organizations

By Nora Heston Tarte

Contributing Writer, Kirkman® Group Inc.

 Kirkman® has been privileged to work with many outstanding support groups for families that have been impacted by special needs health issues.  In observance of “Autism Awareness Month” (April), this article features four outstanding national organizations that offer a wide variety of services and support for families that have been impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).



 Purpose: In Executive Director Teri Arranga’s own words, “AutismOne is a nonprofit organization that is an educational resource for information about prevention of and restoration and recovery from autism.”

The organization has two main foci. First, it strives to prevent autism altogether through education, including how to avoid items that are unhealthful, such as toxins, and also incorporate items that are healthful, such as excellent nutrition. Secondly, AutismOne seeks to provide education that helps to restore good health and developmentally appropriate skill levels to children who already have the diagnostic label of autism.

 Parent Support: AutismOne conferences offer networking opportunities for parents who wish to meet and connect. Attendees have many shared interests and similarities and can provide each other another source of information not available through scientific papers and lectures.

 Something Different: AutismOne focuses on knowledge of ASD. Scientific finds, potential links and suggestions for cures or prevention are a heavy focus of the organization. In order to educate families about autism, the website offers a collection of articles at www.autismone.com/articles to help parents stay up to date on scientific findings and anecdotal information related to ASD.

 Conferences: AutismOne’s Focus for Health conference, scheduled for May 20-24 in Chicago offers opportunities for parents to connect while learning about ASD and its components.

 “The comprehensive nature of this conference encompasses lectures covering educational therapies; adjunct therapies, such as sensory therapy; peer-reviewed scientific research; and evidence-based biological intervention,” Arranga explains.

 The organization does play host to a variety of smaller conferences in other locales, but Focus for Health is their main event. Over 150 speakers will grace the stage at Focus for Health to be held at Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel. The 5-day conference is $99 for those who pre-register. A Continuing Medical Education (CME) program is also available to medical professionals (additional fee applies). Visit the conference website at www.autismone.org, and register at http://www.autismone.org/content/conference-membership-registration.

 How to get involved: To volunteer, email tarranga@autismone.org.  To donate, visit http://www.autismone.org/content/open-your-heart-campaign.

 For More Information: Visit www.autismone.org


 Generation Rescue                                                                             

 Mission: “We are dedicated to recovery for children with autism spectrum disorders by providing guidance and support for medical treatment to directly improve the child’s quality of life for all families in need,” – Generation Rescue, www.generationrescue.org

 Parent Support: The Generation Rescue website has a wealth of information for parents. In addition to grants that help with financial need, and conferences that supply their own set of benefits, Generation Rescue aims to inform parents about ASD, its potential causes and its treatment options. The site offers a tab of recommended reading as well as email updates to help parents stay in the know. It’s also a resource for learning about recovery, as well as a complementary source to Kirkman® for information regarding supplements.

 Something Different: “We provide medical treatment grants for families who can’t afford it,” said Candace McDonald, executive director of Generation Rescue. Every year, the organization funds treatment for over 100 families regardless of age. The only stipulations that exist are the patient must have an ASD diagnoses, a financial need and have not previously undergone treatment.

 Conferences: The Autism Education Summit, scheduled for September 25-27, allows families an opportunity to learn about ASD from a team of medical professionals. The conference, to be held in Dallas, Texas, is run by a group of doctors. It is, however, intended for parents. The conference offers a unique opportunity for experience and expertise to come together, while showcasing a holistic approach to reducing symptoms common in people with ASD.

 The Generation Rescue team prides themselves on offering a conference that sets them apart. From the Physician Oversight Committee that curates the summit’s curriculum to the science-based lectures provided by field experts, the summit strives to create a platform where parents can interact with speakers, garner support, and mingle with others in attendance. For more information on the conference, visit www.autismeducationsummit.com

 How to Get Involved: Interested parties can donate by visiting the website and even designate which program they would like donations to fund.

 Generation Rescue also challenges individuals to get involved in the Autism Awareness Month challenge, detailed on their website. The premise is each party will choose one indulgence to give up for the duration of one month. Then, each time you cheat – such as give in to that ice cream sandwich you swore off for the month of April – you place $10 in a cheat jar. Every time you are tempted by a craving, but don’t give in, place $1 in the jar. Once your challenge is complete, donate the contents of your jar to Generation Rescue.

 Be sure to download the templates from the website and follow instructions to share your challenge with social media.

 For More Information: Visit, www.generationrescue.org


 Talk About Curing Autism (TACA)                                                    

 Mission: Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) is a national non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to educating, empowering and supporting families affected by autism. For families who have just received the autism diagnosis, TACA aims to speed up the cycle time from the autism diagnosis to effective treatments. TACA helps to strengthen the autism community by connecting families and the professionals who can help them, allowing them to share stories and information to help improve the quality of life for people with autism.

 Parent Support: In terms of support, TACA offers a full-range of services available to individuals with ASD as well as the families that care for them. From encouragement and support garnered through monthly chapter meetings and coffee talks, to parent education available through seminars, lectures, clinics and webinars, TACA offers many opportunities for families to learn how best to support members with ASD, as well as support each other.

 One-on-one support is available by phone, email and Live Chat. There are also  support groups available in Spanish to accommodate members of the Latino autism community. 

 Something Different: In addition to the forms of support discussed, TACA offers a Youth Ambassador program that strives to reduce bullying of children with ASD. In teaching neurotypical individuals to support their peers with ASD, TACA aims to create school environments where children with ASD can thrive. It is important that children with ASD are able to feel safe in their school community, despite often being misunderstood.

 What Sets TACA Apart?

 According to Holly Bortfeld, parent support and lead author of TACA, “TACA serves more than 45,000 families directly, our programs are unique in the autism community (no one else offers all of them) and we offer monthly trainings and constant support to our volunteers nationally.”

 Conferences: TACA also offers annual conferences on both the East Coast and West Coast. This year’s conferences will be held in Philadelphia, Penn. On May 1-2 and Orange County Calif. October 23-24. Each conference hosts a unique line-up of speakers.

 How to get involved: TACA operates under the tagline “families with autism helping families with autism,” creating a unique platform where peers can help each other navigate the challenges and triumphs that accompany raising a child with ASD. To get involved in the organization, contact your local chapter. Contact information is available here: www.tacanow.org/contact

 For More Information: Visit www.TACANow.org


 National Autism Association                                                     

 Mission: “The mission of the National Autism Association is to respond to the most urgent needs of the autism community, providing real help and hope so that all affected can reach their full potential.” – National Autism Association, nationalautismassociation.org

 Parent Support: NAA has created a host of programs aimed at supporting the families of those with ASD. Parents can find a support group to interact with in person or online through social media platforms. The website also provides a list of recommended reading to help families stay up to date on the newest interventions and therapies with the philosophy that children with ASD will progress and can recover. A list of legal jargon decoded also helps parents or guardians decipher the language used to discuss their ongoing roles in their children’s lives.

 It is the direct assistance programs NAA has created that truly help parents and caregivers navigate this unique world. According to Wendy Fournier, president of the organization, the Big Red Safety Box | FOUND program “provides resources to reduce the number of wandering-related incidents in the autism community,” while “Give A Voice provides free iPads with voice output communication software to individuals who are non-verbal or minimally verbal.”

 In addition, the organization runs Helping Hand, a financial assistance program that can help families fund medical treatments and therapies not covered by insurance. The website has more details of the programs available.

 Something Different: The NAA places emphasis on increasing safety for those in the autism community. “Our primary focus for the last several years has been on addressing safety issues,” Fournier asserted. “We have created extensive resources to help prevent and respond to wandering incidents. We educate and train families, school administrators and first responders.”

 Conferences: The NAA hosts an annual conference each fall entitled NAA’s National Autism Conference. NAA boasts the “best of the best” for conference presenters and topics with a mix of cutting-edge research of environmental toxins, dietary interventions, legal and legislative strategies and estate planning. It’s a one-stop shop for caregivers of those with ASD.

 This year’s conference will be held at the resort on St. Pete Beach in Florida November 5-8. The resort is autism-friendly.

 How to Get Involved: Interested parties can contact NAA through the website: nationalautism.org, write to naa@nationalautism.org or call toll-free at 877-622-2884.

 Under the “Ways to Give” tab there are instructions on how to donate and become a member, sponsor or partner.

 For More Information: Visit, nationalautismassociation.org

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In Adults With Autism, Action Brings Ability

by Teri Arranga
Contributing Writer
Kirkman Group, Inc.

 In 2,000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that one in 150 children had an autism spectrum disorder. The CDC’s 2014 estimate is a staggering one child in 68. As these children age, it is vital that they have skills for a bright future.

 Have you ever wondered about the opportunities available to young adults with the diagnostic label of autism as well as what their view on life is? When approaching the topic of young adults and autism, it is first important to understand what autism is.

 Some people say autism is a spectrum disorder, but as a mom of a child with autism, that explanation is too simplistic. Autism is a diagnostic label determined by behavioral criteria, but has its roots in physiological illness, with multiple co-occurring conditions. The cognitive deficits happen because neurodevelopmental trajectory is skewed at a sensitive developmental period. The effects to the nervous system – brain – are often downstream of the pathology in other body systems (e.g., gastrointestinal pathology affects the immune system, which affects the nervous system); however, sometimes the effects to the brain can be more direct (e.g., when heavy metal toxicity perturbs or destroys brain cells).

 Some youngsters receive milder physiological insults during a critical formative period, while others are more severely impacted. Some children are genetically and/or metabolically able to withstand contaminants and pathogens better than other children. Finally, the parents of some children are aware of the help that is available from nutritional supplements and other immune-boosting and metabolically supportive items, in addition to educational and adjunct therapies, and these children have a good chance to biologically and cognitively improve or recover. This is why it looks like a spectrum disorder.

 In order to give young adults on the spectrum the best opportunities in life, it is essential to address any underlying physiological problems appropriately so that cognition and skills have the greatest chance to function optimally. This should be started as early in life as possible, although it is never too late to begin in order to still see some gains.

 I’m going to write about young men who have varying abilities. One adult, Ryan Hinds, is recovered from autism, having undergone biomedical therapies, and is an aerospace engineer. Another young man, Mark White, is now a junior at a university, majoring in computer science. The third, a teenager named Gavin Schultz, is significantly impacted but is able to enjoy communicating eloquently through his letter board, using the Rapid Prompting Method, and now has started using an iPad.  Each of their stories is a testament to hope, love, hard work, and possibilities.

Ryan Hinds, aerospace engineer: 
When Ryan was a very young boy, a doctor told his mother, Marcia, that he’d eventually be institutionalized. But Marcia pursued medical treatment for the underlying pathogens that were causing her son’s symptoms. Today, Ryan is an aerospace engineer, has his own apartment, goes out with friends, surfs and can even go on a vacation with a buddy. Marcia’s dreams for Ryan have come true, and his opportunities are endless because his mom knew that autism is medical, treatable, and surmountable. Marcia wrote a book about this, titled I Know You’re In There

 Here are some of Ryan’s own thoughts, which he shared in this book:

 “Our story has a happy ending, but how many parents are still told there is no hope for their children? And how many kids will not get better as a result? My family never gave up on me…. When experts told them I would never be okay and probably end up in a group home, they still didn’t give up. As a result, I was able to leave my autism label behind…. I was lucky to have parents who fought back. I want to thank my family for never giving up on me.

 “My mom and I fight sometimes, but at these times it is sort of fun to mess with her. When she wanted to know every detail about my girlfriend, it was quite bothersome. There are just some things you don’t tell your mother…. I worry I will disappoint my mom if I decide not to get married or have a family. I might want a house full of dogs instead. They are much easier than women. My dad agrees with me….

 “The one thing that still bothers me about being on the spectrum is that I’m still dependent on [anti-viral and anti-fungal] medications to make my immune system work properly. I long for the day when someone invents the thing the world can’t live without — a cure for autism…. When I forget to take my [anti-viral and anti-fungal] medicine or don’t watch my diet carefully enough, I must battle to suppress my old behaviors….”

 Mark White, university student:
Mark White took psychiatric medications beginning many years ago in grade school; however, his mother, Lila, related that she sought alternative treatments instead. So, she attended the AutismOne conference held each May in Chicago (www.autismone.org), where she was introduced to various therapies and parents of children like Mark who could share their experiences with her. Lila implemented what she learned at the conference and started Mark on a regimen that included various biomedical treatments as well as vitamin and mineral supplements. Mark has lost his diagnosis and is no longer on any psychiatric medications but uses various natural supplements that support the same body systems.

 Dr. William Walsh addresses the issue of compliance in his acclaimed book Nutrient Power. Many adults with various mental health diagnoses also have underlying nutrient issues. When sufficiently addressed, symptoms can be helped. However, compliance – getting an individual to adhere to their therapeutic regimen – can be a challenge.

 Kirkman® has tips for compliance, with two videos by Rhonda Mulford – “How to Take Supplements, Part I” and “How to Take Supplements, Part II” at http://kirkmanlabs.com/Pages/73/OurVideos/.

 I asked Mark’s mother, Lila, about jobs, marriage, and children. According to Lila:

“The challenge to finding a job will be motivating Mark. He gets down when he attempts to complete job applications because there isn’t much to show. I’ve attempted to solve that by asking if there was anyone at our church who owned their own business and who would consider giving Mark an unpaid internship. Mark was given one such opportunity and did very well; they were quite pleased with him. He entered receipts and invoices into a QuickBooks program. He received a very good letter of recommendation for his efforts. The person at church who gave him that opportunity also recommended him for the position of financial secretary for our congregation. Mark was elected to that position and is currently serving in that capacity. He enters contributions into a computer program, prints contribution statements, and orders contribution envelopes.

 “The idea of marriage for Mark is such a distant concept at this point in time. However, I wouldn’t rule it out completely — after all, there was a time when I couldn’t envision college let alone a 4.00 college GPA. I will say this, though: it would have to be a very special girl who would understand where Mark has come from and be willing to support him in his future goals.”   

 Gavin Schultz, Rapid Prompting Method (RPM) User
Gavin Schultz is a significantly impacted teenager with autism who is considered nonverbal. A horizon of possibilities is now available to Gavin due to his ability to communicate through Rapid Prompting Method (RPM), according to Gavin’s mom, Cindy Schultz, who home-schools Gavin. Through the communication tool of RPM, his close-knit family, his spiritual life, and the support of friends, Gavin can relate his ideas and feelings at length.

 This is what Gavin shared: “I am challenged daily by autism, but I do not let it get me down. I have a hopeful attitude and am very blessed. Though I need help and reminding about self-care, I have a loving family and therapists that are always there for me. More independence is my goal. I am not doing too bad for myself. I am looking to a bright future now that I have finally found a way to communicate. God uses my weaknesses to be my strongest strengths. I want to be a public speaker and write a book. Giving hope, encouragement and inspiring others to never give up is so important in life. I would love to have a job making people thankful for the life God blessed them with. We are all here for a reason. He doesn’t make mistakes. There is so much to learn from us. Look at the able, not the label! I have not thought about marriage or having children someday. It is a wonderful thing to fall in love and have a special relationship with someone. However, at this time of my life I am happy with who I am and trust that God will continue to direct my path in life. He knows what the future holds for me and that’s all that matters….”

 I hope this glimpse into the accomplishments, thoughts, and feelings of young adults on the  autism spectrum will enlighten, encourage and empower you to make a positive difference this April during Autism Awareness Month and in the future.

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Autism: History in the Making

By Garrett York,

Copywriter, Kirkman® Group Inc.

 Before Rainman, a movie about an autistic savant that won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1989, not many people were familiar with the term “autism”.

 Dustin Hoffman, who starred in Rainman, helped us understand that someone with autism displayed odd, intelligent and repetitive behaviors. However, it wasn’t until the 1990s, when autism diagnoses began to soar, that the public became aware of this disorder.

 In the ten years between 1993 and 2003, the number of American schoolchildren with autism diagnoses increased by over 800%. This rise in autism can be attributed, in part with the introduction of the Autism Diagnostic interview, which was the first recognized tool for diagnosing autism. In 1992, the American Psychiatric Association released the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV), which refined diagnostic criteria for autism as a spectrum disorder. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent report on the prevalence of autism, which was issued in March of 2014, has the rate of autism at 1 in 68 children.

 How is it that autism all of a sudden popped up? The answer is probably, that it didn’t.

 The term “autism” has only been in existence for about a hundred years. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica[i], in 1908, Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler began using the term to describe a specific set of symptoms manifesting themselves in what he believed to be a group of schizophrenic patients. Several decades later, researchers in the United Sates began using the term “autism” to describe children with emotional or social difficulties. It was here the definition of autism began to take concrete shape and was seen as distinguishable from mental disease or illness. In 1944, an Austrian psychiatric researcher further defined the specific social behaviors that identified a particular condition. That doctor was Hans Asperger, the man after which the eponymous syndrome is named.

 Most diagnoses on the autism spectrum are fairly recent – only going back about fifty years – but scholars have speculated that a number of historical figures likely had autism disorders. The BBC News reports[ii] “Cambridge and Oxford Scholars” suggested both Albert Einstein and Sir Isaac Newton displayed signs of Asperger’s Syndrome. Other historical figures believed to be on the autism spectrum include scientist Henry Cavendish, Thomas Jefferson and composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

 Since the 1950s, therapies for autism have included the prescribed use of LSD, electric shock treatments, and behavioral modification therapy that used physical pain as a negative reinforcement technique.

 It may surprise some that the first child ever diagnosed with autism is now in his mid 80’s and living in Mississippi. In October 1938, Donald Triplett was examined by Austrian child psychiatrist Leo Kanner at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD. Kanner was baffled by the boy’s symptoms and, though he noted some similarities to schizophrenia, was unable to diagnose him. Kanner saw Triplett several more times and by 1943 had encountered 10 cases of similarly affected children. That year he published an article titled Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact that outlined the basic symptoms of the disorder later known as autism. The term “autism” was derived from the clinical description of the withdrawal and internalization demonstrated by schizophrenia patients. In the paper, Triplett was referred to as “Case1”.

 Bruno Bettleheim, an Austrian born professor who taught at the University of Chicago from 1944 until his retirement in 1973, promoted the theory that autism was caused by uncaring mothers and weak or absentee fathers. In 1964, Dr. Bernard Rimland published his book Infantile Autism: The Syndrome and Its Implications for a Neural Theory of Behavior that, according to the New York Times “demolished the cold-mother theory by presenting lucid evidence that the disorder was rooted in biology.”[iii]

 Dr. Rimland, whose son had autism, contacted every vitamin and dietary supplement manufacturer he could with the idea of developing a multi-vitamin formula to support the nutritional needs of his son. Kirkman® was the only company that responded and with Dr. Rimland, formulated Super Nu-Thera® in 1987, which is still one of Kirkman’s most popular nutritional supplements. Dr. Rimland also supported research that looked at biological as well as neurological effects of autism.

 Contemporaneously, Dr. O. Ivar Lovaas, known as the father of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) was expanding the use and understanding of behavior modification as therapy for autism. Because autism is still viewed as primarily a neurological disorder, various schools of behavioral therapies are the most commonly practiced autism treatments today.

 In 2002, Kirkman’s CEO and President David Humphrey, helped found the Autism Treatment Network (ATN), which merged with Autism Speaks in 2006 and today consists of 14 specialty centers for autism. Early projects of ATN included establishing the fact that many children with autism had co-morbid medical conditions. ATN has been responsible for securing more than $70 million for many diverse areas of autism research.

 A lot of current autism research is focused on genetics and epigenetics. In the largest-ever autism genome study, published January 2015 in the journal Nature Medicine, researchers sequenced 340 genomes from 85 families with two affected children. We now know that the environment may have a role in autism. Through epigenetics, the study of heritable changes in gene expression not related to DNA, how and to what extent is a “hot” area for autism research.

 You can learn more about the history of autism from a speech by David Humphrey presented to Autism Canada. Click here to view.

[i] http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/69329/Eugen-Bleuler

[ii] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/2988647.stm

[iii] http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/28/obituaries/28rimland.html

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Autism Awareness Month Sheds Light on a Complex Disorder

By AnnElise Hatjakes, M.A.

Contributing Writer. Kirkman® Group Inc.

At the moment you are reading this, researchers know more about autism than ever before. As new studies are being released they help bridge the gap between mystery and clarity, and consequently raises awareness about an increasingly common disorder. This article will highlight some of the most important recent discoveries in autism research, including potential risk factors and causes, and how that research is helping those with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

 Autism Causes and Diagnosis

 As any autism researcher will tell you, one single cause of autism has not been identified. However, there are a number of different risk factors that appear to contribute to the development of autism, ranging from outdoor pollutants to maternal diabetes before a child is born.

 In December of 2014, the largest study of the relationship between pollution and autism showed that the risk of autism doubled in places with high levels of air pollution.1 The study, which was led by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, examined mothers whose children were exposed to a certain level of particulate pollution during their third trimester. Researchers compared these children to 1,000 study participants who did not develop autism, and isolated air pollutants as a clear risk factor. While the reason that pollution contributes to autism is not entirely clear, it has been theorized that it affects brain cells directly or causes inflammation.

 Beyond these environmental risk factors, researchers have also begun to locate genetic risks. In March of this year, a study published in the journal Nature explained that the gene that causes severe autism in women has been identified.2 This is an especially important development given that much of autism research focuses on boys, who are more likely to develop the disorder. The same researchers initially analyzed the genes of thirteen unrelated women, and once they identified that the gene called CTNND2 had more mutations than expected, they expanded their study to thousands of additional patients to confirm their theory.

 Increased knowledge of these genetic predispositions may also help doctors diagnose autism earlier. Historically, autism has been diagnosed using a series of behavioral tests; however, this makes early detection difficult since some children do not exhibit the symptoms of autism until they are toddlers. A new study has shown that a certain gene panel can identify toddlers who are at risk of developing autism. Using blood-based biomarkers, doctors would be able to diagnose autism by screening for that gene panel.3  

 Support for People with Autism

 Despite the fact that autism awareness has increased, many children and adults with autism do not have the support they need to complete their schooling and enter the workforce. According to a recent study, people with autism can have difficulty getting a job because of the traditional hiring system, which relies on interviews that can be difficult for those on the spectrum.  Since the bulk of autism research has focused on its potential causes, little has been dedicated to “what autism looks like in adulthood.”4 However, based on the data that is available, it is clear that many children and adults don’t have access to services they need to succeed.

 Many organizations and autism activists are working to combat this lack of support. Specialisterne, for example, was started by a father of an autistic child, and aims to get people with autism into jobs where they will excel. This start-up company, originally started in Denmark, has now spread to thirteen other countries (including the United States). The founder explained that there’s something called the “autism advantage” for employers, which means  that autistic employees may have a higher level of attention to detail and the “ability to repeat tasks numerous times without losing interest or getting bored.”5

 Temple Grandin, a long-time autism activist and researcher, has advocated for a similar attitude of empowerment among people with autism. In a speech given this month, she said, “We have to start looking at what they can do, not what they can’t do.”6 In spite of potential limitations that come along with a diagnosis of autism, Grandin emphasized that there are also potential advantages.

The Future of Autism Research and Treatment

In an interview, Stephen Edelson, Ph.D., the executive director of the Autism Research Institute, described where he believes the future of autism research is headed. “As far as the near future, there are many exciting research studies underway; and the good news is that many pressing questions will likely be answered within the next three to five years, if not sooner,” Edelson said7.  He identified some of these questions (and, in some cases, their potential answers):

  • Can autism be prevented or the symptoms minimized by following a healthy pregnancy plan? This includes adhering to sound nutritional advice and reducing exposure to potentially harmful toxins.
  • How do the major biological systems interact with one another? Researchers in the field of autism are studying gastrointestinal, immune, and metabolic systems; and they are beginning to examine how these systems interact.
  • Since some individuals recover from autism, what are the most likely interventions that will lead to such recoveries?

Dr. Edelson explained that “since the path of science takes many twists and turns, it is difficult to project the direction of autism research, especially in the far future.” These twists and turns can come suddenly, as was the case with the 1964 publication of Dr. Bernard Rimland’s book, Infantile Autism, which argued that autism was a biologically-based disability. Prior to the publication of that book, it was believed that autism was a product of emotional neglect. “Of course, a single breakthrough finding or even a logical thesis, similar to Dr. Rimland’s deductions 50 years ago, can turn the tide in an instant,” Dr. Edelson said.

Works Cited

1 Raz, Raanan. “Autism Spectrum Disorder and Particulate Matter Air Pollution Before, During, and after Pregnancy: A Nested Case–Control Analysis within the Nurses’ Health Study II Cohort.” Environmental Health Perspectives123.3 (2015). Print.

2 Turner, Tychele N. “Loss of δ-catenin Function in Severe Autism.” Nature: International Weekly Journal of Science (2015): 51-56. Web.

3 Pramparo, T. et al. JAMA Psychiatry 72 (2015): 386-394. Web.

4 Weintraub, Special for USA TODAY, Karen. “Study: Adults with Autism Often Have Little Opportunity.” USA Today. Gannett, Apr. 2015. Web. Apr. 2015.

5 Hickey, Shane. “The Innovators: Matching Autistic People with Jobs Needing Special Skills.” The Guardian. N.p., Apr. 2015. Web.

6 Durbin, Kaitlin. “Temple Grandin Works to Find ‘can’ in Autism.” Mansfield News Journal. N.p., Apr. 2015. Web. 16 Apr. 2015.

7 Edelson, Stephen. Email Interview. April 22, 2015.

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Spring is Here! Have Allergies? Kirkman® Can Help

Nora Tarte


By Nora Heston Tarte
Contributing Writer
Kirkman Group, Inc. 

An estimated 50 million Americans (1 in 5) have allergies and 40 million of those individuals suffer from “indoor and outdoor” allergies, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation (AAF).   This makes allergies the fifth leading chronic disease in the country, according to AAF.

“Seasonal allergies are actually a negative immune response,” explained Larry Newman, chief operating officer in charge of technical and regulatory affairs at Kirkman®. “Any immune booster is a definite aid in reducing the allergies and their severity,” he said. 

Newman listed the following as ingredients known to lessen the severity of seasonal springtime allergies, including quercitin, zinc, pineapple and papaya enzymes, turmeric (or curcumin), pycnogenol and cat’s claw herb.

Kirkman® offers a variety of products focused on boosting the immune system, and many of those products can also mitigate symptoms of allergies.  Some of these products are as follows: 

Immuno-Aid™ Advanced Formula – Hypoallergenic Capsules

In addition to boosting your immune system, this new, advanced formula has been updated based on the latest scientific information regarding improving immune response to exposure risks. Elderberry extract was added to further enhance the immune system and to offer overall support.  Continue reading

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Protecting Children from Mitochondrial Toxins is Essential to Their Good Health

By Teri Arranga
Contributing Writer
Kirkman Group, Inc. 


“Molecular and cell fetal remodeling derived from exposure to mitochondrial toxins in utero may have long term consequences of unknown severity.” This was the conclusion reached by researchers in Spain about potential danger to unborn babies from environmental toxins. In layman’s terms, it means there is a significant health risk to an unborn child from toxins unknowingly absorbed by the mother.

 An article published in the September 2014 issue of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health,, titled “Mitochondrial Toxicity in Human Pregnancy: An Update on Clinical and Experimental Approaches in the Last 10 Years”1 states “ [there is] an association between exposure to mitochondrial toxic agents and pathologic conditions [such as] fertility defects, detrimental fetal development and impaired newborn health due to intra-uterine exposure.” In other words, there is a clear link between exposure to toxins at the cellular (mitochondria) level and health issues in the unborn.

Continue reading

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In the Kitchen with Kirkman®: Spring Delights

Spring means warmer weather, allergies and, of course, spring-cleaning. This time of year provides the perfect opportunity to detoxify your body and prepare it to successfully battle whatever is to come, including tough-to-beat allergies and colds. Spring is also a great time to get into the kitchen and try out some great new recipes.

Kirkman’s Detox Aid can assist in removing toxins from the body. Although Kirkman’s supplements are Ultra Tested® and screened for 950 environmental contaminants, it is nearly impossible not to be exposed to any contaminants. That’s where detoxing is useful.

In addition, Kirkman® provides several different forms of zinc, including a zinc with vitamin C, in liquid form and in a topical cream. Zinc supports the immune system and many other processes. Another great “spring-cleaning” aid is a detox product. Kirkman® offers a wide variety of detox products that can assist in removing toxins from the body, helping you create a fresh start for your season.

Supplements are an easy way to assist in detoxification and building immunity. The diet can be another great way to ensure good health during your spring-cleaning. Be sure to serve yourself and your kids energy boosting food along with supplements that promote good gastrointestinal/immune health.

Eating seasonally and building recipes off of the fresh produce available at your local market is a great way to make sure you’re incorporating a variety of fruits, vegetables and nutrients into your diet.

Try incorporating seasonal fruit into this easy, highly nutritious recipe. You can swap out the various fruits depending on preference and availability.

Below, we also have included a vegan, cauliflower crust pizza. Cauliflower is a popular ingredient that can be prepared in many different ways and is a healthy alternative to the gluten version. 

Frozen Fresh Fruit Loaf (Adapted from Glutenfreecooking.about.com)

Serves 8

Ingredients –

  • 2 cups fresh sliced strawberries
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup halved red seedless grapes
  • 1 cup fresh sliced peaches
  • 1 cup fresh cubed pineapple
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 8 ounces room temperature cream cheese (light or regular)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  •  cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions –

  1. Prepare fruits by slicing and cubing. Place in a large mixing bowl. Add marshmallows.
  2. Beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Place in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Place cream cheese in a mixing bowl and beat on medium speed for about one minute or until smooth.
  4. Slowly add powdered sugar, mayonnaise and vanilla and beat just until smooth.
  5. Fold the cream cheese mixture into the fruit mixture. Gently fold in whipping cream.
  6. Pour into a 9×4 bread loaf pan.
  7. Freeze at least 4 hours or overnight.
  8. To serve cut slices from loaf pan OR run hot water over the bottom of the loaf pan until frozen mixture releases and carefully serve on a platter in a bed of lettuce. 

Tip: You can reduce the sugar in this recipe by half OR use 1/4 honey with good results. You can substitute the cream cheese and mayonnaise for casein free, vegan products.

Reminder: Always make sure your work surfaces, utensils, pans and tools are free of gluten. Always read product labels. Manufacturers can change product formulations without notice. When in doubt, do not buy or use a product before contacting the manufacturer for verification that the product is free of gluten.

 Vegan Cauliflower Crust Pizza (Adapted From Detoxinista.com)

 Serves 2

 Ingredients –

  • 1 pound cauliflower florets (fresh or frozen)
  • 3 tablespoons ground chia or flax seeds, divided
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Marinara/Pizza sauce
  • Pizza Toppings (i.e. vegetables, vegan cheese, meat)

 Directions –

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the cauliflower florets in the bowl of a large food processor fitted with an “S” blade, and pulse until a rice-like texture is created. Pour the cauliflower “rice” into a large sauce pot, add enough water to cover, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat and allow to cook for 5 minutes. Drain the liquid, then transfer the cooked cauliflower rice in a freezer-safe bowl. Place in the freezer to cool for 10 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, mix together 2 tablespoons of ground chia or flax seeds with 6 tablespoons of water, to create a vegan “egg.” Set aside and allow the mixture to thicken.
  3. Remove the cooled cauliflower rice from the freezer and transfer it to the center of a thin dish towel. Use your hands to squeeze the rice in the dish towel, removing all of the excess moisture from the cauliflower.
  4. Place the drained cauliflower in a large bowl, then add in the vegan egg mixture, the almond meal, the additional tablespoon a ground flax or chia seeds, salt, garlic and dried oregano. Stir well to mix, then press the mixture into the parchment-lined baking sheet. (I used a quarter baking sheet, so the crust filled the entire pan. If you are using a larger baking sheet, simply use your hands to shape the crust into your desired size, keeping the crust about 1/4-inch thick.) For best results, press the crust together firmly, making sure that there are no “thin spots” where it might crack.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes, until the top is lightly golden and dry to the touch.
  6. You could use this pizza crust as is, but it won’t be firm enough to lift with your hands. For best texture, I recommend using an additional piece of parchment paper to flip the entire pizza crust, then returning it to the pan to bake for an additional 15 minutes.
  7. Once the crust is firm and dry, add your favorite pizza toppings and return to the oven briefly to let everything heat up, about 5-10 additional minutes. I added marinara sauce, sautéed onions, fresh spinach and a sprinkling of cashew parmesan, for a properly combined pizza.

*Note: You can skip the cooking and cooling process when using frozen cauliflower. Simply allow the frozen cauliflower to thaw in your fridge overnight, which creates a “cooked” texture without having to do the extra work. Pulse the thawed cauliflower to create the rice, then drain well using a dish towel.

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