A Different Face of Autism

The oft-repeated statement “autism is not a real epidemic, doctors didn’t realize it,” or “they just renamed it” has some limited degree of validity. It accounts for about 20 % of my patients, slightly higher than the reported incremental increase in ASD diagnoses.

Danny (I’ll call him that) came to his Barcelona, Spain family at 3-1/2 years of age after a miserable existence in a Russian orphanage with a sketchy history other than being “very sick at 2 months of age, admitted to a hospital and abandoned by his parents.” At first, Danny did not speak, could barely walk, did not respond to his name, had no hair, rotten teeth, and decreased vision – among other maladies! The family reported that he was markedly improved after 2 years. By the time that I met Danny at 8 years old, his family had provided love, nutrition, and an intense sensory stimulation program. He was a pleasant, loving young boy who was mute and seemed rather simple, he could barely read and write and seemed to adore human contact (however inappropriate it could appear).

On physical examination, there were lots of patches of scaly rashes, allergic shiners, he exhibited weak core tone and appeared to have a developmental age of about 5 years.

Danny was put on a protocol which paralleled many of the treatments used in “traditional” ASD – bowel evaluation and treatment, resources to improve cellular energy and decrease inflammation, and continued work with behavioral and traditional therapies. After 5 months, he was speaking more and performing better in school (both reading with comprehension and writing), social interactions were mixed with more interactions but some aggression, and better core tone on examination.

Today, I was looking at someone who possessed both skills and potential. According to his parents, he has improved markedly in the past year in all areas of his life. He was conversant and appropriate (especially about soccer), and even had questions about his upcoming Disney vacation.  His maturity level was much more on par with his size and age, and he had experienced a great Christmas. His family has renewed hope about what his future will hold. Is everything OK now? Well, he still suffers from fear of being left alone, inappropriate aggression toward his younger brother and betwetting; but he continues to show progress.

By the way, “Danny” is not my only patient who suffers from such a tragic infancy, and Russia is not the only country of origin committing such atrocities.

I hope to continue to report about this brave young man as he conquers his past and confronts medicine’s flawed understanding.

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  24. mimi says:

    By the way, “Danny” is not my only patient who suffers from such a tragic infancy, and Russia is not the only country of origin committing such atrocities

    I would like to comment on this true statement. My son was Diagnosed with ASD Just before 3.
    As an infant 6 months, he projectile vomited from dairy. His doctor told me to “give him milk anyway, he needed that Calcium” From my view there was none that stayed in his body (if anything it seemed to leach out more in the action) at 12 months we started gluten foods, we had only fixed the milk issue a few months before. Vomiting, gas, no sleeping, head banging, daily suppositories. I tried to get him assistance this went on for 2 years. Doctors just assumed it was all ASD, and wouldn’t talk about food. At age 4 I went to a wonderful Nutritionist. She told me she didn’t want to tell me what to do, it was too hard. I told her I could make a life change. I did, My son gained 8 IQ points, Noted in his multi-deciplinary evaluations. Administered by a major Hospital. Pre diet change and post. I improved as well. The visiting nurse told me she was concerned for my health (I had not slept through the night in 4 1/2 years)!! My child was able to learn his teachers commented on his attention. I still feel that I am missing some pieces. It is hard to figure out health, when there is no where to acquire knowledge. Some of your other posters are quite SMUG (MANY a PUB MED article will state, the effect of celiac’s and milk allergies on learning disabilities, also D3 defeciency) read before one condems!!! I am glad anyone in the medical profession seems to be sentient, and willing to see children as humans and not ASD children and nothing else.

    This brave child that I am speaking of (my own, survived his cruel treatment) Here in the USA surrounded by world renowned hospitals. Ignorance is painful! knowledge feels pretty good!!! Lead on McDuff! 🙂

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