Duffy is a dad that is beginning to take a look at the biomed approach to autism. He has expressed feeling conflicted in a way that I think people in his stage come by naturally. It is an experience that I went through myself in the spring of 2004. As this debate gets more and more attention, many more parents will find themselves in this place. I wanted to share the advice I am offering to him.
The problem I am having is knowing who to rely on for information. The author of the Salon article sounded authoritative and cites some reputable sources. He cast dispersions on the Geiers research, again, with foundations. Others support the Geiers wholeheartedly. I find myself at a loss.
It took me almost a full year of reading (and seeing my son get better and better) before I had enough information under my belt to start making public assertions about autism research. You might feel a sense of urgency to get this whole thing sorted out in your mind before you try anything with your son, but this issue is so huge that if you try to do it all at once, your brain will melt.
Brilliant scientists who have spent their careers on it have not figured it all out yet.
Do yourself a favor, just focus on your son. Get the book I mentioned, Children with Starving Brains, sort through that information, which is a lot of information, then come back to this whole discussion.
You have heard what the CDC has to say. You have heard what most mainstream pediatricians have to say. Take a few weeks, look at what the big picture of the biomedical theory and approach, then take a hard look at your son and see if any of it seems to apply to him.
If you get an understanding of the illness through the biomed lens and an understanding of the treatment, then you can come back to the 'main stream' medical view and ask the right questions of them. If they can answer your questions sufficiently, and describe their problems with the biomed approach adequately, then throw the book in the trash, get off the internet and go tickle your son.
If after looking at the biomed picture, the CDC’s stance that 'we don't really know what causes autism or what the mechanism could be' rings hollow (as it did for me) then find a DAN doctor and get your son tested.
If they find the usual problems, metals, digestive yeast, vitamin and mineral deficiencies food allergies, then try the GFCF diet for a week.
If you see an improvement, then try adding fish oil.
If those help, try whatever supplements the doctor recommends.
If they help, try chelating.
Do things one step at a time and trust the great parental instincts God gave you. If something does not seem right, stop. You are the expert on your son. You know him best.
Go ask a million questions about it. Talk to other doctors. If you buy the book off of her website, you can join her yahoo group and ask her questions there directly. She is on every day giving parents advice.
Talk to other parents. They love to share their experience, good and bad, and will be a huge help.
If you hear something from a mainstream doctor that gives you pause, take the question to the biomed community and see if they can address your concern.
If you hear something from a DAN doctor that gives you pause, take the question to your mainstream pediatrician and see if they can address your concern.
Ask questions of everyone, you will begin to see by people’s answers who is really taking a thoughtful look at the problem, and who is just paying lip service.
Sorting through this stuff is like drinking from a fire hose, just take it one sip at a time.
Most importantly, keep checking back with your child. Remember that he is different from every other boy with autism. Do what works for him.