Thursday, June 12, 2014

causes and cures and craziness, oh MY!

When you are thrown into the World of Autism, where do you automatically turn for information?  The internet!  Talk about information overload!  You have to decipher fact from fiction, and everyone and their mother has an opinion about every aspect of autism.  My favorites are the blanket statements regarding so-called "cures" and "causes."

"Autism is caused by vaccines."  Yeah, we didn't have that experience, and I haven't seen the hard science in support of that claim.  However, I'm not going to change what another person truly believes they saw (and who am I to say that they didn't have that experience?), and why should I?  I'm not the foremost expert on the subject of the causes of autism, and neither is anyone else (at this time, anyway).  I do know that I resent the Hollywood stars stepping up to the plate who preach about the horrors of vaccinations (particularly one individual...).  It's ridiculous to me that mainstream America will just fall at the feet of someone just because they are famous...and that goes for in and out of the autism world.  When you are famous, you are automatically a role model, whether you like it or not.  Be careful what you preach...

"Autism can be cured with chelation therapy."  Chelation is the removal of heavy metals from one's blood, and is known to be quite dangerous...even fatal. thank you.  I want my child here with me, thank you very much!

"Autism can be cured by switching over to a gluten-free/casein-free diet."   Nope.  Don't buy that one either.  Laurie has Celiac Disease.  Converting to a gluten-free diet did not jolt her into non-special needs status.  It didn't really do a whole lot except increase our food bill and cause our already picky child to become even pickier...

"Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy will greatly reduce the severity of behaviors for an autistic individual."  Therapy utilizing a hyperbaric oxygen chamber involves breathing oxygen in a pressurized chamber and has been cleared by FDA for certain medical uses, such as treating decompression sickness suffered by divers. Some people claim that their autistic children have slept better after a treatment or have been able to focus more clearly.  I am in the camp of "people will see what they want to believe."  This type of therapy has not been cleared for autism, though there are many people who have personally purchased a chamber for their home use.  I can't find a lot of factual information about hyperbaric oxygen therapy as it pertains to autism, though there are many opinions!  To me, though, it just seems like a waste of a lot of money since I can't seem to find any hard facts about the benefits.

There are so many more so-called cures and therapies circulating around on the internet.  Not to be jaded...there are many people out there who are out to make a quick buck on the parents of autistic individuals, and they don't care who they hurt in the process. And those parents are so desperate for an answer or a cure that they just hand over their money...  It breaks my heart...

I believe that the best thing that one can do is to find a pediatrician that one truly trusts, and to talk about all of the various treatments available.  A medical doctor is much more qualified to help you sift through the fact and fiction in the world of autism...much more so than a movie star who does not much more than read lines aloud to a camera.  A medical doctor can guide you as to treatments and evaluations.

Basically I think that you have to research everything that you can about autism, and then make the best educated decision that you can.  It's not easy.  Undoubtedly you will have people judging you and offering their 6,000 unsolicited opinions.  But in the end, you have to decide what will make your child the best person he/she can be, and what kind of judgment calls you can make to help him/her along their journey through life.

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