Connor’s Story – Recovery From Today’s Medical Autism is Possible!
by Maria O’Neil (originally appeared on Military Special Needs Network blog)
What I have to say right now is you have CHOICES in regards to treating today’s autism…what I want to express is my own personal raw sentiments on how I believe today’s autism has a huge medical component and we as mothers can treat it.
I worked in healthcare before autism entered my life, ten plus years…I don’t base my treatments for my son on the opinion of an actor, or the APA, etc. No, I went with my gut. My son was not born with autism- he regressed horribly after his vaccinations at 15 months old. There, I said it, that controversial statement…”after his vaccinations.” After diagnosis my husband and I were heartbroken, scared, and pretty much in this fog. It took one really horrible afternoon where I was screaming, “Please JUST talk to me, please!” because my son was just sitting at the kitchen table flapping his hands and staring into space. My husband literally picked me up off the floor and said “We can continue to feel sorry for ourselves and depressed or get our son real help. Do you know anyone in from your past work in the medical field?” And the light bulb went off … I remembered Dr. Kenneth Bock who worked across the bridge when I worked in Kingston, NY. He had a book “Healing The New Childhood Epidemics” and had successfully helped parents over the years. The Naval Hospital Physician wasn’t really on board with my suggestions of B12 supplementation and diet change, so until we could get off Okinawa to San Diego we took matters in our own hands. We changed his diet and added fish oils. I am grateful for the support of my friends from afar from New York, my husband and his Marines, the people I did Crossfit with, and the local nationals I was friends with in Okinawa Japan who taught me the benefits of local nutritious food and green tea.
The last two years were about getting my son back under one of the most premier pediatricians in this country. If you’re out there reading this doctor, I want to say “thank you.” Thank you for treating me with respect, honesty, and validating me with the full comprehensive blood work, etc. you ran on my son after you saw him in your office flapping his hands, posturing from horrific gut pain, and being completely non-verbal. After we got my son’s comprehensive results I discovered my son had gut damage, mitochondrial issues, high viral load, low white cell count, was deficient in vitamin D3 and all basic minerals.
Now I had answers and an action plan to treat him. A far cry from the previous physician who, when my son at 18 months, sat across from him and stated, “Mrs. O’Neil, accept your new normal. Your son was born this way. “ I didn’t accept that as an answer.
Of course we had those who didn’t believe in what we were doing, my mother in law judged me and called me crazy, I had friends who worked in the special education field who were telling me to just accept he was born this way, get him more therapy, don’t be one of those “Crazy Moms.” I just didn’t listen, it was my son that mattered at the end of the day. Once I met with his new doctor I just knew I was doing the right thing. At that point we were 5 months into diet change (Gluten/casein free, etc.) and my sons digestion, temperament and frequency of hand flapping changed. We jumped in full throttle then. Methyl b12 was added to the mix and my son turned to me and said, “I love you mom” not long after. I did not put my son in traditional therapies for one year during treatment to see what was working, as we targeted each ailment we found on blood work, etc. he came back to me more and more.
This journey has been an emotionally hard, but worthy one. I faced a good bit of adversity in the beginning… I felt very vindicated this year as I sat across from the IEP team and my son was released from services. I even received an apology from one therapist who doubted my methods at my son’s initial evaluation two years ago. I am not rich or famous. I am just a Sgt’s wife who really researched and went against the mainstream in regards to treatment. It has given me a new perspective on life in general. My husband has been my rock through this even while deployed and I was handling all of it along with taking care of a brand new baby. As I sat and watched my son on the playground yesterday I thought ” Not one person here knows what we have been through the past two years” and after I set up a play date with another mother for next week I vowed to myself to help as many mothers I could by sharing our story.
Now presently my son lost his diagnosis after two years of biomedical treatment. Does this work for every child? Not necessarily. Is it worth trying? Absolutely! I didn’t write this today to start a debate or make it seem like I am judging anyone’s recent choices in how they are treating their child’s autism. I am doing this so as parents you realize there is more than one way to treat this disorder and why not try? I am a firm believer of heal the body and the brain will follow and work cohesively with the traditional therapies that are most often times given as the only path for treatment. I just want you to think- start in small steps and know that mothers like myself are here for you every step of the way. Like my husband said to me in the beginning of this journey in true Marine fashion, “We will get our son back because there is no ‘can’t’ in this family.”
Where to find information about biomedical treatments and other info: