Fighting the Wrong Autism Battles Can Prove Costly

Igor Stepovik

The US Supreme Court’s decision earlier this week protecting vaccine manufacturers from lawsuits highlights an even larger problem for many children with autism spectrum disorders and their families. 

Well-intended parents are out campaigning and spending precious time, money and resources, all while home therapies needed to treat their child’s autism are being neglected. However meaningful and heartfelt their efforts may be, there’s nothing more important than the personal obligations that a parent owes to their child.

From seeking out private therapists to advocating in the schools and governments, to implementing hours of in-home ABA therapy, there are important things parents can be doing today that will ultimately shape a child’s life tomorrow. They need to be making the proper decisions now so there will be no regrets later on because they did not fight the proper battles.

I urge all parents to understand that no matter how much you may trust people or what titles or degrees they may have, you must do your own homework. The vaccine and autism diet controversies have clearly shown that we are dealing with autism like sheep by following the herds without carefully researching our own children’s individualized priorities and needs.

Parents should not expect any fad or treatment "cure" to replace behavioral therapy responsibilities inside of the home. In the majority of cases, autism can be turned around with this type of intervention. I was a skeptic myself, but have witnessed first-hand how powerful and effective it can be.

My heart aches for the countless families who have spent years of precious time and money filling out statements, paying attorneys (who were all too willing to take money), acquiring depositions, testifying and campaigning for issues that have now been debunked or disproven. 

The possessions, people and world I left behind in order to get help for my son pale in comparison to the miraculous and wonderful life I now live. I am now watching my former speechless, head-banging, wall-staring child sing, dance, spell, read, count, play and smile. This is evidence that a parent and their child are better-served in the home doing the required therapy that has been proven to be effective.

Stay home. Move. Do whatever needs to be done. Realize that whether they are paid or not (regardless of titles or notoriety), anyone interacting or intervening in your child’s life is only brief. You are the eyes your child will look into, the shoulders they will lean on and the hand they will hold years from now. Knowing that you did everything you could today will make that a great place to be in the future.

Learning and teaching through play has become a way of life for me. Home therapy has been like living in a Mary Poppins movie and it is fun. However, I have learned that any changes or distractions from this form of treatment will potentially set a child back.

I too, tried the autism diet (to no avail) but fortunately never jumped on the vaccine bandwagon or spent time suing others. I realized there are so many hours in the day for what I could do for my son. Ultimately, I came to the understanding that as parents of children with autism, we only have a small window of time and we need to use it wisely.

My son was and is perfect to me. I love the world he has made and created for us. I have learned from other parents, with similarly remarkable results.

As parents, all of us love our children immensely and will do whatever it takes to see them improve. However, sometimes our meaningful intentions can become misguided, causing us to lose focus on what is most important. 

The good news is that it is never too late to make the sacrifices to put a child’s best interests first, and giving them our undivided attention now will yield immeasurable results in the future.

13 Responses to Fighting the Wrong Autism Battles Can Prove Costly

  1. Susan says:

    I am glad you found what works for you and your child, but everyone’s path is different and some of us benefit from things that you found to be a waste of time and energy.

    With the exception of the danger of atypical antipsychotic medications, I don’t believe that anything has yet been debunked or disproven, only that there’s a lot more clear eyed research that needs to be done.

  2. Secretin has failed several well-designed double-blind placebo controlled studies. There is no evidence that chelation or HBOT is effective for the treatment of autism, and no real reason why they should work. Same with Lupron, a chemical castrating agent used by Mark and David Geier.

    Health care fraud is a $100 billion a year racket in the US, and the bad guys know about autism.

  3. Susan says:

    what’s HBOT?

    Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish the good guys from the bad. Well intentioned doctors can be as dangerous as con men. Same goes for educators.

  4. HBOT= Hyperbaric oxygen therapy. It costs about $100-150 per session or “dive”. Con men, I mean, alternative autism treatment providers, suggest 50 to 100 “dives”. This treatment protocol is especially shady, because the basis for “improvement” in autism is almost always subjective, and it’s left up to the parents to decide if dives worked or not.

  5. Susan says:

    Thanks for the explanation.

  6. I'd think you'd know says:

    Whoopee do!! I’d think you’d know, once you’ve met one child with autism, you’ve done just that, met ONE child with asd. They are each unique and individual. Your experience is not everyone’s experience. Many parents as well as individuals on the spectrum have had success with alternative therapies such as diet. (you might want to confer with world renown Temple Grandin on this one). Also, thousands of vaccine injury cases have been awarded through the infamous “Vaccine Court” and yes, even some as linking vaccines to ASD. I could go on and on but alas, I actually do have better things to do than argue with those who willfully leave out facts to further their own agendas. This entire opinion is just that, an opinion and not a very well thought out, investigated or executed one at that. So much confusion and misinformation to be had here on the Web…….SIGH!!

  7. I'd think you'd know says:

    p.s. It should be pointed out that not all of our children on the spectrum respond to ABA either. Absolutely nothing is a given. As was clearly stated before, they are each individual and unique. Many parents have exhausted bank accounts and gone into enormous debt for a behavioral therapy which does not work for their INDIVIDUAL child. Is it worth trying? Most likely yes, is it a guarantee? Absolutely not. Bottom line, yes parents need to do their own research, come to their own conclusions and do what is best in their own individual situation as well as what they are most comfortable with. No one, not even you, can tell them what that is.

  8. not mary poppins says:

    It sounds like you have an older child and stopped reading current research a while ago.
    Autism has changed a great deal in the past 10 years.
    Do not stay stuck in the past.
    Home ABA therapy doesn’t work for every child.
    Life is NOT like a Marry Poppins movie for most parents I know!

    Be humble and realize you don’t know everything about autism- particularly regarding causes other children’s autism.

  9. Steven J. says:

    I think problems resides in the fact that each parents worldview is shaped by their own experiences. Parents are going to show a bias towards things that have worked for them. Unfortunately autism is so complex that a one sized formula doesnt work, hence all the disagreements about what works and what does not. As for ABA, it never worked more me personally but I would never discourage someone from trying it if it has shown to work in others…..

  10. I could not agree more with what you say. My son has gone from severely autistic to a well adjusted teenager who has friends and goes to high school dances. For him IBI (the Canadian version of ABA) along with caring teachers, friends and family members he has become what he is now. All the fads out these tend to lead to disappointment in the end. Too many are looking for immediate results. It takes time going through the therapies but in the end result is totally worth it.

  11. Christie says:

    I see the pros and cons of this article. I agree that children on the autism spectrum have a small window in which parents have the opportunity to seize openly and spend time to help their children. But, with all that being said no one ASD child fits any certain criteria. As we all are different so are our children. ABA, TEACCH, Floor-time, Son-Rise, Gluten/Casein Free Diets they all and many more are options but any one or a combination of many may or may not help any particular child. The bottom line is not enough research has been done yet to establish any given therapy or diet or any other form of intervention that gives great and lasting results to ALL children with ASD. I myself have a older teenage son with severe autism. We have tried ABA, TEACCH, PECS, Gluten/Casein Free Diets, Occupational, Speech and other therapies. Sure he has made improvements but we never saw the “cure” or the “he’s grown out of it” miracle that some parents see. If what you have done has worked for your child I am immensely happy for you, but I almost feel sense of judgement toward other parents that may not even have had the resources to follow through with more expensive therapies to help their children. I commend any parent with an ASD child that is doing everything they can to help them regardless of what that might consist of. Every day is a battle for the child and family as a whole. The bottom line is there is no one reason or rhyme for autism and there is not one reasonable cure. Until there is a marked cure for this still highly misunderstood disorder parents will continue to try all they can to help their children. Give them a break, you’ve been there, you’ve delt with the despair, anguish, and heartache. They are all doing all they know to do with what resources they have.

  12. Christie says:

    Another thing…. It’s not the parents that are fighting the wrong battles. It’s hard to fight an enemy that has no face and no real reasoning behind it. If anyone is to blame it is society as a whole for putting their heads in the sand and ignoring a very real and very costly epidemic. Parents aren’t to blame. The human race as a whole is.

  13. Christie, why do you think autism is an epidemic?

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  • * In 1970, Autism affected 1 out of 10,000 children
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