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    Vitamin D and Autism

    June 4, 2007 by Brandy Vencel

    During E.’s infancy, I spent a substantial amount of time wondering if there was something seriously wrong with him. Sure, he had a rough start. But beyond this, he seemed incredibly slow. I am glad I didn’t own What to Expect the First Year, because it would have only escalated my worries.

    E. smiled late. Both my girls smiled in their first month. E.’s two-month photo shows such a sad little face; he had not learned to smile yet. He never rolled over, and he sat alone late. At six months, it was still hard to get him to smile or laugh. At ten months of age, he surprised us. He stood up, and walked across the room. He began to crawl that same day, but only to get to the couch so that he could stand and walk again. I felt the weight lift from my shoulders. I finally felt sure that he was a perfectly normal child.

    What could cause such a thing? Was it just the Bad Beginning? Or was there more to this picture?

    The other day, I was reading an eleven-page web paper on the Vitamin D Theory of Autism. I learned that Vitamin D deficiency found in children with common rickets is associated with flabby muscles, decreased activity, and delayed motor development, which are also symptoms of autism. I learned that there is a condition, called Williams Syndrome, which has as a symptom excessive production of Vitamin D during early life. The personality of these children is strikingly opposite of children with autism: remarkable sociability, overfriendliness, empathy, and willingness to initiate social interaction.

    But my son doesn’t have autism.

    However, I found myself wondering if he did have a Vitamin D deficiency during his first year. When I was pregnant {and this deficiency most certainly starts with the mother}, I worked in an office and was exhausted when I arrived home. I rarely went outside. Then, when E. was first born, we brought him home, but ended up with him back in the hospital NICU, and then we were quarantined after that. I kept him inside almost all of the time because I was told the sun was “bad” for babies {I forgot God declared his creation to be good}, and there wasn’t anywhere to go anyhow.

    Anyone who knew our son in his first and second years of life would say that there is a world of difference. It is almost like he is a different person! So what happened? Well, we moved. It was June, and we had a backyard. He received a play pool for his birthday, and we spent hours in the sun that summer. By the end of the season, he had a dark tan and a new personality.

    Do I think Vitamin D Deficiency causes autism? No, but I think the article makes a number of interesting points. I think, if anything, the article convinced me that increasing an autistic child’s sun exposure would be of great benefit to that child. And perhaps there are a few borderline-autistic, high-functioning types that are actually D-Deficient and able to be cured. But, more than anything, I became thankful for God’s gift of the sun.

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