Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Dr. Andrew Levinson Brings Hope and Healing to Families

On September 21, 2011 Dr. Andrew Levinson (pictured at left with NAA NYM Program Committee Co-Chair Dara Berger and President/Program Committee Co-Chair Kim Mack Rosenberg), presented to parents and professionals about his holistic approach to treating not only children with autism but the entire family. He blended biomedical treatment information with insightful, spiritual guidance in a unique approach. He first discussed that children with ASD have many physical ailments including: immune dysfunction, brain inflammation toxicity, metabolic and mitochondrial dysfunction, and gastrointestinal pathology. As a result they are sensitive to many things including change, environmental stimuli, environmental toxins. He mentioned the need to be aware of contmination of municipal water supplies, fish, other foods (including stevia); electro-smog. He spoke knowledgeably about many different biomedical treatment protocols and how different protocols can help children but the most unique aspect of his presentation was the focus on family wellness.

First, on a very practical level, he said that parents should have an honest talk with their doctors about what they can afford to spend on treatment, reminding parents that they need money to live on and to spend on other family members. By being honest, you enable your doctor to devise the best protocol for your budget. You need a team approach and a doctor you can trust.

He spoke about the harm that stress can cause physically and emotionally in a family and how it impacts all family members. Therefore, you need to find ways to alleviate stress. If you are less physically well, you have less energy available to direct toward healing ("You cannot pour from an empty pitcher"). He also reminded parents that ignoring other members of the household is not healthy. Positive family dynamics are important for a better outcome. He encouraged people to find something that enjoy doing - especially something physical, creative or meditative - reminding us that "you have to be a human being" and that children model our behavior so we have to show them healthy behaviors.

He also encouraged parent to seek help from a trusted source if they are struggling. He quoted: "It is only in darkness, that light can be mistaken for nothing else." He encouraged those who have a spiritual belief system to have faith and to pray and reminded us that, for everyone (whether they have a spiritual belief system or not), joy and positive intention can be very powerful. The mind is a powerful tool in healing. He stated that we have to be willing to remove ourselves as an obstacle to healing and see ourselves as instrumental in the change we desire to see. He quoted Yogi Bajan, "Worrying is praying for what you don't want." He closed with these words: "The world is what you make of it but the future is what you imagine it to be" (Yogi M.D.).

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