Friday, January 21, 2005

What we mean when we say Abby is 'recovered'

This mother's explanation is really good. I feel nervous about navigating unchartered territory. I was glad to come across this woman's site.

Here is another mom's perspective and one that I really relate to because of the guilt I feel about ABby's amazing progress. I know that sounds goofy, but it is heartbreaking when other parents at BI grasp my arm and pleadingly look into my eyes (sometimes with tears) and ask, "What else are ya'll doing? What else?" It kills me. I am tearing up right now thinkng about those moms and dads. Some of them have been in the trenches a really long time too.Some of their children still do not speak. Some of them have other issues accompanying the autism.


Recovery: The Word That Shall Not Be Spoken

In the great movie, The Village, there were monsters in the woods that went by the name of "Those We Do Not Speak Of" or something like that. That's similar to the way we speak of recovery for children with autism. Can a child with autism recover? Yes. According to Ivar Lovaas' well-controlled and now replicated studies, about 47% of kids who receive Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) at the maximum level (40 Hours per week) will need no special education services by school age. We have all heard about such kids. I have been fortunate enough to know of at least two of these kids. But we do not talk about them too much because . . . other parents will expect that their child too will recover. We dare not speak of it too much because we do not want to offer false hope. What if their child is in the 53% group? The fact is, ABA, especially if accompanied by all the other common interventions for autism (GFCF Diet, D.A.N. Protocol, speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, etc.), can help children recover from autism to the point that they no longer are distinguishable from their average peers. Even if the child does not recover, they make tremendous gains in IQ, basic and advanced skills, and in behavior control.

Now all this is said with the understanding that some kids with autism are at severe levels and may not fully recover even with all the best ABA training and other interventions in the world. That's another reason we do not speak of recovery too often. We do not want to "rub it in their noses" that some kids will recover but not their kid. That kind of hurt can't be discounted. However, we cannot ignore something that helps so many kids just because it does not help all kids. Jesus healed a lot of people, but He did not heal all people. Why? We will only know that answer when we see Him. (Recovery from autism is something like this too - it's in God's hands also - the children that I know who have recovered were covered by a lot of prayer. Why all kids do not recover will have to be one of those questions we ask Jesus at That time also.).


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