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The Autism Revolution: Whole-Body Strategies for Making Life All It Can Be [Hardcover]

Dr. Martha Herbert , Karen Weintraub
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 27 2012
Move beyond conventional thinking about autism. . . .
 
After years of treating patients and analyzing scientific data, prominent Harvard researcher and clinician Dr. Martha Herbert offers a revolutionary new view of autism and a transformative strategy for dealing with it. Autism is not a hardwired impairment programmed into a child’s genes and destined to remain fixed forever, as we’re often told. Instead, it is the result of a cascade of events, many seemingly minor: perhaps a genetic mutation, some toxic exposures, a stressful birth, a vitamin deficiency, and a series of infections. And while other doctors may dismiss your child’s physical symptoms—the diarrhea, anxiety, sensory overload, sleeplessness, immune challenges, and seizures—as coincidental or irrelevant, Dr. Herbert sees them as vital clues to what the underlying problems are, and how to help. In The Autism Revolution, she teaches you how to approach autism as a collection of problems that can be overcome—and talents that can be developed. Each success you achieve gives your child more room to become healthy and to thrive.
 
Drawing from the newest research, technologies, and insights, as well as inspiring case studies of both children and adults, Dr. Herbert guides you toward restoring health and resiliency in your loved one with autism. Her specific recommendations aim to provide optimal nutrition, reduce toxic exposures, shore up the immune system, reduce stress, and open the door to learning and creativity—all by understanding and truly meeting your child’s needs. As thousands of families who have cobbled together these solutions themselves already know, this program can have dramatic benefits—for your child with autism, and for you, your whole family, and your next baby as well.
 
A paradigm-changing book that offers hope and healing for the millions of families who have autism in their lives, The Autism Revolution shows that there’s plenty you can do every day to give someone you love the best possible gift: a life lived to the fullest potential.

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Advance praise for The Autism Revolution
 
“Martha Herbert’s book gives us a new approach to understanding how autism affects many different body systems. It is essential reading for learning more about sensible biomedical treatments.”—Temple Grandin, author of Thinking in Pictures and The Way I See It
 
“This book offers hope and practical guidance to heal your child’s whole body system. It will be an important reference for everyone who knows someone with autism or has an interest in the field to read, study, and use.”—Robert L. Hendren, DO, professor and vice chair, Department of Psychiatry, and director, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco
 
“Combining meticulous, world-class research on autism’s biomedical causes and treatment with an artful presentation of the condition as a whole-body phenomenon, Martha Herbert elevates to a new level the thinking about, understanding of, and developing of interventions for supporting individuals on the autism spectrum. The Autism Revolution is a unique and valuable resource.”—Stephen M. Shore, EdD, assistant professor of special education at Adelphi University
 
“Written by a brilliant scientist in easy-to-understand language, The Autism Revolution gives parents two life-changing gifts. First is the gift of realistic hope; the second is the gift of knowledge. Drawing upon her vast knowledge of research and an eclectic array of approaches, Dr. Herbert helps parents understand their child in a new, holistic way, sending them on a journey of exploration and opportunity.”—John L. Martin, director, Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities
 
The Autism Revolution is a remarkable book. Complex evidence is summarized in easy-to-read prose, and practical advice is sprinkled throughout the book. A convincing case is made that autism is a disorder of both the brain and the body, and that there are many features of the environment—from the foods we eat to the pollutants that we breathe—that may play a role. This book will provide a blueprint for the future research agenda on this fascinating condition.”—Richard J. Davidson, William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, and founder and chair, Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, University of Wisconsin-Madison
 
“It is clear that Dr. Herbert cares deeply about the subject of autism and the people affected by it. Covering the topic as a physician, a scientist, an anthropologist, and a philosopher, she uses her exploration of autism to guide people to possible factors they may not have considered.”—Timothy Buie, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

About the Author

Martha Herbert, MD, PhD, is an assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and a pediatric neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she is the director of the TRANSCEND Research Program. She sits on the Scientific Advisory Committee for Autism Speaks.
 
Karen Weintraub, MA, is an award-winning journalist and freelance health writer for outlets like The Boston Globe, USA Today, and the BBC. A past recipient of a prestigious Knight Center for Science Journalism fellowship, she also teaches journalism at the Harvard Extension School and Boston University.

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5.0 out of 5 stars The Biomedical Side of Autism Aug. 17 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a remarkably sane overview of the biomedical side of autism. It should be in the library of, and actually read by, everyone involved with autism (and probably everyone else as well).
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Book is Revolutionary April 4 2012
Format:Hardcover
Dr. Herbert has written one of the most incredible books that I have ever read. She talks about her research and experience with autism spectrum disorder and how the traditionally held view of a genetic disorder is being challenged. Research, including her own, is showing the world that autism is a "whole body disorder" involving the gut, immune system and brain. This is a brave and paradigm shifting book. A must read for all health care providers and parents with children on the spectrum.

Sonya Doherty
Burlington, ON, Canada
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  34 reviews
37 of 37 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
By my_1_point_five_cents - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
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).
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Plugging brands? Oct. 9 2013
By Allison - Published on Amazon.com
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.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is an important book! May 2 2012
By K. Robertson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
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!
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hopeful, Fantastic Big Picture, The Next Steps Aug. 21 2012
By Caroline Writer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
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! ! ! !
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for parents and clinicians March 28 2012
By AJ Ryland - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
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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