Managing Editor's Note: This post is the result of a fortuitous combination of two wonderful women, both of whom I am proud to know.
Blogger/author/Asperger's Mom Michelle O'Neil posted a piece on her blog Full Soul Ahead about Julia Berle, mother of a recovered child named Baxter, and the movie about his journey called "Waking Up Baxter."
First, from Julia Berle: Almost three years ago my son Baxter lost his diagnosis of autism. He was repeatedly re-tested by the various (5) sources that originally diagnosed him and was no longer considered by any to be on the autistic spectrum. Since that time we have tried to share his story in earnest effort to provide hope for other families.
Through a variety of interventions, biomedical as well as traditional, Baxter has recovered from autism. Julia and Baxter have shared his success story on GOOD MORNING AMERICA, DATELINE NBC as well as other local Los Angeles news programs and in numerous printed publications. Because autism can often be an exhaustive and potentially isolating battle with seemingly little hope; supporting parents and caregivers through the journey is of paramount importance to Julia. She is the mother to three children; Baxter 8yrs, Peter 6 and Eliza 3. Baxter is currently a joyful, social little dude -he attends a typical classroom with no supports or therapy of any kind.
Last summer a film student visiting here from the Netherlands became intrigued and alarmed after learning of the massive numbers of children with autism. Karim Cherif spent some time asking us some questions about the disease and became enthralled with Baxter's journey. What was then created by this intelligent and highly creative young man is Waking Up Baxter.
From Michelle O'Neil's blog called Full Soul Ahead: During the worst of it with Riley, I had a split second vision of me in a jail cell, lying on a bare cot. I don't know what I did, but I knew she was dead, at my hands, and the predominant emotion I felt was not remorse, but relief. Relief for her to be out of her misery. Relief that my husband and infant son now had a chance at a happier, healthier, life. I didn't give a damn about what happened to me anymore.
That little flash scared me. My daughter's behavior was insane. I was at my limit. We were in serious trouble, and we needed to figure out what was wrong.
Before we started bio-med therapies, I had no idea the child who had become my nightmare would one day again be my joy, but she is. She is my joy! She has been steadily recovering and she feels better. Because she feels better, who she really is can shine. Who she really is, is the most loving, gentle, sweet, innocent, pure, tender-hearted person you can imagine. Who she really is was not visible when her body was polluted and she felt lousy.
Riley is one of many children recovering to varying degrees, from autism.
Baxter, (the handsome little guy in the photo above) is one who has gone all the way. I don't know his mom, and don't know if she ever went through such a "dark night of the soul," but I suspect, most parents of kids on the spectrum have had their desperate moments.
This is for any parent who is in that place now.
Watch Waking Up Baxter here.
Take strength in his story.
There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Thank you to Michelle O'Neil, writer and extraordinary parent of a child with Asperger's Syndrome. And to Julia Berle, Julia Berle B.S. SLP / ECE, Nationally Certified Interpreter for the Deaf, Early Intervention Specialist and Special Education Consultant, Founding Parent of Generation Rescue (www.generationrescue.org) Coordinator TACA Los Angeles (www.tacanow.org) and Mom to Baxter - Recovered in 2005.