Toe Walking Autism

Toe walking is a common symptom in autism

Toe walking is a symptom of autism

Children with autism often walk on their tiptoes, termed “toe walking”. Children who walk on their toes are more likely to have autism than other forms of developmental delay, according to a study published in January in The Journal of Child Neurology.

From a biomedical perspective, toe walking is caused by a problem in the gastrointestinal tract. The ecosystem in the gut is termed the microbiome. Children diagnosed with autism have altered microflora leading to dysbiosis, which is an imbalance in gut flora. In autism, microbes like yeast and clostridia, contribute to toe walking. The reasons for this is that microbes coalesce in a biofilm, which is sticky. This sticky collection of microbes, called biofilm, can include yeast, viruses, parasites and bacteria. Elevated levels of opportunistic microbes is a hallmark of autism. This means that children diagnosed with autism will have more biofilm. Biofilm is sticky. Biofilm sticks to the gut wall which causes fecal loading. Fecal loading is when stool accumulates along the intestine, often sticking to the gut wall. It is fecal loading that causes children to walk on their toes.

Assessing the microbiome in children diagnosed with autism is an important strategy when treating toe walking. Fecal loading causes many autistic behaviours. Fecal loading is the number one cause of toe walking, head banging, side glancing, stimming, aggression and self-injury. Equally important is that there is a treatment for fecal loading that will result in children walking normally, not on their tippy toes.

Treatment:

Toe walking is caused by a problem in the gut so the first step in treatment for toe walking starts with assessing the ecosystem in the gut through urine and/or stool testing. Secondly, the other important evaluation is a KUB BOWEL X-RAY which helps to identify the severity of fecal loading. Once diagnosed, treatment of fecal loading results in a reduction in autistic behaviours. Treatment of fecal loading includes osmotic laxatives, probiotics and enzymes. The biofilm is very sticky and children often need treatment for many months to remove all of the fecal loading. Treatment for fecal loading is very safe and as a matter of fact, the key to reducing most autistic behaviours. Fecal loading stopping absorption must be remembered when undertaking biomedical treatment. In fact, treatment of fecal loading is the key to biomedical treatment success!