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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Excellent! A Bridge between the "what" and the "why"!
Dr. Herbert has written a fantastic book about the "whats" and "whys" (and also "why nots") of addressing autism spectrum disorders using approaches that are not usually part of the standard clinical repertoire. In a nutshell, the book reviews stories of individuals on the autism spectrum that either improved or got off the spectrum entirely, through methods that are not...
Published on March 31, 2012 by my_1_point_five_cents

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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Plugging brands?
This book basically says there is hope of recovery because a tiny percentage of people on the spectrum have improved drastically and to try anything, fringe science or not, in order to make it happen. Hope is a great thing, but when you are plugging Mona Vie by brand name and even saying that any cheaper brand doesn't work, there is something seriously SERIOUSLY wrong. If...
Published 15 months ago by Allison


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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Excellent! A Bridge between the "what" and the "why"!, March 31, 2012
Dr. Herbert has written a fantastic book about the "whats" and "whys" (and also "why nots") of addressing autism spectrum disorders using approaches that are not usually part of the standard clinical repertoire. In a nutshell, the book reviews stories of individuals on the autism spectrum that either improved or got off the spectrum entirely, through methods that are not usually included in the standard family physician's to-do list. The beauty of the book is that it reviews these methods from several angles, in a simple, common sense way: (1) What is involved (2) What are the risks, (3) What are the costs, and perhaps most importantly, (4) Why might it work (or not work), from a scientific perspective.

Dr. Herbert advocates for low-risk, low-cost, potentially high benefit appraches to autism, which revolve mostly around specific proper diet and a healthy lifestyle. Yes, we've all heard this before, in many other contexts. And yes, this approach IS relevant well beyond autism (which is why I'd recommend this book to parents of children with a variety of issues, not just autism). What makes this book special is Dr. Herbert's careful and meticulous explanations. For instance, she discusses *why* diet affects your child's brain, and why the autistic brain might be more vulnerable. She walks the reader gently and in great detail through relevant complex scientific concepts, from gut bacteria to the inner workings of various types of brain cells, and their interactions, and in doing so she explains why (for instance) having a pizza might trigger a terrible tantrum in certain sensitive children.

Perhaps most importantly, while staying realistic and grounded, this book is written with amazing compassion and emphathy and offers real hope. Dr. Herbert doesn't think of autism as a static disorder and a lifetime label. She tells stories of those who are no longer labeled, she has met individuals who "developed out" of this developmental disorder, and she has seen many who improved well beyond the bleak prognoses they were originally given. And as every parent of a child on the spectrum knows, even small improvements are big victories. I highly recommend this book to anyone with a child on the spectrum, to anyone with a child who has other diagoses such as ADHD, and to every clinician in the field (but especially to those who tend to think of autism as a static state).
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hopeful, Fantastic Big Picture, The Next Steps, August 21, 2012
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I have been working with a family member to reverse his autism symptoms most of his life, using the DAN approach, gluten free-casein free diet, and many other techniques one reviewer here scoffs at. Guess what --THEY WORK! I am a highly educated Mom who had the luxury of time to research all of this back before it was mainstream. I read the pub-meds. I read the science. It's all true.

I'm so glad I never saw the doctor who wrote the negative review here *(one star) and that I didn't listen to those like him.

Instead, figuring they would have the motivation and integrity to tell the truth, I listened to doctors who were recovering their own autistic children, toxicologists, and OTHER PARENTS. Thank God I did because if I had waited for the consensus of those whose lack of imagination could not envision any path but the current thinking, my family member would not be about to start mainstream school this week. Whether that reviewer wants to believe it or not, treating my family members condition AS IF it were caused by toxins in our current world (ochams razor) rather than as if it were some weird coincidental thing that was rarer than rare in the previous generation but oddly 1 in 20 boys in this one---was the key to bringing him back. Listening to people who pretend it is normal to have exploding diapers, that we just didn't "notice" the hand flapping kids in the 1960-s--brought me no answers. Instead, I listed to those who said "obviously these children are the canaries in the coal mine and something is wrong NOW" "Obviously these kids were fine and then they weren't--SOMETHING happened to them".

This book, by a mainstream doctor out of Harvard, is going to help many, many, many parents of autistic children dissolve the mask of autism that obscures their child's expression, the fog that clouds their brain, and midwife them back to the world we are all in, to much joy.

And my favorite line in her book is "autism is a state" meaning they can shift OUT Of this state. Very, very hopeful message. I can't wait to try those suggestions I have not yet tried. I can't wait to see my family member "all the way back".

THANK YOU DR HERBERT! ! ! !
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is an important book!, May 2, 2012
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Despite over forty years of research connecting symptoms to the disease process that we call autism it is still considered a psychiatric disorder that is not medically treatable. This book explains in very readable language why autism is a disease and a treatable disease. It is not a medical book for practitioners to use to treat the disease but it does give changes, and why they might be helpful, a parent can make in their child's life that might prove beneficial. It also discusses some treatment options that are currently available for children with autism that are harmful and why they are harmful. The first part of the book is about the science and the second half about rehabilitation. Autism occurs at critical stages of child development and stops or greatly retards development. Medical Treatment can make the child healthier but the child has to be taught what he has missed. Parents sometimes think it as an either/or proposition; either I go the ABA route of the medical, when in actuality it is the combined approach that will give the best outcome. Dr. Herbert did include the fact that agents are being developed that might be very helpful in the treatment of this disease in the future. This information has been available for some time for people who know where to look but somehow, it is never in the media. I wonder how many families give up in despair because they have absolutely no hope? This book will give everyone hope!
This book is a step (and I hope a huge one!) in changing the way we think about autism in this country. I am telling all of the families in our clinic to read this book, putting it on our website and every listserve I am on.
Thank you Dr. Herbert!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Plugging brands?, October 9, 2013
This book basically says there is hope of recovery because a tiny percentage of people on the spectrum have improved drastically and to try anything, fringe science or not, in order to make it happen. Hope is a great thing, but when you are plugging Mona Vie by brand name and even saying that any cheaper brand doesn't work, there is something seriously SERIOUSLY wrong. If you don't know what Mona Vie is, just start typing it into google and "monavie scam" will be the second choice to pop up. It is a pyramid scheme that sells a vitamin juice that is geared towards weightless but since its just vitamins they can sell it to anyone hoping to improve anything health-related. This is just one example of the author plugging specific and questionable for-profits, but it was the red flag for me. I am no conspiracy theorist, but having dealt with psycho "Body by Vie" cultists I think anyone who would plug the brand name of a wildly successful pyramid scheme is an extremely questionable source.

I am a behavior therapist and work with kids on the spectrum and I have families that stick to a very healthy, unprocessed diet and are trying anything and everything out there. Adding more speculative therapies to their list of possible treatments and listing the barrage of unproven possible causes for autism while plugging name brands of institutions and products is just disgusting to me. Its hard for me to believe that someone with these kind of credentials would stoop to such tactics to make money.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Autism treatments, September 20, 2012
I was hoping to gain new insights into bio-medical treatments for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Anyone who has experience with a child on the spectrum understands that each child is different. However, I was hoping the author would outline a series of tests and protocols to treat this pervasive disorder. Instead, the book provides a series of anecdotes about success stories, large and small, but little direction about the healing process.

The sad thing is that most pediatricians are at a loss to diagnose and provide treatment for children on the spectrum. Families are left adrift, often connecting with other parents of autistic children, trying hit and miss to try and help their children. The medical profession has largely failed them, and this book, written by an author with great credentials, does little to enlighten the testing and healing process.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for parents and clinicians, March 28, 2012
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Dr. Herbert has written the book that should be given to every family when their child receives an autism diagnosis. Understandable, well researched, and practical, this book provides critical information to allow parents to ask critical questions. Parents new to autism should read it to establish a solid foundation of knowledge, parents of older children should read it to ensure they have looked at their child's care from all perspectives, and physicians and clinicians should read it so they are prepared and informed and can best serve their patients.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, March 27, 2012
This is the best book I've ever read about autism. It's readable, factually accurate, optimistic--it's the book I think everyone in the autism community should read.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for parents and caregivers!, April 2, 2012
While conventional medicine has been failing the autistic child and their family, my colleague, Martha Herbert, offers hope, with well-researched information on how to investigate and treat this ever-growing scourge. As I have seen in my own practice, autism treatment is a multi-faceted work-in-progress for any one individual, and Dr. Herbert gives specific treatments for each aspect. This book helps you understand the assumptions behind the science, and proposes treatments, helping parents make their best choices. Beyond the book, too, her websites, the autismrevolution.org and autismwhyandhow.org websites include further information on her approach, and the burgeoning science that supports it.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Book!, March 28, 2012
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When I saw that Martha Herbert had an autism book coming out I was thrilled. She is one of the few that really "get it", meaning that she really wants to get to the root of what is causing autism and not use the "faulty genes" excuse to ignore the behaviors and medical issues so many of our kids have. This book is loaded with insights from her work as a neurologist and autism research...research that that mainstream medicine and the media has been denying even exists (even while it continues to pile up). Every parent/loved one of an asd individual, and even folks with asd needs to know this information is out there. It describes autism as a reaction to disruptions in the body itself, not hard-wired faulty genes that we have been told to believe. (isn't it odd that we have a modern epidemic of faulty genes?) Infections, nutrient deficiencies, allergies, immune and gut issues, toxins, etc., add up and overwhelm the system. This book is fascinating, easy to read, and offers so much hope. Lot's of deep science but written in a friendly fashion. I just ordered another copy to give to my pediatrician. Thank you Martha!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Arrives at a consensus AND synthesis at the same time, November 21, 2012
While most everyone in the previous 17 reviews is praising Dr. Herbert, and rightly so (for among other reasons, she is the one who has the diplomas and holds a professorship at Harvard), I would also like to suggest that we not forget her co-author Karen Weintraub who no doubt bears responsibility for sculpting the text into such a highly readable form. Karen's contribution is significant, and we salute her for that.

I gave this book five stars primarily because Martha and Karen have synthesized a major portion of the treatment protocols that exist "out there", today. They have developed and presented a "whole person" framework which provides an explanation for autism. This framework encompasses as factors the overloading of multiple body systems, the environment, genetics, toxic metals, food sensitivities or allergies, auditory and visual processing issues, and mitochondrial damage. By explaining the treatments and presenting the case studies, the authors demonstrate the role that vitamins and supplements can have in moving the body toward normality. They also underscore, time and time again, the point that no one treatment works for everyone because no child is positioned at the same `place' on the autism spectrum. Each child requires a specific treatment. "The" solution - the set of procedures and pills needed - is a question of trial and error to find out what works and what doesn't and of how long a parent is willing to persevere in seeking a solution.

Do the readers of this book - especially those of us who have had to deal with raising an autistic child - fully understand the significance of this tome? It is true that for many of us, neither the stories nor the various approaches to improving the well-being of our children are new. The brilliance of the book therefore lies in the telling of the story of autism in a systematic way, gathering together all of the facts, cases, and medical language needed to communicate what autism is in a coherent, mostly scientific way.

Rather, the significance of the book is the quiet, indirect, and gentle rebuke which these two ladies have cast so delicately upon the medical profession. Long ago and even today, parents have been frustrated by doctors who merely regurgitate their medical school teachings that autism is incurable before moving on to their next patient. These parents have sought solutions, found some, and begun to share their findings with others. This community of folk medicine (as viewed by others), osteo- and homeopaths looked for praxis and found some solutions that either completely or incrementally, helped their children grow out of their problems.

Annex D contains ten tips for the medical profession on how to deal with autism. The first one that they dare to suggest for physicians is to meet, listen to, and learn from people with autism and their families. Equally key is their reference to the one page long "Parent Ratings of Behavioral Effects of Biomedical Interventions", produced by the Autism Research Institute. The differences in the ratings of observed success by the `laity' between the drugs (the top half the page) from those for Biomedical/non-drug supplements (the bottom half of the page) is significant. The supplements seem, on average, to be 5-10x more effective (e.g. less harmful) than the doctor prescribed drugs. The medical profession has done many things well. But in the case of autism, until now, until this book came out, a majority of physicians were - to put it euphemistically -much less than helpful, even if they were empathetic.
So, please make this book a gift to every physician who gives the standard answer. It is an apologetic and -dare I say - vindication of the do-it-yourselfers. And, it was written by two highly pedigreed women who dared to do so while wearing the distinguished Harvard mantle.

And, finally, I would like to put in a word of praise for my wife, who to me is symbolically representative of all the concerned parents who have diligently researched the causes, effects, and cures of autism. She has the mind of a Ph.D., for just about everything we read about in the book, she was aware of and had made known to me before it had come out.

Post-script: my wife just reminded me that most U.S. physicians are expected to assign an International classification of disease (ICD) code number to each patient's diagnosis and treatment in order to get reimbursed by insurance. If she or he does not use the acceptable treatment for the assigned code, s/he may well not get reimbursed. Hence, it is easy understand why some (most?) physicians only think in terms of conventional treatments. And for generations, autism has been considered a lifelong psychiatric condition whereas recently, the community of parents and practitioners have looked for biochemical causes and treatments. It is time for the medical community to catch up.

Post-Post script: Good news.
"The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has joined our fight against Autism. This months' edition of PEDIATRICS®, the official journal of the AAP, has a major article entitled, "Gastrointestinial Conditions In Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder: Developing a Research Agenda" (the article is available online here) acknowledges many of the gastrointestinal problems our children on the spectrum face each day.

The first paragraph of the article cuts deeply into issues our children face daily: "Many individuals with ASDs have symptoms of associated medical conditions, including seizures, sleep problems, metabolic conditions, and gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, which have significant health, developmental, social, and education impacts." Later in the same paragraph, "Despite the magnitude [italics mine] of these issues, potential GI problems are not routinely considered in ASD evaluations." This is huge in many ways. Did I say HUGE? First of all, it moves ASD from a "psychiatric" diagnosis (you know, the "Prozac" people) to a medical one. This change immediately validates what moms and dads have been witnessing medically: that their children are indeed, FEELING miserable. Second of all, it empowers pediatricians to look BEYOND the word "autism" and not only inquire about other medical concerns but to implement treatment. Yes, you are witnessing the transition of mindset from an "untreatable" diagnosis to one that is TREATABLE". FROM: [...]. Did Dr. Herbert and Ms. Weintraub's book have anything to do with this?
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