Areva Martin: An “Everyday” But Disappointing Autism Advocate

January 2, 2017

During my morning routine of IonCleanse and tulsi tea, I picked up the book The Everyday Advocate: Standing Up for Your Child with Autism, by Areva Martin, Esq. from the table next to me where I had unwrapped it on Christmas day. Always excited to learn as much as I can while navigating autism, I was curious about this author whose name was unknown to me. From the contents of the front and back covers, I learned she was a frequent guest on the Dr. Phil Show, which I was familiar with from years ago when we had regular television. (Yesterday, I read he’s the highest-paid talk show host, having made $88 million dollars in 2016, and I wondered how many ads for pharmaceutical products played during commercial breaks.) She is the President and Co-Founder of Special Needs Network and a “nationally recognized legal authority and expert on autism” with an 11-year-old son with autism.

Now that my son with autism is an adult, I thought I may need to learn how to advocate for services for him. I was intrigued by the tricks and details I thought might be divulged in this book’s pages. When Tristen was diagnosed at age two, I felt very much the advocate for him, working with therapists and taking classes and being consistent and present to encourage continuing appropriate development. When I felt his needs weren’t being met at school, I was the first to volunteer to help, always keeping the lines of communication open, while making sure to be consistent at home.

When we had to change schools, I fought for his own aide, time in reading programs not previously made available to him, more speech therapy, and the addition of occupational therapy. I did a lot of fighting and arguing, and you know what? It never got me anywhere. They never caved. Maybe I really did need to read this book! In the state of Texas, all additional help through the state for adults with disabilities has a waiting list over ten years long. Maybe this book would help me find out how to be the kind of advocate who can get us services without having to wait? So I dove in.

Until I got to page 11; that’s when disappointment set in.

If you haven’t already, you’ll soon discover that there are many claims about cures for autism. Hyperbaric oxygen chambers, chelation therapy, and special diets all have their supporters. The media regularly tells stories of children who were diagnosed with autism but miraculously ‘recovered.’ Don’t buy into the hype.

My heart sank.

Why did this statement need to be in a book on advocacy? You can be an advocate whether you do traditional or nontraditional treatments for autism, I thought.

Green Bean Girl’s son

A statement like this extinguishes hope. Hope is a huge part of navigating life with autism. I don’t believe you can do it any other way, no matter what treatments you choose. A cancer patient, choosing chemotherapy, knows it doesn’t always work, but has hope it will and therefore complies with the treatment.

We cannot say for certain which path is going to yield the best results when it comes to autism, conventional or controversial, but we have hope that, if it is safe and it’s helped some others, it might help our loved one. To simply snuff out hope and put someone in a little box, limiting them to three or four therapies is criminal. I believe that speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy work best with other interventions such as diet and doctor-guided supplementation, among a myriad of others.

Despite my son’s diagnosis and his need for additional therapies at school, he only ever qualified for speech. Thirteen years he spent on the same goals. I saw progress with his conversational skills three times: 1) he went from nonverbal to verbal with signs when we started the gluten-free/casein-free diet; 2) he told me about past abuse at school that had taken place years before only after hyperbaric oxygen treatments; and 3) he asked me my opinions after using the IonCleanse footbaths, at which time he was not receiving any speech therapy. If I had focused only on speech therapy instead of looking for other methods of healing, my son would not have made these huge gains in areas he was not even working on in speech therapy.

Green Bean Girl’s son with his feet in the IonCleanse footbath

As I read, my own personal experiences continued to contradict a number of Martin’s statements. Here are some parts of the book that I disagree with:

1) Martin assumes that if you seek alternative treatments, you aren’t using good, reliable information from a team of credible professionals you can trust.

Take a minute to research the countless educated and accredited doctors and professionals out there who recommend alternative treatments. These teams read real research, checking out who is funding the studies and what the data really shows.

2)  ” . . . too much speculation about causes and cures is a distraction”

This can be partly true if you let the anger of the situation get the best of you. (But that usually happens after you have discovered the cause.) Finding the cause can help you heal your child because you know what kind of damage you are dealing with. It also gives you something to focus on, instead of feeling helpless and overwhelmed. If it is a “distraction,” I think it’s a good one.

Don’t most people ask “why?” Isn’t that part of human nature? We want to understand things. Anyone who is telling you not to question is hiding something, in my opinion.

3) Martin assumes that if we research and look outside the box for help, we aren’t attending to the day-to-day reality of autism.

My kids were never left to their own devices because I was researching. I don’t know anyone who could say, “Well, I’m going to neglect caring for my autistic child because I’m busy researching autism.” That is ridiculous! Autism doesn’t give you a break. If you want knowledge, you have to find the time to squeeze it in whenever possible. I don’t have time to watch Dr. Phil every day because I’m spending that hour reading books on potty training or how to prepare healthy meals for picky eaters. Researching just means reading published journal articles on the toilet when I have time, instead of playing Candy Crush.

4) “The parents I know who focus on addressing the practical issues—such as accessing services and integrating their child into their family and community—express the greatest level of acceptance and the least amount of anxiety and stress.”

Most parents I know focus on both! And because we do take care of our children’s medical needs, it is much easier to be successful with the family, during therapy sessions, and out in the community. I know some families who accept everything as is and just go to therapy and school, but they are definitely not less stressed. Most of them actually feel more desperate, helpless, defeated, and hopeless and have the hardest time coping.

The last misconception I want to address is the idea that somehow if we look to other forms of healing for our child’s autism, we don’t accept them.

I am here to tell you that is 100% untrue.

When my son was born, I loved him with a type of pure love that only mothers know, and I accepted him just as he was . . . perfect in my eyes.

When we went through the hardest times, the sickest days, the tantrums and the running and screeching, I loved my baby beyond words and accepted him, even if he never changed.

Continuing to work with him to overcome his struggles and make him healthy was never about a lack of love or acceptance. Every parent wants to see their child succeed. We have high hopes for even the most average or most typical child. Does that mean we love them any less if they don’t live up to our hopes? Absolutely not. Is it important for us to believe in our children, to know their potential, and want to see them reach as high as possible? Absolutely.

My wanting my son to progress has nothing to do with not accepting him. I accepted him as he was when he was born, and if he never changed, my heart would be just as full as if he were a Harvard graduate. For me, it’s about the work, the positivity, and the hope that we will do enough. I believe my son will be healed one day, even if it’s not in this lifetime. And when his body and brain are intact, and he remembers this life, I want him to hug me and say,
“Thank you mom, for giving everything you had, exploring every avenue, and not giving up on me.”

I truly hope Ms. Martin’s son will be able to say the same thing to her someday, too.

~ Green Bean Girl

For more by Green Bean Girl, click here.



Pin It
This entry was posted in Blogs by Thinking Moms' Revolution and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Areva Martin: An “Everyday” But Disappointing Autism Advocate

  1. Jane mason says:

    read this book – its about navigating the school system.

    Not about her beliefs. This woman has a special needs network and advocated for special needs. She’s an amazing women. And her point is that people are going broke spending money on false claims.

    Autism is also a business – i have an autistic kid and appreciate her candor. We don’t have to like everything – but if u want to navigate the IEP book , i highly recommend

  2. Hans Scholl says:

    Scientists Prove Link Between Aluminum and Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease

    In today’s world, aluminum is omnipresent, building up within our system from everyday products. Now, we are learning that aluminum toxicity can manifest itself in alarming ways.

    As many of us are aware, the human body is being bombarded with aluminum in everyday products. Many of our foods, vaccinations, medications, baby products, cosmetics, cleaning products and even soft furnishings contain aluminum and it appears that we are powerless to prevent the ever-increasing onslaught.

    This is extremely worrying because, according to Professor Exley, a scientist from Keele University in Staffordshire, aluminum can accumulate in the body and has the potential to do harm wherever it ends up.

  3. Hans Scholl says:

    FREE Vaccine DocuSeries Reveals “Biggest Public Health Experiment Ever”

  4. Hans Scholl says:

    *****************SEEMS BIG NEWS TO ME *************************

    The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Thomas Frieden, plans to submit his resignation on January 20th, the day of President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration.

    It will go down in history that he was running the CDC during the explosive #CDCWhistleblower scandal where a senior scientist blew the whistle on the agency for fraud, corruption, and blatant lies on the 2004 MMR Autism study (and probably many more- we are sure that’s just the tip of the iceberg).

    Frieden disclosed his plans to resign in a year-end interview with Reuters. His future plans are not currently known.

  5. Sorry – previous message sent without complete website address.

  6. Thank you for making these points. As an alternative practitioner who has both advocated for my own son as a parent, and who continues to work with and see children recover, or at the very least, improve by use of alternative diet, homeopathy and other “outside the box” treatments for autism, I am continually saddened by statements such as you quoted from this book. My business partner had a son with Tourette Syndrome, and was largely non-verbal at age 4. At that age she was told by a woman with more letters after her name than there are autistic kids in our practice, that he would “likely need help all his life and never live independently.” Because my business partner had already been an award-winning special needs teacher for 8 years, she knew better than to buy into it. Her mother had overcome cancer through dietary supplements and diet changes, homeopathy, and reiki, among other things. She already knew the limitations of special education services. So she homeschooled him, and went down many trails – chelation therapy, homeopathy, diet, supplements. He graduated from high school, became an Eagle Scout, has participated in more than one water rescue (the real thing, this is not a drill), saving several lives of younger scouts a couple of times, has received his bachelor and masters degrees, has worked as a supervisory forestor, and is moving up the professional ladder. He is married, remodeling a house that he will soon sell and buy a bigger, better house…

    His mother knew- KNEW that she was not willing to have hers and her son’s hope snatched away by a woman whose degrees named her an expert. Moms are the experts. My own son has fully recovered from Aspergers and is working his way up the professional ladder. I, too, was told that “all we can really do is help him with social and organizational skills” by the school. But he too has bought his own car, lives independently, has a job, a life, a girlfriend, a career that is blooming – right where any red-blooded Texas 24 year old should be at this time in his life.

    Parents, think outside the box. Those of us who’ve worked for nearly 2 decades in finding different “outside the box” means to help the kids are frustrated by books such as this, and statements which box in your children. It’s not because we make our living at it. It’s because we, too, often have been where you are – and refused to have our hope taken from us. And it frustrates us how many more kids could be helped if their parents weren’t being bombarded with hopelessness messages! Your kids deserve better.

    THERE IS HELP. THERE IS HOPE. And don’t let “authorities” tell you there isn’t. Those of us who work with these kids know WHY they have autism. And by that knowledge, we have found ways to help them OUT of their autism, whether it’s to get them out of physical pain, or improve speech, or whatever. BUT DO NOT GIVE UP. Do not let anyone steal your hope.

    Thank you for this review. It adds fuel to my fire, and reminds me why every day I try to learn more about how to help the kids. Hang in there!

  7. Jennifer Power says:

    This is the kind of review I look for on Amazon; honest, realistic and, most importantly, not paid for. Thank you.

    Too bad the same can’t be said for the book or it’s author.

  8. Patricia J says:

    Are there any ties between her and any vaccine promoters? She could be a cog for the wheel to cause doubt. Of course, anyone can write a book about anything, so check her biography, etc. It does seem off, however there are people who still think Doctor’s are
    God and believe anything that comes out of their mouths or from the medical establishment. Good rebuttals on her statements covered here. I won’t bother to read
    the book. (was on my tbr list) Maybe you should write a book or get some of the mothers together to write their stories in an anthology. That would be helpful.

  9. Jeff Craig says:

    (I’m tired, so tired of society overall – the troubles put in place and enforced in place by “officials/ government/ pharmakeia/ politics / medical/ education” … it is wearing me down and wearing down “the saints” (believers) today …) Oh, we don’t ever give up (hopefully!) ….
    More and more ideas are available to use, try, experiment safely with, find out about.
    Unfortunately, the “tide” , or rather tsunami, against the truth is biggest of all
    and covered up, so far, all the “cures” that it was able to. The first son cured of autism by ONE SHOT (a dose of enzyme given him BY MISTAKE at a hospital)
    was buried under millions of pages (web pages, paper pages, studies, refutations, media) so deep I don’t know if that one first case can be found….. (like some other breakthroughs 30 to 80 years ago also – it is the character of officialdom to cover up the really good info – to prevent people from ever finding out if they can prevent it)…

    Then it was (and still is) delightful that many moms (ANDI’s MOMs worldwide) discovered without doctors some children were cured simply by NO DAIRY (no milk, no cheese) for 3 to 7 weeks… (and of course otherwise ‘good’ nutrition – not amanorfda) …. many helped with hyperbaric weekly treatments for a year or two, (although expensive – around 5 to 8 thousand dollars) ….. and many helps available dietarily that ought to be routine for everyone (overall health, not just any diagnosis of this or that) … (search term favorite this last month: “lost the diagnosis” (official medical licensed doctors or clinics gave clean bill of health to someone previously diagnosed) (fairly common today, but not common enough! ) …
    Pray a lot, seek the TRUTH, don’t settle for less ….. find others (often they are quiet) who have been helped/ who know how to help/ and value them – protect them. The system doesn’t tolerate them/ us/ when it can silence them/ us.

  10. Tim Lundeen says:

    As propaganda, it makes total sense to claim there are NO treatments. If there is nothing to be done, and autism is 100% genetic, then doctors have no blame in causing it, and don’t need to take on these difficult patients.

    But it’s clear that autism has a large environmental component, and obviously you can sometimes reverse and usually reduce environmentally-caused damage. To claim that healing is impossible makes no scientific sense. It also makes no sense to ignore readily-treatable medically-recognized components of autism (e.g. gut issues, overall inflammation, high glutamate levels, etc).

    • Peter Morici says:

      PIN POST GUEST!!!!!!!!! Peter Morici
      He will be with us LIVE!!! this SUNDAY DECEMBER 4 2016 at 10:00 AM START WRITING ALL YOU QUESTIONS IN THE PIN POST!!!!!! THe purpose of y=this one is that people could see it, questions may be writen in the PIN POST!! 😉

      My son’s mother is Russian, she had a mouthful of dental amalgams, while she was pregnant and had some dental work on 6 teeth. My son was born with heavy metal toxicity, and then had all vax’s til age 2 1/2. His symptoms were: head banging, no eye contact, no speech, and eating issues. He was diagnosed at 2 yr 4 months with severe autism. I then looked up and discovered on my own about metals and had his hair tested. Then I started supplements and AC chelation at 3 1/2 years old. I did 120 rounds, my wife is clueless and has a similar hair test. My family didn’t think it was good to do this but I was committed when I saw almost immediate results. He was in special ed with Down syndrome kids etc. He progressed a great deal. We went to see some top developmental pediatric doctors, who proved to be worthless at National Children’s Hospital including (name removed) who’s a legend in this field. My daughter was born 3 years later, then my son and we did not vax her at all. We moved back to Chicago and started seeing Dr. Usman who flat out told me that I saved my son’s life by doing the AC chelation, that he is “very mild”. His ATEC score about 20, from about 100. She prescribed MB12 shots which is why I went to see her, and after nearly 3 years of shots, he is literally indistinguishable from his peers. He now is 3rd grade, has had several girlfriends, who flock to him, he is very good looking :). During the main chelation days I had his urine tested and he had 11 different metals coming out, test 2nd day of round first urine in the morning, we repeated this test much later and using same method the levels were re-markedly reduced [Note: those tests were NOT challenge test. It was collection of urine during and after chelation rounds]. I got him into cub scouts to see myself his interactions with kids and its been a great experience, I run the scouts for his school, and his ES is ranked in top 100 in Illinois. I have given him about 25 different minerals vitamins and oils nearly everyday. I have tried to reach other local parents but most don’t want to do it, and these kids I see don’t improve. We did the 23andme test and he had the MTHFR +/-, and Andy Cutler said to give extra folic acid. My daughter now 6 was exposed to metals given the fact that she was breastfed for 1 year, and has had emotional issues, OCD. After starting AC method, I noticed improvement the first day. She would babble a lot, it was not understandable, but now speaks clearly. I think she has ADD/ADHD, but have done only 30 or so rounds. She is very social but can’t concentrate well. My son self taught himself PP 2013 and is posting his work on youtube and has 100+ views and 40 comments, he’s an expert at Robolx. His teacher now thinks he’s a savant because he can remember dates etc., from years ago. She said this after he fooled her by writing a soccer schedule and detailed info on soccer which he never played, and she taught 3rd grade 23 years. Email me at pwmcon2 at yahoo thanks for your time.
      – Peter, son, age 9 (120 rounds) and daughter, age 6 (30 rounds)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *