Where a dad of two great kids (one on the autism spectrum) muses about life.
Saturday, March 31, 2007
No More Silence
I'm a get along kind of guy. I like to build concensus, and not rock the boat too much. I like to keep my mind open to different opinions, and different ways of doing things. But sometimes you have to draw a line in the sand.
Twenty years ago, the gay community was beseiged by a disease that was killing them off, and no one seemed to care. Several people in the gay community in New York came up with the "Silence=Death" campaign. It was a simple campaign to raise awareness amongst all of society of what was happening. They didn't have the internet, so they plastered posters all over town looking much like the one above.
I believe that the autism community is under a somewhat similar (though not yet as devastating) onslaught in this day and age. There are two main things that I see that are killing autistics. One is the physical and psychological abuse that is going on in institutions (and sometimes openly in society). The other is subjecting autistics to experimental treatments that have no scientific proof, and have killed people that were being treated. The biggest offender in this category is chelation (now sometimes referred to as "detoxification").
While I still respect any parent that respects and loves their child and is just trying to get the best interventions for them, I can no longer stay silent when they mention chelation as a possible option as treatment. Sometimes in the past I have not been as vocal as I should have been in informing them of the hazards of chelation. At the risk of losing friends, and of getting tossed off one local message board I am on, I can stay silent no longer.
Description of deaths from chelation can be found here and here. A good discussion of a 5 year old autistic child's death from chelation can be found on Kevin Leitch's blog here.
We have this great disseminator of information, the internet. I resolve to respond whenever I come across potentially dangerous practices. Not to denigrate the individuals involved, or to espouse one way of doing things over another. But to save lives. Period. And I encourage all of you to do the same.
Me- Joe, husband of a great wife, and dad to two great kids, who were both adopted at birth.
Liz- My ever understanding wife, who manages to wear many hats (mom, advocate, therapist, teacher) for our kids.
Buddy Boy- Born in 2000. Funny, intelligent, inventive, and autistic. Loves machines.
Sweet Pea- Born in 2002. Typical little sister. Competitive, outgoing, and smart. Loves anything pink.