By Teresa Conrick
In 2012 at Autism One, I met Nicholas Glenski, a young man who said he hoped to "go the distance" and one day, cure himself of autism. He was so enthusiastic and inspired by so many speakers last year that now one year later, he, himself was a speaker at Autism One -- and he did a beautiful job!
I have to confess, when Nicholas called me one evening during the winter months and told me that he was giving a talk on autism and his road to recovery, I was nervous for him as I thought how could he talk about so many issues regarding treatments? Well, being the tenacious teen that he is, Nicholas simply decided to pick up the phone and call researchers, reach out to moms on FB who were treating their own children, and seek out help by reading all he could.
His dad, Richard, told me that this journey first started three years ago in St. Louis when he took Nicholas to an autism conference and they heard Temple Grandin speak. That set off a spark in Nicholas and then a profound desire to learn more, especially when he met a biochemist there who talked about biomedical treatments for autism. One of Temple's books was bought that night, and Nicholas was later reading it voraciously when he accidentally left it in his dad's car between visits. His dad saw it and decided to read it as well. He too felt more inspired, and when he heard that Temple herself was coming to St. Louis for a presentation, Richard surprised Nicholas by taking him there. Nicholas has since told me that Jenny's McCarthy's focus on her son's journey to recovery has made Nicholas a huge fan and also an avid believer in biomedical treatments for autism. Nicholas then began researching for himself because as he stated:
"I was trapped in my body. I could not get out."
Nicholas told the audience that he was born in 1995, premature at 25 weeks and weighing a mere 1 pound, 11 ounces, yet he was given the same vaccines and scheduled timing as full term infants. He also had many rounds of antibiotics due to chronic ear infections. He regressed about age two into autism, exhibiting symptoms that he stressed now can be seen related to his gut.
In these past three years, Nicholas has made some wonderful gains. He left Missouri last summer and now lives in California with his dad. There, he has had more opportunities for seeking out medical treatments and also started in mainstream classes for the first time. School has been a wonderful experience and Nicholas told his audience that he will be in Geometry and Chemistry next year. With a big smile, he was proud to tell that he is on the cheerleading squad!
Nicholas described his symptoms when he was younger, with a focus on gut issues, especially constipation, as well as many sensory issues, OCD, wandering and communication issues (sustaining a conversation). He listed his favorite topics of research and also treatments, such as allergies, diets, individualized supplements, plant enzymes, parasites, and soil based probiotics. He also stressed the importance of organic foods due to the dangers of pesticides and genetically modified foods.
At the end of his talk, there was a standing ovation for Nicholas as we saw the enthusiasm, the joy, and the hope of continual progress or as Nicolas put it:
" I am a strong, smart, young man looking for answers to cure autism and other diseases"