I received an email a few days ago about an article written locally, on the Autism Hub email list. A Hub blogger wrote about the story in Austin Woman's Magazine titled What is Autism?
What is Autism?
I was so incensed by the article that I had to write the author.
This is my first email I sent...
What Is Autism? Autism is a neurological disorder. It is not GI issues !!! It is not the "unethical and untested" treatments given by doctors at The Thoughtful House. Autism is not heavy metal poisoning or too much toxicity in the body. What Is Autism? Autism, in my house is age 18, severe autism, junior at regular high school with an aide...honor roll. Age 14, Aspergers..regular high school honor roll. Age 12, PDD-NOS..regular middle school....honor roll. Age 9, PDD-NOS..regular elementary school...honor roll. Age 8, Severe Autism, regular elementary school..lifeskills program with inclusion. It is not sedation with a colonscopy. It is not the elemental diet fasting. It is not Hbot chambers. It is not chelation. It is hard-working therapists who work hard to help our children be able to live in a society that wants to "cure" them so desperately. My children are not broken, they need to adapt to a society that so readily wants to make them better. They are pretty amazing to me already. If you really want to see autism, give me a holler... I will introduce you to some pretty amazing people...
This was my response from the author...
From: Darline Turner-Lee To: Mom26children@aol.com Sent: Mon, 20 Apr 2009 2:39 pm Subject: RE: What is Autism Dear Ms. O'Donnell, As the writer of the "What is Autism" article, I am responding to your editorial comment. First off, Autism is classified as a neurological disorder, but that description is believed by many clinicians who work with children with autism to be incomplete. There is overwhelming evidence that many of the neurological manifestations of autism are the result of abnormalities in affected children's gastrointestinal tracts and immune systems. Many scientists and clinicians, those of Thoughtful House, The CARE Clinics and others believe that doctors have to look at and treat the other systems in order to effectively manage autism. As a mother of 4 children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, I am sure that you have seen a wide range of symptoms and had to try a wide range of treatments in order to help your children to be able to function and mainstream to the high degree that they are currently. Thankfully for you, you found conventional treatment plans and therapist that have worked for your situation. Unfortunately, that has not been the case in many other situations. For many other families, when conventional treatments and therapists gave them no hope at all, using alternative treatments such as dietary modification, chelation therapy, Hyperbaric Oxygen, supplements and others has meant the difference between their children being able to focus and mainstream into public schools and being unable to function, interact with others or to participate in society. It is not anyone's right (yours included) to declare that a treatment is wrong or ineffective if they have not used it, it was not effective in their situation or if other people are using it-whether successful or not. Parents of autistic children, like parents of children with any type of medical disorder, are simply trying to get help for their children. When one treatment or therapist doesn't work for them, they must move on to something else. Every parent makes difficult decisions for their children. These are choices that many parents made and while you and others may not believe in the treatments offered by these facilities, that does not mean that they are not valid, are not effective or that they cannot be discussed. The doctors at both Thoughtful House and The CARE Clinics are not practicing outside the scope of skill, they are not doing anything unethical nor are they harming the children that they treat. They provide ANOTHER MEANS by which children on the Autism Spectrum Disorder can manage their symptoms and be able to focus, control their movements, learn and become integrated into our society. I found that to be worthy of reporting and so I did. What you don't know and what will be presented in Part II of this series is that the aforementioned "alternative" therapies in conjunction with therapies such as Applied Behavioral Therapy and DIR Floor Model Therapies are giving children a chance at functional independence. So no, The work of dedicated therapists is not discounted. They will be presented. Autism is a multifactorial disorder and many therapies have to be integrated for treatment to be effective. We are all individuals and what will work in one person is not guaranteed to work in the next. If we become so narrowminded as to believe only what we can see and only what resonates with our belief systems we are going to miss out on a bounty of good therapies and I don't want that to happen. Thank you for your response. Darline Turner-Lee Physician Assistant, ACSM Clinical Exercise Specialist, Health Care Writer Next Step Fitness, Inc and Bedrest Comfort & Care 6705 Hwy. 290 West, Ste 502 #283, Austin, TX 78735 www.nextstepfitness.com www.mamasonbedrest.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com 512-288-0827
My response back to her...
Thanks for your reply. I must tell you, I have 5 autistic children, not 4. Your article was titled "What Is Autism"? You did not define it. You put what The Thoughtful House decided it is. Autism is not defined as gastrointestinal. No where in the DSM-IV is gastrointestinal listed. Autism is not toxic overload. That is what The Thoughtful House is defining it as. I found it very irresponsible reporting and yes, that is my opinion. 2 of my children are severely affected by autism. My oldest, 18 years old... and my youngest, 8 years old. My oldest received all vaccinations...my youngest received NONE... My 14 year old has Aspergers. My 12 year old and my 9 year old were both diagnosed with severe autism and now are PDD-NOS...both fully inclusioned in regular classrooms in regular schools. Why is this not being reported? They did not receive any chelation, any biomedical interventions, any Hbot any B12 shots, and any ABA or RDI. They have not been physically invaded through colonoscopies or lumbar punctures. What they did receive was OT, Speech, Play and Physical Therapies with a stress on Sensory Integration. Why is this not being reported? Why, because it is not sensationalistic enough, that is why. If I sound angry, I am not...I am just irritated with the media's need to represent Autism in a one deminsional way..the biomedical Jenny McCarthy-Thoughtful House way. That is not good journalism, but makes a good story, right? There is a new program starting at the University of Texas called UTAP- University of Texas Autism Program. They implement Sensory Integration Therapies and have found great success. I hope to heck they will be included in future media reports..you know, fair and balanced. Unless you have a child on the spectrum, you have know idea what some parent's will do to cure their children. Places like the Thoughtful House know this. They happily take the money these parent's are willing to hand out for false promises. I am a mother living in Austin and believe me, your magazine does not represent me. Jeanette O'Donnell
- I am the proud mother of 6 children. 5 of our children have autism. We do not feel our world has ended, but just begun. We do not chelate, intervene biochemically, give shots of any kind, practice ABA, etc. We treat them as we treat any humanbeing. We treat them with kindness and respect and expect the same from them. They are exceptional children.
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