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Things that have helped Autistic adults with their happiness, stability and general health to optimise life.
As I always say in my other blogs, Autistic Adults are often best advisers to help us understand our autistic kids and help them reach their potential.
In this blog I am going to focus on complementary and alternative therapies and medicine, lifestyles and diets which have made a big difference, therefore could be a big aid to your child. Note, this is not to cure, or to repress or lessen any traits, but may well help with behavior and general happiness for all the family.
Gut problems and diet changes –
Anyone, autistic or not can have stomach problems. Gut problems though, appear to be more common with Autistic people percentage wise, than the general population, therefore it can be seen as a co morbid condition for some people on the spectrum, but as I have mentioned before it isn’t always. Therefore it makes sense that we address this issue:
Our first contributor is Kate. Like me, she has an interest in science and likes debunking various fads:
“Dietary changes, I’m thinking this could have effects in a couple of ways:
(a) If a legitimate *medical* doctor diagnoses allergies or intolerences, for sure those foods should be avoided! Having food allergies myself, I can assess to how shitty those will make a person feel (especially with gut symptoms), and I find feeling unwell contributes a lot to how easily I’ll get overloaded, how well I can pay attention and process information, and how much I can stay engaged socially.
(b) Even without allergies or intolerences, changes in diet could be helpful if it’s toward a healthier diet that ensures good nutrition. People often get caught up in things like going GMO-free or organic, which are unfortunately expensive gimmicks; but if the move is from a high fat, salt, sugar diet to one with healthy amounts, it’s likely the person will have more energy to pay attention, learn, and engage. The major caution I’d give them is to not follow a very restrictive diet except under supervision of their *medical* doctor or qualified dietician (not a naturopath or nutritionist), as those can lead to nutritional deficits”
“I can only speak for myself here. Eating whole foods, ie, fresh or frozen vegetables, wild omega 3 fatty acid filled fish, some whole grains and fresh eggs helps me avoid problems with lack of motivation, fatigue, foggy brain and gut pain.
In my child hood, I was fed only easy, quick to prepare packaged foods, and I felt horrible and was often sick with some kind of infection.
Since I’ve went to eating my own home cooked old fashioned meals, including bacon, I’ve felt a whole lot better than I ever did in my youth”
Catharine sees the benefits of being “gluten free and dairy reduction”
Karen says “In my case, vitamins, minerals, food have made a huge difference for the quality of my life due to a mineral metabolic disorder. Ion channelopathies in my opinion are hugely underdiagnosed and misdiagnosed. They are genetic in origin and devastating in their affects. I would never have thought what I ate and or didn’t eat was the cause of most of my problems, sensory processing disorder, muscle weakness and so much more” I mention Channelopathies in my other blog An Unqualified mother’s opinion of Autism Treatments
Laura says “I have started to eliminate all processed foods out of my diet. I have severe gut issues and have most of my life. I shop the (outside) of the grocery store… It helped but I needed more. I have also begun using a turmeric paste that has started to change my life. It decreases my pains, gut issues, and that in turn makes it easier to process my world when I am stressed. Here is the site so you can look over the info to see if it helps issues you have.
Harold says “Some herbal teas help me when I don’t feel good” Anna say “I usually drink rooibus (red) tea. I find it far more calming and relaxing.i also have some pretty relaxing tea called “exhale” (I believe that coffee bean/tea leaf is who makes it) and it has valerian root in it, among other thing”
Lynette “Exercise, no sugar, alkaline water and wheat grass juice every morning. No animal protein or dairy. This diet keeps away (for me and I have heard testimony from others): asthma, acid reflux, joint pain, brain fog”
Anna expresses that as a child she assumed everyone had sore stomachs frequently like she did, and only as an adult she realised that if she avoided certain foods she can avoid the foods that cause her pain.
These are all benefits certain diet changes have given some Autistic Adults. It is perhaps something worth to think about especially if your child does have “gut” issues
Liane says “I have used the Bach Flower Remedies for around 25 years, which have helped with understanding emotion and ultimately myself………”
Eva says ” I use herb Borago officinalis, in times of highest stress, it decrease level of anxiety and helps fall asleep at night. But should not be used all the time.”
Harold says “St. John’s Wart seemed to help my meltdowns but really just kept me in a fog that made it hard to work my job”
Fiona says “I had awful anxiety as a teen and young adult.
Mum tried all that natural stuff never helped but cost a fortune”
First Kate again with her wise words “Anything that has us feeling more relaxed likely does have follow-on effects of reducing our needs to anxious-stim, better sleep, reducing sensory & emotional overload, helping us with emotional regulation, etc.. That said, some Autistics (like me) are very uncomfortable with touch and these therapies could increase anxiety rather than reduce it. I really hope the parents will respect their child’s boundaries with that sort of thing”
Liane recommends meditation as something that has helped her anxiety.
Catharine says “Chinese acupuncture massage, meditation, gluten free and dairy reduction, self defense class (very empowering) spa treatments”
Freya feels Acupuncture has been of benefit to her.
Anna says “I do yoga, I just need to do more of it. For some autistics it may be problematic though, like for those with coordination or mobility issues, or have conditions like ehler-danlos syndrome”
Fiona says “I just worry about the money people spend on remedies with no evidence. If people feel better with complimentary therapies that is good but many of these alternative practitioners tell people they can do wonderful things for their ailments and this can lead to a hamster wheel which sadly can leave a huge dent in your wallet. I think that’s important to mention.
They may not harm but can mislead. My own view and with experience from complimentary treatments is they don’t do much but give you false hope.
In life we tend to apply bandages for all our wounds when sometimes the best thing is to face that wound and see why it’s their in the first place.”
M also reminds me at this stage that the above complementary and alternative treatments and medicines would result in very similar answers in the general population, which is very true and anything applied must be done with autonomy. The next section I think is a bit more exclusive to Autistics
Importance of “Me time”
Many of the people who kindly answered my question described as having time to to be themselves, on their own hobbies and interests very important, very often essential in relieving anxiety and being happiest.
Anon says (sorry I forgot your name and where you posted this) “Various techniques for sensory optimisation, such as weighted blankets, and pre-emptive stimming, including relaxed rocking and writhing (earplugs in, pressing eyes with palms of hands), were also helpful, especially when I needed to get through long days of teaching. I would finish up lunch quickly so that I could go and stim for at least ten minutes in the furthest toilet to be ready for the afternoon sessions.
Lianne “getting a good education in my chosen subject of obsession has helped me with clarity of thought and understanding….” Kate agrees with this.
Penni finds meditation really helps
Kelly “If I’m stressed to the max for dealing with a lot of people, what helps me is to plug into some music, do some sculpturing, and if it’s not raining, or absolutely cold out, I’ll spend a few hours outdoors in a natural area well away from any groups of people.
Ken says “Meditation, martial arts, puzzle solving, building machines (cars, computers, etc), listening to music, watch movies, etc. Anything to focus on one sense instead of all of them at once makes me feel at peace.
Matt says “Music is one of the focal point in my life that I can always go to, to center myself when I am having a meltdown. It can be both passive and active for me as sometimes I am content to just put on some music to listen to and calm down or just to refocus.. Other times I will pick up the guitar or bass and just play. I guess you could say its almost meditative.. But meditation for me is hard when in meltdown mode. Have only ever been able to clear my mind when I am at my most calm. Reading is also a great way for overcoming situations”.
“Well, general things would be self-defense, Music in all it’s forms (even just listening), and anything creative (drawing, building, etc.)” says Shara
Freya enjoys gardening.
Being Accepted for who you are
A common theme with most of the people I asked is that they are definitely happiest, and have the least stress when people accept them for who they are, quirks and all. Freya is happier now she has eliminated negative people from her life. Kate expresses the importance of parents accepting kids for the way they are. Anna gets great support from her partner. Julianne expresses that good mentors are important, that encourage you in your life, and not treat you like a victim. Shara praises her family for being good support. Harold is happier now he split from his ex partner, received his diagnosis and can now advise people to ‘back off’ when they are stressing him out. Kozmo and Ryker both feel more at peace now they have accepted themselves as transgender and getting hormone treatment.
Marie and Kate have both seem the benefits of counseling.
Some felt happy being in contact with Autistic organisations in their area.
Anna says ” In my case I found out that someone in my city was starting an ASAN chapter, so I joined. I have finally found my peoples and they are my tribe. Everything is so right and they are so accepting. Any other “replacements” to knowing people who are like myself just isn’t enough.
Chen says “Attending Autistic-run events, such as @Autscape, and participating in Autistic-run organisation’s, such as the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, helps a lot of us.”
Shara says “I would suggest getting a bunch of autistic kids together, and let their parents socialize as well. Some autistic parents thrown in would probably help the others figure it out”.
One thing that has a common theme with everyone is that coping techniques are very much mastered in Autistic adults, as long as they are allowed the freedom to be themselves. Many have sensory aids such as weighted blankets, alone time to decompress, time to enjoy special interests. Understood by others that this is a very much essential need. Remember Autistics live in a world for non-Autistics, where lights might be extra bright, noises deafening, social expectations sometimes overwhelming. In order for life to be easier for everyone, we as non-Autistics must respect this. Learning various techniques to help your kid with coping techniques will help, but forcing them to comply in a non Autistic world without seeking coping strategies will not.
I know it can be hard to implement these techniques, especially if you have other children. In fact a few people did admit that life became easier once they had left the family home, but having this information stored in you brain, you will know exactly what you are striving for. Perhaps when your non Autistic kids reach about 6 or 7 they can learn to be a little helper, like getting those sensory aids, specialist interests and respecting “alone time”. Teaching them as early as possible too can only be a bonus.
David sum this up nicely “I give myself time at the end of everyday to separate myself from stimulation and decompress with positive triggers. i have a good memory, so I never kept a journal and use the positive triggers to help me calm down after a day’s worth of overwhelming stimuli. I use tea, incense, soft blankets, relaxing music, Christmas lights, turn down the lights, maybe read a book, watch a documentary, watch cartoons, or a watch a movie. I like to go on hikes when I can to “get away”, and the exercise produces all sorts of endorphins to make me feel good.”
I will also leave you with some great advice from Anna:
“I always find it weird and disconcerting when people talk about stopping or repressing autistic traits, because 1) not feasible to expect someone to pretend to be something they are not for your comfort. 2) putting the cart before the horse. A lot of what is considered “autistic traits and autistic behavior” is usually consisting of sensory overload or attempts to cope with the intense world surrounding that person. Which means that it will be more pronounced the more stressed out a person is. So instead of hawking compliance, emphasis should be placed on dealing with those stressers, whether it be by accommodation, addressing it, problem-solving it, doing something about it basically. The end goal should be for that person to be the best version of themselves they can be. If someone is in pain, obviously they won’t be operating at 100% capacity. Every stresser and sensory problem, it’s like the task manager or process viewer on your computer. It tells what is running on the computer at that time, how much cpu and memory each thing is taking up while running. You get too many stressers for the autistic person, they crash from overload.they run out of system resources to manage it, like with the computer”.
This is a fictional story about a mother who doses her son with mineral miracle solution in an attempt to “cure” his Autism. All these parents have been brainwashed with conspiracy theories, perhaps its due to a continued unwillingness to accept their child’s Autism. It is something we may never understand. It is a difficult read so I need to put a trigger warning on it.
I have cured my son’s autism and everyone is jealous. He is still very delayed in speech and language and gets anxious, but that is not autism. Autism is extreme behaviour caused by leaky gut, a horrific vaccine injury.
I cured my son’s Autism by denying him chemical laden food, keeping him away from any modern medicine and anything poisonous. Anything with gluten or flavour is poison.
I discovered my saviour Kerri Rivera a few years ago. If I could marry her I would, but it might piss off my husband, ha ha ha!!
Through a gentle protocol my son went from non verbal to verbal and he has a few friends too. I started with the gfcf diet. I simply refused any other food, he had to adjust. In order for him to drink, I made him drink the chlorine dioxide product. If he wanted a drink, that was it. If you tried to refuse it, I gently held his nose and forced it down his throat. One drop at a time.
He got a few rashes on his back, and I was excited as this is detox. His teeth also got black but I could scrub it off, as long as he isn’t getting that horrible flouride on his teeth, he will be OK, I mean, that is how they rot, uurggh chemicals!!!
He got loads of high temps, especially when we got to full dosage. It was amazing. Once his temp got up to 42c, I was really hoping for a seizure to reset his brain, but it didn’t happen.
Then, I started seeing these changes with my son. His first word came, it was “no”. We were delighted. After his drinks he often settled down. Instead of running around annoying us, he simply sat with his head between his legs. Peace xxx
After my 4th consultation with Kerri (my hero). We decided enemas were the next step. The first one was a bit messy, he screamed for hours, but it was well worth it. The screaming subsided after about 10 enemas. He soon learned that good ” bottom washes” were rewarded with access to his toys. Soon after we saw his first rope worm, his stupid obsession with pokemon, at last was starting to go. We started naming his enema kit pikachew after that. At last, we were seeing a difference. He watches all kinds of videos now. He just sits quietly, doesn’t even seem interested in the TV, so most of the time we just watch re rurns of my favourite Dr Oz show. It’s funny, I often get obsessions like this.
Christmas time was the hardest. We had to bin so many banned foods. But we got there. We cheered when he finished the last sip of bone broth and we all sat down to watch “A wonderful life”. This was the first year we got through the movie without hearing irritating screaming. He simply lay on the chair staring at the TV after he had his enema. Oh I wish we could go back go the good old war days. Yes, they were scared of the Nazi’s, but at least everyone was clear who their enemy was. Their enemies didn’t come in food type boxes, or vaccination needles. Rationing must have been awesome for a healthy diet. If only we could return to those Autism and cancer free days.
Anyway, back to the enemas, they were working. Every day, 2 a day if we started seeing Autism behaviour. We even got to the stage he was shouting ‘pikachew’ when he started seeing his Autism coming back. What a clever boy he is. A calm, compliant, sweet boy who just wants to please us. That’s what life should be about.
Kerri made me moderator of CD Autism which is the biggest honour I could ever take. This gave me the opportunity to advise people of what dangerous chemicals are contained in food. I could explain what to tell the doctors when their child gets an anal prolapse and how to train their child to be compliant for an enema and loads of other essential parenting tools.
I actually class myself as a genius now in science. Truth news and natural news has taught me all I know. I know chlorine dioxide just turns to salt in the body. Jim humble has taught me all I know. My grandad died of cancer, this was due to the chemotherapy, if only he had know about MMS then. He was an odd chap from what I remember, might have had aspergers, if only he had known about CD, got his worms out.
Then it came, the trolls. Government paid shills from Ireland. Screaming about Autism not being curable, poison and abuse ffs? As if I would hurt my child. Surprise surprise they paid the mainstream media to write some awful stuff. They twisted the science to suit their agenda, and even people I respected started believing it. I had a visit from CPA, which was tough but we managed to hide everything. Now I simply say “vitimins and diet” cured my son. It’s easier.
Its funny how silly people are. The speech therapist visited yesterday. She was amazed by the change. Her view was that his lack of extreme behaviour now might be due to his increased speech and language ability, and communication skills. How little she knows “pharma shill”.
I will always fight for the justice of society, stop science over taking the truth, stop these doctors with their evil needles from letting our kids be exposed to diseases. We will succeed. We will beat Autism. I am troll hunter, hear me roar
1. You get to discover how complex and amazing language is, especially if your child was delayed in talking. If they are still non verbal, you will find many other useful ways to communicate such as PECS, and makaton. You will become an expert in the subject.
2 Your kids teachers never forget your kid’s name. You get to know them and they pay special attention to your little cracker. Parents evenings often last 40 minutes rather than 5, so you never get those awkward silences.
3. Chances are your kid is more honest than others. If you want to know what is going on, you will get a straight answer no story telling, lies or secrets behind your back
4. Autistic kids very often aren’t influenced by other people’s trends, so chances are they won’t nag you about getting the latest expensive clothing or shoes
6. Autistic kids can have very unique imagination. Very much this is due to not being influenced by others. Their insights about life can be fascinating.
7. Autistic kids are often just as happy, if not happier in your company than with other kids. This gives you an amazing connection that isn’t always present with non Autistic kids who thrive to play with other children.
8. Ability to focus on specialist interests can result in expert knowledge in many subjects and specialist talents
9. Having an Autistic kid can bring you into a world you have never considered. A whole new community of friends and support
10. Finally, they teach you that with patience and understanding so much can be achieved, that life can lead into a completely different avenue that you expected, but can be equally as enjoyable, and a great adventure
Autistic children don’t need to be that terrible burden that the media portrays them as. With patience, love and energy, their potential is unlimited. Let’s change the conversation about Autism and give our kids the self confidence to thrive .
Receiving an Autism diagnosis for your child can be a difficult time. You have so many fights ahead with services, schooling etc, but having a positive attitude can make such a difference.
You will meet a lot of other parents of Autistic kids. You will share tales of hardship. You will make lots of friends. You will learn a few things about how to help your kid, but mostly the bond will grow with all the problems Autism can bring. There will be glimpses of happiness when your child or your friends child will reach a developmental stage. You will learn that Autistic adults sometimes get defensive if you vent about your child’s problems. Infact, you may even believe they shouldn’t really be in Autism support groups as they are nothing like your child. Meltdowns, sensory issues, problems your child may present may be hard to understand. You may compare your child to other children, which may always be upsetting. You may spend a lot of time desperately wishing for a cure. The problem with taking the blue pill you may mistakenly get drawn into a cycle of depression, and relating to other parents in the same predicament can make things even tougher. Very often in these groups the more depressing your posts the more likes and comments you will get.
This is a harder pill to swallow, it may isolate you more from other autism parents. However, for the help and support you receive, it will be amazingly positive. Unlike swallowing the blue pill, you will develop very valuable friendships with Autistic adults and like minded parents. They will teach you that those developmental charts don’t mean much. That you can see all the amazing differences your child brings without having to compare to other children their age. They will assist tremendously with meltdowns and sensory issues. Why? Because they have been there. Some Autistic adults will be defensive if you are negative about your child. You will learn that this is understandable. The negative focus on autism brings back difficult memories, and you will learn that they are only defensive as they worry for your child. You will learn that showing them respect back, can produce great friendships and the advice they can give you will be invaluable. Your child may still have a disability, but many traits, language differences, behaviour can be seen as a neurological difference, which needs respected rather than seen as a tragedy.
To help you decide, I am going to put up 2 scenarios:
Drama at the play park
Red pill – we avoid play grounds at busy times. When we do go, he loves lying under the swing and seeing it swing from side to side. Yes, we get some funny looks, but he loves it. If other kids start coming along, he always decides to leave, and that’s understandable.
Blue pill – I am so sad for my child. My other kids have been on play dates, even sleep ovesr. No one knocks at the door for him. After school he just goes in his room and plays with his toys, it breaks my heart. He’s not happy if I try and force him out. He must be miserable
Red pill – yes sometimes it is sad to see my son struggles with friendships. He needs his down time though after school and needs the space to just be by himself for a while. He feels safe and secure in his daily routine. Social interaction with him at school can be quite exhausting, so we have learned to give him the space he needs after.
Blue pill can equal grieving, comparing, fighting and possible depression
Red pill can equal learning a new concept, opening your mind and discovering a new adventure
Please, be brave, make the decision to swallow the red pill.
So next time you are on social media, connect with some Autistic Adults, you will get great help and develop brilliant friendships. Autism doesn’t need to be about grieving, sadness or depression.
No one ever says having an Autistic child is an easy task, but with the right mindset, fighting for schooling, services and therapies can be easier with a positive attitude. The red pill, in my opinion is the best way to achieve this
Hello Amanda, my name is Heather and I am writing to you to plea for your understanding.
Now I won’t begin to agree with your business in Gcmaf. As a cancer survivor for over 20 years (and, yes with chemotherapy), I have seen the progress made in cancer medication, the incredible progress made in cancer survival rates. 80% of all children with cancer now survive, even with leukaemia, this is amazing. When I was ill, survival rate of leukaemia in kids was only 20%. As far as I am aware the only cure for leukaemia is chemotherapy, so I certainly don’t agree with your 3% survival rate claim. Anyway, I am not writing to you to discuss this. Without spreading your misconceptions, you wouldn’t have a business.
Anyway, I am writing to you to basically talk about Autism. Cancer and Autism are completely different conditions. Cancer is a cell mutation which spreads, killing healthy cells. Autism is a neurological difference. My son is Autistic and he is perfectly healthy. I never worry about his health. Vaccinations are proved to not cause Autism. My son’s Autism is genetic, as there are definately undiagnosed older relatives in my family
I know you have found a new area to flog your gcmaf, so I am not going to attempt to educate you otherwise.
The most worrying issue I have though, is your change of opinion regarding your friend Kerri Rivera. I witnessed your fall out, and read about your dismissal from the genesis church 2 due to disagreeing with her recommending daily enemas of MMS. This must have been quite a brave decision. But, now due to your similar fight with Fiona Oleary I see, you are both reunited in friendship. To the extent that you are even recommending her protocol. This worries me greatly and I would like to cast your mind back to why you fell out with Rivera in the first place.
Enclosed in this email, I have put screenshots from Rivera’s CD Autism Facebook group. I want you to read these carefully, and think about what is happening here. Would you give daily enemas to your own children? Mother to mother, please be honest. Have you touched your child’s back passage since they have grown out of wiping their backsides? It’s certainly something I think oversteps boundaries between a mother and her child.
I don’t believe in MMS, I never have, and I never will, but even if Rivera’s protocol magically worked, what damage would be left? Physically, a ruptured anal passage, an anal prolapse? Mentally, Amanda where do we start? So now the child is ‘healed’ of Autism. What do they remember from their childhood? Their mum giving them constant enemas, maybe their dad too, maybe Gran? The social boundaries have been destroyed, their personal body vindicated. It’s tantamount to child abuse? I think we can say that. Would memories have them confused about what boundaries they should respect with the siblings, future sexual partners, their own children? This is wrong and you know it. You would never do this to your child, and neither would I.
I am asking you please, to stop promoting Rivera, Germany and Ireland both now call her protocol child abuse. So does Barnardo’s and the NSPCC. In supporting Rivera, you are supporting child abuse. I don’t think you want to be seen as doing that, as I hear about how much you love children.
I will not hide the fact that I am friends with Fiona Oleary. We are both on this website
autistic abuse awareness/ I have the upmost respect for Fiona, who is has an enormous heart, and has only, ever done this to try and protect Autistic children. Autistic people don’t lack empathy. This is a myth. My son has the biggest heart imaginable. With the introduction of many communication aids, Facebook, twitter and many other sources, Autistic children are growing into Autistic adults, many who do hold jobs, have families, are successful in life, infact I am sure you have met a few without knowing. They are the driving force in telling us what helps, and most of them express that they don’t need a cure. What they need to acceptance.
See Autism isn’t like cancer. Without treatment a cancer patient will die, without treatment an Autistic person will not die. Autistic kids can, and many do thrive. The “recovered” Rivera speaks of aren’t “cured”. If they do exist, they have found coping strategies, have been repressed, or perhaps at present don’t show enough traits to warrant a diagnosis. Are they still Autistic? Of course they are, and you know what? That’s OK. The world needs all kinds of people. This isn’t a big pharma conspiracy. Many autistics never need medication.
I know your opinions probably won’t change about Autism. I can’t talk you out of the products you are selling, and I can’t convince you to see the good side in someone you feel is a threat to your business, but I can ask you to please discontinue your support for Rivera. Her protocol is wrong, and abusive, you have known this from before and you can do it again. I saw Kerri showed you support at the airport etc, but you will know this was purely for business reasons as her focus is to downplay MMS now and focus on
I am posting this letter on our website and will also post your reply
Thanks for reading
Image Description: A boy is kneeling and has blue masking tape and wears a necklace with the autism neurodiversity symbol on it. Next to him is Suzanne Wright, the head of Autism Speaks. She has an unkind expression and is saying “They’re voiceless, the poor things.” Credit is Idrawhumans.
To Whom it May Concern,
First of all, I never read your magazine. Celebrity gossip doesn’t interest me. However, when I saw one of your articles for your July 1, 2015 issue, I had to respond.
Autism Speaks is “Crusading” Against autism? How dare you? Do you realize what you are implying? A crusade is a holy war. You are implying that autism is akin to cancer. Like Suzanne Wright, the head of Autism Speaks–who you interviewed, you are saying that autistic people like myself are better off dead. Do you seriously believe that a person who is diagnosed with autism…
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The ATEC SCALE AND WHY IT IS NOT A RELIABLE SOURCE
The creator of the ATEC – Autism Treatment Evaluation Scale – was a man named Bernard Rimland. His own son was autistic and he very much believed autism was due to vaccine damage. DR Bernard Rimland Therefore, the model for this scale is very much a medical model of disease, rather than an acceptance of autism being a neurological difference. The ATEC scale is used as the primary scale used by the biomed industry. The scale fits right into the pseudoscience perspective of Autism.
Depending on age, language ability, anxiety levels, external factors autistic traits can change throughout lifetime. Increase in language ability often lessens obsessive behavior in young children.
Therefore, the model for this scale is very much a medical model of disease, rather than an aceptance of autism being a neurological difference. The ATEC scale is used as the primary scale used by the biomed industry. The scale fits right into the pseudoscience perspective of Autism.
Why it is not accurate:
To allow a parent to measure their child’s “autism levels” can be seen as irresponsible. A parent being with the child on a daily basis may see huge changes in development from small differences. The desire to see the change can easily influence the scoring. Many of these bio med interventions require dedication and a willing for it to work. Even sticking to a diet, such as the gfcf diet will require overcoming moaning, complaining, family arguments and also the expense of buying dairy and gluten free food. Of course you will see positive changes. From a yoyo dieters perspective, the first week you see a difference, the second you are removing your shoes to get weighed, to the 5th week its the removal of jewellery in a desperate attempt to see those numbers going down, the fact you have eaten 3 cakes that week and not really been on a diet, to see that one digit less seems to be your whole world. You dream of fitting into that dress. For a “believer” of the ATEC scale, you long to see your child playing with another child, or suddenly speaking in sentences. Your brain tells you what you want to hear. Your ability to give accurate results of your child’s progress becomes unreliable and tainted. The results are often very subjective.
However, Biomeds is a huge business, so we can’t always simply put any gains down to parental perspective. Parents following biomed interventions with their children, may realistically see lower scores on the ATEC scale. This can happen if the child does have food intolerances, or nutritional deficiencies, if diet changes or extra vitamins are advised. However, progress needs to be praised on improving general health and wellbeing, and optimising performance, rather than repressing autistic traits, or searching for “cures”.
What the professionals do:
Regular visits to paediatricians, speech therapists and other professionals can monitor progress of your child, highlighting any extra areas of therapy needed on an individual basis. Every child has unique strengths and weaknesses. They can give unbiased, evidence based support, along with any testing giving scientific and objective results.
So why is this scale wrong? Why is a biomedical chart not accurate for Autism?
Here is an example of some of the questions, and an explanation of why the answers have little or no relevance to the progress of your child
Screenshot 1 – For Autistic people Stimming and rocking can be an essential form of stress relief. It is healthy and often can be a sign of happiness to non verbal children. It is important not to repress or see this as bad behaviour or a problem.
Screenshot 2 – Eye contact, again something lodged in the minds of social expectations. Something which is often forced in incorrect therapies, and can be painful for a person on the spectrum. Again, this has no influence on the potential of the child’s abilities.
Screenshot 3 – Imagination, again, very much down to perception. Many people on the spectrum show amazing talents in Art and Literature, and who is to determine what is correct and what isn’t? Many people with autism thrive on more fact based interests. This has created the most amazingly talented people, focused in their field, this isn’t a deficit.
Screenshot 4 – A simple quiz to determine speech and language ability is not only naive, but very disrespectful to all speech and language therapists who studied long and hard to become therapists. Both expressive and receptive language skills are very complex and unique to every child, and need proper analysis to help children with any issues they may exhibit.
Monitoring progress of a child, needs professional guidance. Progress of a child must take account the child’s neurological differences, and not be compared to neurotypical expectations. Repressing Autistic traits can lead to added anxiety, depression and mental illness in later life. Learning about your child’s communication and sensory differences, is a very handy tool in helping your child to reach their potential.
Although there is major speculation of online tests of Autism, a more accurate one may be found here: http://www.aspergerstestsite.com/75/autism-spectrum-quotient-aq-test/#.VJNhuHuMZyj to perhaps, get a rough idea of whether you or your child is on the spectrum, but it is not a diagnostic tool. Please seek professional help if needed.
Here is a good skeptical view of Biomed treatments as a whole: http://skepticalsurfer.blogspot.ie/2007/09/cult-of-autism.html?m=1
And finally, please study this brilliant article written by an Autism Expert, which, is, of course, an Autistic Adult : http://neurocosmopolitanism.com/what-is-autism/
By Lei Wiley-Mydske
Originally posted HERE
The reason I speak out against Autism Speaks is because I love my Autistic son. I love him so much that he has forced me to love myself too. If you are not Autistic or otherwise Disabled, you might not know what it is like to grow up with these messages of hate and fear and people treating you like you’re nothing but a horrible burden on society.
You hear about what you cost, you hear about how if you could just act a little less Autistic, people would like you so much more. Even those of us who grew up without a name for what made us different….we felt it too.
So you start to lie. You pretend that if you just keep trying, you can be as normal as everyone else. And you work so damn hard at it. They put you…
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