Homeopathy has an important role to play in treating the autism epidemic. I should know, because my own son Max was completely cured of autism with homeopathy! This was my first real experience of homeopathy and it certainly was a doozy. It propelled me to begin my own study of homeopathy and ultimately, to leave my former career as a research computer scientist and devote myself to promoting and teaching about homeopathy. It is one of my life goals to spread the word to other parents, especially parents dealing with autism, about how homeopathy can help both them and their children.
Many people are unaware of the magnitude and significance of the autism epidemic. The disease was first reported in 1943 — at the same time as the mass vaccination programs for diseases such as polio and pertussis began. In the 1970’s the incidence in the USA was 1:2500 children. A couple of years ago, the incidence was 1:150 children (which boils down to 1:100 boys because of a higher incidence among boys, and 1:68 families). More recent statistics indicate that the rate has already risen to 1:100 children. If the current rate of increase (about 20% per year) continues, by the year 2020, 1:10 children will be autistic.
The allopathic establishment would rather sweep these problems under the rug, but they are becoming too large to ignore — especially now that that children and grandchildren of prominent politicians and celebrities have been affected. Conventional medicine offers essentially no real hope and parents are routinely told, upon diagnosis, that they should anticipate eventual institutionalization for their children. With a cost of millions of dollars per child, the autism epidemic will quickly become a major component of the already substantial national health-care crisis in the USA, not to mention the loss to society of so many potential human resources.
The truly criminal part of this situation is that it is most likely allopathic medicine that is to blame. Most parents within the autism community believe that vaccination is at the root of their child’s condition. And there is ample evidence that this is true. Just looking at the graphs of incidence, one can clearly see that the rates of autism jumped at times when new vaccines were added into the pediatric vaccination protocols. Many parents believe that the mercury adjuvant, thimerosal is to blame. But it is more likely that multiple factors are at work — the sensitization of children due to the toxic adjuvants in the vaccines plus other toxins in the environment, coupled with the introduction of so many disease antigens at once directly into the bloodstream. Together, these factors set children up for a terrific autoimmune response that can manifest in many ways. For example, we now have many children with gut problems (common in autism), hyperactivity, type-one diabetes, severe allergies to foods, etc. Autism itself is a multi-faceted disease that reflects the fact that many individuals, each with their own disease tendencies, are reacting to an assault on their immune system in their own way.
Unfortunately, the cover-ups of this disaster have been all too typical. Studies have been concocted to take the blame off vaccines. Vaccine manufacturers have been hastily absolved of liability via measures tacked on to legislative bills. The allopathic research machine has labeled the disease as “genetic” (who ever heard of a genetic epidemic?) and most of the research dollars are poured into this approach. And so we find that the autism epidemic is fast on its way to becoming an allopathic cash cow like cancer. In the meantime, the organizations that support alternative (and cheaper) approaches to autism are pushed to the side when it comes to the big bucks and celebrity benefits. Sadly, these alternatives are the only approaches that have shown any curative effect. Homeopathy is one of these alternative therapies, and in the scheme of things within the autism world, it has a relatively small presence.
Personally, I believe that homeopathy is one of the best therapies available to this community. While many alternative approaches such as the use of supplements, diets, detoxification protocols, and behavioral therapy are helpful and sometimes achieve near recovery for many children, most of these approaches are not truly curative. Thus, a “recovered” autistic child often has to stay on restrictive diets and supplements, or has merely managed to accommodate well enough to their situation so that they can live within normal society. In contrast, homeopathic cures of autism, while still relatively rare, can produce an individual who is truly free of autism. This happened to my own son and I know of other several other cases.
Is this any surprise, with homeopathy’s track record in dealing with vaccine damage and autoimmune diseases? While the results my son experienced are admittedly unusual and perhaps can only be expected in a small percentage of cases, many homeopaths with large autism practices are able to attain significant gains in the majority of their patients.
Ever since the publication of my book Impossible Cure (a general introduction to homeopathy that includes our family’s experiences with homeopathy and dozens of other first-person cure stories from all over the world), I often give talks to parents about homeopathy, do referrals to homeopaths all over the world, answer many parent inquiries, and keep track of progress on many cases. I have also interviewed homeopaths that have intensive autism practices. I have learned that there is a multiplicity of factors that make this patient population unique from the perspective of the homeopathic practitioner. Among these are the following
* The inherent difficulty of treating autism. Treatment is usually slow and gradual, and requires careful case management skills.
* Extreme anxiety, desperation, and often dysfunction in autism families, due to the stress and financial pressures of their situation. Impatience with treatment is often the norm, which works against the realities of what parents should expect.
* Simultaneous use of many forms of intervention, including diets, supplements, chelation (in various forms), and a myriad of other therapies such as behavioral therapies, auditory therapies, osteopathy and craniosacral treatment. Many treatments are focusing on the myriad symptoms (e.g., gut problems) rather than the underlying cause of the disease.
* Parents seeking out “homeopathy” are unaware of what homeopathy is and often end up with a poorly trained (or untrained) practitioner who simply offers off-the-shelf combinations, machine testing, daily doses of remedies that are viewed as “vitamins”, etc. In other words, very allopathic approaches to homeopathy.
Into this situation steps the brave and devoted classical homeopath. The challenge is substantial but the payoff is huge. The practitioner has the potential to give a child’s life back and save an entire family. More than this, they can demonstrate to the world that homeopathy can work wonders when allopathy can offer nothing. For this reason, the autism epidemic provides a tragic but awesome opportunity for homeopathy in promoting itself. The parents of autistic children are desperate, intensely invested in their children, and will not forget what homeopathy has done for them. I’m a case in point! I know of several other “autism mom’s” who have gone on to become practitioners and ardent promoters of homeopathy.
I’ll conclude this article with a short description of my son Max’s recovery story. It is an edited excerpt from an article I wrote for Mothering Magazine that appeared in January 2006. Max’s recovery demonstrates, in my view, many key things: the effectiveness of classical treatment; the important role of nosodes in autism treatment; the utility of LM dosing (which I believe provides the gentle and frequent “nudge” that many autistic children need, in addition to involving the parents and their intentionality in the process); the role of special diets that remove certain foods (notably milk, gluten, food colorings, and corn) that are essentially maintaining causes for many children and can be reintroduced once food sensitivities are healed by homeopathic treatment; the importance of engaging the whole family in the healing process; and the need for parents to be patient, observant, pliable to changes and improvements, heartfully connected to their child, and faithful in the potential for recovery. I encourage you to read Impossible Cure if you are interested in more details of Max’s story. Many parents find that this book provides invaluable guidance and quite a few practitioners require that all their patients buy and read the book — not just their autism families. See www.impossiblecure.com.
In January of 1995, an article in Mothering about the homeopathic treatment of children’s behavioral problems led me to seek out homeopathic treatment for my then autistic son, Max. Back then, my husband Steve and I were struggling to understand and come to terms with Max’s inability to communicate and socialize with others. Unfortunately, this experience has become increasingly familiar to more and more parents since that time. In 1995, the dramatic rise in autism rates in the USA was just beginning, and the world of autism resources and treatments was in its infancy.
In the spring of 1994, when Max was nearly three, his preschool program called us in for a conference and recommended medical attention. Max was becoming increasingly detached, did not make good eye contact or respond well to his name, and was manifesting self-stimulation activities like spinning. During story time, he seemed oblivious; if he was not being held in a teachers lap, he would run off and play quietly elsewhere in the room. When other children were playing outside, the teachers would find him staring raptly at a toy or animal in a classroom. Although Max was generally happy in demeanor, he had only ten or twenty words in his vocabulary and was not yet making two-word sentences. Nor did he seem to really understand or respond to us when we spoke to him. If I tried to read to him at bedtime, he’d be all over the bed, running his fingers on the wall and the bedspread. However, he was amazingly adept with blocks and computers, knew his numbers and letters, and loved watching TV and dancing to music.
On the advice of a speech therapist friend, we did not take Max to the Stanford University clinic that had been recommended to us. She told us they’d just label him and instill a sense of hopelessness in us. Instead, she recommended an excellent language therapist in Palo Alto a woman who is still the top therapist working with children like Max in our area. As with so many other things that happened to us that fateful year, someone up there was watching out for us; notoriously impossible to get an appointment with, this therapist took Max on as a client immediately. And rather than labeling him, she just set to work.
The summer of 1994 I also learned about the Feingold diet. One of the most suspect items on their problem-food list was cow’s milk and Max was addicted to it! The bottle was his lovie and he would sometimes drink eight bottles a day. Once we took milk out of his diet, a veil seemed to lift, and Max finally was able to build two-word sentences. He was still autistic in style, but he was definitely more present. Several years later I discovered that sensitivities to milk and other foods are highly characteristic of autistic children. Other dietary changes we made at that time included avoidance of food colorings and corn.
In the fall of 1994, Max’s appointments with his language therapist continued, including a weekly session with two other boys on the autism spectrum. Max was the best behaved but the least verbal and most spaced out. After testing, he qualified for county special education benefits. Max’s progress in therapy was slow and he had begun to manifest characteristic autistic symptoms like echolalia, speech echoing. We were heartsick but determined to try everything we could. Truly, this was my worst nightmare coming true. My brother is severely mentally ill, so I knew very well how Max’s problems could impact our entire family. At that time we enrolled Max in a Montessori school, which was much better suited for him, and also tried to adopt ideas from the book Son Rise by Barry Neil Kaufman for example, spending intensive focused individualized time with him. On the bright side, Max was usually happy, even if he wasn’t fully there.
That was the state of things when I learned about Homeopathy from Mothering. Somehow, the short feature article by Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman, ND rang a bell in me; I instinctively knew that this form of treatment could be our answer. Like I said, someone up there was watching out for us! The next day I called an acupuncturist friend of mine and asked where can I find a homeopath? She referred me to John Melnychuk, a practitioner who had just set up a practice in Palo Alto. We quickly got an appointment, and Max’s journey to recovery began.
Our first appointment with John was typical of classical homeopathic treatment. John observed Max, listened to all of the symptoms I related about Max’s sleep and eating habits, sweat patterns, physical symptoms, behavior, and personality. He also took into account Max’s gestation, birth, and our family’s medical histories. This first appointment took approximately two hours. After taking a couple of days to analyze the case, John called to tell us the name of a remedy that he felt was best-matching or homeopathic to Max. (In Max’s case, this was Carcinosin LM1.)
Luckily, fate was smiling upon us once again. Within days of beginning on a daily liquid dose of the remedy, Max began showing subtle changes. His speech became slightly more fluid, he used some new phrases, and he seemed more socially aware. The following week, Max’s therapist remarked that something had definitely shifted. Even though we did not tell her about the homeopathy, she quickly asked, “What did you do?!” For example, Max was suddenly able to follow a sequence of two commands rather than just one.
As the months progressed, the changes in Max became more and more noticeable. Each month we would increase the potency of his remedy and would notice a characteristic pattern of response. Upon starting a new bottle of the remedy in a higher potency, we would see a 3-day period of increased hyperactivity followed by a discrete improvement in cognition and behavior. Since Steve and I are both scientists, we even conducted a simple experiment. Steve gave Max his remedy for a two-week period and changed the potency at a time unknown to me. I made observations trying to notice that sudden improvement in behavior and I noticed it exactly three days after the dose had been changed.
After six months of treatment, John recommended that we also take Max to a cranial osteopath. John now treats many autistic children, and he has found that skilled cranio-sacral treatment can speed up improvement in many of his cases. Max had several treatments with the osteopath and we noticed that it made a real impact on him. It seemed to calm him and also increased his desire for physical contact and affection.
After nine months of homeopathic treatment, Max’s therapist felt that her sessions were no longer necessary. One-and-a-half years after beginning treatment, Max was testing above age level. When we signed the papers releasing him from eligibility for special education benefits, our therapist told the county representative that it was not her treatment that had helped Max, it was homeopathy. In fact, she told us that she had never seen anything like it before. She had seen autistic kids improve, but she had never seen a child lose their autism like Max had.
At that point, Max was probably 80% cured. The remaining 20% took a period of several years marked by transitions to new remedies as Max improved and changed. By the time he was in 4th grade, no one would suspect his former autism.
(Obviously, each child requires individualized treatment with remedies selected on the basis of their own symptoms. Each autistic child will likely need completely different remedies. However, for benefit of the homeopaths reading this, I will briefly describe the course of Max’s treatment. Max initially progressed from Carcinosin LM1-13 over the first year of treatment. At this point the aggravation was consistent and dosing was halted. Six months later, due to a relapse because of a TB test injection, we began again with Carcinosin LM1, progressing up to LM8 over the course of eight months. After this, Carcinosin was not used again, nor was LM dosing necessary. Over the years, occasional remedies were given only as needed, notably Op, Cicuta, and Hyoscyamus. Pulsatilla and Arnica were important as acute remedies. Now, at age 17, Max is probably healthier and needs less homeopathic help than the rest of our family.)
Admittedly, Max’s response to homeopathic treatment was exceptional and close to ideal. But Max is not an isolated case. As more and more families are beginning to try homeopathy for their autistic children, I am hearing more and more experiences of true healing from around the world. And with an incurable disease like autism, even modest improvements can make a huge difference in quality of life. Many of the homeopaths I speak with report at least some significant form of improvement in a majority of their autism cases.
As you might imagine, Max’s cure set an even larger journey in motion for our family. For one thing, homeopathy became our primary mode of medicine. Over the years the homeopathic miracles I’ve witnessed among friends and family are just mind-boggling. My experience with Max also inspired me to change the course of my own life. My work as a researcher in computer science suddenly seemed trivial and mundane in comparison to the miracle that had touched our lives. I felt a call to devote myself to learning, promoting, and supporting homeopathy in the United States. I couldn’t believe that most of the people in this country don’t know about homeopathy. The more I learned, the more I realized that it was like a hidden treasure.