Not a mystery

Wed, 07/16/2008 - 8:26am
By: Ben Nelms

Reversal of autism diagnosis no surprise to Ian’s parents

Not a mystery

Autism. It is a condition with an alarming incidence that now strikes one in every 150 children in America. Parents are told it is a condition for which there is no cure, though coping strategies and mechanisms can sometimes prove helpful. Yet regardless the current understanding surrounding this mysterious condition, its exponential growth in the United States and statements of it being incurable, there are sometimes exceptions to the rule. One of those exceptions is a little boy named Ian. He was diagnosed with significant autism in 2006, but today that diagnosis is a thing of the past. For Ian’s parents, Anjellica and Allan, the reversal of autism is no mystery at all.

Ian Guthrie lives with his family in Tyrone. He was born in January 2004 and was diagnosed with PDD NOS (pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified) in May 2006. But by 2008, everything had changed. His pediatrician says he is no longer autistic and members of his education team with the Fayette County School System concluded in January that Ian is no longer eligible for special education and related services. Ian is now scheduled to be in a typical classroom when school begins in August.

Anjellica, who has a background in medicine, believes the link to Ian and autism was in the vaccines he received at 12 months of age. She was long a proponent of parents having their children vaccinated, but not anymore.

“I think the vaccines just happened to be the catalyst that pushed him over the threshold into autism. I don't think vaccines are the ‘smoking gun.’ I think a lot of these kids have a lot of other issues going on... environmental toxins, autoimmune issues in vitro from the mother, over use of antibiotics, too many food preservatives, and vaccines. I think it's a "perfect storm" scenario. A storm that could definitely be prevented,” Anjellica said.

After receiving the vaccinations, Allan and Anjellica noticed that Ian began to lose the words he had mastered.

“Words like ‘ball, fish, momma, daddy, bye-bye.’ Those words started losing consonants and vowels and then he quit saying them altogether. Then he lost all ability to communicate. This took about three months to totally lose all ability to communicate and lose all words. We both knew that kids once they learned words, would not typically lose those words. At this point, it still didn’t register what was happening,” Anjellica explained. “I also had an incident where Ian was in the backyard standing in an ant bed and never cried after being bitten many, many times on both feet from fire ants. I knew then something was terribly, terribly wrong.”

Ian was subsequently tested, scoring very high on the scale that identifies autism as the diagnosis.

“We got Ian’s diagnosis when he was 29 months old. We knew that he would be getting that diagnosis. We were already being helped by Babies Can’t Wait (BCW) and they had evaluated him. BCW did an initial evaluation on him when he was 25 months old. The evaluation told us that Ian at 25 months old had the social skills of a five month-old and the verbal skills of a six month-old, so we knew that something was very wrong,” Anjellica said. “I was hopeful that when we went to get the diagnosis that the Developmental Pediatrician would give us a lot of good information. I thought the doctor would help us with Ian. So, I was hopeful.”

But that hope was short-lived in terms of a positive response from the pediatrician. In the meantime, Allan and Anjellica had already heard about a diet that showed promise for those with autism.

“We were very, very disappointed at the doctor’s response, which was basically, ‘the diet,’ a gluten-free, casein-free & soy-free diet, doesn’t work. He said could try Methylcobalamin shots (B12) and he said Ian needs a lot of speech therapy and that we should come back and see me in three months. At the time of the appointment, I had already started Ian on the GF/CF/SF diet and began seeing marked improvement. We also saw improvement with the MB12 shots.”

Anjellica said it took about six months of sticking to the diet to begin noticing changes. And sticking to the diet itself was not walk in the park. But given the potential for improvement and the results she and Allan saw, it could be a godsend if it worked.

“The diet was hard for about two weeks. But I looked at the diet like this, if Ian was diagnosed with diabetes, would I make his diet sugar free? Yes, I would. If Ian was diagnosed with Celiac’s disease would I remove wheat from his diet? Yes, I would. If Ian was allergic to milk would I take away dairy products? Yes, I would,” said Anjellica. “So I made up my mind that I would stick to the diet 110 percent and commit to one year of the diet and see if it made any improvements. Personally I feel like the diet is the foundation for healing kids on the spectrum from the inside out. Is the diet the only thing you need to do? No, read and educate yourself.”

And a godsend it was. First up in Ian’s return was his resumption of eye contact, followed by kisses and “I love you” and other responses to interactions. And what showed up at first continued, and more improvement followed.

“After being on the GF/CF/SF/SugarFree Diet and supplements, Ian is now able to completely communicate all of his needs and express himself completely. He no longer has melt-downs or tantrums. His pain threshold has come back down to normal,” Anjellica said. “He was going to Fayette County schools in the ‘Special Needs’ program for the last two years until he no longer qualified for services. Ian will being going to a typical preschool in the fall with typical children. Ian can ride a bike, can speak beautifully and articulately, and can do everything like a normal kid, including bargaining to get a piece of candy. Ian today is a typical four and one-half year-old.”

The growth rate and the prevalence of autism since the 1970s is staggering. Figures state by state for the 2006-2007 school year showed a wide range of occurrence. In Minnesota, 1 child out of every 81 is autistic while, at the other end of the spectrum in New Mexico, 1 child out of every 432 has the diagnosis. In Georgia, the rate was 1 out of every 165 children. And as for the United States, federal Centers for Disease Control in 2007 reported a combined rate of 1 in 150. Yet the rate in the 1970s was only 1 in 2,500, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. Autism is clearly America’s fastest-growing disability. The same is true in a number of other countries around the world. Countless parents across America believe there is a link to the rise in autism that corresponds with the significant increase in the use of the mercury-laden preservative thimerosal contained in large vials of children’s vaccines. Lawsuits over the allegation have become almost common and the pharmaceutical manufacturers of vaccines have reportedly removed the ingredient from their products.

Yet regardless it causes, many healthcare providers hold fast to the myth that autism cannot be reversed.

“Most of the doctors that I have talked to think that it is coincidence that Ian is better,” Anjellica said. “Since autism is so new to most doctors, I think they don’t know what to do when it comes to autism. Unless a physician has a child on the spectrum they could not begin to understand the every day challenges that parents face on a 24-hour a day basis. Autism will drain the life out of the child, parents and family, too. Ian is recovered now and we’re all still re-cooperating from him being sick. We’re just now beginning to feel like a normal family again. It is an experience that I would never wish on another family, other than Ian recovering. It’s made us a closer family and a much more appreciative family of the smallest everyday things that most people, including us, have taken for granted.”

Anjellica wanted the parents of autistic children to know that the condition that strikes so many children today is not one they have to live with for the rest of their lives.

“Autism is treatable. Autism is something than can be reversed. Autism is not just a problem with the brain,” Anjellica explained. “Read Children with Starving Brains by Dr. Jacquelyn McCandless and Healing the 4A Disorders by Dr. Kenneth Bock. Research the Autism Research Institute and TACA at and educate yourself and your family as much as possible. Hold on vaccines, get with a Defeat Autism Now! doctor and join a support group.”

Allan and Anjellica belong to an autism support group that meets at the Peachtree City Library on the last Sunday of the month from 2-4 p.m.

Ian Guthrie is not the only child in Fayette County for whom a diagnosis of autism has been withdrawn. And while researchers debate the cause or causes of autism, the biggest mystery with autism may be why so many in medical science hold fast to the worldview that says there is no successful way to reverse autism, all the while failing to acknowledge a growing group of parents that have already found an answer.

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