13 Dec


In my “Fleecing” article, I come down hard on pretty much every single treatment as being a potential refuge for quacks and quackery.  And anyone caring to read the comments can see that there is a considerable amount of passion on both sides of the issue.  I have one comment in moderation that I’m still trying to decide what to do with it because it is so inflammatory. 


Parents of children all around the world are trying all sorts of different interventions and approaches.  I don’t believe there is any one cause of autism so there will not be any one treatment or preventative measure a body can take.  However, I am not going to believe ANY claims of miracles and cures.  Sorry. If you have one, submit your DVD videos to some respected science professionals and get your story published in something that is peer reviewed.  Then we can talk.  Until then, you’re an aberration at best, and a liar who is in denial at worst.  I simply do not trust such claims.  I have been robbed, cheated, hoodwinked and bamboozled out of tens of thousands of dollars because of the crap people peddle in the name of a cure. 


I don’t even want to hear about it.  Really.  I know there are tons of parents out there in the mad scramble to find the miracle and I wish them all well.  But I’m moving on. 


Thomas has issues that look a bit more serious than his more typical sibling.   He is different than most people.  He’s exceptional.  What Thomas brings to the world is a challenge to others.  People who would like everything to be perfect and stress-free and “normal” and simple and easy are going to have a hard time with Thomas.  None of those things apply when dealing with him.  Instead of the merry-go-round we got a rooler coaster, and he’s a real screamer!  It is never boring.  It never stays the same.  He requires diligence and patience.  He constantly challenges the world to become a better place.  People are challenged and stretched when he is around.  This is not a bad thing.  He makes spotting lazy, intolerant, simple-minded people a lot easier.  He brings out the best and the worst at the same time. 


He’ll be turning 8 in February.  For almost 8 years we have been fighting the good fight and he is what he is despite our efforts to turn him into something we think is better.  For my part, I’m looking at giving the search for a cure a rest.  I understand those who are looking and understand why they look.  I don’t mean to rob anyone of their hope.


But it is also okay to move on, towards peace, acceptance and even a joy.  This is sort of what the Christmas season is supposed to be all about.  Hope is truly part of it, but the other aspects are as well.  We are not less loving because we happen to love our children the way they are presented to us.  I think when they are very young, we should try to do the best we can to help them and move them towards having an easier time in a world that values conformity.  But at some point (and I don’t pretend to know where that is) there comes a time when the person has to be themselves and they and the world are going to have to find a way to get along with each other. 


I’m all for trying various interventions but I would enjoin readers to be wary of any approach that demands that you get married to it or turn it into some sort of religion.  I guess that’s what is bothering me most about the various factions within the autism community, is that each is trying to gain more and more converts to whatever their gospel happens to be.  And whenever one person speaks against it or fails to subscribe to it, they are treated as some sort of heretic. 


As a Christian, I believe God’s grace extends to all those with various disabilities and extends outward to those who care for them.  But woe to those who attempt to create a new religion surrounding the disability!  And so it is that I’m not interested in joining any sort of cure cult or treatment cult or intervention sect.  If I try one thing or another and it doesn’t work, I’ll feel just fine moving on without believing that my soul or the soul of my son is in mortal peril.  In fact, I live with the assurance that his soul is just fine no matter what kind of label is put upon him.  He is not “incomplete” or “lost.”  He is still becoming and I’ll do my best to help him become all he can be.  And I’ll be proud of him whether or not he still has autism.



5 Responses to “Heretic”

  1. liz December 13, 2006 at 6:20 pm #

    Hey Dick, I want to send you and your wife a Christmas present–two books, “The Sparrow” and “Children of God” — If you haven’t read them already.

    You know, I read Kristina Chew’s blog daily not because I have a kid on the spectrum (I don’t) but I find her meditations call me to be a better person and mother.

    I went away from the computer a bit. I also wonder, hmmm how should I put this. Georgia is a somewhat more conventional and straightlaced part of the world than where I am (Silicon Valley).

    I wonder if the wider array of behaviors accepted here would make Thomas’s life a bit easier.

    Anyway, email me with an acceptable postal address & the magic of Amazon will wend your way.

  2. Dick December 14, 2006 at 4:43 pm #

    Thank you for your kind offer, Liz. You are too kind. Living in Silicon Valley, your interest in aliens is perfectly understandable as long as we don’t have another one of those “Higher Source” incidents with the purple jumpsuits. My brother actually worked for a company that lost a contract to those guys!

    I’ve often wondered about living in a more rural culture might be better in some ways. Many of the behaviors he exhibits wouldn’t be as big of issues on the farm as they are around tons of other people.


  3. Lilywise December 18, 2006 at 3:26 pm #

    Dick, I just found this site while on another desperate online search after my son (finally) went to bed to see if there’s anyone else out there like him. He’s almost 5 and was “diagnosed” this past summer with ASD. I use quote marks because he refused to cooperate fully with the diagnosing psychologist. We had suspected ASD since he was about 15 months old, and it seems to be the best label for his behaviors.

    Thanks for such refreshing frankness. Most things I’ve read are written in this wishy-washy feel-good mumbo jumbo that doesn’t relate at all to how I’m feeling when he’s in full-on tantrum mode.

    As for controlling (right word?) his behavior, I have abandoned spanking; Dad still uses it with some effect. Sometimes incentive charts work. Sometimes (like today) nothing seems to work.

    Oh, and thanks for blasting Native Remedies too. A friend sent me their link for Tantrum Tamer after observing one of Son’s meltdowns. And … puh-leeze. Who knows what weird crap is in those concoctions.

    We’re in Germany this year and struggling through their completely unstructured kindergarten system, a nightmare for our son. Next year we’ll be back in the US and will need to decide things like what school, how much evaluation of ASD we’re willing to pay for, are special services worth it, etc. I’m poring over your posts now for any of your opinions on these things.

  4. Dick December 20, 2006 at 4:20 pm #

    Thanks for stopping by! When you return to the U.S., you’ll be eligible for a free and independent evaluation. That means the school pays for it. Schools may grouse about paying someone else when they will do one with their own staff but more often than not the independent evaluation backs up what the school says while giving more information.

    It it worth it? That is tough. I can’t judge what is worth how much because it’s different for each person. Even Jane and I differ on how much time, effort and money to spend. So I think the best thing is for you and all of your family to talk about it together. You will talk it out eventually even if it is just to fight about it so doing some preliminary fighting might be a good thig!LOL!

    Giving the boy a sibling might have been the best intervention we ever did.


  5. Eric Chiverton February 8, 2007 at 7:50 am #

    Hi Dick,

    I am on the roller coaster right now… finances are in disarray and we are really struggling.
    That said, I will never give up to make my son’s life as normal as possible. Not because I am in any way ashamed of his autism. I couldn’t love him any more if I tried. But rather because the way society treats people who have ‘mental’ disability.
    Yoy haven’t listed the methods you have tried with your son, so cannot comment on the bulk of your article. I can say, that there are a number of relatively cheap things that can be done, that do make considerable differences. Mb12 injections and L-Glutathione. With it being a well documented fact that most autistic children have impaired methylation, this is making my son’s autism less and less obvious.
    I wish you all the best with your path no matter where it takes you, and share the view that our children are special.

    Best wishes

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