Consumer Wellness Center Grants $1,000 to Teach Whole Foods Nutrition to Children with Autism

Tucson, AZ (January 21, 2010) Oakstone Academy in Columbus, Ohio is the recipient of one of this year's $1,000 grants from the Consumer Wellness Center's (CWC) Nutritional Grant Program. Ohio's only school founded upon the principle of helping autistic children develop and learn more effectively by immersing them in an environment with normally developing children, Oakstone has demonstrated its commitment to providing health and nutrition education for autistic children as well.

Oakstone Academy is a private educational institution that has formed collaborative agreements with many Ohio public school districts, colleges, and developmental disability centers to attain the best resources for their special needs students. Over 500 students attend the school that operates three campuses and provides licensed day-care services, preschool, and elementary through high school education. About 60 percent of the student population has autism spectrum disorders (ASD) while the other 40 percent are typically developing children.

Michelle Lang, a team lead teacher at Oakstone's middle and high school campus, also oversees programming and curriculum for students with moderate to severe cases of autism. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary and Special Education from Bowling Green University and a Master of Arts degree in Education Leadership from the University of Dayton. Together with her extensive training at Oakstone in its teacher mentor program and a Therapeutic Crisis Intervention certification, Lang is well-equipped to help autistic children, especially because she recognizes the power of good nutrition in effective treatment.

Lang's biggest concern for her autistic students is that they are not getting adequate nutrition. According to leading experts in the field, children with autism have far more feeding problems than other children and generally eat a much smaller range of foods. Because autistic children do not deal well with uncertainty, they generally prefer to be instructed in absolutes and will gravitate towards things that are routine and regular. For this reason, many of Lang's students will only eat certain kinds of foods, some preferring only foods that are crunchy while others prefer only soft foods. The result is that most autistic children are deficient in important vitamins, nutrients, and enzymes that come from eating a wide variety of different foods.

Many autistic children never grow out of picky eating habits that limit them to the equivalent of a third-world diet for most if not all of their lives. According to Autism Speaks, the societal costs associated with treating people with autism are $35 billion a year and rising; part of this cost comes from treatment for diseases that arise due to inadequate nutrition.

Lang hopes to counteract this trend by training children with autism how to eat a variety of healthy foods early in their lives. She and her team work with the children extensively to train them in proper nutrition, holding regular cooking events in which students are brought into the school kitchen and taught how to properly prepare and cook healthy meals. This also provides autistic children who typically have poor communication skills the opportunity to receive hands-on training and learn life skills that will help them to better function independently later in their adult lives.

The task of overcoming these obstacles and training autistic students in proper nutrition requires the availability of quality, nutrient-dense foods as well as safe, non-toxic cooking utensils. Environmental toxins, additives, pesticides, and other chemical disruptors are implicated in causing autism so shying away from foods and utensils that may contain these things is the goal of the program at Oakstone.

While parents and other contributors donate some goods, there is still a great need for additional food and equipment for the cooking program. Recognizing the importance that proper nutrition plays in the lives of all people, especially autistic children, we at CWC are honored to present Oakstone Academy with a $1,000 grant to help them bridge the gap between the donations they have already received for this year and their total operating needs.

We look forward to being able to share with you the progress being made this year at Oakstone Academy. If you would like more information on the Oakstone Academy and its autism program, please visit the school's website at http://www.ccde.org.

Once again we would like to congratulate Michelle Lang and Oakstone Academy for winning one of this year's grants! The work being done at Oakstone is helping to improve the health and well being of autistic children and we are proud to be able to support them in this endeavor!

Click here to view the Oakstone Academy February 2010 Report (132kb PDF)

Click here to view the Oakstone Academy June 2010 Report (82kb PDF)

Learn more about the CWC nutrition grant program at: http://www.consumerwellness.org/NutritionalGrantProgram.html

About Consumer Wellness Center
The Consumer Wellness Center (http://www.ConsumerWellness.org) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit focused on educational initiatives that empower consumers with knowledge and wisdom on disease prevention, nutrition, peak mental and physical health and natural health modalities. The center sells no vitamins, supplements, foods or medical products, and earns no commissions from the sale of such products.

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