Your Cart

What is Autism? Causes? Treatment? Foods? Tips for Parents from Autism Teacher

Welcome to our special broadcast on what the world refers to as "autism." With the diagnoses of autism on the rise and parental concerns about what it all means for the child's health and well-being as well as the appropriate support systems today's session with our educational specialist in autism will be quite informative.

I encourage you to post your questions and comments to fully benefit.

What the World Refers to as "Autism"

Ms. Lena McNjee is a special education teacher in New Jersey, and teaches many children that are diagnosed with what is termed “autism.”

What is autism?

What is Autism?

Dr. Vie as you know I teach children with autism and I think we could start by um telling your audience what autism is.

"Autism" is developmentally defined, and it is also behavioral. Autism is generally noted between the age of 18 months and three years. Now children with autism are affected in three different areas, specifically

  1. socially
  2. communication
  3. behavioral skills

Autism social skills what parents should know

Social Skills

Social skills would be like a child doesn't look at you doesn't make eye contact doesn't know how to play those are social skills.

Autism Communication skills tips for partents


 And in terms of communication a lot of children with autism they are lacking expertise in language. They may have what's called echolalia.


That is they'll echo what you say to them I'll say Dr. Vie, how are you?


You'll say, “Dr. Vie, how are you?”

 I'll say, “What color is it?”

You'll say, “ What color is it?”

 So this response comes from echo. The child may not have the ability to speak and use language functionally.

Autism behavioral skills information for parents

Behavioral skills

 Now in their behavioral skills, they could have challenges in expressing themselves for example in stating what they would like.

Autism and Gifted Children

Gifted Children

 And in the same vein sometimes these kids are indeed gifted. They may have special skills in music, art and language .

What Causes Autism?

And as of now you know this is like in a nutshell what autism is, however, the scientists are saying that they do not know the cause of autism. As of now it is being researched.

I work with parents who have their views on what they feel caused the change. I don't have a child with autism. However, this is what I do, as an educator.

I engage with parents who have children that are diagnosed with autism. And parents will tell me what their suspicions are.

Parent’s Feedback on What They Feel Caused Their Child’s Autism

 Some parents will say they think it's the environment, or it's the food, or it's the vaccine. And parents are wise and parents can tell you, “I can tell you about what time I know my child developed autism. Because up to 18 months he was playing, he was smiling, he was normal at 18 months and suddenly he got a batch off “_” and then this happened.

 So parents will have suspicions. But again we don't have the science to confirm.

Autism and diet, gluten-free, healthy foods, sugar-free

Diet, Food, Nutrition and Autism?

It’s interesting. So let's talk a little bit more on the parents view on diet and nutrition. Parents are very astute, and a lot of parents have taken it up on themselves and have taken the initiative to change the diet.

Sugar, Salt, Gluten-Free Foods for Special Children

 A lot of them have taken their kids off sugar, or they have them on low sugar or no sugar, low salt, and gluten-free. And you know sometimes you see a correlation. You don't have the scientific fact, but you do have common sense. 

I had a parent who had taken her child completely off sugar and salt, and totally on a gluten-free diet, and she said, “You know what? I'm running a little experiment here.” Then she put the kid back on the old diet and those same behaviors that were present before the child was put on the gluten-free, sugar-free, low salt diet, started manifesting. So that parent has made a correlation, “You know if I change or modify the diet you know these are the kind of behaviors I get.”

What Happens When Parents Do Not Accept the Diagnosis of Autism?

 Once parents notice that something is amiss with the child, whether it is socially or developmentally, and they then seek some form of assistance.

Parents want a diagnosis from the doctor, because if you know what is wrong then you can fix it. And once you get that diagnosis you need to learn to accept the child you have, because you have a gift.

Every child is a gift regardless of whether he has been diagnoses with autism. So if the parent accept the diagnosis, they sort of know which way to go. That has been the hardest thing for a lot of parents. Many parents are in denial and I understand that. You know they begin in denial. But a lot of times once they realize there is an issue, they will see how they can work with it.

Stress of autism on parents, marriage, relationships

Stress of Special Child on Parent and Families

In my line of work what I have noticed is, for a lot of the parents the situation either makes them stronger or it breaks the family apart. And I would say it's about maybe 60% of the parents breaking up and 40% staying together. I've seen a lot of parents divorcing over it because they don't know how to handle it, or they're in denial. And a lot of the kids that I teach, they're in families that have separated over the child’s diagnosis with autism.

Amazing Parents Who Overcame Diagnosis of Autism?

You know some parents just can't handle it, and they take it to the extreme. And for the ones who stick together, they can always fight it. Like the boy I know.

I keep going back to the young man Trey who is on his way to college on a scholarship. The mom was a scientist when she said discovered her child had autism. She gave up her job as a scientist to become a nurse so she could help her child.

And I think she told me that he didn't talk until he was about three or four. He didn't say a single word. And now here is this young man on his way to one of the best colleges in this state, on a scholarship.

 I told him he's my inspiration.

Dr. Vie: Well this leads us into the title of your book on Autism Inspires. How are parents responding to your book?

Gay parents and tips for autism child

Gay Couples as Parents of Autistic Children

Lena: I got a letter from a gay couple who said, “You know what? I like your book, the information is fantastic. We bought the book. However, we have a complaint. We have a beef with you.”

 And I said, “Ohoh.” And I read the email further on, and he said, “You know what? As an educator you should realize that being a mother is not gender specific because we are two males who have adopted a pair of autistic children.”

And you know what? That really hit me to the core, because mothering is not exclusively for women, especially in the blended families we have in our society. We have to be sensitive to that and like he said, mothering is not gender specific. So when the second edition came out I called it Autism Inspires, Hope As A Parent.

Dr. Vie: So interesting because I've also noticed a very strong nurturing instinct in gay couples.

Lena: Yes and you know what I say Dr. Vie? Children who need love and who need care, all they know is the person that gives them what they need.

Dr. Vie: Well said Lena. Love and parenting has nothing to do with gender. It's just all about love. That is genderless, and that goes beyond the borders of gender.

How To Benefit?

 On that note, I thank our guest Ms. Lena McNjee. And be sure to join us for the next part in our series on autism.

Comment, Send Questions, Join me as a Guest

 Please post your comments, questions and feedback below. And come join the conversation by subscribing, and sending in your questions via email or voice notes. And feel free to suggest guests or send in your request to feature as a guest on our shows, or as co-authors of articles, right here at

Self-Paced Online Program For Reducing Stress, Improving Clarity, and Deep Restful Sleep. Recommended for parents and educators of special children

Reduce stress, sleep well, feel energized, think clearly online program

Learn more on how to reduce worry, anxiety and stress, and improve your sleep, and stimulate clarity of thought, with Dr. Vie's online program, based on her +20 years of hundreds of live workshops, training and seminars to thousands across cultures and ages. With three special modules dedicated to healthy food selection, preparation and eating.

Dr. Vie is a public health specialist, and is an authority on healthy foods having founded a plant-based, gluten-free, superfoods factory in North Americas in 2004. She also practiced as an educator of special children, before launching her online academy and global training.

Purchase the Book: Autism Inspires?

Listen to the Podcast?

To listen to the podcast click here