The Inflammation Highway: aka Autism
Whistleblower Scientist Accuses British Medical Journal of Institutional Research Misconduct

That’s My Boy!

Proud-momBy Cathy Jameson

I have beautiful children.  They have a fabulous mother.  Their Daddy is one of the strongest people on the planet.  We are a well-loved family.  Things are going mostly okay for us right now.  Life has its ups and downs, but we usually end up pulling through.  Alright, I’ll stop before I make myself sick with these exaggerated descriptions. 

Truth be told, I do have a great family.  My typical kids learn firsthand about compassion, tolerance and special-needs care because of situations that come up with their brother.  My kids are very aware that Ronan has limitations that affect all of us. I don’t think they are resentful of what we have gone through and what they unknowingly have had to give up.  They know we do things for Ronan that go beyond what other families typically do for their children.  They truly understand why they can and can’t do things when he is present.  Empathy is alive in this house.

Ronan and one of my typical children recently had a blood draw.  My daughter went in with some trepidation but fared well.  She shed tears in the beginning of the process as expected.  I had to hold back some of my own as my Mommy heart ached watching her.  But then, my welled-up eyes quickly squinted closed.  I tried to silence bits of laughter that wanted to squeak out when my five-year old yelled in between sobs, “Stop! Give me back my blood. Put it back!  You can’t have it.  I need my b-l-o-o-d!!!”  Apparently I didn’t do enough explaining of what was happening to her or why.  A few more little girl tears flowed as the last tube was filled.  I am grateful my daughter didn’t pick up Ronan’s fear and feeling of “I hate all of you in white lab coats” after her turn at the lab. 

Ronan was next.  It’s never fun, easy or quick for him when it comes to blood draws.  Ronan can immediately sense why he’s being brought into a small, mostly sterilized room.  He hates the tight rubber band, gloves, gauze, cheery band aids and lab techs who think they are going to get anywhere near him or his blood.  Ronan tenses up instantly which begins a massive sensory-overloaded fight response.  Veins roll.  Sweat pours.  Tears stain.  Bruising starts.  I don’t usually bring the other kids with me when it’s Ronan’s turn.  But, this time the entire family was in tow.  This trip occurred over a weekend.  Instead of splitting up like we usually do to cover situations like this my husband, all five kids and I descended upon the little laboratory. 

Once my daughter’s draw was done I sat with her and my other kids in an adjoining waiting room.  Ronan’s brother was nervous thinking he too would be going in for blood work.  I assured him he wasn’t, so he waited quietly for a few minutes.  Waiting for a successful blood draw is excruciating.  Ronan’s issues cause long delays.  While we watched TV in the waiting room, Ronan’s little brother worried.  He didn’t like that it was taking so long for Ronan. He didn’t like to hear the small whimpering sounds and then the all-out crying Ronan started to do.  Tears were in full flow in the lab, and rightly so.  But, when I looked over at my typical son sitting next to me his cheeks were also wet with tears.  “Mommy, why does it have to hurt him?  Can’t they be done yet?  I don’t like how it makes Ronan sad.  Can I go see him and Daddy?” Oh, my child!  I scooped my tender-hearted little boy into my lap and held him as long as I could.

I don’t know if I would be able to fully prepare my typical children for what’s out there in the real world if Ronan hadn’t been vaccine injured.  Teaching them this side of life’s lessons are painful—lab work, poop analyzing, sleep disturbances, dietary infractions, special education, constant therapy—how has all of Ronan’s abnormal become part of their normal?  The siblings wish their brother had never gotten hurt.  They don’t like to hear that other children are vaccine injured and have school struggles and autism.  They see that Ronan is missing out on some stuff they and their friends naturally get to do.  It pains them to know that other little kids can’t talk, can’t go to the bathroom by themselves and can’t go outside to play by themselves.  Even though the struggles can sometimes outweigh any ounce of hope, these beautiful children of mine consistently pray for Ronan and for kids like him. They believe with all of their being that every single one of them can one day be recovered. 

With a stronger grasp of how our lives are so affected by what did happen to Ronan I make a point to share all sorts of stories that hit the autism news wires with my kids.  I don’t always shield their ears or eyes from the atrocities that happen in this community.  We still pray for Robbie even all these months after his rescue (and, we will probably always pray for him because of how close to home his story was to our family).  They hear about the restraint and abuse in classrooms.  They know programs are in place to help people, but my kids know that other people take advantage of those programs and ruin it for those in need.  I think it is important for my family to hear the horror stories in order to fully understand the reality of where Ronan’s life could take us.  The scary stories are the hardest to share, but it reminds us to be vigilant in our efforts to keep Ronan healthy and safe. 

When he is safe, Ronan is free to learn, to build upon his growing skills and to shine with success.  We’ve been fortunate to celebrate several amazing new skills that emerged in the latter part of 2011.  Ronan has gotten to be in the limelight with parades around the house for learning how to sign more words and how to correctly spell them.  His latest accomplishment?  Ronan is voluntarily typing and writing more of the words he knows.

With his new-found skill and desire to write Ronan got a dry-erase board easel for Christmas.  After a few “Mommy homework” lesson at the new easel Ronan looked at his younger sister and wrote her name on the board.  He produced long, beautiful letters strung together perfectly.  A real-live legible word!  The name of a sibling.  The one sibling who is his perfect mini-therapist.  The one child who makes wishes on the first star in the night sky so she can hear his words again.  Ronan made a quiet connection with her, and he did it naturally as if he’d been writing her name for years.  She screamed with glee and danced around the house.  Dumbfounded is how I looked as I stared at Ronan and his perfectly printed proof of progress.  Proud and full of joy then enveloped me.

I love the days that make my heart sing and my mind race as I look for more Ronan success.  I’m proud of his accomplishments and how they affect the entire family.  We all thrive on the positive that exudes when we get to see Ronan in a glimmer of normal.  I couldn’t do any of this on my own—it’s much too much for one person to do or to bear.  Thankfully my husband and I have a few kids underfoot who willingly contribute to their brother’s trials and achievements.  We all get into a good groove when Ronan turns a corner.  He’s working it, and I think he knows that when he does something fabulous it gives the rest us a great sense of hope for all of our futures. 

When Ronan builds upon his development my oldest takes note.  She has started to volunteer more time to play with Ronan.  She’s trying to roughhouse with him and grabs him to do some fun dancing games.  I wish she could remember back to the time when it was just her and Ronan.  Ronan was her little “baby” when she was a toddler.  He played alongside her with her tea party set.  She got the baby and toddler toys out for them.  She snuggled on the couch with Ronan to watch Disney shows before naptime.  She brought peace and happiness to her little brother.  It seems so long ago now, but I’m pleased that she is searching ways to find new connections with him now. 

I was so proud of Ronan’s Big Sis when she watched me open this link last week:    Her eyes widened.  Her smile brightened.  She whispered in awe, “Oh! WOW!”  As she stared at her brother’s picture I saw her eyes light up with pride.  She was looking at a child who has suffered beyond comprehension.  She knew why it was so important for us to have that Big Red Box-- because Ronan’s wandering is part of our family’s normal.  She knows that that child keeps us all grounded.  He reminds us to not take life for granted.  He teaches us lessons we never knew existed.  He makes us wonder, and yet he makes us jump up and do.  He adds the most stress, emotional heartache and financial strain as well as a whole bunch of heart-overflowing-with–love loving.  He keeps our family intact.  Ronan gives us a reason to believe.  Yep, that’s my boy. 

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.



Is this ”good” normal or ” bad” normal? Nice post, oh and thanks for the tears Cat. ;-)


Fabulous mother ... check!

Strong father ... check!


I have had somewhat of an opposite experience as Mary's. My son is now 7 and we fumbled around with the biomed, saw a bad DAN! dr, did a little here or there. After Autism One I decided that was that and we were going to buckle down and get to work, find a qualified dr and get treated. Mary, I would say you were lucky because many of these kids do not spontaneously get better. My son has made astonishing progress with somewhat simple remedies. He has autoimmune issues, one causing cerebral folate deficiency- (we found this out with a blood draw and a sedated spinal tap) which he has likely had for many years. Treatable! Unfortunately now I can live with the guilt that I didn't do these things when he was younger. As his mother, it's my job to help treat my son's medical condition/s. It has never been easy, but it's pretty much necessary when you have a sick kid to go through sometimes uncomfortable medical procedures. I would hope no one would read your post and make the decision to not treat their child's medical problems because it's too hard. Just loving a very sick child is often not enough to overcome autoimmune issues, I would guess it's probably never enough.
And you bring up another point that has been bugging me for some time. Your child who you call non-verbal spoke and said "no mommy" Perhaps he has a severe communication disorder but he was not in fact nonverbal. I guess I tire of people claiming their child was "nonverbal" until (insert age past 5 here) and then they suddenly were mainstreamed and speaking in full sentences. From Cat's descriptions, Ronan is nonverbal. A child who can say "no mommy" is not nonverbal.


p.s. I am only writing to let others know that there is a control group family out there that has an autistic child that peaked and plateaued in his development, but without any interventions aside from special needs preschool and an IEP until 4th grade- continues to progress and thrive in a mainstream classroom. He started to mimic typically behaving children when he was removed from special ed and placed in a regular preschool classroom. We no longer had to lock the doors so he wouldn't wander, his echolalia stopped after about a year, his repetitive behaviors and perseverations diminished. He is naive and still occasionally puts his clothing on backward without ever noticing until his classmates tell him. It might seem incredible that he can get out the door that way, but he eats bfast in his pajamas, gets dressed and has his coat on and is in the car before we could have the opportunity to notice.
I wish you all well and keep you all in my prayers.


Response to "a fan"
"you had 6 vials of blood drawn when he was four, but you had no interest in treatment methods that would have called for extensive labwork. Why the six vials if you don't mind my asking? "
In answer to your question, the interest in treatment methods that called for extensive lab work that involved the drawing of 6 vials of blood was instantly extinguished by the emotional trauma of us experiencing our 4 year old boy strapped to a gurney screaming "no mommy" and exiting the room to witness grown adults crying at the experience of witnessing him going in the room and then hearing the screams and crying. We will never do that to him again.

White Boards

You inspire us all! Thanks for your strength!


Yeah, go Ronan - writing your sister's name on the whiteboard is an awesome achievement.

Ronan is lucky to have his own entourage of brothers and sisters that really love and support him - they rock. My son doesn't have a house full of siblings - but your story makes me realize how fortunate we are in some other respects. One of the little miracles that keeps us afloat is the way my son handles blood draws. He just watches with a mild curiosity. In fact his mom has a harder time with it than he does. We had one not-so-great experience, with a somewhat inexperienced phlebotomist - that was a long time ago and since that day EMLA patches are SOP and have saved our sanity.

Thanks for the story - Ronan keep up the great work...


I look forward to reading Cathy's introspective Sunday essays, with their touching slice-of-life challenges and triumphs. Congrats to Ronan on his latest writing accomplishments; the floodgates are open now.

a fan

Congratulations on your son doing so well - that's very good news. I'm curious - you had 6 vials of blood drawn when he was four, but you had no interest in treatment methods that would have called for extensive labwork. Why the six vials if you don't mind my asking?


We took our son for blood draws ONCE. Strapped down to a gurney screaming broke my heart. He was only about 4. After 6 vials we exited the room to see the adults in the waiting room crying at the sight of the little boy that went in..they heard the scream and crying.
I am writing this to let you know that our nonverbal son continued to progress and develop in special ed with NO ABA, chelation therapy, enzymes or anything else. I decided that we were just going to love this child and not subject him to any more discomfort or pain. I buy organic or natural food as much as I can, he eats what he wants, I don't force things he can't tolerate, he loves milk (I later found out that vitamin D is a neurotoxin eliminator) He has blossomed into a 14 year old boy that is now in a regular classroom. He had an adjustment into middle school with the routine changes, but is doing well. I am letting you know that you should follow your heart and instincts when it comes to your child, we are blessed with 3 other children that are compassionate and loving and we know they will help him when we are gone.


Thank you for sharing such a beautiful article!!!!!!!!!!!!
God Bless you and your wonderful family!!!
And I will pray for your son , because he is definitely an angel, all of them are.................


If I've said it once, I've said it a million times: It will be the siblings. It will be the siblings who watch their precious loved ones suffer and are motivated to continue our search for the cure. And I hate this to all of my core, but it will be my son's siblings that ensure he is well-cared for after I have left this earth. I pray this is not too difficult of a job. I am not willing to throw away our kids or the hope that they can one day be recovered, but I guess we should plan for the worst while working for the best possible outcome.
I was recently touched by an old friend's blog about her son who has a genetic x-linked immune deficiency. Her son is an infant and 2 of her nephews also had this disease. Her nephews are cured (BMT) and her son will soon be cured as well. Her brother unfortunately died in his 30s from the disease as it had totally ravaged his body and he was too sick for a cure. She thanked him as he had paved the way, the knowledge about his disease had saved his three nephews' lives. As I read that, little bells went off in my head as I thought about my own son. I will always hope the cure is found in time, but I would also take some solace in knowing that maybe he paved the way so that others would not have to know the suffering he has. I hope that we autism parents are also paving the way. The epidemic shows no signs of abatement, sadly more are on the way. And they will come to AoA or our yahoo groups and maybe we have made the road a little smoother? I can only hope.

a fan

I'm so touched by the way you involve your children in many aspects of Ronan's care. They don't seem at all bitter or resentful about their sacrifices, in fact, they truly seem to celebrate his triumphs. It's really wonderful to read about. Since I have just one child who has no siblings - I find it fascinating to read about your brood. Thank you for sharing so much with us.


My son had to have lots of blood draws because he was on phenyolbarbitol for seizures.
Blood draws "whew"
At three or four years old, we had a battle to beat all battles on a blood draw. The nurse finally gave up and ran for the doctor, I was whipped too- and said never mind - I was beginning to think he might just die of emotional distress - I was not too sure I might just die, myself!

The doc said to give it a while and let us all calm down. We did and got the blood -- and yeah it was still me holding him down, with all the strength I had.

He may have been almost nonverbral but he found his voice that day after they took his blood and cried out in a raged weeping voice, while pointing to the place where they had taken the blood and said,"Put it back!" (So close to what your little girl said, Cathy, and oh it is so cute!!!)

Meanwhile his sister is standing in the corner watching it all- she was maybe 8 or 9. There is nothing no sweeter than seeing a child of that age - with half a smile on her face, shaking her head like she is so much older and wiser than she really is, and seeing in her own face that she thinks her brother was beyond cute too!

Thanks for your story - and how it made me remember my own precious memory.

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