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September 2, 2011

Using Homeopathy Alongside other Treatments
Who knew Old Navy was such a fun place for kids?  The interactive floor display and
bouncy ball machine are a smart idea for entertaining kids while parents race against
the attention span of a child who'd much rather be at Dave & Busters.

On our trip, Caroline ran to the bouncy ball machine and said "money please," giving
me a cherubic expression she knows will get her all the quarters in my purse.  
I had four.

Her ball machine technique is very precise, she holds the lid shut, while she puts in
all the money and then opens the lid to release them all once -
it's more fun that way
they bounce around the store, rolling under clothing racks and she gets to retrieve
them, double the fun!

Her favorite ball, the yellow swirly one, won the contest for rolling the farthest as it
entered a dressing room.  She got a lesson in waiting her turn as she chanted
"yellow ball! swirl ball! pleeeeaaase!" under the curtain.  It was just irritating enough
to get the person to pass it out to us and we were happily on our way.

I can't help but think about how the machine is such an appropriate metaphor for so
many things in life... but since this is a blog about autism recovery, that's what you're
gonna get.

Just as different therapies help your child in various ways, each different ball
bounces out it's unique way.  I wonder if inside the glass globe - like with competing
biomedical treatments - there's fighting about who's better, faster and can roll all the
way to the fitting room (which we'll regard as "recovery").

As a parent, we hear about so many treatments and therapies that it's overwhelming,
to say the least, to try to determine what's going to get your child all the way to the
'fitting room.'

An approach that garners some of the most vocal supporters and skeptics is
homeopathy.  The fighting about whether or not it's beneficial and whether or not it
should be used exclusively have been the topics of many a
message board.
[Big thanks to Irina P. for recently sending me that entertaining thread]  

When opinions are so diverse, it can easily scare a parent into doing nothing, but
when the clock is ticking on your "recovery window," that luxury is not an option.  So,
to help you decide (or confuse you further), I offer our story.

Homeopathy, here we come

Our experience with homeopathy began largely by fate.  I knew about the infamous
Pierre Fontaine
and we were reaching the home stretch on his 5 month waiting list
when, this past January, I heard from a friend about her son's recovery with the care
of Florida homeopath,
Miranda Castro.  

her son's recovery story was so compelling and we were already planning a
trip to Florida just 10 miles from Miranda's office, it didn't require the use of even half
of my overtired brain cells to decide to see her.

The appointment was enlightening and exhausting -- remembering all of the details
that might help a homeopath get to the root of what's causing your child's behaviors
is not an easy task.  But being very thorough is critical to improve the chances that
the remedy selected for your child is the right one.  

Miranda reviewed the details and sent us the first remedy within 2 weeks,
it was Belladonna.  

We gave it according to directions, which included a precise number
of shakes, stirs and taps on the glass.  Imagine an OCD bartender
and you've got the right idea.


The evening that followed was filled with raised eyebrows and dropped jaws as Jay
and I exchanged countless 'Did you see that?!?!!' glances.

Within minutes of giving the remedy, Caroline was calmer than we had ever seen,
had better eye contact and remarkably improved spontaneous language.  She opted
for sharing books with us over the computer and was shockingly tolerant.  The next
day, more of the same.  Her therapists were amazed.  It was a dramatic and obvious
change.  By the end of the 2nd day though, most of the effects began to "wear off."  
And although she remained slightly better than she was before we gave it, for the
most part, the unbelievable dream had ended.

Repeated dosings brought about the same results -- for a few more doses.  Until it
stopped provoking any change.  At that point, Miranda had us go up to the next
strength, which resulted in the same changes as the first.  We went on with this
pattern and each time the remedy wore off, Caroline remained slightly improved from
where she started.

I should also mention that I have two friends who gave the same remedy to their sons
and had very similar observations.  It's clear from what we saw that homeopathy
definitely can change autistic behaviors and
Belladonna is only the tip of the iceberg.

Just how does Homeopathy work?

Even after reading The Impossible Cure, I'm not qualified to answer this question.  I
understand the premise of "like cures like" and that there are provings -- where a
healthy person takes a substance and records their symptoms (for example, a
headache) and then when a person consults a homeopath about their headache,
they're given an ultra-diluted version of the substance (diluted to the point of nothing
remaining), which will bring about relief.

It's somewhat "impossible" to wrap your brain around but there are so many believers
with impressive stories that it's hard to ignore it when you have a child you need to

Plus, it's an easy therapy to do -- getting your child to take something that's basically
water is easier than any of the other supplements, protocols or diets, hands down.

So why wouldn't everyone try it?

I can think of 3 reasons.

1. Time - unless you have more than 24 hours in your day, spending time on
appointments with a homeopath is something that can be hard to fit in.

2. Money - although the remedies are inexpensive ($0-$15), the appointments are
moderately costly and then there are follow ups - which for us are $100 an hour.

3. Competing Options - many homeopaths want you to eventually stop other
traditional medicine and chelation.

#3 is the reason we put it off as long as we did.  Let's face it, if you're not convinced
it's going to work, why would you want to stop things that are working?

Homeopathy in a vacuum

Working with Miranda, we've stopped Caroline's antifungal medication twice.  Both
times it resulted in a downward spiral as the yeast increased, until we put her back
on it and the yeast issues were resolved within a day.  (Sure signs of yeast for her
are peeling fingers / eczema, red rash, irritability, night waking, and a lot of
wandering / scripting with little focus.)

We also stopped chelation for 3 weeks.. which regrettably resulted only in 3 fewer
weeks of gains from chelation.  Homeopathy, for us, worked just as well in
conjunction with chelation as it did standing alone.

What's your yellow swirly ball?

Personally, I do not believe the exclusive use of homeopathy can typically recover a
child.  For us, it is
not (yet) our yellow swirly ball.

Even Pierre Fontaine, when asked at the Autism One conference why so many
people attribute their child's recovery to homoeopathy, said very matter-of-factly,
"Because I'm the last guy they see."  Explaining that it's after they've had a lot of
progress with other treatments and just need that last step to reach recovery...
and that's exactly what homeopathy is excellent at providing.  

Combining my research with personal experience, I wholeheartedly recommend
homeopathy.... but not to the exclusion of other protocols your child shows significant
improvement with (especially chelation).

Just like with Caroline and the quarters, on the journey to recovery, putting as many
resources as you can in and getting a lot of balls going offers you the best chance of
finding your yellow swirly ball.

We don't have time to spend months or years on one single protocol and any of
them that ask that we do, might need to be called in to question.  I've seen
homeopathy work exactly the same when used in conjunction with other treatments
and standing alone.  

My advice is to not get so exclusively into any one protocol that you forgo the
benefits others might offer.  We all need to find our comfort zone and then get as
many balls into play as we can keep on eye on at once.  After all, as Caroline
believes "It's more fun that way!"  And in our race against the so called
'recovery window,' us parents need to incorporate all the
fun we can handle.
Just as different therapies help your child in
various ways, each different ball bounces out
globe (like the competing biomedical
treatments) there's fighting about who's
better, faster and can roll all the way to the
fitting room...
For more specific information on our homeopath
or how to select one, please read my friend's
blog about her son's
recovery with Homeopathy