Now He’s Wondering

Six months ago, when Adrian and I tried to talk to Martin about his remaining challenges, Martin seemed almost indifferent. If anything, he avoided the topic.

During that conversation, which was designed to highlight Martin’s strengths along with his weaknesses, we discussed what we’re “good at” and “not so good at”—nothing about a diagnosis or giving a name to Martin’s challenges.

Subsequently, in one of our heartfelt bedtime conversations, I decided to offer Martin a more concrete focus. I asked whether he had ever heard of autism. (He thought he had.) Then I said that social situations are difficult because he used to have autism and still is catching up to his peers.

Again I was met by apparent indifference. Martin said, basically, “Oh.” I didn’t push the topic, but since then I’ve used the word “autism” occasionally: We eat a special diet to make sure the autism stays away, we take pills to finish getting rid of the autism, &c.

Martin never followed my lead and talked autism. Until now. Over the past week, Martin seems to have become interested in autism.

He’s asked questions designed to help him understand himself: “Does autism make me interested in adult topics?” Really not sure what he meant by ‘adult topics’! I’m telling myself he meant literature and history . . . . “Does autism make me see things different from other kids?” In these questions, he uses the present tense, as in, how does the fact of autism, regardless of whether it’s the current diagnosis, affect me today?

He’s told me things, for the first time, that confirm suspicions I’ve long held: Even before Martin seemed cognizant of the world around him, he was. We had this conversation:

Martin: “I hate that I’m bad at making friends.”

Me: “I know it’s still hard. Can we think about how it’s getting easier? This school year was so much better than last year. And I bet next year will be even better still. You’ve made progress. When you were little, you wouldn’t even respond to your name.”

Martin: “When I was little, I heard you calling, but I didn’t have the attention to answer.”

I’ve been trying to imagine that anguish. He recognized his name yet had no means to show us.

He’s forced me to impart some elementary biomed theory, as when he asked, “Why was I born with autism?” I responded by attempting to explain that something hurt his wellness system, whether before he was born or after. I referenced his uncles to explain that troubles with wellness systems run in families: Both my older brothers have asthma and environmental allergies, and one also has food allergies and has suffered from chronic bronchitis. These were perhaps the responses that left Martin looking the most quizzical.

Finally, he’s prompted me to reflect on my own feelings. He asked, “Do you think it’s fair that I used to have autism?” I started with honesty: No, I do notthink it’s fair that my son got autism. Then I tried to temper that answer by modeling gratitude. “Can you think of a friend who still has autism?” I wasn’t sure whether he would respond; we’ve never used the word “autism” in reference to any of his friends. But almost immediately, he named a little pal of his who uses “quiet voice,” i.e., whose verbal ability remains limited. I asked whether he thought his friend would like to be able to talk more, like he can now.

Martin said yes, that he thought his friend would like to be able to talk more. I said that I’m thankful for Martin’s hard work and progress.

My boy—whose verbal skills once were limited to echolalia but who, through biomedical intervention, has become able to express himself meaningfully through spoken language—guessed that his friend would also like to acquire spoken language.

For me at least, that answer gives lie to any neurodiversity movement that objects to biomedical interventions aimed at alleviating or eliminating autistic symptoms. In December 2014, I wrote on this blog: “[I]n all my experience communicating and working with other ASD families, I am yet to hear from anyone who regained his/her health biomedically and subsequently says, ‘I wish we hadn’t done this. I prefer being autistic to being neurotypical’.” I wonder if the day is approaching when I can count Martin among those who would never say, “I wish we hadn’t done this.”

IMG_0872

That’s Martin. I promise. It is.

On Food and Genetics, and Judgment

Time to elaborate again on a comment response I made recently.

In response to my post about Martin’s golden week, I received this comment from a reader:

We are not on a biomed path as our son’s extremely restrictive food choices preclude this. Also his autism is visible throughout our family tree and heritable traits probably can’t be eliminated entirely by an altered diet. However our son’s behaviour varies considerably depending on who is looking after him and how secure he feels. Not all sides are helpful . . . while low-sal may well be helping don’t ignore the effect of his environment out of hand. There’s a lovely book called Uniquely Human about this sort of thing [that] might be worth a look. Thanks for writing—we are on a path much more to do with movement than food due to our family’s ASD presentation but we have the same burden of analysis and choices as you seem to! Bonne Chance

This was my response:

Thanks for reading! A few thoughts on your comment: I agree that environment is also relevant, and we pay a great deal of attention to environment and behavioral assists. But seldom (in my experience, never) do they yield an immediate effect; a substitute aide does not make a great day, or week—though a new aide certainly can change the course of the year. In terms of the biomed path, I don’t know of any child whose autism was corrected entirely by an altered diet. Diet is only the foundation of the healing path. Moving along that path requires supplementation, methylation assistance, detoxification, etc., specific to the child.

Genetic and inheritable traits also play a great role in my son’s condition. I would be naïve to think otherwise. Both my brothers have immune disorders, and psychological/psychiatric conditions (which I now would call health conditions) are endemic in my family. That does not mean my son’s autism cannot be lessened, if not resolved, through biomed. Epigenetics, neuroplasticity, and all that I know about the science of healing suggest otherwise.

In terms of your son having extremely restrictive food choices—well, that brings me to a paradox. In my experience working with biomed families, children who restrict their food choices are usually the biggest beneficiaries of biomed, once it gets going. The food aversions, which often have underlying digestive causes, tend to disappear once the irritants are removed from the diet. I would encourage you to give it a try!

But even if it’s not right for your family, that’s okay too. It sounds like you are doing a lot for your son in any event, and I hope it will get him where he needs to be. Whatever approach we take, we are all in this together.

These are the three points I’d like to discuss further:

  1. Picky eating is a reason to pursue biomed and dietary changes, not a reason to discount them.
  2. Genetics don’t always get to write a child’s future, at least not every aspect of the future.
  3. If picky eating or genetics are keeping you from pursuing biomed and/or dietary changes, that’s okay.

As to point 1—“There is no way I could do a gluten-free or dairy-free diet, because my son will eat only cheese tortellini, breaded chicken nuggets, and pretzels.” “I tried a special diet once, and she didn’t eat for three days. Literally. Finally I gave in because she would pass out otherwise.” I hear these statements frequently when other special-needs parents find out that we do biomed. I also hear their corollary, the failure-to-thrive argument: “My son is so skinny and small for his age, even though he eats a ton. I have to give him milkshakes constantly just to keep his weight up.”

Years ago, I attended a presentation by Dr. Arthur Krigsman. (Yes, I know Dr. Krigsman is controversial. At this point, I find that many doctors doing research and providing non-pharmaceutical medical treatment to children with autism are called quacks. I’ve had to get past that and start making my own decisions.) Although biomed parents (as far as I could tell) filled much of the audience, Dr. Krigsman was speaking as part of a panel discussion aimed primarily at physicians, and therefore much of what he said went over my head. I think I understood him to say that many children on the spectrum exhibit lesions and inflammation throughout the digestive tract, including in the esophagus and stomach. Dr. Krigsman calls this condition “autistic enterocolitis.” These lesions, like so much of what affects our children, originate from unbalanced immune response to normal gastrointestinal action. Picky eating, or food aversions, might be a sign of pain from such digestive troubles: Kids express their hurt by avoiding the foods that exacerbate that hurt. In such a scenario, a kid who is not eating, or is severely restricting his own diet, needs biomed. Like, really, really needs biomed, or some form of medical intervention to begin healing the digestive tract.

Speaking from my own experience, when Martin was young, before we started biomed, he “postured”: He would bend forward with his stomach tight and his fists clenched at his side. He also slept with “elevator butt.” (I stole that term from one of my law school classmates, who used to scratch the base of my cat’s tail, then yell “elevator butt!” when the kitty straightened only her back legs.) Martin frequently slept with his face smashed into the mattress and his butt in the air, as if to relieve pressure on his gut. Both the posturing and the elevator butt ceased within a few months of dietary changes. Whether he actually had enterocolitis, or just some lesser form of irritation, I don’t know. But he was in pain, and a restricted diet relieved that pain.

During Dr. Krigsman’s presentation, I couldn’t help but think of “Jonas,” a boy I know with undiagnosed behavioral issues that resemble seizure-related oppositional defiant disorder. At the time, Jonas would eat nothing but processed yogurt drinks or green shakes. I searched for a way to raise the issue of entrocolitis with his mother, a single woman constantly overwhelmed with managing Jonas’s behaviors and shuttling him to various therapies, including eating therapy. I never found the right moment, or non-threatening way, to bring it up. I consider that a shortcoming.

I don’t believe that “autistic enterocolitis” is the only reason a kid on the spectrum might avoid foods. Martin’s friend Bobby, who is on a GFCFSF diet, limits himself even further because of taste and texture issues. He will not eat soft or chewy foods. Martin himself would be happy to repeat his two or three favorite foods every meal. I consider that a form of perseverative behavior. Again, these are issues best addressed (in my world view) through biomedical intervention, to resolve what’s causing the aversions or perseveration—although I don’t discount the complimentary role of behavioral therapy, such as RDI.

As to the child who allegedly needs milkshakes to put on weight, if a boy eats and eats but cannot gain weight or grow taller, plainly he has a health problem that is not being addressed. His body is not processing the food’s nutrition adequately, which means he probably isn’t getting the foods that his body can process. Which brings me to dietary changes . . . .

As to point 2—I have heard from parents who say they don’t have any reason to bother with biomed because genetic mutations are to blame for their child’s autism. I get that. I really do. Once you discover what havoc genes can wreck, it can feel almost pointless to try altering the course. Even without the genetic component, it can feel almost pointless. I’ve been at this six years, and we aren’t “there” yet, wherever the heck “there” is. But consider two factors. First, genetics are often a predisposition, not a path certain. Genetics might set the stage, but environmental factors often raise the curtain. You know my favorite environmental villains: processed foods, glyphosate, pesticides, C-sections, antibiotics, vaccines (gulp! I said it again), pollution. Carrying the silly set-the-stage analogy further—if environmental factors raise the curtain, then altering the environmental factors can change lower it again. Even if, for example, a vaccine activates an MTHFR mutation, interventions to restore the immune system can calm the mutation.

As I wrote in response to the blog comment above, I recognize the role Martin’s genetics played in his development of autism. Without going into too much detail (even though FindingMyKid is written anonymously, I feel icky about compromising privacy), my family has genetic gifts—for example, we are “book smart” and breeze through standardized exams, and we are not prone to obesity—and shortcomings. Both my brothers have immune disorders. The elder suffers from a wide range of food and environmental allergies, plus eczema and chronic bronchitis. The younger has environmental allergies. Long before I produced Martin, I myself fell victim to depression, a disease also prevalent in my husband’s family. There’s addiction on both sides of the family tree. So when it comes to immune and related disorders, genetics were not in Martin’s favor. Genetic testing has confirmed the existence of mutations that make him susceptible to autism.

As I understand the history, decades ago we might have been advised against vaccinating Martin at all, based on immune disorder in the immediate family. Let’s add that Martin’s vaccinations followed Pitocin, loss of heart rate during labor, an unplanned C-section, antibiotics in the NICU, and plenty of immune insults I don’t need to repeat again.

The way that I look at it, Martin’s genetic predisposition to immune disorder made him vulnerable to the effects of environmental factors, and now makes our path to recovery more arduous. But it is no reason to abandon him to (perceived) fate.

Then there’s the matter of epigenetics. According to this helpful webpage, epigenetics is “the study of potentially heritable changes in gene expression (active versus inactive genes) that does not involve changes to the underlying DNA sequence—a change in phenotype without a change in genotype—which in turn affects how cells read the genes.” That means that environmental circumstances can cause genes to be silenced or expressed over time. We can influence which genes express themselves, and how. I’d like to seize that power, to whatever extent I manage.

As to point 3—I’ve said this from time to time, and it bears repeating: You don’t need to approach autism biomedically to be my friend. Doesn’t that sound ridiculous? Because this is a blog about biomedical recovery from autism, and because I unabashedly favor biomed, I worry that I must come off as an intolerant person. Since FindingMyKid is written anonymously, I have to ask you to take my word for this: My blog personality and my live personality are different. By now, a large percentage of my acquaintance comprises families affected by autism. Half of those families, I estimate, are pursuing biomedical recovery. The others are not. It’s like having friends who don’t love the New York Rangers, or even hockey in general. I prattle about the Rangers, they listen kindly, and then we find connection in whatever petty topics non-hockey people enjoy. When it comes to friends who have children on the spectrum but don’t pursue biomed, I answer questions (when asked) about what we are up to, I ask what they are up to, and we find connection in the stuff we both know, like sleepless nights, IEP meetings, adaptive sports.

I had the advantage of implementing dietary changes when Martin was just two years old, when he was more malleable. Maybe you don’t want to change your child’s diet because he’s picky, or underweight, or you’re skeptical about biomed. Or maybe dietary changes are too much to manage with a large family, or small budget, or unsupportive co-parent. Maybe knowing your child’s genetic make-up has convinced you that biomed interventions would be fruitless. Maybe you are making satisfactory progress with behavioral therapies. That is totally fine.

Judgment does not become us.

Falling Near

Parents enjoy identifying ways their children are like them, right? That’s why we have expressions such as “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” and “chip off the old block.” When I was growing up, I knew a boy so like his father that everyone just called him “Chip.” I don’t even remember his given name. Daniel, I think.

When your child happens to have autism, the process gets reversed. You start looking for ways in which you are like the child. Autism has a genetic component and, like other immune disorders, tends to run in families. Hey, I find myself thinking, do I have autism? Maybe just a little? Is there a reason I’ve always liked to be by myself, a reason I was an awkward child? (Okay, fine. I’m still awkward.) Does everyone trace patterns on wallpaper? Does everyone count the number of steps she takes on each sidewalk square or section of parking lot? Does everyone need to locate all three cats before she can start the washing machine, just in case the 14 times she checked to make sure no cat was in the washing machine were inadequate? Does everyone inspect her front bumper upon arrival home to confirm she didn’t run anyone over, even though she surely would have noticed if she’d run someone over? Or is that only me?

I see so much of myself in Martin’s behaviors, the same behaviors we blame on autism.

Martin dawdles. I dawdle. I seem incapable of moving efficiently from task to task, or focusing on one task. As a corollary, I run late. Virtually always. When I absolutely need to be on time (say, to a deposition or hearing), I comically overshoot the mark and end up half an hour early, hanging out in a random hallway.

Martin remembers numbers and dates precisely, but his episodic and short-term memory are subpar, along with his desire to pay attention. He knows every train station between our home and Midtown Manhattan, the number of moons Jupiter has versus Saturn, the order of his classmates by height, and exactly what we did on November 17. Yet he has no inkling where he left his socks, or what I said we are having for dinner.

Martin has favorite times on the digital clock. They are 1:11, 2:22, 3:33, 4:44, and so forth. If he happens to see one of these times, he makes a special sound, a delighted “haaaw!”

I recall a conversation once, when I was eight or nine, about the length of movies. I said that Superman (referring to the original 1978 version with Christopher Reeve) was two hours and 22 minutes long. My mother became chastised me, saying I was making that up and could not know the length of Superman off the top of my head. But I did. As part of our subscription to HBO, my family received a booklet each month with the program line-up and a description of each movie. A year or two earlier, Superman was a full-page write-up in the booklet, followed by “(2:22).” The same number, three times. I wouldn’t forget such a thing.

Martin has informed me that, on the digital clock, 4 has four lines, 5 has five lines, and 6 has six lines. I already knew all that. I knew that because I count line segments on the digital clock, have for as long as I remember. 1:11 has the fewest total segments, six. 10:08 has the most, 21. Digital 6 minus one line makes 5. Digital 6 plus one line makes 8. Digital 6 with one line moved makes 0 or 9.

digitalclock   AlarmClockPic

In November 2014 Martin informed me that first Saturday and final Sunday stood alone. He told me this from his bathtub, and although no calendar was nearby, I didn’t need to ask him what he meant. On the paper calendar, November 1 (a Saturday) and November 30 (a Sunday) were each the only date in their respective rows. In February 2015 Martin told me one week was empty. Again, no explanation needed: The last calendar row contained no dates.

november   february

I get frustrated with Martin when he doesn’t pay attention. That’s so unfair of me. When I was in first grade, I took dance class. I never knew any of the steps, because I didn’t pay attention to learn them. I didn’t pay attention in baton, either. I faked the moves and occasionally got caught. Once, at an assembly for baton, a special drawing was held, with much fanfare. I was present but didn’t listen at all. When my name was picked for a prize, I had no idea what I’d won, or what to do. Until someone poked me, I didn’t even realize my name had been called. Did I have autism? Do I now? Maybe just a little?

Should I be treating myself with diet and supplements?

Will I be satisfied if Martin grows up to be like I am now? Or do I want him to be better?

Maybe just a little?

The prize I won, all those years ago, was a fancy new baton, which I was supposed to report to a table to retrieve. I carried it proudly but still never learned the moves.

And you probably will have guessed this already: I just went on imdb.com to check what that website says about the length of the 1978 version of Superman. According to IMDB, the movie was 2:23 long. Wikipedia says the same thing. Ha. That’s what they say. The HBO guide listed Superman at “(2:22).” I can’t find that guide on-line, but I still can see the numbers in my head.

Remember these things? I searched on-line but couldn't find an image of the one featuring Superman. Any collectors out there?

Remember these things? I searched on-line but couldn’t find an image of the one featuring Superman. Any collectors out there?

For Diana

Last week, in response to my “Journey” post, I received this comment:

I read your blog from time to time. We have had a few exchanges, where I argued against the idea of “recovery” and said we just need to support our kids to be successful. You said you thought that was mincing words and we both want the same things. I’m really glad to read that Martin is doing well and progressing. I’m sad to hear you are still trying to “recover” him. Some day he may read what you have written. And he will want to tell you that he wasn’t lost, just different. Keep helping him, of course, but maybe this holiday season there is a moment to see that he is not lost? It is a big job, I know, but it is tough on a kid when “fixing” him becomes his mother’s project. That is a lot to put on you both. I wish you well.

The comment comes from a woman I’ll call “Diana.” I don’t know her, except insofar as she is also a lawyer in the New York City area (that’s what I am), and insofar as she has a son with Asperger Syndrome, who I believe must be 10 or 11 years old now. Diana and I exchanged some comments on this blog in April and May 2012, and again in January 2013; we were respectful of each other’s positions on handling autism, and as is evident in the comment I’ve pasted above, she continues to be positive and respectful. I appreciate that, and I thought that, rather than tuck my response into the less-read comments, I would post it front and center.

Diana, this is for you—

Two and a half years ago, you wrote to me skeptical of the concept of ASD recovery. About your son, you said, “I want him to be proud of who he is and how he is. It is a hard balancing act, because I also want to improve his social skills and give him the most options, so to some extent I am working always to decrease how his ASD presents.” When I engaged you in discussion, you elaborated:

I do remain skeptical of recovery as a concept, but how to approach treatment is up to each parent and there are no clear answers. But the larger question, I guess, is that I don’t want to return my son to full neurotypicality because I don’t see him as having been in a certain place and then having regressed or changed. I don’t perceive an assault on who he is by ASD.

Eight months after that comment, in response to a post I wrote about Adam Lanza, the Newtown gunman, you said this:

. . . I don’t understand how the language and idea of ‘cure’ and ‘recovery’ is consistent with teaching our kids to love and accept themselves as they are. I don’t doubt your sincerity. But for me, I want to help my kid but not cure him. I really think autism is a big part of who he is. For me, lots of therapies are great and work well—but they are seeking to assist and not to fundamentally alter my kid. I like my son autistic and I like other family members of mine autistic. I would encourage you to check out grasp.org and watch the video there—it is a very smart introduction to how functioning autistic adults feel about this question. If we want our kids to be happy adults, I think we need to listen to these adult voices first and foremost. My hopes are the same as yours and I know we are all just trying to do the best by our kids.

We are all trying to do the best by our kids. I believe that, and I appreciate your recognizing and acknowledging it. Still, to be honest, I don’t think, at least not now, that we are undertaking the same goal and just mincing words. Our hopes are not the same: You hope to raise an autistic son whose behaviors are typical enough that he can function in society. I hope to raise a son who has no trouble functioning in society because he is typical.

Autism spectrum disorders do not just happen. They are not random behavioral conditions. Autism is not an individualized Weltanschauung, like the way my brother Eddie is super laid-back and my friend Stacey is Type A. Autism spectrum disorders are the manifest symptoms of health problems, most usually compromised immune function. We continue to debate the extent to which these health issues result more from genetics (MTHFR mutations, &c.), or more from environmental triggers (vaccines, GMO’s, toxins like synthetic chemicals, &c.). What is no longer up for debate, unless you ignore all current science, is that if your child has an autism spectrum disorder, he has some combination of underlying conditions affecting his health, and those conditions are resulting in neural misfires.

Your approach—and I invite correction if I am wrong—seems to leave the health conditions that result in Asperger’s uninvestigated and untreated. Instead, you rely on behavioral therapies “to improve his social skills and give him the most options,” because you are “working always to decrease how his ASD presents.”

You “remain skeptical of recovery as a concept.” I will say that I, personally, within my own circle, know three boys, ages 19, 15, and 12, who have recovered from autism. These are not children whom I have “heard of” or “read about.” They are boys whom I know. I can, and do, talk to them and their parents. Each of the three was diagnosed with autism, from mild to moderate, at age two. They recovered fully, by their parents’ estimation, at ages 8, 12, and six. They are not “quirky.” They no longer have rough edges or trouble with social skills. They are, for every purpose I can see, restored to typical neurofunctioning. They reached this point because their families treated their underlying health conditions, as I am doing with Martin. I know that every child is a puzzle, that not every child who is treated biomedically will recover (at least not with what we know today), and that Martin’s “autism” symptoms may, to whatever extent, persist his whole life. But if you need to know what “recovery as a concept” means, it means this: restoring a child’s immune function and overall health, which in turn alleviates autistic behaviors symptomatic of compromised health.

You “like [your] son autistic and … like other family members of [yours] autistic.” I adore my child. I will adore him whoever he is and however he behaves, a fact that I impart to him daily. But I do not “like” his being autistic, because his being autistic means his health is compromised. If I were to learn today that no biomedical intervention would ever change Martin’s behavior in any way, I would still continue with his special diet and homeopathy and supplements because I want to restore his health. I cannot think of another condition that I would leave untreated, so why would I stop treating his gut-flora imbalance, candida overgrowth, or mitochondrial processing disorder?

You encourage me to consider the experience of autistic adults when determining what course to pursue with Martin. I do. I have read at length about how demoralizing traditional behavioral therapies can be for persons with autism, about how ABA can frustrate and even humiliate its subjects. (Not all ABA. Some practitioners who begin with ABA and find their way to a gentle approach.) I referred above to a 15-year-old I know who reached recovery around age 12. His mother reduced his behavioral therapies after he protested, “Mom, they want to change everything about me!” By contrast, the family continued and even increased biomedical treatment, which by the end of his recovery process, the boy was requesting because of the way it made him feel better.

When Martin asks about why he cannot eat Goldfish® crackers, I explain, “Oh my goodness! If you eat those crackers, you will get those funny poopies, and the ingredients will make it hard to pay attention in school. Remember how that happens sometimes?” The culprits in this equation are the processed crackers, and how they affect Martin inside. When your son asks why you want to “improve his social skills” and “decrease how his ASD presents,” how can you respond? Is the culprit crackers and firm bowel movements, or does the culprit seem like him?

Martin does not know he has autism. He has never heard that diagnosis. He knows that he eats a restricted diet because some foods “hurt his belly” or “make his tummy do funny things.” He knows that the drops and supplements he takes are like Mommy’s vitamins and probiotics, a good idea for almost anyone. We don’t do traditional behavioral therapies. I have found that most traditional therapies—ABA, speech, even to some extent occupational and physical therapy—come with the theme, “Don’t [sit, rock, behave, chant, stim, &c.] that way. That is unacceptable. Try to fit in.” I don’t want Martin to hear that he needs “some work around the edges” (your phrase, from a comment on 23 April 2012). Martin’s behavior isn’t what needs work. His behavior naturally adjusts as his health improves.

(Note: Martin receives traditional OT and PT at school, because they are on his IEP. In that regard, I am grateful that he attends a self-contained special education school, where every student participates in OT and PT, so that they seem like a standard part of the curriculum rather than something directed at changing Martin.)

At your request, I checked out grasp.org; it presents testimonies similar to others I have read, from autistic teens and adults. In return, let me point you toward stories like What Is My Mother Doing to Me?, which was written by a 14-year-old in gratitude for his recovery. I hope that Martin will not have to tell anyone what it is like to be an autistic adult, because he will never know. And if he reaches neurotypicality, I don’t think either of us will regret the result. As I have written before, in all my experience communicating and working with other ASD families, I am yet to hear from anyone who regained his/her health biomedically and subsequently says, “I wish we hadn’t done this. I prefer being autistic to being neurotypical.” (My sample size is not restricted to the three aforementioned recovered boys whom I know personally. I know of dozens of recovered persons, on-line or otherwise.)

You seem to worry that Martin will one day read what I write on my blog. To that I say, he’d better. In part, I write this blog for Martin. I don’t think he is “lost” or that his personhood needs “fixing.” I’m not sure why you use those words. Two weeks ago, when I got socked with a virus and ended up in the hospital, I wasn’t “lost” (except maybe insofar as I passed in and out of consciousness…!). My immune system needed help fighting a health condition, and when I received that help, I recovered. My son’s immune system needs help. I’m struggling to give him that help. I look forward to the day when he understands what I’ve written here, when he receives confirmation that he is so precious and so loved that Adrian and I would scour every corner of God’s green earth to give him every advantage we can.

So that’s it. Your and my disagreement lies in whether it is preferable to treat the health conditions that underlie autism, and let the behavior do as it will, or whether it is preferable to leave the health problems untreated and try to “smooth” the resulting behavior. I’ve phrased the question in a biased way, of course. I’ve done so because I believe it is preferable to treat “autism” biomedically. You take a different approach, and that is fine. We’re cool. I don’t have all the answers.

I do hope you’ll stick with the blog, though, and continue to comment. I feel invested in your son and your journey. I pray that it leads you both to a place of contentment.

Martin in action at the trampoline gymnasium. Not lost. Just getting healthier.

Martin in action at the trampoline gymnasium. Not lost. Just getting healthier.