Parker was born in September 1996. He hit the same developmental milestones as his older brother had two years before and was learning to walk, talk (about 15-20 words) and use a fork and spoon. He saw his family doctor when he was one year old and was prescribed an antibiotic for cough and ear infections. We were told he should have his vaccines in order to stay on schedule, and we questioned the wisdom of so many shots when he was coughing and on antibiotics. We were told that it was better to keep him on the schedule and that vaccines are always good, always better than the alternative (getting some terrible disease). So, we were sent to the county health department where they gave him DTaP, polio, flu shot – seven vaccines at one time. His leg swelled and became red and he cried a lot. In the next two or three months, his cough got worse, his ear infections got worse, and he developed red sores (lesions) on both cheeks (this is a classic adverse reaction to DTaP, but his doctor said nothing).
When he reached 18 months, he was given the MMR, plus flu shot, chicken pox, etc, eight shots at one time. Four hours later, he was red all over, had a 105 degree fever, and screamed all night. We repeatedly called the doctor and were told that “some kids just have a stronger reaction than others.” We were told to wait it out; Parker had the 105 degree fever for four days. Within 30 days, he stopped saying words, stopped using eating utensils, and stopped responding to his name. Within the next six months, he lost all eye contact with us, started hand-flapping and spinning, and almost completely stopped sleeping.
The medical people insisted that this was all due to fluid in his ears and recommended heavy doses of antibiotics, Claritin, and wanted to install ear shunts. He was placed in an Early Intervention program at school and, after a year, they recommended getting a diagnosis for autism. We struggled with this decision because we worried about him being stuck in a special education category for the rest of his life, but we decided we might benefit from special programs and grants if he had it. We got his formal diagnosis at the Oregon Health Sciences University’s Childhood Development and Recovery Center in Portland, Oregon, in 2000. When the pediatrician (Dr. Robert Nickel) told us that Parker had “moderately severe autism,” I asked him what we should do next, thinking they would have some sort of treatment program or protocol.
He said to me and my wife, “Nothing. You do NOTHING. There is nothing you can do. Autism is incurable and untreatable. Parker will be so violent and uncontrollable by the time he is a teenager that he will have to be institutionalized. There is nothing you can do to change this. The only thing we are interested in is that you, as his parents, accept the diagnosis and LET GO OF YOUR SON.”
I asked about the special diets and alternative treatments I read about on the internet. I told him we had already started the Guten Cassien Free Diet and it was having a dramatically good effect. The pediatrician said he had never heard of such a diet and that trying treatments from the internet was dangerous and useless. OHSU could run further tests but had no recommendations or treatments to offer. I later discovered that this “autism expert” publishes articles in medical journals in which he trains other pediatricians how to steer parents away from “alternative” treatments. He had completely lied to us about his knowledge on this subject.
We went through about seven or eight years of hell. Parker almost never slept more than one or two hours a night. He was hyperactive and had severe screaming meltdowns in public. His gastrointestinal tract was destroyed and he had severe diarrhea several times a day (and night) for six years. He did not speak and did not seem to understand anyone.We had constant battles with early intervention aides and teachers who thought his special diet was silly and would give him food without telling us.
Parker started seeing a DAN doctor in 2004. He has benefited greatly from the GFCF diet and now is also on a Specific Carbohydrate diet. At the age of ten, he finally stopped having diarrhea and started sleeping normally. His eye contact returned, and with it his sweet and good-natured personality. He is slowly learning to speak, and can communicate in a simple way with a laptop. His language comprehension is excellent and he fully understands 90% of what is said to him. He goes to the bathroom by himself and can shower and dress himself with minimal help. He now seldom has meltdowns or screaming fits, but as he goes through puberty he has begun to have occasional seizures.
We have tried many “alternative” treatments, and almost all have helped a little; so far nothing has been a dramatic “miracle cure.” We’ve done special diets, supplements, Secretin, Glutathione, Methyl-B12 injections, heavy metal chelation, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, cranio-sacral therapy, and many more. Parker has improved in many ways. He still needs help with all of his daily routines, but he is getting more independent all the time. He is very happy and good-natured and is enthusiastic about learning how to read and write and speak.
We believe that many kids with complex and varied conditions have been given the autism diagnosis, and they are all individuals. There is no “one size fits all” treatment or therapy. For Parker, it was essential to fix his medical problems first – address his yeast overgrowth, his bowel inflammation, and his toxic chemicals – before he was really ready to start learning and communicating again. It is obvious now that most of his behavioral issues – the meltdowns, strange postures and spinning, self-injury – were related to his level of pain, and as we have slowly fixed his biomedical problems, he has become happier and more easy to communicate with.
One thing we had not anticipated when we decided to get the diagnosis was the reaction of insurance companies. Since autism is considered incurable and untreatable, insurance companies will deny payment for almost any treatment if the word autism is mentioned. We have paid for most of Parker’s healing and semi-recovery out of our own pocket. We have come to view the autism diagnosis as a trash bin where kids like Parker are thrown so that no one will be forced to take responsibility for their healing or answer any questions about what happened to them. The advice from the pediatrician-autism expert at OHSU was a self-fulfilling prophecy; If we had done nothing and given Parker three bowls of chocolate ice cream and a bowl of macaroni and cheese every day, he would have become uncontrollably crazy and violent and he would now be locked up, and the autism expert would have been proven right.
We started this believing in the wisdom and experience of medical professionals, and we believed that we were being exceptionally smart and responsible parents by getting immunizations for our kids. We believed that we could trust the answers that physicians gave to our questions. We are now very angry and resent the medical people who have lied to us and abandoned us. We are dismayed to learn that the government regulatory agencies that are supposed to protect us are now controlled by pharmaceutical corporations, insurance companies, and vaccine manufacturers. We see the Vaccine Injury Compensation Court award damages for vaccine-induced “encephalopathy that causes autism-like behavior” while our child is told that vaccines don’t cause “autism” and his “autism” is untreatable and no one will help pay to make him better. The same corporations also control most of the media and medical journals, so they can shape what the public believes about these issues and even control what physicians believe and say to their patients about it. I’m not happy that this makes us sound like conspiracy-theorists, but I also can’t lie about what has happened to us and what we have learned.
I am an independent film maker and I have been working for several years on a documentary film about this. I had nearly given up finishing the film due to lack of funding and what I saw as a lack of interest from people who have not personally experienced autism/vaccine injury themselves. We are hoping that sites like VaxTruth and The Canary Party indicate a larger number of people speaking up and demanding change.
Parker is now 14. He has a 16-year-old brother, Tyler, who is his best friend and cares for him deeply. We will continue to help him recover from his injury 24/7, 365 days a year for the rest of our lives.
Jim and Susan
A Video For Parker