We travel a lot. Yesterday while learning about an historic site in southern Utah, we started talking to a couple of elderly women. I explained how much we loved their town and how much we love to work and travel at the same time. As often happens, the younger of the two asked, “What do you do?” I told her that my husband is an autism doctor. She called her more- senior companion over and told her that she should talk to the “autistic doctor”. As often happens, we heard of her grandson who walks on his toes, who doesn’t make eye contact, who doesn’t have any friends, who hits other kids when he is frustrated, who doesn’t talk much. He has no diagnosis. He is 5 years old. We told them about the work that can be done at home-taking gluten and casein out of the diet, reading the suggestions on our website, that autism is not a psychological problem, but instead a medical problem, that if you address the medical issues, some kids get better. This little boy may never have a diagnosis, may never see a doctor for his quirky behavior. Perhaps his parents are hoping that he will grow out of it. The woman told us that autism is a big problem in Utah and that this boys’ parents were divorced and disagreed about the extent of the boy’s problems. This is common too-that the parents’ marriages fail due to differing views on the severity of the problem and how what actions to take or not take.
More and more, somebody knows someone with a child who is suffering. The problem is not limited to the United States. We hear from people all over the world.
When I was a kid, I had never heard of autism. I didn’t know any kids who had trouble talking or making eye contact or handling loud noises. I imagine it was the same for you. Now, our grandkids and their friends are bearing the brunt of a polluted environment, an overly processed and pesticided food supply, a zealous and burdensome vaccination schedule and a world that has become disconnected from nature and the earth itself.
What most people don’t know is that children with autism have many medical issues. It is not a psychological problem. These kids are sick. Some have seizures, gut problems like constipation or diarrhea, problems digesting food-most often, gluten and casein, problems with methylation, detoxifying the environment and making energy. And there is no “one size fits all” autism. The same environmental insult will affect children in different ways. The causes are also not fully known or traceable, yet there are themes and threads which with included with the science point to many factors which together create the “smoking gun”.
I have been sitting with “Dr. Green” during new patient consults for nearly 10 years, mostly during our foreign and Hawaiian excursions. I like to think about John’s work in two parts: molecules and heart. He is passionate about biochemistry and the body’s pathways. He is also passionate about the kids- nurturing their spirits and decreasing their suffering and about parents-offering practical as well as emotional support. I like to think about my work as being a deep holder of hearts and the person who pays attention to the details behind the scenes. I have been listening for years in my role as a hospice and medical social worker and as a spiritual counselor. Yet it is my time to start using my voice. To start this process, I will be writing from time to time, to talk about things I am understanding or witnessing and to offer support to you, the parents and parents-to-be.