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.