by Marcia Hinds – Megan and Ryan’s Mom
Some people think we should just accept autism. They believe autism is a gift. They think if we treat the symptoms, we are changing who our children are. I probably won’t change anyone’s mind, but I need to say this anyway. Our children are the gift, autism is not. I wanted my son to be who he was supposed to be before autism came into our lives.
The autism diagnosis ripped away every dream my husband and I had for Ryan. My son was stranded on Autism Island and our family was right there with him. The “experts” said Ryan would need to be institutionalized. They said there was no recovery from autism, no cure, and no hope. But they were wrong. My son is now an engineer at a major aerospace company. So don’t believe all you are told about autism.
Children are recovering from autism, yet the general public and most doctors are unaware that this is even possible. An autism diagnosis no longer has to mean “game over.” And parents don’t have to helplessly stand by and watch their children slip away. If a child’s health can be restored by treating hidden viruses and infections, then children improve and full recovery becomes possible. Ryan’s story shows when a child’s medical conditions are treated in conjunction with intensive behavioral and educational rehabilitation…remarkable things can happen.
There is hope and it is possible to have a different outcome for children with autism.
I wrote a book called, I Know You’re In There – Winning Our War Against Autism for families looking for answers to this complex medical and neuroimmune condition called “autism.” To me, the term “autism” simply describes a collection of symptoms that look different in every child. And maybe if we stopped calling it “autism” and instead call it what it is, “a messed up immune system,” more children would get proper treatment.
Ryan’s story speaks to the feelings and frustrations we have all experienced. But what families like best is that it makes them laugh about a very serious subject. And more importantly, it gives hope for the future of their children. Don’t give up too soon, like I almost did. After Ryan was diagnosed, even I didn’t believe he could ever get better. But we didn’t give up, because sometimes we caught a glimpse of the kid that was IN THERE.
When it is possible to improve a child’s immune function by treating autism medically, children can learn what they couldn’t before. Yet, medical treatment alone is not enough. We used behavioral and educational interventions to catch Ryan up on all he missed once he was able to learn. Recovery takes time. And that wasn’t easy for a parent like me who wanted my kid fixed before lunch.
Most parents I hear from are happy when they learn an autism is treatable. But every once in a while I hear from a parent who thinks differently. One mother said, “Why would I want to change my child? She is not sick. She has a disorder. A wondrous disorder that makes her think, feel differently. She’s smart and perfect the way she is. You cannot cure a disorder. You can cope with it, but it can never be cured. It is not medical. It is neurological.”
It is hard for me to understand that kind of thinking. Some people feel that we should just accept autism, while others think it enhances their lives. They only want acceptance and understanding. They figure if they have a kid with Asperger’s, (like Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory) why would anyone want to change them?
But those who feel that way, fail to realize that those affected by autism do not all function at the same level. Many kids do not speak at all and for some every day is torment. These children are in physical pain. Some families have to deal with self-injurious behaviors. And for others, there is the constant threat of being physically harmed by an aggressive violent outburst.
Ryan said it best in an article he wrote. “…Some people think we should just accept autism. And that if a child is treated, it changes who that kid is. I am still the same person I was, only now I’m happy and can enjoy life. It is hard to understand that children are not receiving proper medical treatment because some people think we should celebrate autism. When doctors believe the medical issues associated with autism are just part of a “developmental disorder” children are not treated for the same medical conditions as every other kid. Is that really okay?” (You can read his entire article by clicking here.)
I have always accepted my child, warts and all, but never autism. Treating the symptoms of autism didn’t change the wonderful things about Ryan, but allowed him to function at his best and reach his full potential.
The good news is that the medical revolution has started. The bad news is our doctors never got Autism 101 in medical school. There is a shortage of doctors who understand what autism really is, let alone know how to treat it. They are just starting to understand the immune connection. So finding a physician who treats the subset of autism your child has still remains one of our biggest challenges. We need a doctor in every town who can say, “I know what this is, and I know how to treat it!”
All children deserve to be healthy and happy. Healing our kids does not mean that we do not accept who they are. We love them in spite of all the challenges autism brings. And it is also important to understand each child is an individual and will respond in their own way to medical, behavioral, and educational interventions. But we must never give up until we find the answers to help every child!
ALONE there is little we can do about autism.
TOGETHER we will be unstoppable!
NOTE FROM MARCIA HINDS – Megan and Ryan’s mom :
Ryan became an aerospace engineer, because he received proper medical treatment combined with behavioral, and educational interventions. To preview my book, “I Know You’re In There – winning our war against autism” click on http://a.co/a5GWrpM
Contact info for Marcia: