Almost Autism: Recovering Children from Sensory Processing Disorder, A Reference for Parents and Practitioners

By Maria Rickert Hong CHHC AADP
Almost Autism: Recovering Children from Sensory Processing Disorder, A Reference for Parents and Practitioners is the roadmap that parents and practitioners need to beat Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). Maria Rickert Hong wrote this book out of frustration with the lack of information and knowledge provided by both doctors and therapists. She realized that these practitioners were not sharing information with each other, as they were all in their own respective *silos* of information. Because she did not want other parents to go through the time, research and frustration it took her to piece all of this information together, she wrote this book. It looks at SPD from a root-cause perspective and backs it up with peer-reviewed medical research that most practitioners simply do not have the time to review. The book helps you understand *why* SPD occurs and *what* can be done about it.

What Is Sensory Processing Disorder?

Sensory Processing Disorder is a condition in which the brain has faulty signaling coming in from the eight senses (vision, hearing, taste, touch, smell, vestibular, proprioceptive and interoceptive) of the body. Because it is typically seen in children with autism, it is also sometimes known as almost autism. However, SPD can also be a stand-alone disorder, although it is still not recognized as a distinct disorder in the DSM-V (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition). In addition, children with ADD/ADHD, learning disabilities and PANS/PANDAS often have SPD, though it is usually not recognized as such.

What’s Different About This Book?

Whereas most books about SPD such as Carol Stock Kranowitz’s groundbreaking The Out-of-Sync Child discuss what SPD is, how sensory processing differences affect children and how sensory-integration occupational therapy can help, this book goes much, much deeper. It not only discusses and shows through peer-reviewed medical research how root causes contribute to SPD, but it also educates parents and practitioners about other therapies that can really make a positive difference in a child’s symptoms.

Root Causes of SPD

Maria often wondered why the symptoms she saw in her sons such as colic, developmental delays, cradle cap, acid reflux, chronic ear infections, eczema, failure to thrive, asthma, allergies, hyperlexia, sleep issues, snoring, low muscle tone (hypotonia), constant colds and chronic constipation (collectively known as soft signs, although there are others) were so common in other children with SPD, autism and ADHD.

She wasn’t getting an answer to these questions and was only getting multiple medications for her children from their pediatricians, allergist and gastroenterologist. She began having her own health problems and started seeing a local naturopath upon a friend’s recommendation, and he not only began improving her health with his recommendations for dietary changes and supplements, but he also taught her how all of these conditions share many of the same root causes.

Given that she had been a Wall Street sell-side equity research analyst before having children, she began researching and investigating these root causes, as was her nature to do. In this book, Maria produces the fruits of her research labors and shows throughout the book that labels such as SPD, autism, ADHD, etc. don’t really matter so much as do the root causes, which are often the same. She shows that each child is different and has likely had different exposures to these root causes which are:

Her knowledge is based not only on information from peer-reviewed medical research studies but also on books from authors such as Kenneth Bock MD, Russell Blaylock MD and Sherry Rogers MD.

Therapies That Can Help

Taking away the toxins and boosting bioindividualized nutrition can undo these root causes with what’s known as a biomedical approach, which includes making dietary changes such as a specialized diet. What’s unusual in this book is that Maria writes about rewiring the body and brain together with specialized therapies such as:

Her main thesis for healing in this book is to reduce stress from the total load of stressors/root causes so the body can heal because the body cannot fully heal if it is in a state of stress.

Conclusion

If you’re interested in understanding why your child has SPD as well as a practical, how-to guide for improving your child’s symptoms, you’ll want to pick up a copy of this bestselling book. Maria does an excellent job of translating current medical research and breaking it down into bite-sized chunks in order to make it more digestible for stressed-out parents.

About Maria Rickert Hong CHHC AADP

Maria Rickert Hong is the Education & Media Director for Epidemic Answers. In addition, she is a Certified Holistic Health Counselor who specializes in helping parents making dietary and lifestyle changes for children with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), autism, ADHD, allergies, asthma, autoimmune and more. She also helps tired mothers of special-needs children reclaim their energy.

Maria has recovered her sons from SPD, asthma and acid reflux, and is the author of Almost Autism: Recovering Children from Sensory Processing Disorder, A Reference for Parents and Practitioners.

She is also a co-author of Epidemic Answers’ Brain Under Attack: A Resource for Parents and Caregivers of Children with PANS, PANDAS, and Autoimmune Encephalitis.

Maria Rickert Hong

She writes many of the pages and posts on our website and elsewhere.

Maria is a former sell-side Wall Street equity research analyst covering the oil services sector at Salomon Smith Barney and Lehman Brothers. Later, she covered the gaming, lodging & leisure sector at Jefferies & Co. and Calyon Securities. She quit working on Wall Street when her first son was born.

Prior to working on Wall Street, she was a marketing specialist for Halliburton in New Orleans, where she also received her MBA in Finance & Strategy from Tulane University. You can find out more about her at her website MariaRickertHong.com

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