For most of my life I’ve had a plan. The plans haven’t always worked out, but I’ve had a reasonable plan nonetheless. When I was an impassioned six year old I saw the movie Gideon’s Trumpet and decided on the spot that I wanted to be a lawyer. It took me until the end of my first year of law school to realize that that was not really where my passion was and that maybe deciding a career path at the ripe old age of six wasn’t really wise. Back then, at the infinitely wise and mature age of 21, my passion was teaching Social Studies. I was delighted to leave law school to teach (yes, my father thought I was absolutely crazy to leave the financial security of law to enter the field of education). I taught for a while and truly enjoyed the process. Eventually as my own life journey unfolded, my passion shifted to helping people through the therapy process. I’ve been happily working in that field for many years now. I’ve never felt badly about switching paths and following my passion.
Occasionally I’ve glanced over my shoulder and I’ve seen where I’ve allowed my “sensible head” to push aside the wisdom of my heart only to eventually end up following my heart. Sometimes I think, “I could have saved myself so much time if I’d just listened to that inner guidance the first time around!” But my head has this intractable need to question things and that causes me to stray from listening to the quiet wise voice within. I realize that each time I’ve ventured out onto a path that hasn’t turned out to be “the” path; I’ve learned something valuable that has contributed to who I am as a person.
That’s all well and good for my life’s journey…but I don’t really want to go through that process when it comes to healing my daughter from autism. The last thing I want to do is look back and say, “oh damn! I should have….” If you’re like me, you’ve already done that more than a few times and you would rather not continue to do it. As I’ve sat sorting through the alphabet soup of CFD, GcMAF, GAPS, mHBOT, MB12, ACC and scratching my head while figuring out which of the costly recommended tests to run next, I experience this moment of nostalgia. I remember the days when I thought that a moat was just a body of water surrounding a castle. Who knew it would turn out to be a road map of all the potential pathogenic microbes that took up residence in my daughter’s body! Of course that road map does not include answers about exactly which treatment will evict them, either. Oh no, there are multiple choices for how to accomplish that feat and as with most treatments, none of them come with a guarantee that your child will even tolerate them. So, I want to know…where can I buy a reliable GPS to help me successfully navigate this quagmire?– WHAT??!! What do you mean they don’t make one??!! Who thought THAT was a good idea?!
Okay, let’s think about this… How do you decide what to do? How do you know who to turn to? How do you know who will have the answers for you? These are not decisions to be taken lightly. After all, these are children we are talking about and their future rests on these decisions. Good job not stressing out the readers, Money. (Yes, I talk to myself. It’s true.)
There are many reputable DAN doctors out there. Many of them will tell you that you really need to hurry up and implement a particular treatment because your child is at the age where this treatment just might cure him or her. It’s a statement that never fails to incite an overwhelming sense of urgency. There are many experienced homeopaths out there who tout numerous recoveries. Many say that they may well be able to recover your child, too. There are lots of alternative folks offering all sorts of alternative therapies promising infinite progress. There are the main stream folks who offer you the menu of ABA, RDI, FloorTime, Son-Rise, OT, PT, SLP (there’s that alphabet soup again. It gets served up daily in the world of autism). There are neurologists, developmental pediatricians, endocrinologists. There are diets, creams, vitamins, injections and baths. There are the parents who have been in the trenches for years researching, networking and fighting to heal their children. In short, there are a LOT of people to potentially listen to. But guess what? Not one of them will have YOUR specific answer. We have to use a combination of our research and networking skills along with our intellect and our intuition to find the path that is right for our individual children.
Sometimes in the course of desperately wanting our children to heal, we lose touch with that wise inner voice that just “knows.” I’ve done it. I’ve gotten myself all excited by a doctor who literally said my daughter would very likely be cured by a particular treatment. I could not wait to get started. I read about it, researched a little bit, and asked the usual “what are the risks?” question only to be told there were none. I never once stopped to check in with myself about it. We started it, saw gains, and got all excited only to watch it all crash headlong into the disaster of a 6 month serious regression. Damnit! Lo and behold when I did more digging I discovered she was not alone in this reaction. It just so happened that only about 20% of kids react this way…apparently that wasn’t a large enough percentage to mention to me. The thing that so unnerves me is that despite this twisting feeling in the center of my gut, I continued with this treatment at the behest of our doctor for an entire month because “she would come out on the other side.” Am I stupid? Apparently. I should have known better. It’s not like I don’t have all kinds of evidence that I should be listening to that feeling inside. I had it when we vaccinated her. I had it when two well meaning people told me to take her off her reflux meds in the interest of healing. I had it when we took her to the very first DAN who prescribed MB12 but was off on the dose by a factor of 10. (Yeah, that was pretty.) I had it when I was 20 applying to law school. Heck, I had it when I was a little kid and saw a creepy guy outside the village store… the difference is, when I was a little kid I listened to that voice. Nothing bad happened with that creepy guy. I was smarter at 4 than I am at 44.
I was born with intuition…and so were you. We all have it. Yet, we are not typically taught or encouraged to use it. Somewhere in the course of growing up we all move away from listening to our instincts and we make decisions almost solely from our heads. The problem with using only our heads is that our heads tend to be highly influenced by fear, and decisions based in fear are not always wise ones. You know the drill: statements like, “if your kid doesn’t talk by X age, s/he won’t talk at all” send us on a frenzied quest to find and try every therapy/supplement/treatment known to mankind in hopes that it will bring on language before X age. Naturally, not all of those treatments end up being cost effective or helpful. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not bashing intellect. Intellect is important. The ability to analyze is crucial. But the only way we are going to make the decisions that are truly best for our children is by using everything in our tool kit and that includes our intuition. Intellect+Intuition=formidable parent recovering his/her child. The path is so much more relaxed and peaceful when you follow your heart. That’s an added bonus.
As you navigate the winding road of healing your children, remember a few very important points:
- No matter what anyone says, you are the expert on your child. That includes doctors. You know your child better than anyone.
- Do not allow anyone to pressure you. Take the time to research and combine your intellect with your gut instincts to choose the path that is right for you and your child.
- Believe with ever fiber of your being that your child will heal. If you don’t really believe that, it is less likely to happen. We can’t find what we are not looking for.
- Know you are not alone. The Thinking Moms (and Dad) are right here with you, and if you look around, you’ll find support whether it is online or in real life.
- Stay in touch with your intuition…it truly is your personalized GPS!!
- And always, always…KEEP THINKING!