Thursday, April 10, 2008

Boy or Girl - Can you tell??

so, here is a picture and a clip of our ultrasound today. Can you tell whether it's a boy or a girl?? =)

Here he is waving!

Home at last!

Yay! After two weeks of out-to-sea, Cannon is home again!

I know it's kind of wimpy to miss him so much when he was only gone for two weeks, but I guess this just reminds me how much I appreciate civilian life! I've been scrapbooking pictures we took years ago, and remembering what it was like to have him gone, with no contact, for months at a time. The navy is great and all, but it's nice to have Daddy home!

It was fun to see how Tanner reacted to having him gone and then home again. After a few days with Daddy being gone, he stopped asking for him every five minutes. Now he's back at it. From the moment I get him out of bed in the morning, he asks for Daddy!

The older kids had a chance to try their hand at email while he was gone. Their first attempts! So fun. Although, I admit I almost lost it after teaching all three of them how to use the shift button (either I'm a terrible teacher when it comes to electronics, or the whole shift key concept is really tough!!)

So, yay! My honey is home!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

American Academy of Pediatrics and Autism

Wow! I'm so excited I can barely even think of what to write here!

As a mother of autistic children, I have spent many, many hours researching treatment alternatives for this disease. I have spent countless hours with my own children trying to find treatments, both bio-medical and behavioral, which would make a difference to them. I have learned, I have worried, I have worked, I have cried, I have rejoiced, and in a small way, I have triumphed. (Come visit my beautiful twins and you will understand my triumph!!)

Through the anecdotal information I found online from other moms, and from "fringe" group websites, I have found several ways to help my children, and I have offered support to dozens of other moms looking for ways to help their own children. You're probably thinking, hm, isn't autism a pretty common problem today? Shouldn't you be trusting your doctor to help your children rather than strangers you happen to find online?

It's true. I SHOULD be able to trust my doctor to help us. But it doesn't work that way. While Utah (and the rest of the world!!) has extremely high incidence rates of autism (1 in 133 people is conservative), there is an extremely LOW incidence of doctors who even understand what autism is. Research is sadly lacking in this area, and to my knowledge, there is currently only ONE recognized method of therapy for autism which is considered "main-stream" and therefore covered by SOME insurance companies. It is ABA therapy, and while I won't go into details, involves 40+ hours of weekly one-on-one behavioral modification therapy. Insurance companies only pay for treatment by licensed ABA therapists. Last time I checked (a couple of years ago) there were only a handful (less than 10) of these in the country. It is restrictively expensive without insurance. This is the help offered by modern medicine.

On the other hand, parent advocacy groups are exploding around Europe and North America, and action is being taken. Research has begun, and dozens of treatment methods are being identified and offered through these groups. Several celebrities have children with autism, and are helping the cause with money and publicity. There are so many treatments available, that parents have a lot of work to do to sift through the offerings to understand what is potentially helpful to their children, and what is really just "fringe" stuff. Well, it is ALL considered alternative medicine, so how can you know what is safe, and what is just out there to trap hopeful parents? There has emerged a sort of "mainstream" from the methods of alternative medicine. This gives so many parents a place to start.

There are so many children who have benefited from these treatments. Where is the federal research to back it up? They're working on it. While the funding for this research is far from what it needs to be, at least it is coming. In the mean time, there are still no treatments for this epidemic which are offered by conventional medicine.

Recently, I was ecstatic when I heard that the American Academy of Pediatrics released a statement recanting a previous statement they had made. The gist of it was that they no longer felt that diet had no effect on the hyperactivity and ADD/ADHD symptoms in children. This was a HUGE step for them to take! They are behind the curve by a few years - Europe has laws in place already which protect children in this area. But I was so excited to hear that we are moving in the right direction.

Last month the Supreme Court awarded the plaintiff in a case against a pharmaceutical company charged with causing their child's autism through vaccinations. This was a HUGE breakthrough for parents who feel the need to hold companies accountable for harming our children when they do indeed have information which suggest that their products might not be safe. This opened the door for parents who want to protect their children!

Then today I read something which actually made me cry.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is sending representatives to meet with leaders in the "alternative medicine" community of autism treatments. They want to study the treatments and see for themselves what is happening. Could they possibly commit to learning the treatments that have worked for thousands of families already, and make them available for families who go their doctor seeking help?? There are so many parents today who are lost and flailing as they try to help their children. This could be what makes a difference to those children who have the potential to be great, but are mired down by that thing called autism.

I was intending to post a very short, happy blog with a link to the above mentioned article, but as you can see, I got carried away. I only wrote the bare minimum to get my excitement across! I think I could talk or write about this forever. Anyway, good things are happening!