Sunday, August 29, 2010

Life in 2000

In 2000 our family had been in Madison for 2 years (moving from Des Moines, IA). The family consisted of myself, my husband, Ron, and kids, John, 9, and Les, 6. We lived in a home in the Crestwood neighborhood in west Madison, WI. Ron and I both grew up in Wisconsin so we were glad to be back.

John had been diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome shortly ago and we were trying to live as normal a life as we could with this. We had just joined Bethel Lutheran Church, John was taking antidepressants to help deal with his extreme depression, and Les was a funny, loving girl with her own problems--mostly a result of her having ADHD, seizures and a brother with autism. Ron was a partner in an architectural firm in Madison.

We were still trying to get to know Madison and our neighbors and they were getting to know us. One thing I remember was John's frequent yelling and screaming--horrible mood swings. His condition was not new to us but as these kids grow, their symptoms and actions change--usually for the worse--so I remember John being in the back yard yelling, screaming and being out of control. I was at first horrified that our neighbors would be hearing this private part of our life but I gradually realized that they were also learning what life was like for a family living with autism.

Our life was mostly a living nightmare. John had terrible obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), chronic depression, frequent melt downs, and demanded a lot of attention. His anger outbursts left holes in our walls and doors and he beat Leslie whenever she pissed him off.  I remember Leslie crying to me one day after he beat her, "Mom, I am never going to see 10 (years)." Les, with her ADD, was a handful herself but easier to control and connect with than John. I was a very reactive parent, in desperate need of better parenting skills. Ron was the rock for us all.

The antidepressants did not help John that much. His depression cycled—getting better or worse depending upon criteria that we did not understand. Looking back, I think keeping a food journal might possibly have helped. He got more depressed very fast when he was hungry, that was easy to see, but the other components were not easy to figure out. Also, he gained weight from the antidepressants and that made him more depressed and lose self confidence which was almost non existent. 

John also had a significant cognitive delay. He had very poor short term memory and could not understand simple things like tying a knot. Reading and math were very difficult for him. His strengths were that he was a very sweet boy, nice looking, and easy to like. His teachers seemed to want to help him as much as they could.

John had one friend at school, Brandon, and this was the source of some self esteem for him. At the end of elementary school, however, I was told that he would have a hard time in Middle School at Jefferson because of the way the building was set up. So I got a full time job so we could send John to Walbridge School, a private school for kids with disabilities.

So John went to Walbridge School for 2 and a half years. During that time, we were not impressed with the school or how John was doing. The quality of his education varied a lot with his teacher. He had developed another friend, Zack, but lost his friendship with Brandon. After these 2+ years, $21,000 poorer, we removed him from Walbridge and enrolled him at Jefferson Middle School as an eighth grader. He was miserable there with no friends but he was used to being miserable so he did not complain.

He went on to Memorial High after that and, again, was miserable. He hated being around kids who were depressed and also hated being around kids who were happy because he could not be happy—it leaves nothing in between.

Meanwhile I read parenting books, desperately trying to change into the patient, understanding Mom that they both needed. (This did happen but it took years of work on my part.)

In the summer of 2006, I happened to google 'autism'. Years prior I had searched and searched for answers to his problems on the web but found nothing I could follow up on. This time, the Generation Rescue website came up first and when I looked at the website, I saw the words, "If you caused a 10,000% increase in autism, wouldn't you try to cover it up?" That was my first introduction to the controversy of vaccinations causing autism and ultimately led me to the biomedical protocol that was being used successfully by many to recover their kids. For more information, see or

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