by Marcia Hinds – Megan and Ryan’s Mom
I’m probably too old for the room if you haven’t seen the commercial with the tag line, “Milk is good for everybody,” Just know they weren’t talking about our kid’s, when they said that.
When Ryan was young I was the type of mom who fed my kid fun fruits for breakfast. We had pizza at least once a week and ate a lot of junk food. I didn’t think diet mattered. Then one afternoon something happened that changed the course of Ryan’s life forever.
I read an article from the Autism Research Institute (ARI). That article caused me to question everything I knew about autism. When I called ARI for clarification, the telephone was answered by Dr. Bernard Rimland, himself.
I didn’t know who he was, so I wasn’t overly impressed by his name. I should have been.
After leaving the board of the Autism Society of America, Dr. Rimland founded ARI and became its executive director. He was also a card-carrying member of our A-Club. His grown son, Mark, had autism. Dr. Rimland knew autism was a medical condition. He had extensive knowledge of every autism treatment available, proven and unproven. He is called the “father of autism” because he was the first to dispel the theory that autism resulted from “refrigerator” mothers. Bernie was also the technical director for the movie Rain Man.
Dr. Rimland and I had an immediate connection, the kind that comes from fighting the same enemy and the same war. We both understood the loss of hope for our children’s future and my need to do something, anything.
Despite being an expert on medical interventions for autism, Dr. Rimland didn’t suggest blood tests or MRI’s or anything else I associated with traditional medicine. He asked if Ryan drank milk and consumed much dairy in other foods. I answered, “…from the time he wakes up until he finally goes to sleep.” He suggested I take Ryan off milk products for a week. Then he said to give my son a glass of milk and see what happened.
I had no idea if this man knew what he was talking about, but he was kind, and I was desperate. I was not convinced eliminating dairy from Ryan’s diet would change anything. What could a cow possibly have to do with curing autism?
I never did give Ryan that glass of milk that next week. The change in Ryan’s behavior was astounding. He was more tuned-in and more responsive. His weird noises, screaming, biting and pinching lessened in frequency and intensity. The first significant step toward Ryan’s medical recovery I owed not to doctors with impeccable credentials and beautifully appointed waiting rooms, but to a quiet under-funded researcher with peculiar theories about cows.
After we started the medical treatment, Ryan had a test at UCLA (when he was five) called a NeuroSPECT. This scan measured blood flow to different areas of his brain. Dr. Ismael Mena, was the radiologist who specialized in reading these scans. He said the results showed decreased blood flow to the parietal and temporal areas of my son’s brain. Dr. Mena went on to say, “In conclusion, these findings seem to suggest…Autism???” Without having met my child or any knowledge of his medical history, this physician concluded that my son had autism. If the “experts” who think autism is a psychiatric or developmental disorder are correct, how could this doctor see my son’s autism?
At first, I didn’t fully understand what Dr. Mena’s report meant. But in time I learned the areas of Ryan’s brain responsible for cognition, speech, and social skills were not getting proper blood flow. If the brain is inflamed, the blood can’t get through. The parietal lobe, an area responsible for sensory processing and some language functions, were affected. The blood flow to the temporal lobes was inadequate as well. (That is the part of the brain responsible for organizing sensory information, as well as higher speech and language functions.) Good blood flow to the different areas of a brain means function, and for our kids that is seldom the case. Two years later after we reduced the “total load” on Ryan’s compromised immune system, we repeated the NeuroSPECT.
The results removed any doubt I still had about the cause of Ryan’s improvement. The inflammation in Ryan’s brain decreased significantly and blood flow to the impaired areas had increased dramatically. When blood flow improves, children can then learn what they couldn’t before. But medical treatment alone is not enough. We still need to catch our kids up on all they missed. With Ryan we used our own modified form of Applied Behavior Analysis. But all the rehab programs work once a child can learn and you stick with them. So chose what ever one you like best.
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”go to Amazon or my website www.autism-and-treatment.com
Contact info for Marcia: