Patricia S. Lemer is a Co-founder and the Executive Director of Developmental Delay Resources (DDR), an international, non-profit organization integrating conventional and holistic approaches for children with developmental delays. She holds a Masters of Education in counseling and learning disabilities from Boston College and a Masters in Business from Johns Hopkins University. Ms. Lemer is a National Certified Counselor, and draws on over 40 years experience as a mental health professional, and 20 years as a liaison between the worlds of optometry and special education.
Ms. Lemer lectures internationally on viewing developmental delays, including autism, PDD, AD(H)D, LD, OCD, NLD and others, as a spectrum of disorders. She is especially interested in helping parents choose and prioritize appropriate interventions for their children. Her great interest in vision and the role of visual dysfunction in autism led to her becoming the Editor of EnVISIONing a Bright Future: Interventions that Work for Children and Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Ms. Lemer lives in Pittsburgh, PA and is the mother of an adult daughter and the grandmother of Penelope, born in August, 2006.
When a bridge collapses, who or what is to blame? Improperly placed machinery? The engineer who conceived the design? The weight of the cars traveling over the bridge every day? The weather?
Total Load theory postulates that it is the cumulative effect of all these factors that brought down the bridge. I have dedicated an entire chapter to this concept in my new book EnVISIONing a Bright Future: Interventions that Work for Children and Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
The concept of “Total Load” is not just about autism, however.
Every human body, like a bridge, has an individual load limit. One can handle only a certain number of stressors before collapsing. The accumulation of chemicals, heavy metals, sensory assaults or deprivation, and immune system stressors can produce a dangerous overload that puts us and our children at risk for health and developmental problems.
Total Load Starts Prenatally
Environmental factors begin adding up prenatally. For about 25 years, more or less, a woman builds up her personal body burden. According to a Swedish study, she dumps 75% of her toxic load into her baby. That’s why so many women experience first pregnancy miscarriages: nature’s way of detoxifying her body, and at the same time, assuring a healthy baby for the next pregnancy.
What happens if that first pregnancy is viable? That baby is born, not with a zero toxic load, but with toxic levels already approaching its body’s threshold. Many of these firstborn children, mostly boys, are born with toxic levels of mercury and other dangerous substances. With the addition of more after birth, their immune systems collapse: diagnosis, autism.
Genetics Loads the Gun
Parents with allergies and other immune system dysfunction, such as chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, pass along hereditary risk factors to their unborn babies. The poor ability to detox is primary. Endocrine and nutritional factors also play a role.
We now know the importance of a properly working thyroid, the master gland, for the unborn child. Sufficient levels of maternal essential fats (EFAs) are also vital for a healthy baby.
Environment Pulls the Trigger
Any complications during pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes, conditions requiring bed rest, or repeated sonograms, could further add to a baby’s load factors, interfering with sensory and motor development.
Lessened maternal physical activity, due to prescribed bed rest, affects the vestibular system and the baby’s ability to move against gravity. Add a cord wrapped around the neck, lengthy labor, forceps or vacuum aspiration at delivery, a C-Section, and/or a hepatitis B shot in the first 24 hours of life, and that baby is already very high risk for delays.
The closer the baby’s burden approximates its threshold at birth, the fewer factors are necessary in the first year of life to put that baby over the line.
Welcome a newborn home to a freshly carpeted and painted nursery, with off-gassing materials, start that baby on a cow’s milk based formula, rather than mother’s milk, add vaccines, with or without mercury, put that baby on its back for sleeping, restricting motor development, and use antibiotics freely for any infections. Developmental delays, including autism, are now almost inevitable.
The Body’s Top Priority is Staying Well
How and why do the very common practices above interfere with development?
Breathing, digesting and surviving all supersede interacting with the outside world. Sensory, motor, language and social-emotional development must take a back seat to biological functioning.
If a threshold exists, below which individuals are “well,” and above which they are “sick,” many of us sit precariously slightly below the tipping point of health. All it takes is one more load factor, such as a high pollen day, a powerful antibiotic for a sinus infection, or a booster vaccine to put us over the top into “sick.”
The Degree of Overload Determines a Diagnosis
The timing and number of total load factors is directly proportionate to the severity of a diagnosis. With early and multiple factors, a child is more likely to become autistic. Fewer and later factors might result in learning, behavioral and sensory motor delays, with diagnoses such as pervasive developmental disorders, learning disabilities and attention deficits.
Enter the Body Ecology Diet
The beauty of the BED is that it lessens the body’s total load by:
- Opening detoxification pathways, thus allowing the body to continually cleanse out toxins that have accumulated since conception;
- Nourishing the cells and tissues of the body with high quality, easily-digested foods that contain superior nutrition;
- Eliminating the most problematic foods: sugars, gluten, casein, processed foods, soy and canola oil;
- Adding in “good” bacteria to combat yeast infections, build immunity and re-establish balance in the gut.
Prevention is the Key
Anyone interested in restoring and maintaining good health by reducing their “total loads” should educate themselves about the virtues of the Body Ecology Diet.
Start before conception by putting prospective mothers on the BED as part of a non-invasive detoxification program. Check her thyroid, including TSH levels, switch to non-toxic cleaning, personal care and pest control products. Decorate the nursery only with non-toxic products.
Make reducing the total load of everyone in your family top priority now!
A Special Note From Donna Gates
Every home needs to have a copy of Patty Lemer’s book, Envisioning A Bright Future in their library.
It is much more than just a guidebook for parents whose children have autism. You, too, will benefit from the many therapies and suggestions Patty has complied with great accuracy.
Autistic children are simply demonstrating to us all how systemic infections, numerous digestive problems, continuing assaults on our body from environmental toxins and severely weakened immunity affect us when they go to the extreme.
The truth is: We all have a touch of “autism.”
Learn More and Order This Essential Book for EVERYONE Interested in Health Today!
If you are a baby boomer parent with a younger son or daughter and hope to have a healthy grandbaby someday…if you need a truly meaningful baby gift...or even a pre-wedding shower gift...I couldn’t recommend Envisioning A Bright Future enough.
I am not exaggerating when I say that our future as a human race is in jeopardy.
We each must play a role in reversing the current health crises and it always starts first in your own home with education. Learn all you can as quickly as you can and share what you learn with others. You’ll find Envisioning A Bright Future in the Body Ecology store today.
Source: Darnerud PA, Eriksen,GS, Johannesson T, Larsen PB et.al. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs): Occurrence, Dietary Exposure, and Toxicology. Environmental Health Perspectives, 109, Supplement 1, 2001 Mar: 49-68.
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