Sunday, December 12, 2010

Alternative Treatments for Autism: No “Proof,” Just Results

We have probably tried as many different alternative treatments for our son as anybody. Most of these are shunned or outright scorned by conventional medical practitioners.

Since the time Kai was diagnosed with autism at age two, we have had him on a gluten-free/casein-free diet, and have been giving him a battery of supplements as recommended by a DAN (Defeat Autism Now!) doctor. We have also tried hyperbaric oxygen therapy, biofeedback, and Chinese medicine. Currently we are having him checked out by an Applied Kinesiologist.

Have they helped?

Our son has made tremendous progress. But, the truth is, we cannot say with certainty that any of the things we have done have contributed to this.

A scientist who is doing research would surely criticize our approach. There are too many variables; we are doing too many different things at once to know what is working and what is not.

And, that is all true, and it is valid criticism if we were doing this for scientific research. But, we are not. We are trying to help our son to have the best chance at having a good and productive life.

Time is of the essence. I believe that the most change in people occurs when they are still young. Early intervention and action are critical. We do not have time to wait to see if something is working or not before moving on to the next item. We need to act now.

Is this the act of so-called “desperate parents?” Perhaps. But, I really do not care if I am called desperate when it comes to our son’s future.

What I do care is that my son could not talk and did not respond at all when he was diagnosed. He was considered to have a severe level of autism. And now, he speaks well, has revealed an exuberant personality, and is showing his intelligence as he is doing work well beyond his grade level in school.

Did our alternative approach really make a difference, or would he have turned out like this anyway? No one can say for sure. But, what I do know for sure is that I would not have wanted to chance it.

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