My Journey With Autism
by Guest Blogger Camilla Stein
On June 12 I had an opportunity to talk to Dr. Veronica Anderson on her radio show Wellness for the Real World about the implications of autism and my personal journey of looking for a treatment that would work for us, for my children. It was a great opportunity to tell a wider audience that there are things to try, therapies and interventions that can bring a degree of relief if not make many problems go away.
As I said on the show, we did not know at first what we were dealing with. Although, I recall telling a nurse who did a routine check up on my daughter when she turned two, that I suspected she was autistic. I was suspicious of my daughter’s anxieties and difficulty maintaining eye contact. Today, these symptoms are first definite markers to raise a pediatric alarm – thanks to the extensive medical research and education, and media’s active participation in awareness campaigns. Ten years ago things were different.
The nurse dismissed my concerns and did not follow up with the doctor, and so we missed early intervention. Instead, I became my child’s therapist. I did what I could at home, started a play therapy, massages, re-integration such as helping my daughter overcome irrational fears by confronting the object she feared of and exposing her to it sensory. One example was rain – we would go outside in the rain without umbrellas, and she would have an exposure to elements, feel water drops on her skin, on her face and palms of her hands.
At a much later stage we tried Viki’s View, it’s a recent Dutch discovery, treats fragmentation and sensory overload in patients with autism.
I continued researching the subject, and by the time my daughter was enrolled in pre-school, I knew more, but it wouldn’t be till eight years later that we would get the official diagnosis. Prior to that it was all ‘off the record’ – teachers agreed with me, supported me in getting speech- and physiotherapy, and other forms of help, plus I re-modeled my home into a self-help center where my daughter had learning zones and zones of reduced sensory stimulation where she could rest in between learning sessions.
I didn’t stop there. When a friend shared her experience with homeopathy, I decided to try. My first step was to educate myself. Mind you, this was before Wikipedia. I went to a library, and also pulled out available records online – only to realize that I will need to study it systemically in order to be able to help my child. Homeopathic remedies are derived from natural resources mostly, so to have a complete picture I actually first studied herbal medicine. I got my certificate in herbal medicine and only then approached homeopathy.
Homeopathy’s central core is Materia Medica, a collection of records with each remedy listed alphabetically by its Latin name, with descriptions of symptoms and expected effects. When I grasped the basics – the principle of simile – I went to the doctor of classic homeopathy and we started treatment. Effects were immediate and dramatic – her hyperactivity reduced, she regained ability to make eye contact, she started speaking.
Two other things that I explored and had successful results were traditional Chinese medicine and biomed. Because autism is linked to environmental causes, one of the treatments to reduce some of the physical symptoms is to detox the body, purge poisonous substances, unblock stagnations and restore the balance of primary energy, Qui. We used concoctions prepared by a Chinese medicine certified specialist, and also used acupuncture to stimulate body’s own ability to heal.
Biomed is a complex approach to dieting and supplementation. The therapy includes removal of gluten, casein, soy, artificial ingredients, treating sick intestines, supplementing with vitamins and oils like Omega, and other things. I am planning a series of articles about it on Examiner, so please visit my column Camilla Stein Raleigh Autism Examiner for more information. I am also writing a book about my experience with autism, raising two children on the spectrum and applying alternative medicine to the treatment of autism.
And to every parent of a child with autism I’d like to say – do not give up.
Camilla Stein is a science fiction writer, author of Space Scrapers (autism-based sci fi series of stories) and Gaia’s Children, also a film critic and interviewer in film industry. More about Camilla on http://about.me/camillastein Link with Camilla on Twitter and Facebook. For professional inquiries, contact her agent Debora McNichol firstname.lastname@example.org