Monday, February 16, 2009

Mother Warriors

Whatever Nikko had going on in his system about refusing to sign More is finally subsiding, as he is now starting to sign it again when he wants something. It's kind of sloppy, but hey, I'll take it over nothing. He's not putting a Please behind it, but again, I'll take More for now. Nikko didn't do anything that was unusual during the day today, but when we dropped off the kids at Luisa's house before we went out to dinner he was very upset, and when we returned he was so into a rickety pink toy stroller that he barely gave us a glance. That's probably very typical of Nikko or any 2 year old.

After dinner, Denis and I went to hang out at Borders for a little bit. I walked down the aisles and really had no idea what kind of book to read. I love reading a good book, which is arbitrary, but I rarely am able to pick out a good book. Luisa usually recommends good ones to me, like Memoirs of a Geisha or The Time Traveler's Wife and I read them and end up loving them. But I am bad at picking out books. Anyway, while perusing the aisles I saw another Jenny McCarthy book with her son Evan sharing the cover. I had read her previous books, including Louder Than Words, so I was curious as to what this book, called Mother Warriors, might be about.

Jenny is an advocate for Mothers with kids that have autism and is against vaccines. I read a few chapters (that's all I had time for) and it just started me thinking about methodologies toward Nikko. According to Jenny, vaccines caused autism in Evan, and by altering his diet and including supplements they were able to overcome the autism. I am sympathetic toward Jenny in her vehement struggle to get help for Evan in his therapies, for her suffering through his seizures, and for dealing with the stigma of autistic children. However, I'm not sure I am on the bandwagon when it comes to vaccines. I don't think vaccines caused Nikko to have autism because even in his infancy he has shown detatchment, indifference to trying to teach him things such as animal sounds or body parts and started his crashing earlier than at the 18 month shots. Therefore I can't really rally around Jenny's battle against pediatricians and vaccines. The second food for thought is the whole diet thing, being wheat/gluten free and including tons of supplements. On the diet side, people say that if you try it, you will see a different-acting Nikko. Nikko doesn't have any gut or digestive problems, doesn't have any food allergies, but does have eczema that is not terrible. I think people like Jen the DT are helping Nikko learn things through therapy, but I'm not sold that changing his diet is going to improve his behavior, or even get him to talk. I am not saying that it doesn't work, because it obviously works in many cases i.e. Nick, Todd's nephew has an entire revamped diet that they tell me has helped change his behavior. I also can't discredit it because I haven't tried it. Shelly the OT told me that it's possible to do, but it is a lot of hard work. We could still see some results. Geez, I can hardly get the PECS pictures going, and I hate cooking, so how am I going to revamp Nikko's diet? Then here is another underlying question: am I doing Nikko a disservice by not trying to alter his diet? Am I being a bad mother by not doing everything I possibly can to help him improve or overcome (if that's even possible) his autism? Is my hesitating to change his diet making things worse? Am I being lazy?

I don't know if I'm going to continue to get Jenny McCarthy's book and finish reading it, or borrow it from the library if I can ever get back there, or buy it on if it's not too expensive. I'm curious to read what's going on with her and Evan, but realize that her story doesn't exactly apply to me.

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