By Teresa Conrick
Autism One is always a superb menu of speakers and presentations and this year was no exception. Listening to Dr. Luc Montagnier, co-discoverer of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and the 2008 Nobel laureate for Medicine, was fascinating and hopeful as he stressed how Autism has its roots in INFECTIONS, where bacteria, viruses and heavy metals cause the symptoms and behaviors. For many of us, that is not new information but hearing such a famous and brilliant doctor present data on ill children getting much better and some recovering health and lost skills, was simply amazing. Equally riveting and monumentally important, was hearing Dr. Andrew Wakefield present evidence of GI inflammation/disease and the devastation they produce for so many with an Autism diagnosis. This video, showed how dramatic and miraculous HEALING is when pain can be stopped and learning and functioning can then begin to advance. Dr. Wakefield quoted from his most recent book, this clear association that so many of us know from having ill children with gut pain and the connecting behaviors that manifest -- ....."the bowel bone's connected to the brain bone" .... a fact that most mainstream doctors have not yet fully acknowledged.
As fate would have it, I was to meet another inspiring and heroic man, this one was only seventeen-years-old, yet his mission and message equaled the two I have just described. While I was waiting to talk to a presenter, I watched this young man make his way over to a space near me, talking to a nearby mother, I heard his words - "I am recovering myself from Autism." I looked quickly as he smiled at me and I reached out to shake his hand, while I tried to hide my tears. "How", I asked him, "are you doing this on your own?" He began to tell me his name, "Nicholas Glenski", and that he and his Dad were up from Springfield, MO. (That's he in the photo with AofA's Jake Crosby.) I was so impressed that I asked if we could talk together, maybe I could ask him some questions for a blog about Autism? He smiled again and was very happy to oblige. Saying he was freezing in the air conditioning, with his dad's permission, we sat outside on a strip of warm, narrow grass, with the sun blazing above.
It seemed I was destined to meet this wonderful young man, as he reinforced what so many of us know -- that Autism for many means a sick body accompanied by symptoms and behaviors that wreak havoc for that person. He wanted help and healing from his Autism.
Nick went on to describe his journey so far. As a baby, he had been born premature by 15 weeks, so a tiny 25-week-infant who had detached retinas, corrected after birth, but with many other issues that developed. He was initially "developmentally delayed" with speech and language issues. That would later change by the school to a diagnosis of ADHD. He had an IEP but was in mainstream classes, often having social/emotional behaviors at school as well as some incidences of aggression. Nick related to me that when his mom remarried, his stepdad saw Nick's behaviors as being more involved, and so did a clinic, which then diagnosed Nick with Autism. He was fifteen at the time and had been having issues at school and had also been home-schooled in between. He described his behaviors that for him, made the Autism diagnosis seem correct :
--wandered, often not knowing where his destination was
--exhibited minimal eye contact
--would rage and sometimes be aggressive at home
--could not be touched and did not like hugs, kisses etc.
--would only eat the color, "white" foods, like mashed potatoes, white bread (as in an OCD pattern)
--lived with horrible constipation then wicked diarrhea, often keeping him up all night
--had OCD, like smelling his arm repetitively
--had huge sensory issues with noises
--felt "not normal "and could not make friends
So at age fifteen, Nick found out he "had Autism," explaining to him why he had these behaviors, but the only help being offered to him was counseling, "community inclusive" type, to aid him socially but that was not the answer for Nick. He wanted to know what he could do about the behaviors and feeling "so different, " so he went on the internet and googled around. There he found Generation Rescue, Jenny McCarthy and a DAN clinic in Missouri that he would later go to and find out that there are medical interventions to help him feel better and help rid himself of the illness and behaviors that plagued him for so long. He discovered that he could not eat any casein (allergy, inflammation, GI) and that being near pesticides seemed to be a big trigger for him not feeling well, which is why he feels it is important he eats only ORGANIC foods. Here, at age seventeen, he smiled broadly telling me that many of those symptoms had lessened a lot, yet he wanted still to make friends and continue to work on his health, the social pieces and the nuances to navigate in the world. The vitamins, supplements and casein-free, ORGANIC diet made his body feel and function better!
Nick also revealed his feelings that vaccines were a huge reason for his Autism and the health issues associated. He was so upset to learn that he had had the same vaccines and schedule as 40 week babies, though he was so very small as a preemie. He also shared that he lived with his mom and stepdad and that his mom, a nurse, is skeptical of his biomed journey and the role of vaccines. She sounds like a wonderful mother who wants her son to keep going with biomed, though it is not something that she has totally embraced, but she does see his progress. I told Nick that I could relate a bit as my father had been a doctor and I was a believer in vaccines until I saw that they had injured my daughter. Nick felt a prenatal flu shot may have also been involved and then became very scared and nervous discussing a more recent vaccine exposure. It occurred about two years ago, when it was all over the news and papers about giving Gardasil to boys. Nick received the first dose of the Gardasil series, which was to become the last for him. He vividly remembers that the Gardsil vaccine made him so sick. He ran a fever, kept losing his balance, had bad allergy issues, stomach issues and had "sensory hell." He described calling his Aunt Patty, his very sweet and helpful Aunt, who I also met at Autism One, because he was so scared of the way he felt. Aunt Patty is not a vaccine believer and is not skeptical at all about biomed treatments. Nick calls her a "warrior mom."
Years from now, Nick would like to see himself helping others as a nutrition expert or as a biomedical doctor helping those with Autism or other disorders. He asked me if "recovered" meant "cured" as he wants to be cured. I described my daughter and her many health issues, especially seizures and an autoimmune diagnosis. "Cure" for her may be a lifelong journey and "recover" may more aptly be reserved for what we do each day, to get her body to not attack itself, and help her immune system heal. For Nick, "cure" could very well be an obtainable goal, especially as we continue to see that the immune system is very involved,in those who have an Autism diagnosis, so research and treatments should be evolving more specifically for that. He is a huge fan of the Canary Party because he wants to "do something about all of this." He also got to meet Jake Crosby and watching the two of them talk about their recovery journeys was inspirational.
I am so proud of this new friend to the Autism community. He shows maturity, determination and passion plus he is a super nice guy! Against many odds, Nicholas Glenski is pursuing his own health, his own future and his own destiny. As he put it, he is "going the distance." All our best to him.
Teresa Conrick is a Contributing Editor to Age of Autism and the mother of an affected adult child.