Do you have a child on the autism spectrum? You need to take care of yourself first!

Parenting children (or adults) on the spectrum can be extremely challenging. Your life has been overshadowed by another’s needs completely. You’ve put your own needs on the back burner, hoping to return to them ‘someday.’ But, take heart, you are not alone in this lonely, overwhelming world. There is a growing number of families dealing with this very issue.

Imagine you are on a plane, and the crew relays the message that if you are traveling with a child, first put your own mask on, and then you will be able to take care of your child. Transfer that advice now to your everyday life.

You need proper sleep, nourishment, exercise, relaxation, private time, and inspiration.

How Can I Help?

As an acupuncturist and nutritional therapist, I approach healing from many perspectives. 

The perspectives closest to home is that I have raised a boy on the autism spectrum, and through the programs I recommend here, I have helped him become an independent, highly functioning member of society. 

Perhaps through parenting a child or adult on the spectrum, you are suffering from digestive dysfunction due to the great amount of stress you are under. This is a great place to start your healing because most individuals on the spectrum have digestive issues. If there is to be a dietary change for your child, it is a lot easier if at least one family member is on the same diet. 

What is missing in many behavioral approaches to the autistic child is the need to address physical symptoms from a nutritional standpoint. Many of the child’s behavioral issues such as stimming, hyperactivity, aggression, head banging, irritability, anxiety, sociability, and eye contact can be improved with specific nutritional support and individual dietary changes.

In addition, with the same programs, many of the physical symptoms such as asthma, digestive disorders, constipation, diarrhea, poor appetite, cravings, hives, red cheeks, tics, eczema, psoriasis, and allergies can be improved.

Improving digestion helps to reveal any underlying issues which will be addressed with specific labs and supplementation. 

How Nutritional Therapy for Autism got Started

A Russian neurologist, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, established the connection between the functions of the digestive system and the brain when she developed the GAPS program (Gut and Psychology Syndrome).  She started a clinic in Cambridge, England, in 1998, which specialized in nutrition for children and adults with behavioral and learning disabilities, and for adults with digestive and immune system disorders. She has treated hundreds of people successfully and continues to train medical professionals in her system.

woman holding iphone while eating

The focus of her program is to improve the health of the gut lining through a very specific diet and through boosting the gut flora, also known as the gut microbiome.

The microbiome consists of trillions of microorganisms (also called microbiota or microbes) of thousands of different species. These include not only bacteria but fungi, parasites, and viruses.

In a healthy person, these “bugs” coexist peacefully, with the largest numbers found in the small and large intestines but also throughout the body. The microbiome is even labeled a supporting organ because it plays so many key roles in promoting the smooth daily operations of the human body.

There is a growing body of research connecting good health to how much healthy bacteria is in the gut. To keep your microbiome functioning in a healthy manner, it is imperative to consume enough beneficial bacteria, found in fermented foods and supplements called probiotics, to replace damaged flora and increase microbial diversity. 

The modern diet, consisting of irradiated and ultra-pasteurized food, and the over-use of antibiotics and other medications, have all contributed to the destruction of our microbiome. The trillions of bacteria in our gut act as our “army” defending us against invading bad bacteria, keeping that bacteria in check to prevent damage to our bodies. We need to continue to nourish ourselves to promote a wide and diverse range of health-supporting microbes, rather than try to kill off the bad bacteria. Allow the body to do its job in the way nature intended.

My work incorporates the GAPS concepts,

and other trainings from the Bio-Individual Institute, and the Integrative Medicine Autism Mastery program.

When the foods you are consuming are healthful, specific to your needs, and not disrupting your health, you are that much closer to your optimal self.

My Nutrition Program

  • Extensive medical history; symptoms, illnesses, traumas, etc.
  • Review of current diet, cravings, food sources, cooking methods, etc.
  • Dietary recommendations. If symptoms improve, we stop here.
  • If symptoms continue, we explore various lab work, which allows us to dig deeper to find the root cause, i.e., mold exposure, candida, allergies, drug reactions, toxic exposures, and others.
  • We work on your sleep, exercise, rest and relaxation, and other helpful modalities.


  • Supports your body for stress reduction and to maintain wellness.
  • Works on balancing your energy since we are energetic being and brings homeostasis; it’s like tuning a car. 
  • Releases feel good hormones in your body, bringing a sense of relaxation and peace.
  • Moves energy, moving stuck qi, which causes pain and disquiet. Acupuncture nourishes your depleted qi, which strengthens you.

Shelley H. Lane, OMD, L.Ac, NTP.

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