By Anne Dachel
Read Anne's commentary and view the links after the jump. The Dachel Media Update is sponsored by Lee Silsby Compounding Pharmacy and OurKidsASD, an online supplement retailer for patients with special needs.
April 1, 2015, Chicago Parent Magazine: A day in the life of parents of children with autism By Jerry Davich
Mar 31, 2015, San Francisco Chronicle: Kaiser to search for causes of autism in large-scale study
Mar 31, 2015, Hospitals and Healthcare Networks: As Autism Soars, Some Providers Remain Clueless
Danny doesn't respond this time. He buries his head behind her back, gently rocks his body and utters a moan. It's one of the few sounds he makes.
Danny doesn't communicate with words, sentences and conversations. He does so with a dry erase board, an iPad or texts. His last verbal words to his parents were "baba," "dada," and "dog." He was 20 months old.
Soon after, he was diagnosed with autism. Since then, he has said nothing understandable. He mostly hums, with rare eye contact. He will sometimes nod yes or no. Or wave goodbye, sort of. But not always. . . .
The two siblings have many similarities. Neither of them are potty-trained. Both peel their gums, sometimes until they bleed. Both enjoy watching cartoons. Both want to eat as soon as they get home from school. Both enjoy using the Proloquo2go program on their iPad. Both will shred papers, even important documents, if not "redirected," a familiar word in the autism spectrum world. . . .
This is what April is all about: learning to accept autism as a normal and acceptable part of childhood.
Jerry Davich tells us about siblings who are young adults with severe autism. They're unable to speak. They're still in diapers. They manifest symptoms of classic autism and require constant care.
This is just "a typical day in the life of parents of children with autism." That's just the way it is if your kids are unfortunate enough to regress into the mysterious world of autism.
Both of these children were typically developing as babies, showing the normal beginnings of speech. They stopped talking. WHY? Davich doesn't say.
The unspoken message here is that we can't do anything to stop children from ending up like this. My question is, where are Natalie and Tarryl going to be living in 20 years? Thirty years?
This sidebar Autism Today is false and misleading. We're told that one in 150 was the autism rate in 2000. That's wrong.
Twenty-one years ago the diagnosis of autism was expanded to include Asperger's Syndrome. The numbers exploded from the previous one in every 10,000 children, and they've continued to soar every couple of years---all of which is attributed to "better diagnosing" by doctors, an expanded definition and no real increase at all. Davich isn't worried about the rate or the possibility that the numbers could get worse.
All we really need to do about autism is identify it early, accept it and show compassion, according to Chicago Parent Magazine. Every mother who gives birth to a boy needs to understand that she has a one in 42 chance of having a her child develop autism--even if they're born healthy. And there's nothing any mainstream doctor can do to prevent it.
Kaiser Permanente is about to begin what is believed to be the largest genetic research project ever conducted by a health organization into the causes of autism, gathering biologic and other health information from 5,000 Northern California families who have child with the developmental disorder.
Scientists have long suspected that autism results from a combination of genetics and environmental factors, but no one knows for sure. They hope a study of this size will reveal to the root causes that could eventually lead to improved diagnoses and new treatments.
. . ."It's definitely a huge scientific contribution in enhancing our understanding of autism, what causes it, how to treat it in the future and possibly even prevent it."
As expected, a timely announcement meant to convince us that experts are concerned and addressing autism. Kaiser Permanente is a leading health care provider serving more than nine million people. They're studying genes in the "largest genetic research project ever conducted by a health organization."
(Excuse me. Isn't Autism Speaks doing the "largest-ever autism genome study" already?)
I guess we can never spend enough on the search for the elusive autism gene/genes.
A 119% increase in autism cases underscores the importance of health care professionals to better understand the needs of people with the disorder and their families. . . .
All of this makes an urgent case for the health care field to hurry up and get with it. As Leslie Phillips notes in an excellent blog posted March 2 by the National Autism Association, finding proper medical care remains one of the most challenging aspects of being a caregiver for an autistic individual. . . .
For one thing, doctors too often dismiss certain medical conditions as "it's just the autism," even though, Phillips writes, the conditions "are often treatable and, when properly addressed, can improve core symptoms of autism, as well as immediate health concerns (such as pain) and long-term health outcomes."
I won't go into all of Phillips' six steps, but they're eye-opening and worth reading. I especially like this advice to parents who bring their autistic child in for medical care: "If the provider rolls their eyes and says, 'It's just the autism, take them home and love them,' find another provider. None of us needs to be told to love our children or grandchildren. We find an overwhelming majority of caregivers do an exceptional job of this."
I can't get enough of Autism Awareness Month. Same old messages are out every single year. Calling for doctors to wake up and do something for affected kids actually flies in the face of the BIZARRE CLAIM that all the autism everywhere is because doctors are better at recognizing autism. So....they're diagnosing it but not treating it?
Hospitals and Healthcare Networks is a publication of the American Hospital Association.
The Dachel Media Update is sponsored by Lee Silsby Compounding Pharmacy and OurKidsASD. Lee Silsby is one of the most respected compounding pharmacies in the country and is committed to serving the needs of the Autism community. OurkidsASD is an online retailer for nutritional supplements for patients with special needs. OurkidsASD carries thousands of products from more than 60 brands and offers free ground shipping on all orders.
Anne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism and author of The Big Autism Cover-Up: How and Why the Media Is Lying to the American Public, which is on sale now from Skyhorse Publishing.