Think the autism diagnosis numbers are unsettling for parents? How's this figure? A new poll shows one in three parents of children on the spectrum admit to having tried remedies that have no real scientific fact to back them up. Coming from a mom who has the pediatrician on speed-dial, the very idea terrifies me. And breaks my heart.
I am not trying to be a sanctimommy here, sitting on some pedestal. My thoughts about these parents aren't ones of judgment but ones of sympathy.
They aren't going off the grid to find treatment for their autistic kids because they're crazy or abusive. They're doing it because they're desperate.
That's why a parent will fly to another country for "dolphin therapy" or use an electronic plug-in that will release chemicals into the air for the child to breathe. That's why they will let their kids be injected with who knows what or wear copper bands in the hope that maybe, possibly, it will help.
And in a world where the numbers of kids being diagnosed with autism is now listed at 1 in 50 (by the CDC), but there's still no cure or medical dection, I can't blame them.
If something is wrong with my child, I want answers. I want to fix it. Call me Type A, but I think that's parenting. We're there to make our kids' path to adulthood as pain-free as possible (within reason, of course ... I'm not talking about doing their homework for them or cutting their meat until they're 18).
To that end, I'd go to some pretty extreme lengths to get my kid treated. I'd have no compunction about badgering the doctors endlessly. I'd be on the Internet until all hours. I'd be getting a second opinion. And a third, fourth or even fifth if needed.
But I have to admit I don't know how far I'd go beyond scientific research. Maybe it's because I grew up in a pretty healthcare-centric house (my mother was a nurse practitioner), but I'm uneasy about anything that isn't tried and tested. I'd be worried that what I'm doing to make her better could actually make her worse!
Unfortunately, this is the position many parents of kids on the spectrum are in right now. They are taking risks with their kids because they're afraid the alternative is that much worse ...
How about you? Would you try a treatment that wasn't tested if you thought it would help your child?
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