Functional Medicine’s philosophy is to go upstream and understand the initiators of chronic inflammation. These initiators, dietary, emotional, and hidden sources of inflammation (gut pathogens, lead, mold, arsenic, other pesticides, herbicides, forever chemicals, and heavy metal toxicity) create the symptoms we refer to as Autism.
I deliberately used the word “remission.” The word “recovery” is thrown around like candy in the autism world. “Oh, my sons recovered,” “Oh, I’m trying to recover him.” From what I can see, having been in the clinical setting for ten years, this really places even more stress on families. Families feel that if they haven’t recovered in three, five, or seven years, they feel like they have failed. Recovery becomes this elusive piece of candy they can’t seem to get. They see recovering their child as this end destination; honestly, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
The big picture
We miss the big picture when we focus on the end destination. When recovery is the focus, a tunnel vision effect occurs, and families miss other smaller symptoms that have improved because so many still exist. Healing the underlying causes creating the symptoms of Autism is a slow process. You must go slow so as not to cause more harm to your very sensitive children and to prevent a financial crisis from out-of-pocket medical expenses. When the larger symptoms have yet to be resolved, it just means it’s time to revisit the basics, take those up a notch, and decide what medical intervention you are ready for next. Keep going.
From infobesity to knowledge
When I started, I had no information; I was on dial-up internet. I had to go out and find it. I traveled all over the eastern United States to collect information about what I could do. And then, I had to work to convert the information into the knowledge of how do I apply this to my unique and current lifestyle in a consistent and sustainable method. It worked to my advantage. When I found something, I implemented it into our lives and kept it. I layered interventions to work in combination. Today, many families get stuck because there is so much information. A colleague of mine calls it infobesity.
I see two things happening as a result of so much available information. One, families either shut down, “I can’t do that. That’s not my personality,” or they just walk away.
Or two, they start trying everything like a checklist and going from one provider to the next for the advanced medical protocols and interventions. But when recovery doesn’t happen quickly, defeat sets in, and they throw out the nutrition or other things they were trying because “it’s not working.” Then they go to the next thing and try it, and it doesn’t give them the desired results, so they throw it out. So their big picture never can come into focus because they’re just constantly throwing out pieces to the puzzle. I challenge you to focus on loving the child as they are while you walk this path of transformation rather than attaching so much self-worth to your outcomes. We can not wait to imprint joy, satisfaction, love, laughter, acceptance, and playfulness into our lives until we achieve the desired outcome.
I love this quote by Albert Einstein: “Information is not knowledge.” That’s why our society is based on universities and master’s programs and PhDs, and we have tutors for our kids because the information being given to us, we can’t process and assimilate it and apply it without professors and teachers.
Trying things to see what ROI they give is looking for short-term wins rather than long-term gains. James Prochaska, who teaches us the Stages of Change, says trying things is very challenging because there is a lot of trial and error. He says, “Guided learning is much more efficient than trial and error.”
In the next blog, we will investigate turning information into knowledge. How do all the puzzle pieces come together, to work in combination, to place symptoms of autism into remission? How do you apply lifestyle and medical guidance once you understand the contributing causes of your child’s symptoms?