vitamin shotThe biomedical aspect of autism is said to be “controversial.” It hasn’t been “proven” to be effective.

HA!

Come on. Almost across the board these kids have gut issues, allergies (to food and pollens), and low-functioning immune systems. If the body and mind are interconnected, wouldn’t it make sense that addressing one helps the other, and vice-versa?

I am all for addressing the health issues of kids with autism. But I stray from the massive biomedical wave because of my experience with our DAN (Defeat Autism Now) doctor.

A DAN doctor is an MD who has undergone specific medical training, and who continues to keep up on medical issues, regarding autism. Good DAN doctors are in high demand.

When we found Dr. M, she had a 2-month waiting list which soon increased to 8 months. She charged $350/hour. She was in charge. She knew it all, and we obviously knew nothing. After our first consultation with her we walked out in a daze, arms full of medicines and supplements, about $1800 poorer. Soon Dr. M started charging $15 just to answer a simple question in an email. But we felt lucky when that happened, as she was very hard to reach.

We took out a line of credit on our house to pay for all the appointments and treatments. I spent nearly all my time giving something to Joseph: drops, pills, capsules, drugs, vitamins, shots, creams.

And you know what? It felt g-o-o-d.

First, when you throw all that money at something, you feel like it’s really going to work. Then, when you spend all your time, day in and day out, on the biomedical stuff, it feels like you’re finally doing something. And with autism, you really want to do something.

A year passed. We were really struggling financially, but we saw some improvements. The time came for Joseph’s yearly exam with the good doctor. She again ran many tests, and we waited eagerly for the follow-up phone consultation.

Something happened just before the consultation. Joseph started talking more and engaging more. He was markedly different. We were so excited.

Then we got on the phone with Dr. M. She said that the lab results were dismal. She said that Joseph was terribly toxic. She said he needed to begin chelating immediately.

Blue Eyes and I stood there, listening to her on the speakerphone as she told us how sick our child was. And in the living room, Joseph was laughing and playing, emotion sharing with us and referencing us.

Do you know that saying from the Audubon Society? When the bird and the book disagree, believe the bird.

We  chose to believe the bird. And that was the end of our experience with a DAN doctor.

I believe that Dr. M is an earnest person who wants to help children with autism. At the same time, I believe that she sees an opportunity to make piles of money, and she takes advantage. I also believe that she puts way too much stock in lab tests and not enough in what parents have to say about their children.

As for us, we kept searching. After Dr. M, we tried herbs. Then we tried homeopathy. Then we tried chiropractic. But we hadn’t yet found the practitioner we were looking for: a highly knowledgeable, truly caring, accessible person who would join us as a partner in recovering Joseph.

We discovered the Generation Rescue website (www.generationrescue.com). We got in touch with an “angel,” (a mentor) who lived fairly close. She told us about the naturopath she worked with in recovering her son, and it wasn’t long before we went and met Dr. Glen.

On that first visit he gave us his cell phone number. “Call anytime,” he said, “I almost always call back within 24 hours.” He spent 2 hours with us — looking, listening, taking notes, sharing his expertise — and charged us $165 for his time. The supplements were extra. We walked out feeling empowered, heard, and happy to pay $300 for such valuable help. That was 5 months ago now. We couldn’t be happier.

Everyone has to find what works for them on this journey. But I say: listen to your gut. If red flags are going up around a practitioner, feel free to walk. There are some really great people out there — trust your intuition and stay open to them.

I think a big part of life is about getting out of our minds and learning to listen to our hearts, to our intuitive side. When we have a child with autism, this becomes not something we’d like to be able to do but something we must learn to do. Our child’s life literally depends on it.

I saw an amazing bumper sticker at a crucial moment in my life. It said something like this:

Don’t panic. Breathe. Watch for the signs. You will be guided.

And if that isn’t good advice about how to help a child with autism, I don’t know what is.

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