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Topic : 12/19 Parents’ Ultimate Test: Dealing with Autism

Number of Replies: 290
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Created on : Thursday, December 13, 2007, 05:12:39 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1
The ultimate test for any parent is loving a child who is difficult, sometimes frightening, to the whole family. It’s a test parents of autistic children are put to daily. Ten-year-old Luz throws screaming tantrums, barks like a dog, and tells his mother, Sara, that he plans to kill her. Sara has long felt despair at Luz’s out-of-control behavior, yet she was shocked when a doctor diagnosed him with autism. Go inside the daily life of this family, see Luz’s wild behavior caught on tape, and learn why Sara’s main coping mechanisms might be putting her at risk. Then, a member of Dr. Phil’s own staff achieved miraculous results for her autistic child and her whole family through an intense program. Could a similar treatment work for Luz? Plus, what causes autism? Several recent media reports and high-profile parents such as Jenny McCarthy have pointed the finger at vaccinations. Is there a link? Child care expert and pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears weighs in. Then, imagine having a crime committed against you, but not having a voice or any way to tell someone you’d been wronged. Some mothers in Las Vegas say that’s exactly what happened when a teacher allegedly abused their autistic children, and they’ve filed a lawsuit. Hear them recount the painful details of the alleged abuse. What are their chances of winning in court? Share your thoughts here.

Find out what happened on the show.

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December 19, 2007, 2:38 pm CST

dealing with autism

  I have a 5year old that fits, but he does not have the agressive behavior that many people think of with autism I know that he got 5 shots by is 1st birthday and he started having seizures and going downward in developmentally and he always has a smile on his face but there are times when he does get mad because he is not verbal( not speaking) but has verbal cues that I and his dad know what he wants and sometimes even that gets to the guessing game..
 
December 19, 2007, 2:40 pm CST

Mother that has Autism.

I deal with autism every day, I love my son with evreything that i'em.My son Austin is 5years old, he is still in pull up, he needs some one with him at all times when he is at school.He does not talk every much at this time but he will repeat what u say to him, he is of in his own world.Last year at this time my son said his own name for the 1st time ever.he is doing very well with thing.He still will not play with other kids, but his school and the kids in his class are helping with that.Austin like to line his toys up or stake them.he hits and kicks when he does not get what he wants.
 
December 19, 2007, 2:43 pm CST

Early Intervention

My son was diagnosed with Pervasive Development Disorder - on the autistic spectrum - when he was three years old. He was having loud meltdowns and a lot of repetitive behavior. I always said his head was like a VCR. He could watch a show and know the entire script by heart after watching it just a few times. We started with intervention immediately. Preschool had its rocky days. Elementary school had some rocky days too. He is 13 now and most people who meet him do not believe he is autistic. He is smart, funny, well socialized, and delightful (when he's not being a typical 13 year old). His bar mitzvah was flawless. He took on more than the average child and handled it beautifully. When he does have a meltdown about something, he does it at home, not at school or in public, where he knows he can vent and be upset without embarrassing himself. He knows what his limitations are. He has learned great coping mechanisms to help himself through the tough days. He still obsesses about things, self talks, gets frustrated when things don't go the way he expects them to go, but he is amazing. I have learned more from having an autistic child than I could have learned from having typical children. Early intervention is the key to success. No one wants to hear that their child is autistic. Putting your head in the sand and pretending it isn't happening does no one a favor. I am so proud of him. He is truly a gift from God.
 
December 19, 2007, 2:50 pm CST

MY SON IS AUTISTIC

MY SON IS ALMOST 6 AND AT THE AGE OF 3 I FOUND OUT HE HAD ASPERGERS. UP UNTIL THEN I KNEW SOMETHING WAS WRONG WITH MY BABY. HE WASN'T SOCIAL, ALTHOUGH LOVEABLE, HE WAS ANTSY,LOST INTEREST, NO COMMUNICATION, CRIED EASILY, AND WAS VERY MEAN AND HAD OUTBURST ALL THE TIME. IT WAS SO STRESSFUL. WHEN HE GOT TESTED AT 3 1/2 HE WAS LOGICALLY IN THE AGE GROUP OF A 1 YR OLD. IT HAS TAKEN ME ALMOST 4 YRS TO GET HIM DIAGNOSED, ON MEDICATION, SOCIAL(KIND OF), AND MANAGEABLE. WE COULDNT GO EAT ANYWHERE OR GO TO THE STORE TO GET MILK. HE IS STILL OUTBURSTING AT HIS SISTER AND MEAN TO HER, BUT HE HAS LEARNED HOW TO WRITE AND LOVES HIS CARE PROGRAM. BUT I HAVE BEEN THROUGH THE BAD PLACES TO. SOMETIMES I DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO. IT IS STILL HARD EVERYDAY. MORE POWER TO THESE MOMS WHO FOUND OUT ABOUT THE TEACHERS. I WORRY ABOUT THAT WHEN HE GOES TO PUBLIC SCHOOLS, IF HE CAN. WE STILL DONT KNOW HIS POTENTIAL ALTHOUGH I KNOW HE HAS LOTS, ITS WHAT THEY THINK THAT GETS OUR CHILDREN HELP OR LIFE. I CANT AFFORD SPECIAL TREATMENT OR SPECIAL THINGS FOR MY SON, WHAT AM I SUPPOSE TO DO TO MAKE HIS LIFE BETTER AND FULLFILLING. THANKS. MOM IN IDAHO
 
December 19, 2007, 2:50 pm CST

Autism

 My son is now 16 1/2 yrs old.  He was diagnosed at age 2 with autism.  Despite the overwhelming odds, my dh and I will be celebrating 20 years of marriage next summer.  We have tried many diets, therapies and interventions over the years.  I think immunizations had a negative effect in him.  LIke they state in the show there hasn't been a proven link, but neither have they proved there isn't one.  Gluten free diet helped to some degree.  He has numerous allergies and sensitivities.  Discrete Trial therapy from the age of 4 had the most impact on him (and on our finances).  His big sister has always been a big help.  Today he is in a special needs classroom at his local school.  He is currently integrated in to the High School Spanish class (he loves languages, but doesn't carry on a conversation in any of them) draws very well, is very handsome and has a wicked sense of humor.  He will never live alone, but leads a happy, productive life.  My husband and I sometimes say that we were simply too overwhelmed to ever file for divorce. 
 
December 19, 2007, 2:53 pm CST

the show was really helpful

I really enjoyed the show today, it was really helpful.  My husband and I have a 5 yr old son who has been diagnosed with just about every common thing under the sun.  I am talking ADHD/ADD, PDD, GAD, BI-POLAR, cerebral brain damage.  He is taking a bunch of different medicines for all of this that he has been diagnosed with.  I have asked doctors for 4 yrs about what could be wrong with my son.  Up until today I believed what the doctors were saying, but once I saw the show today I couldnt believe my eyes.  Last year, after about 2 weeks of going to school he started  fighting with me on going to school.  He would hit, kick, bite, pinch, scream, holler obscenities at me and I always thought it was something that I was doing wrong.  Last May I had to put my son in a hospital for lashing out at his little sister, and once again I thought I was being punished for something that I was doing wrong, but the show today showed me different.  I dont understand why I cant get the doctors or even his school to understand that something is definitely wrong with my son.  It seems that noone wants to listen to a word that I say, they all look at me like I am crazy and I know I am not.  Dr. Phil if you could please give me some answers I would greatly appreciate it.  This has put a strain on my marriage and even freindships.  In 3 yrs my husband and I have only gone out 3 times because we cannot find a babysitter.  My family and my husbands family are in no shape or condition to take care of our son.  Everyone is scared that he will hurt them, he has even tried to hurt my mother who is not able to tend to him.  Can someone please give me some answers or even advice.  I am scared everyday that I am not doing the right thing.
 
December 19, 2007, 2:53 pm CST

I know it sounds hopeless, but I think Luz can be helped

Quote From: annmac38

Call me an ogre, but my solution is to give up Luz.  The Mom and Dad have two more children who are going to be traumatized by the chaotic situation in the house.  Does the Mom want to sacrifice her other two children AND her marriange by trying to control a child who is uncontrollable and dangerous?  I wouldn't.  There are places better equipped to handle Luz than a family home.  This is the realistic answer.

I don't think Luz is hopeless, but I strongly recommend that they revisit their strategies. Julio needs to pitch in at home and interact with his son. He sounds like he's using his work as an excuse to stay away from home, as my husband did. Our son, dx'ed at 2 1/2, is now 13 and doing very well. He's not "cured" or "recovered" because there is no such thing, but he is a bright, sweet, affectionate young man who, I believe, will be independent some day. I think this may be possible for Luz, too, but his parents need to make some serious changes:

 

1) Dad needs to stop hiding

2) Mom and Dad need to have a consistent plan

3) He should have a complete neurological and neurochemical evaluation, including MRI to look for brain malformations

4) Luz's therapists need to examine what they do with him, what needs changing, and what he really needs from them (communication, relaxation techniques,or even medication which needs to be discussed at length with his parents).

5) Mom and Dad need to know the therapists' qualifications and educational background

6) Make sure he is not exposed to violence in any form. Kids don't make up "I'm gonna kill you and eat your carcass!"

 

There are probably many other things I could think of if I thought hard enough about it, but I think these are the most important.

 

LIZARD, mom to a 13 yo, dx'ed with autism at 2 1/2 and Chiari Malformation at 5 1/2, doing very well! :)

 
December 19, 2007, 2:53 pm CST

Deeply distressed

Today's show disturbed me greatly.  Please don't misunderstand my meaning, as I think the show itself was wonderful and gave great insight to a very misunderstood problem.

   I have an 8 year old grandaughter who was diagnosed with autism fairly early, (around age three or four), and was progressing wonderfully.  Then her behavior began to change, as well as her health.  Whether one had to do with the other, I don't know.  But she has gone from being a child who was beginning to learn, write, talk, feed herself, learning to toilet train and interact...even with eye contact.  Then something happened.  She went into the screaming and tantrum phase, which I guess isn't remarkable.  However, then something happened physically, and her cognitive abilities began to go down hill.  She has sufferend seizures, had lost considerable weight, stopped breathing several times, needing to be recessitated.  Now she has almost no cognitive abilities, and her mother has to do everything for her.  Clearly this is more than just autism, but none of the doctors or hospitals seem to be able to give an answer as to why this has taken place.  Her brain is atrophying, her systems are shutting down and we've been told that she is terminal.  It seems to me that something important has been missed, but my daughter, (the childs mother) is dealing with so much that I'm not sure she can even face dealing with anything else.  Now there is a caregiver that comes in a couple of times a week to help out, which is good.  But it's so difficult as a grandparent to watch this taking place.  I just want to grab my grandaughter, run off with her to Dr. Phil and say, PLEASE HELP.  Whether this would be welcomed by the parents is unclear, but I have written a letter asking for help.  Hopefully something can be done before it's too late.

........a sad and frightened grandmother!!!

 
December 19, 2007, 3:02 pm CST

12/19 Parents’ Ultimate Test: Dealing with Autism

Quote From: drtonya

As a doctoral level psychologist who specializes in autism assessments in the school setting, I am particularly disturbed that Dr. Phil keeps  referring to children with autism as "autistic."  Whatever happened to "people first language?"  As a fellow professional, I would expect Dr. Phil to put the child first.  By calling a child (or an adult) "Autistic," you are using that term to define that person.  The reality is that "Autism" is just a term to describe a pattern of behaviors that one is exhibiting.  They are a person with autism...just like you would be a person with any other disability.  Which sounds better - a "diabetic" which labels someone by their diagnosis - or a person with diabetes, which describes just one thing that makes up who that person is?  Maybe I am being extremely picky here, but it just bothers me everytime I hear someone being described as "autistic" rather than a person with autism.  Dr. Phil should know better.

Also, I want to also piggyback on the post below stressing that no two children with autism look alike.  Autism is a spectrum disorder meaning that it runs the gamut from mild to severe.  Not all children with autism will have every symptom - most have a different combination of symptoms that express themselves in a variety of ways.  The children shown on the show today are just examples - but are not representative of what all children with autism look like.  The reason why different interventions (treatments) work for different kiddos - and that there's no one 'treatment' for autism - is that each kiddo is different.  What works for one does not work for all kids.

Finally, in response to the post about Asperger's.  I am a school psychologist, as stated above, and absolutely believe that such a syndrome exists.  We (assessments are done as a team) diagnose Asperger's wherever appropriate.  The only difference is that Asperger's tends to develop later (around age 7) because of the strong language component whereas classic autism is present by age 3.  Asperger's is not something that goes away - if it is diagnosed in childhood it will progress into adulthood.  However, many famous and successful people out there have been diagnosed with Asperger's (e.g., Bill Gates). 

I could go on forever, but I will stop.  Overall, I am disappointed in today's show and in Dr. Phil's portrayal of Autism Spectrum Disorders.  I know that he does not see individuals or families as clients, but he really showed how out of touch he is clinically with today's show.  Even having the suggestion that vaccinations may play a role was misguided - there was a research article published in the fall that already showed evidence that there is NO LINK between autism and vaccinations.


Just my thoughts,
Dr. Tonya

Okay, I'm having trouble with the quote function (Grr...), but I attended an Autism Society Of America (ASA) conference last year, and perhaps the most enlightening time was the time I got to spend with affected adults. Every one of them said, "I don't have autism; I'm autistic." I say what they want should be given to them.

 

 

LIZARD, mom to an amazing 13 yo autistic young man :)

 
December 19, 2007, 3:08 pm CST

autism

I think it might be insightful for anyone dealing with an autistic child to do a search on Temple Grandin.  She is an Associate Professor at Colorado State University and is, herself, autistic.  She has co-authored several books and gives a unique insight into autism.

 

KK

 
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