The Gentle Approach to ASD Recovery

I referred on Friday to an email that Martin’s HANDLE practitioner sent me, on the topic of gentleness. Here’s part of what she wrote:

I got a little concerned about the September 5th blog entry.  Through all of this, Gentle Enhancement still remains a truth about recovery or healing. That’s the idea that a stressed system doesn’t get stronger. It’s not popular or common sense, but it’s still true and I have learned the truth of it over and over again in my work with clients. . . .

While I think you have mastered Gentle Enhancement when it comes to Martin’s HANDLE program, sometimes homotoxicologists and DAN Doctors need to hear from a parent who understands Gentle Enhancement. Less is more, even if it’s hard to swallow for them, or goes against their training. I encourage you to insist on it, whole-heartedly. He shouldn’t have days where he’s detoxing so much he’s foggy, sick, tired, or can’t sleep. He can’t afford to lose more days neuro-developmentally, and there’s plenty of time to detox as he becomes more relaxed and integrated.

Detoxification occurs naturally for the neurotypical person because we go into “rest and digest mode.” That’s the branch of the autonomic nervous system that’s opposite of “fight or flight” mode. If Martin’s treatments are causing him stress they are doing the opposite of what they are trying to accomplish. . . .  I’m suggesting that the process needs to happen so slowly that you barely notice.  That will truly be the fastest road to recovery.

Upon receiving that email, I decided I would like to post a few words about the gentle approach to treating autism, which reminded me also that I never revealed how Martin’s first round of laser energetic detox (LED) treatments went.

Katie, the HANDLE therapist, is right. Parents who have recovered their children have likewise warned me against moving too quickly, trying to do everything at once. I use the term “treating” autism. I could write more accurately. What we’re really talking about is healing. The goal of approaching Martin’s autism biomedically, as I understand the process, is to help his body heal. We’re healing his gut, driving out yeast and then viruses and pathogens. As his digestion and gut functioning improve, so too will his neuro-functioning, and we can try to guide him back to more typical development. For now, however, his gut troubles have weakened all his systems, and we seek to make them healthy again.

What Katie means is that if we are exasperating or otherwise overtaxing Martin’s systems along the way, his body will snap out of healing mode. I feel like Martin’s excellent Track Two doctor shares this understanding. We spoke by phone last week about Martin’s current “rut,” in which he’s been tired and echolalic, without much attention. The doctor reduced Martin’s supplements and decided to run some tests regarding adrenal stress, to make sure we are not doing too much at once.

The LED, which was the most “radical” of Martin’s treatments so far (Adrian and I did extra research before proceeding), was not harsh. It involved the use of mild lasers attuned to Martin’s vibrations in order to help him expel toxins. Martin enjoyed the process tremendously, because he got to jump on a mini-trampoline to get his blood flowing. We had the LED over two days, and when it was done and he was happy and feeling fine, I thought, “This is it? This is our most radical and controversial treatment?”

The Track One doctors warned me against a biomedical or DAN! approach to Martin’s autism. These same practitioners, however, never warned me against mainstream “treatments” meant to mask autism’s symptoms—treatments such as atypical antipsychotic medications.

I am bewildered by a medical industry that would sooner give brain-altering anti-psychotic medications to a child than encourage neuro-improvement through gut healing. I am bewildered by doctors who warn me against “vitamin overdoses” without once mentioning that a child whose autism remains unresolved may face a lifetime of gut pain, of sensory overload, of frustration.

Martin’s Track Two team has approached his healing slowly, concentrating on the whole child and his overall well-being. I cannot say the same for his Track One team.

On September 5 I referred to ASD recovery as “beat[ing] the daylights out of Martin.” We were doing too much. We’ve scaled back. That’s what gentleness is all about.

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