Ten Things I Wish I’d Known About Autism
by Marcia Hinds – Ryan’s Mom
The road to recovery takes time. It is not like I woke up one day and BAM my kid was better. Although Ryan is now an aerospace engineer, his recovery from autism was S-L-O-W. After my son was diagnosed, even I didn’t believe my son could get better or have any kind of life. Sometimes, the only reason I kept going was so I could tell myself I had done everything possible when I had to put Ryan in a group home.
1. Kids do improve and some fully recover, because autism is TREATABLE!
Children are recovering from autism, and yet many parents and doctors don’t know this is even possible. The “experts” said Ryan would need to be institutionalized. But they were wrong. Ryan’s recovery was not miraculous, but resulted from getting proper medical care. Listen to “the experts,” then do what they say can’t be done.
2. Autism is complicated
It was not one thing that helped Ryan recover. It was a combination of many little things that caused his immune system to function better. Ryan’s health was restored by reducing the “total load” on his system. It also involved treating hidden viruses and infections. Because that was possible, he was able to learn what he couldn’t before. Then the grueling work of catching him up on all he missed had to be accomplished. (This was too slow for this mom who wanted him fixed before lunch.)
3. Most doctors were taught autism is a disorder and there is no recovery
Your pediatrician might look at you funny if you ask about the medical treatment for autism. Not only do you have to find a doctor who treats autism, their protocol has to fit the subset of autism your child has. One mom told me they did extensive biomedical treatment without any success or improvement. After she found the right doctor for her son, her child went from only saying “yes” or “no” to speaking three word sentences and huge gains.
4. Recovery is not always an uphill climb and took years
After two steps forward, Ryan would take one step back. Sometimes it was two steps forward, three steps back. On those difficult days I took a deep breath and told myself I would try again tomorrow.
5. Improvement sometimes isn’t easy to see, since we are with our children daily
When our children grow taller, we don’t see the incremental changes. It is kind of like that with autism. I didn’t always notice Ryan’s gains. But, I never missed it when Ryan did something wrong. All it took was one good meltdown to forget everything he did right that day.
6. Don’t Give In To Your Child’s Demands or Change the World for them
Without realizing it, our family avoided those things that set Ryan off. That worked in the short run, but prolonged his stay on Autism Island
7. Parents can’t predict their children’s outcome by how they look or act now
When my son was still in middle school, my dream was that someday he could hold a job at McDonald’s and live independently. But I wasn’t sure that was possible then. I couldn’t imagine him getting through high school. When he was in high school, I couldn’t imagine him dealing with college. I never imagined his life as it is today. Don’t look too far ahead or autism can be overwhelming. Instead, concentrate on changing things one behavior at a time.
8. Regression is scary, but is also part of recovery
When Ryan went backwards, it was hard to watch, and difficult to understand. I worried constantly. What if he didn’t come back this time? Sometimes it was impossible to tell if any deterioration in behavior resulted from a change in medication, a problem at school Ryan couldn’t communicate, or if he was about to come down with some illness.
9. Trust your instincts and remember you know your child best
When you read my book about Ryan’s recovery, it may look like I knew what I was doing. But, I was mostly hanging on by my fingernails. The worst was when I didn’t have a plan or know what to do next. I learned to trust my instincts and just keep going even though I sometimes didn’t really understand where we were headed.
10. God allows U-turns with autism treatment
I made many mistakes along the way. No decision is forever. Parents can stop any treatment or medication that is not working. The important thing is to never give up until you find the answers to help your child!
Marcia Hinds is the author of I Know You’re In There -Winning Our War against Autism. This inspirational book tells how her family combined medical, behavioral and educational interventions to help her son. Marcia has a degree in sociology and psychology from UCLA and is a credentialed teacher. Ryan is now an engineer at a major aerospace company. But Marcia’s most impressive credential for writing this book is that she is Ryan’s mother and their family survived the autism diagnosis. Preview the book on Amazon or at www.autism-and-treatment.com . All profits from Marcia’s book go to spread the word that autism is treatable. Marcia is available for speaking engagements, media appearances, and interviews. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.