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San Diego Man Diagnosed with Severe Autism As Tot Defies Prognosis, Passes Bar Exam

Dream jobThis is why we have a "dreams" category! Below is a story from California that made me grin from ear to ear. How many of us were told to institutionalize our children when they were diagnosed as toddlers? I'm guessing a lot. Warrior Autism Moms (and Dads) never give up and below is a story of how one Mom shunned the dire future described for her son, who just passed the California Bar Exam on his first attempt.   Is this story "commonplace?" Not by a long shot. So many of us are exhausted and damn near broke from trying to recover, cure, call it what you will - IMPROVE our kids' lot in life by removing the barriers set in place due to autism.  I would say most of us haven't caught the brass ring. But I sure celebrate ANY family who has the kind of success in this story. Even better? Erik wants to work in special education law. What on earth could be more formidable than an attorney who has sat in a SPED classroom himself? And he's already making a difference in group home conditions. Congratulations to this young man. We look forward to watching his career. And to his Mom... we're happy for you.


From  NBC San Diego, California.

When I found out, I really did pass my keyboard got wet with tears of joy,” Erik said. 

The road to becoming a lawyer wasn’t an easy one. Erik was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3. When he was 5, doctors told his parents his autism was so severe, he’d have to be institutionalized the rest of his life.

Sandi Weber, Erik’s mother, refused to put her son in a home.

“You have to grieve the loss of the perfect child. What you thought you were going to have, is not going to be the same,” she said.

When Erik was first diagnosed there wasn’t a lot of information about autism, so Sandi had to improvise. She started videotaping her son’s behavior and playing it back for him as a teaching tool because Erik responded better to visual learning.

To help Erik understand facial recognition, she and Erik campaigned door to door for Councilwoman Marti Emerald. Sandi said having Erik see people’s reaction to cold visits helped him understand first impressions.

“Suddenly with his non-verbal face and big eyes, he realized I got him,” she said.

She also enrolled Erik in Special Olympics. The organization gave him confidence, friends and strength as he attended college at Point Loma Nazarene University and got into the Cal Western School of Law.

Now Erik plans to practice special education law.

“I got into it because I wanted to help other people with special needs, other people like me,” said Erik.

He’s already written a paper about group homes that house special needs people.

“Two thirds of them in Southern California are below standards on how they treat the residents in group homes," he said. "The oversight is not there.”

His paper has been shown to two assembly members and one state senator. He’s hoping his paper will encourage a change in the system.   Read more and view video here.



That's just fabulous and fantastic at the same time.
"Go Get It laddie" and give their fractured Criteria, Guidelines and failed performance of Care and Support facilities provision ."Hell for Leather"
David Bowie and Mick Jagger Dancing in The Street YouTube

Aimee Doyle

@Kyles Mom

Thanks so much for your kind words. It's been a hard thing not to blame myself. I always thought if I tried this, tried that, tried the other thing, tried harder, tried longer, tried more.....never, never, never gave up, that recovery would happen. But it did not. We haven't seen much in the way of gains since puberty. It's hard to let go of the idea that if you just try hard enough and never give up, that you'll recover your child.

I do wish there was real research on both autistic regression (my son met or exceeded every milestone until age 2, at which point he plateaued and then regressed) and real research on which kids recover, how they recover, and what their recovery looks like. I know I've never personally met an autistic child who fully recovered, although I've read a lot of stories about recovery and how it happened. So I believe in recovery and I believe in the possibility of cure.

I don't understand why so many doctors don't seem to care about the devastation that autism can cause...for the individual affected and the family.

Kyles mom

To @aimee you did not fail. My son responded to most interventions. My friend’s son did not. My heart breaks for the Mom and the son. It is not her fault.

Please do not ever blame yourselves for the failure of medicine to undo the harm they caused.

Kyles mom

This shows just how
Much work this took:


This is a very nice story, don’t get me wrong.
My fear is that his personal story will be used to whitewash the autism epidemic.

His outcome is very atypical. It is not realistic even for “mild” autism cases.

This young man may become another prop in the endless propaganda campaign that is the ND movement. Most kids with any degree of autism do not recover. Some seem to regress, not progress, after puberty.
I dare the MSM to write about “late” regression in autism or even “under performing ” Aspies.

Beleaguered Autism Mom

This story is from 2015. Are there any updates on Erik? Is he still living with his mother? Does he take public transportation independently or drive? I just want to be clear - even autism success stories are bittersweet. (his father died when he was a child - old enough to have memories of him - according to the book he wrote)
I find it interesting that people are determined to show there are "lots of college educated autistic adults." http://spark-sf.s3.amazonaws.com/newsletter/201809/spark_snapshot_report.pdf
For every Erik there are probably 2-3 young adults with toileting goals in their IEPs. I don't know what we can say about them, except they deserve better than what they got in this man-made epidemic.

Aimee Doyle

Congratulations to Erik on his accomplishments, and congratulations to his parents, whose love and support made it all possible. It is wonderful that he wants to use his experience to help others. I am happy that there are some kids who beat the odds. And the odds are high...less than 8% of children diagnosed with autism recover. And "recovery" generally doesn't mean law school.

These stories, though, also make me sad, and always make me wonder where I failed. My son was diagnosed at age 4 - for the next 20+ years, we tried every treatment in autism - we left no stone unturned, trying the conventional (ABA, Speech, OT, Sensory Integration, Auditory Integration, Vision Therapy, Music Therapy, etc.); the alternative (GFCF diet, supplements, secretin, etc.), the "fringe" (craniosacral, homeopathy, naturopathy, acupuncture, etc.) He went to the best private school for children with autism in the DC metro area. We fought hard for challenging goals on his IEPs, and further enriched his special education with private one-on-one tutoring. We spent hundreds of thousands of dollars.

He has participated in Special Olympics since age 8, and participated in adapted sports in inclusive settings. Each gain came painfully slowly. I remember it taking two full years to teach him to ride a bicycle...first the pedaling, then the stopping, then the steering, then the balance. When he became aggressive and self-injurious in adolescence, neurodiversity advocates told me it was because I didn't "love him enough" and "accept his autism."

Interestingly, we were never told to institutionalize him. His teachers and therapists (and of course me, my husband, and his sister) all held high expectations for him. His doctors were generally encouraging. And he has made so much progress since age 4, but he will still need lifelong care and support. He will never go to college, have a career, marry, have children, or even have real friendships.


Congratulations to Erik for his hard work and perseverance. And bravo to his mother for creating innovative techniques tailored to her son’s educational style. What a fine reward for their joint efforts to maximize his physical wellness and intellectual potential.

Contrast that with denialist parents who post memes on social media against “curing” autism. Some posts slam parents who write about the stressful aspects of living 24/7 with autism’s challenges. One insulting meme snidely offers to take any child whose parents feel autism is too much of a bother. However such trite messaging functions as a self-serving ego prop and backfires, because “accepting” autism may not translate into concrete, life-enhancing actions such as treating co-morbid or causal medical disorders.


There must be something about San Diego. My son was diagnosed as severely autistic and we were also told he would do better in a group home that could care for him properly. We did chelation, changed his diet, biomedical intervention, infrared sauna, OT, PT, ST, vision therapy, neuroacoustic therapy, etc., etc., like a lot of parents on here. He actually had real friends in middle and high school and we graduated him out of his IEP in middle school (they only gave him 20 minutes of speech once per week - the school district was awful about giving services). I'm so glad we didn't listen to the 'experts' but listened to parents of yahoo groups (remember those?), Andy Cutler, and bought books from whoever had recovered their kids. We were so glad to hear people like Jenny McCarthy speak out on protocols that had worked for our son. He is now hearing back from universities and trying to figure out where he wants to go. Something we NEVER dreamed of until he hit his final year of middle school. It was so horrible to get that diagnosis years ago in San Diego, but I do think the sunshine and available (expensive) therapies here dramatically helped him.

Jeannette Bishop


Christina Waldman

Congratulations Erik! The California Bar Exam is said to be the hardest in the country, and you passed it the very first time! That is a great accomplishment. Best of luck to you.

Mark Brown PA  Johns Hopkins grad

I always like happy stories. I hope that real progress is made with Autism soon!
I can only imagine how difficult it is at times dealing with a loved one with Autism.
As I've said from day 1, I think we have too many vaccines--2 many chemicals
and AB antibiotics+Pesticides+the SAD Standard American Diet. What is causing what?

Grace Green

One thing is certain; if he had been institutionalized at five, for the rest of his life he would have lived up to the "doctors'" expectations of him. Well done to him, his Mum, and all those who daily defy the negativity of the narrow-minded.

Jenny Allan

"When Erik was first diagnosed there wasn’t a lot of information about autism, so Sandi had to improvise. She started videotaping her son’s behavior and playing it back for him as a teaching tool because Erik responded better to visual learning."

Yes it it's not properly understood how autistic children and their parents find ways of teaching and learning in order to overcome the inherent difficulties autistic persons have with processing visualisation and spacial concepts. It's quite shocking Erik was 'condemned' to be institutionalised, the worst possible scenario for him and others.
Bless this young man who intends to use his own experiences to help others.

Our own 'Wakefield Babe' has done well too, with a good honours degree. He does voluntary work helping others and is thinking about becoming a trained counsellor. When he was 4 years old and assessed for school, the child psychologist stated be would be one of the 2 thickos normally present in an average sized class! His parents complained to the education authority. There were no proper assessment tests done which would have revealed his reading and numerical abilities, far beyond his age, but his lack of spacial awareness and difficulties with abstract concepts meant he would never be a mathematician; geometry and algebra were always quite beyond him! He learned to speak through the reading rather than the other way round, but that's autism, everything is 'back to front' and we need far greater understanding of these learning processes in autism, instead of writing off these children as academic failures.

We also owe a huge dept to Royal Free Clinicians, Professors Walker-Smith and Murch along with diet adviser Paul Shattock. In addition to necessary clinical interventions, the Gluten & Casein Free diet made a huge difference to our grandson's behaviour and well being. In those days these foods were expensive and hard to find. Now an extensive 'free from' section can be found in every supermarket and these foods are now much cheaper to buy.

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