Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Response to My Three Questions

I am so excited someone responded! As promised here is their answers in their entirety.

Thank you for visiting My answers follow.

Do you think people with autism need to be "fixed'?

No, not necessarily. Autism is a spectrum disorder and there are a variety of symptoms that are associated with autism. Some people have severe and painful GI symptoms and I believe those symptoms should be treated and the underlying problem “fixed.” Some people have self injurious behavior and those people should be helped. Some children are bullied and they deserve to understand bullying and be taught how to address it within the system.

Most of all, a diagnosis of autism can be difficult for the entire family and I think that all aspects of the family need to be healed. Sometimes the healing may involve an evolution of the parents so they learn to meet the child exactly where that child is and love the child for who s/he is and not who they want the child to be.

2. Do you think therapies for people who have autism are overpriced?

Mostly no. Caring for a child with autism is extraordinarily resource-intensive. It requires buckets full of time, energy, love, and money. I do not believe that speech therapists overcharge or occupational therapists overcharge or art therapists overcharge. In most cases supplements can be purchased for a reasonable price.

There are, however, treatment programs that are extraordinarily expensive. These include some ABA programs as well as some of the more intensive implementations of the DAN protocol. While it is hard for me to call them overpriced, I do think that parents should be very thoughtful when spending their precious resources. In my mind this means having a very specific and clear understanding of what the treatment goals are and how long the treatment should be continued before some progress is seen on the treatment goals. There is not time or money enough to do everything for every child. We also know that not all treatment approaches will work for every child. Therefore parents, therapists, physicians, and teachers need to have honest discussions about specific treatment goals and which treatments have the best odds of achieving those goals. There should also be honest discussion about when it is best to abandon a treatment because it is not advancing the child.

3. How do I buy all the equipment I am told is necessary?

What equipment? Who tells you what is necessary? This goes back to the answer to number 2 above. No parents should be put in a position of thinking that if they can’t afford a piece of equipment their child will not do well. Therapists, physicians, and teachers need to support the parent so that the parent feels s/he is healing the child with the resources that are available. Healing Thresholds is designed as a free resource to help parents sift through all of the different opinions and ask hard questions of the different members of the therapy team. When parents of newly diagnosed children write me asking similar questions, I point them to this page:
These are great questions. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to weigh in.

- Lara

Lara C. Pullen, Ph.D.
CEO and Founder
Connecting community and science to heal autism.

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