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Valley doctor says moms can help prevent autism before and during pregnancy

PHOENIX – A Valley doctor is using her own experience to research autism solutions.

Dr. Cindy Schneider isn’t just a doctor.

She is also the mother of two children with autism.

“They were eventually diagnosed at age 2 ½ and 3 ½ and at that point we also had a 7-month-old baby,” said Dr. Schneider.

Their diagnosis and a lack of research lead her to her life’s work, The Center for Autism Research and Development in Phoenix.

Dr. Schneider follows a theory that is becoming more widely accepted in the medical community.

“The genes are the gun, the environment is the trigger,” said Dr. Schneider.

Based on that she says there are some things mothers can do to reduce their risk of having a child develop autism.

“I think it’s a good idea to have some nutritional testing prior to conception. Things like vitamin D levels, protein levels.

Schneider recommends families that have allergies; auto immune disease and asthma take precautions.

“There’s so many simple things you can do, like take omega 3 fatty acids, check your vitamin D level, eat healthy, exercise, get to your normal weight prior to conception.”

She stresses avoiding chemicals both before and during pregnancy, as well as keeping them from babies and small children.

One chemical she believes is particularly harmful.

“Really avoid mercury in particular. Things like high mercury fish for example, or the silver fillings that really are 50 percent mercury and probably should be called mercury fillings,” said Schneider.

Thanks in part to the research she’s done her children are making remarkable progress.

“It’s benefited my children greatly it’s benefited my patients greatly, so it’s been a strange life, but I’m very happy doing what I’m doing.

She hopes someday other families won’t have the same struggles.

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