Autism and the New Childhood Epidemics: Can We Get to the “Why?”
Another month of autism awareness is upon us. Parents continue to hope for more than just awareness but instead, action. A generation of children who were born beginning in the late 1980’s have been stricken with not just a new brand of “autism” symptoms, but autoimmune, viral and bacterial encephalopathy, PANDAS/PANS, life-threatening allergies, eczema, and even many without a “diagnosis” of anything have a far-away look in their eyes. The lost look that says, “the lights are on, but nobody’s home”. Although there has been a great deal of controversy regarding the impact of the expanding number of vaccines now on the schedule of childhood “well visits”, we are even seeing autism and significant food and environmental allergies in children who have never had a single vaccine. Why?
The most dreaded of illnesses are those that are misunderstood, misdiagnosed, and misaligned with the current medical paradigm of dispensing one drug to cover one illness. Autism and PANDAS/PANS (oops, I meant encephalopathy for both of those diagnoses), as well as Lyme Disease (oops, I meant a widespread infection of many types of microbes that highjack the immune system to insure their own stealth survival) are all vastly misunderstood and incorrectly diagnosed. Parents are seeing parasites come out of their children who were born and raised in America, a first-world nation where most MD’s will deny seeing parasites crawling in anyone’s GI tract (oops, except for that special needs boy we scoped that one time…yeah that was bad). There is not one solution, or one “medical fix”, one drug that alone will cure any of them. Parents must literally scour the earth to find a practitioner who understands the whole picture and then knows how to treat it. Once treated, a child needs countless hours of teaching to catch up developmentally and academically and recover from what they missed while ill. Consider yourself blessed if you have not had to travel far and wide and there is a competent practitioner that you can easily drive to and not wait years to see. Consider yourself blessed if your spouse can earn enough money to purchase “clean food” and pay for travel to good doctors while you spend your days recovering your child.
This month, we can watch Niagara Falls be lit up blue. We can be in awe of all the campaigns by well-meaning people who are attempting to raise awareness. But awareness is no longer enough! The only way to make solutions happen is to stop the infighting about what causes autism and immune dysfunction. Illnesses of this depth and complexity must be multi-factorial and situation-dependent. We must all join hands and promote the idea that this spectrum of childhood illness is medical and treatable. We must demand to know why this is happening and continues to happen to a generation of children. There are too many kids NOT getting better!