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

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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, 8:00 pm CST

12/19 Parents’ Ultimate Test: Dealing with Autism

Quote From: kfurguson

i too do not work to stay home with my 2 autistic children, and people look down to me because i don't work, i would like to talk to you about this, i believe that you and i could mabe help each other out, i am on yahoo messenger, kfurguson, i believe that i could have found some one i can really relate to.
Who would look down on an angel who cares for her special children?  Only people who do not understand.  What a very special person you are and what a blessing to your family. 
 
December 19, 2007, 8:04 pm CST

Teacher

Quote From: caseyinohio

My name is Casey. I'm in Ohio, and new to this message board. I decided to register after watching today's episode. I have 3 children. One of my children is almost 6, and autistic. I can relate to the first mother that was on. Lous, (sp) was her 10 year old, and her husband worked long hours, etc. Anyhow. I can sympathize with her. I can honestly say that I know EXACTLY how she feels, and cried knowing that the SAME thoughts have gone through my mind on many of the thoughts that she shared on the show. It was almost as if she were speaking FOR me. I turned my grief (when my son was diagnosed), into ADVOCACY! I whole heartedly agree with anyone saying that Autism has finally got the media attention that parents like us have so desperately longed for. More media, more education to the general public and other parents, etc. BUT. I feel sooooo frustrated to know that all of this useful information is being broadcasted, yet, NO ONE, has ever said, "I went to due process with my school district. Lost. And during that grewling process, lost lots of money, time, emotion." "Fighting for those "early intervention services" that seem so easily obtained through the media." No one has made mention of how a LARGE percentage of parents have to not only battle the day to day issues surrounding autism, but then have to go through mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausting battles for what their children need, with school districts. WHY? Why aren't parents speaking out about those issues. I feel so helpless when I watch shows where wealthy individuals or families, or persons with a bit of clout, say, "Oh yes, just do biomedical intervention, do early intervention, do ABA, and your child will be better." First off I want to ask the bio-med believers who have made it their personal mission to convince the public that this is the fix all for autism, yet, never discuss that some of these children going through this intervention are having to swallow 30+ pills a day? Why isn't the fact that the child has to endure that daily exposed or talked about? Or how about ABA, why isn't it ever mentioned that it's between  $60-80, 000.00 a YEAR to do this with your child in order for it to be appropriate and effective, yet, the school districts refuse it, and you cannot find funding to even assist you with paying for it? I think that the publicity that has surfaced is great, but when can society or at least us parents, expose some of these devestating facts that parents face everyday? I know when we can. NOW.

Hi Casey,

Although I am not a parent of a child with autism, I have taught and now an administrator and clinician for many children with autism.  I know it can be difficult to get the appropriate resources but I am a strong believer of ABA and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. (BCBA)  As I am sure you know the research out there provides much empirical evidence that ABA is one of the best treatment options available for children with autism.  Unfortunately it can cost a lot of money and some school systems are hesitant to pay however in the mean time, I would suggest finding a BCBA, BCABA (Board Certified Associate Behavior Analyst) or even someone studying under them, it may be cheaper.  You could also look for someone with experience in ABA to help.  I have worked with some very intelligent people with extensive knowledge in ABA but just don't have the credentials (and they are cheaper).  However, I would still encourage you to pursue the school district you are in and remind them of the special education laws.  Make sure you have paperwork from a physician or pyschologist to report diagnosis and any testing done to support thier diagnosis.  Best of luck and never give up. 

 
December 19, 2007, 8:06 pm CST

12/19 Parents’ Ultimate Test: Dealing with Autism

Quote From: newb123

I have a seven year old daughter with autistic disorder.  When we found out they just told us it was pdd-nos(pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified).  I went on the internet and looked it up and everywhere I went they mentioned autism.  I was devistated.  She was 4 years old and we got her in the early childhood program at school.  The local autism center also helped.  She was hospitalized twice and is on medication.  She has come a long way from where she was.  I am posting this message because I was watching the show today and when it got to the part when dr. phil was talking about children with autism being molested, I had to turn it off.  In October of 2006 the school called and told me my daughter wasn't feeling well and to come and get her.  When I got there she was saying that her brother had touched her privates and her tummy hurt.  I immediately took her to the ER.  I knew there was no way  my son would do anything like this.  They tested her and she came up positive for gonorrhea.  It was a night mare.  We all had to get tested, they took the kids from us temporarily and none of us, including my son was positive for gonorrhea.  We took my daughter to an abuse center and they questioned her for at least three hours and she couldn't tell them who did it.  She kept giving them different answers.  To this day we have no idea who molested her or where or when it took place.  I've gone over timelines over and over in my head and can't figure it out.  The police just seemed interested in my son.  They never investigated any of the places or care givers I told them about.  It makes me sick.  I have kept her away from everywhere she could have possibly been molested except school.  They swore up and down that it couldn't have happened there.  I feel guilty, scared and worried.  I don't want to let her out of my site.  This summer she made some friends in the neighborhood and wanted to play at there houses.  I met the parents and felt like I had to let her play because she was becoming social.  I tried to have the kids at our house instead of her going there.  Anyway, none of the kids in the neighborhood want to play with her now that they got to know her.  It breaks my heart.  I am so afraid something will happen again or that she will have problems in the future.  When we talk about it all she remembers is the exam at the ER.  I was watching Dr. Phil a while back and he was saying sometimes kids remember things when they get to puberty.  Meanwhile, my son and oldest daughter are being treated for depression.  My son does not want to talk about what happened at all.  I have depression and haven't been working since she was diagnosed.  I worry about the future and all that it holds.

new123

i am so sorry to hear that about hurt and my heart goes out to u and your family  after i seen that i talked to my son about that stuff and told him if anything like that happens please tell me ok    hold in there  i sure hope it gets better ok 
 
December 19, 2007, 8:29 pm CST

Thoughts about today's show

I am a speech/language therapist who works in the public school setting so this topic is close to my heart.  I do not have children of my own so I do want to start off by saying that I cannot begin to imagine the pain and frustration of parents that have children with autism.  Although two sides of the therapeutic process were shown, I feel that they were both extremes and quite unrealistic.  I feel for the parents and children who were victims of abuse in the schools, that should obviously never happen in ANY setting and I am in no way defending what that teacher did!  I know dozens of school based speech/language therapists who work endlessly with children with autism and their parents.  Similar to the parent-child relationship, the therapist-child rapport is a difficult one to maintain due to the high level of need and stressful demands of the student and parents.  Most therapists in this setting burn out quickly due to frustration.  Many parents have trouble trusting their child with special needs in the hands of someone else.  I think that this story only helped validate those feelings that school based therapists can't be trusted, when in fact a majority of them give everything they have everyday.  

 

That being said, I also think the opposing view point was also unrealistic.  Early intervention is, without a doubt, a key factor in improved speech/language skills.  If I did not have background knowledge and previous experience in this area, I would have been lead to believe that early intervention would "cure" my child.  I would be curious to know the severity of the diagnosis of that boy who was "cured."  I think its wonderful that he can now play on sports teams and have relationships with his peers,  but in my and my colleagues experiences, I would not say that that is a typical case.

 

Children with autism are perhaps the most challenging speech/language population to work with.  Most therapists work so hard and would do anything to help these children if the steps to success were black and white.  Each child is different and the road to success is long and hard.  I think this episode represented two extremes.

 
December 19, 2007, 8:46 pm CST

12/19 Parents’ Ultimate Test: Dealing with Autism

Symptoms of Mercury poisoning: By theEnvironmental Protection Agency
  • Impairment of the peripheral vision
  • Disturbances in sensations ("pins and needles" feelings, numbness) usually in the hands feet and sometimes around the mouth
  • Lack of coordination of movements, such as writing
  • Impairment of speech, hearing, walking;
  • Muscle weakness
  • Skin rashes
  • Mood swing
  • Memory loss
  • Mental disturbance 
Sypmptoms of Autism:
Babies
  • Appears indifferent to surroundings
  • Appears content to be alone, happier to play alone
  • Displays lack of interest in toys
  • Displays lack of response to others
  • Does not point out objects of interest to others (called protodeclarative pointing)
  • Marked reduction or increase in activity level
  • Resists cuddling
Children
  • Avoids cuddling or touching
  • Frequent behavioral outbursts, tantrums
  • Inappropriate attachments to objects
  • Maintains little or no eye contact
  • Over- or undersensitivity to pain, no fear of danger
  • Sustained abnormal play
  • Uneven motor skills
  • Unresponsiveness to normal teaching methods and verbal clues (may appear to be deaf despite normal hearing)
Mercury poisoning does not equal Autism!
or in the case of vaccines causing Autism: Thimerosal does not equal Autism!
Back in the old days, the consensus was that illness/disease was caused by evil spirits, that rats/vermin arose from piles of garbage or dirty clothes (abiogenesis/spontaneous generation).  Louis Pasteur debunked all of those "superstitions" with a carefully constructed experiment, called "Pasteur's Experiment".
Thimerosal has been removed from all vaccines, with the exception of the flu vaccine!
If you are interested in thimerosal in vaccines, MMR vaccines, check out some famous studies from the Danish and the Japanese, the study shows that even though many parents in these countries, who, afraid of the vaccine/Autism link, did NOT vaccinate,  but the Autism rates still increased.
Now if Autism is caused by vaccines, how do you explain the paradigm?

 
December 19, 2007, 8:59 pm CST

12/19 Parents’ Ultimate Test: Dealing with Autism

Quote From: card72wild

I was diagnosed in Feb. of 2007 with a mild form of Autism called Asperger's Syndrome.  I never let that stop me from getting a job, even a job in radio.  That's right.  I worked for several radio stations in Michigan as a broadcaster.  You may not find that strange, but I do.  Anyway, I've had this for a long time.  I don't know where, how, or when I got this.  All I know is that I've got it.  I'm currently living with my family, and going through counseling with a psychiatrist, therapist, and getting help finding work with a case manager.  Why am I going through counseling?  I had a big case of depression in Feb. of 2007, where I threatened to hang myself.  I was out of work, and in debt.  I was frightened about telling my family because I was afraid of them yelling at me.  Everytime my parents would ask me about my bank account, or my credit card, I'd get nervous or anxious.  I'm currently taking medication for this.  If Asperger's Syndrome didn't stop me from working in radio then, it'll never stop me now or in the future, and I will prove that to every single person in this world.  BTW-My parents and a couple of friend of mine are trying to get me through this. 

Everyone gets depression sometimes.  You are highly intelligent for getting help.  There are very successful and brilliant people with Asperger's.  You have friends and family helping you and an obvious gift to be able to be a broadcaster.  Don't let the labels define you.  Tons of people without Asperger's have money problems and depression. 

 
December 19, 2007, 9:09 pm CST

12/19 Parents’ Ultimate Test: Dealing with Autism

Quote From: caseyinohio

My name is Casey. I'm in Ohio, and new to this message board. I decided to register after watching today's episode. I have 3 children. One of my children is almost 6, and autistic. I can relate to the first mother that was on. Lous, (sp) was her 10 year old, and her husband worked long hours, etc. Anyhow. I can sympathize with her. I can honestly say that I know EXACTLY how she feels, and cried knowing that the SAME thoughts have gone through my mind on many of the thoughts that she shared on the show. It was almost as if she were speaking FOR me. I turned my grief (when my son was diagnosed), into ADVOCACY! I whole heartedly agree with anyone saying that Autism has finally got the media attention that parents like us have so desperately longed for. More media, more education to the general public and other parents, etc. BUT. I feel sooooo frustrated to know that all of this useful information is being broadcasted, yet, NO ONE, has ever said, "I went to due process with my school district. Lost. And during that grewling process, lost lots of money, time, emotion." "Fighting for those "early intervention services" that seem so easily obtained through the media." No one has made mention of how a LARGE percentage of parents have to not only battle the day to day issues surrounding autism, but then have to go through mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausting battles for what their children need, with school districts. WHY? Why aren't parents speaking out about those issues. I feel so helpless when I watch shows where wealthy individuals or families, or persons with a bit of clout, say, "Oh yes, just do biomedical intervention, do early intervention, do ABA, and your child will be better." First off I want to ask the bio-med believers who have made it their personal mission to convince the public that this is the fix all for autism, yet, never discuss that some of these children going through this intervention are having to swallow 30+ pills a day? Why isn't the fact that the child has to endure that daily exposed or talked about? Or how about ABA, why isn't it ever mentioned that it's between  $60-80, 000.00 a YEAR to do this with your child in order for it to be appropriate and effective, yet, the school districts refuse it, and you cannot find funding to even assist you with paying for it? I think that the publicity that has surfaced is great, but when can society or at least us parents, expose some of these devestating facts that parents face everyday? I know when we can. NOW.
I absolutely agree!!!!!!!! Noone ever talks publicly about the finacial struggles of raising a child on the spectrum. I had to mediate with my district for services, a time where my son regressed horribly because he had zero services for 6 months. Apparently nobody ever mentions that Jenny Mccarthy spends over 4,000 dollars a week on therapy for her son. I guess unless you are wealthy your children don't deserve to be helped. Then you wonder why you hear these awful stories on the media about parents who have killed themselves and their children. It takes a strong person not to buckle under the pressure.
 
December 19, 2007, 9:12 pm CST

Schoolhouse Abuse

I wanted to say that unfortunately, I can identify with the mothers of the children who were abused by their teachers.  My little girl (MR/DD) was the victim of abuse at the hands of her teacher and school.  It had been happening in subtle ways for over a year and finally came to a head just a few months ago.  My liitle girl suffered a potentially life threatening injury at school and the staff tried to cover it up knowing full well that my daughter is unable to communicate in any way, shape or form. 

 

I applaude the mothers for banding together and sincerely hope the state brings criminal charges against the teacher.  This is simply an act only the lowest of the low can commit.  There is absolutely no excuse that would even begin to explain this behavior.  The impact this abuse has on the entire family is devastating.  We constantly live in fear this will happen to our child again and feel tremendous guilt because it is our job to keep our children safe, especially when they can't speak up for themselves.  When we make a choice to turn them over to a school or school district for their therapy and education, we place their safety and well-being in the hands of those professionals.  In the case featured today and in our case, those professionals took advantage of our childrens' disabilities in order to abuse them for God knows whatever reason.  In my mind, there is simply no other crime that could be more awful.  They have robbed us of our trust, comfort, and have made us feel like we have failed our children by the abusive actions they have bestowed upon those precious babies of ours.

 

Please update us on those families and this case.  I know our case will likely be a long, nasty battle, but I feel it is our responsibility and opportunity to do what we can to make sure this doesn't happen to another child.

 
December 19, 2007, 9:21 pm CST

My son has mid range autism

Hello,

 

I could really relate to the lady with the boy who was violent. I have an almost 12 yo boy.  Since he was about 4 years old he has been agressive, he talks about morbid things, like death and demons, and satan. He always centers on the negative aspect of any topics. Rather than the heroes on tv he goes to the villians. He is also physically and emotionally abusive to me. I have scars from his deep scratches. He also calls me his slaves and says I have to do what he wants. That never works for him but as many children with autism he is very stubborn in his thought patterns.

I am a single mom, I can only work on weekends due to no before and after school care available for him. Or the possiblitlity of a bad day in school and I would have to leave work. My mom watches him then, but if she cant then I dont work. It is so hard financially. I have a degree and cant use it right now.

Its amazing how much help isnt out there, I had move to from Missouri back to my homestate of Wisconsin to get better care and decent respite. My mom is going to go bankrupt due to helping us get up here and helping me out when times got tough. she has been my angel many times. So far, Wisconsin has been a grade B for our family. I just wish there were better options for single parents.

If any one wants to write me feel free.

Angee

 
December 19, 2007, 9:25 pm CST

12/19 Parents’ Ultimate Test: Dealing with Autism

Quote From: tiffylu

I have been reading some of the heartfelt pieces by other parents and am saddened by the several persons who feel compelled to offer such an opinion that clearly demonstrates their lack of knowledge in the link between autism and vaccines, more specifically thimerisol.   My son has recovered mostly, not fully from the diagnosis.   Following the DAN protocol, or Defeat Autism Now!, my son went through multiple testing to determine allergies, or inflammation, to foods.  Then we removed said foods, added vitamins and minerals, which at the time we couldn't figure out why he was so deficient of.  Finally we took on the biggest of all biomechanical life altering treatments.....chelation.   Chelation is the body's natural ability to remove toxins.  However in many children with autism, their bodies can't chelate.  My son initially registered way below the  norms of what a typical person would remove on a daily basis of toxins, particularly mercury AKA thimerisol.  After two treatments his mercury jumped into the toxic levels.  the agent given DSMA  and alpha lipoic acid help rid my poor babies body of mercury and all that it prevented the body from excreting such as lead, tin, and aluminum.  Now he is a happy little boy who talks of what he wants to be when he grows up, who he wants to marry, and how he wants to save some of his favorite toys for one day when he has a son.  My family doesn't eat fish.  We don't live on or near any mercury related factories such as thermometer-making buildings as we have many neighbors with children slightly older and younger than my son but at least 6 born within 6 months of him, all of which are neurotypical in their development.  I don't smoke,nor my husband.  No drugs.  I DO know that my doctors demanded I give my baby the mandatory vaccines that at the time was still FDA approved with thimerisol.  So what is logical is that his autism was injected into him via the vaccines.  by the way, the symptoms of Mercury poisoningand autism are identical.  Read them both without the heading for the individual diagnosis and you may surprise yourself, you may not be able to decifer which is mercury poisoning.   On a more personal note, it takes a very cruel heart to beat down and make arrogant comments when parents share their very heartwrenching stories.  
I'm not knocking anyone down, but parents should know that chelation is an invasive procedure and has potentially dangerous side effects. Chelation if administered inproperly can cause death and even proper usage of chelation can result in organ damage. Children's small bodies sometimes can't handle the effects of chelation and there are different methods used to leach toxins from the body. There is an intravenous method, clay baths, sprays, the list goes on and on. Parents, do your research. As parents we want our kids to get better, but many children using biomedical intervention are also doing conventional therapies like ABA, and ST. There isn't a way to tell which can be attributed to the children's gains. It is a personal choice for each parent. I do not believe that vaccines caused my son's autism. I'm not discounting the theory, but I am against completely giving up vaccines. Look up safer vaccine schedules. Space them out instead of giving your kid drug cocktails when it's time to get those shots. Also the DAN protocal does not work for everyone. DAN doctors are pricey and you can get much of their information in already published books and articles. Knowledge is power, be sure that you know what you are jumping into when you begin experimenting on your child. I would love to know what caused my son's autism, but knowing it won't change it. And I'm not jumping on anyone's bandwagon.
 
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