According to the Canary Kids Movie infomercial, if the current rates of autism continue, in approximately ten years, autism will affect 1 in 13. And in twenty years, it will affect 1 in 4.
What do we do about this problem? How do we move beyond the here and now? How do we change the course of our future?
I believe a new way of thinking is slowly trickling into mainstream. From Day One it has been a grass-roots effort driven by mothers and a handful of independent thinking doctors. Their determination, bravery, and fierce work ethic to fight and stand up for what they believe in is phenomenal.
The mothers of kids with autism are the ones who began this mission. For them, their problem was big enough to warrant trying things that made sense, but weren’t necessarily tested under clinical trial, black and white, settings. They didn’t have time for technicalities, red tape, or FDA approval because each and every day their child got older and they were not getting better.
These moms stayed up late into the night reading by the light of their laptop, researching to find answers for their children. Little by little these moms met other moms and they shared what they learned on blogs and closed social media forums where they could speak freely without fear of persecution.
And then, slowly, the word started spreading to moms like me that integrative medicine wasn’t just for kids with autism. I eavesdropped in their forums, read their blogs, and started learning that my son with apraxia had many symptoms that overlapped into the world of autism. Things like gut problems, foul-smelling diarrhea, food allergies, and speech issues.
But the moms would not have gotten very far if it wasn’t for the maverick doctors who were willing to think outside the box. These doctors listened to parents and respected their opinion. They ordered extensive lab work to get to the root of the problem. They started realizing that diet, nutritional supplements, and changing things in a child’s environment made a big difference. And if one thing didn’t work, they tried another, and another.
Quite often in mainstream, these doctors and the moms like me are criticized for taking the road less travelled. Tests are questioned for accuracy and treatment plans often elicit eye rolls and sighs.
But what results have I witnessed first-hand?
Recovery. Improvement of symptoms. A higher quality of life. Baby steps, yes. But progress. And equally as important, hope for restoration of health and advice for prevention.
And it’s not just me. I’ve read hundreds of stories and read thousands of Facebook posts from moms who are doing exactly what I am doing. No, not everyone improves with biomedical or integrative medicine, but many do. I have always taken the philosophy that it is best to leave no stone unturned when it came to the health of my child. I am glad I kept searching for answers.
I believe that the disorders that plague this nation today are far from black and white … and that there are layers of gray that make us all unique. I believe some cases are easier to solve than others and that these disorders require more than a routine five-minute doctor’s appointment.
It has been said that children with autism are warning us about the hidden dangers in our current society. They have often been compared to the canaries that early coal miners would take down into the mines with them. These caged birds with ultra-sensitive systems were detectors of dangerous conditions. If there were high levels of methane gas or carbon monoxide, they would die … and the coal miners would heed their warning and leave.
What do you think about this analogy? Is it a possibility that are our kids trying to tell us something?