The Autism Team Reality TV Program and Reality for Autism
Posted Nov 01 2012 12:00am
By Anne Dachel
most autism parents, I have vivid memories of when my husband and I were
informed about our son’s autism. The first official diagnosis came when
he was seven in the second grade. That was in 1993, back before all the
better diagnosing so the school district had to get a psychologist from a
hundred miles away in Minneapolis to come to Chippewa Falls WI to declare John,
autistic. She merely observed him at school for an hour or so. It
wasn’t really tough.
a year earlier, my mother had read a story in a magazine that described autism
and she brought it to me and said, “That’s John.”)
I remember most clearly were the psychologist’s words after she told us John
had autism. She said, “I don’t know if he’ll ever be able to hold down a
job or live independently.” And that was it. No advice on what we
needed to do to help John succeed in school---nothing. I also remember
that she told us that autism was so rare, that no one really knows what to
expect or to do. She added that there probably weren’t other
autistic children in our small town.
I cried all the way home.
struggling with John through third grade, I quit teaching and homeschooled
him. It worked out great. I had to design my own curriculum to work
with his special needs. We had a lot of fun each day and he did very
well. We joined a homeschool social group and that was great too.
when he was 15, in 2001, another doctor re-diagnosed him as having Asperger’s. That was the latest autism discovery and I remember
the doctor being very excited about telling me. Again, despite all the
great strides they were making in autism, he had nothing else to add.
When I asked about autism, all he could tell me was that it was the fault of
the bad genes from Richard and me. His parting words were, “If we could
just get these kids through junior high hell, they might have a chance at a
life.” (And he was the best autism doctor, we were told, in Eau Claire at the time.)
son is high functioning. He does so many things independently and he’s
made incredible progress since he was seven, but I remember
isolated, confused, and helpless I felt when the experts labeled my son and
gave me no hope. There was no one I could turn to for help.
can only imagine how much worse it is for a parent of a child with more severe
autism. I’ve read countless stories where parents sound like they’re in
total despair. There have been a number news reports over the years where
the helplessness leads to suicide and even murder.
many in the medical community stand by so disinterested and offer nothing. Parents everywhere have gotten the message:
you’re on your own--till now. MEET THE AUTISM TEAM.
November 17, 2012, Age of Autism posted the video, Autism Team,
you want to see what can be done, view this. Share the stories of help,
services, and therapy. This video has a
lot of information about children both here and in the UK. It opens with photos of a 14 year old autistic boy, Jonathan
Edwards, who is emaciated and obviously
suffering from severe abdominal pain. Jon is non-verbal and in
diapers. His mother, Allison, tells us that she gets no help from
doctors. His father, Michael, reports that they can’t even get simple
tests done on their son.
we hear that the Autism Team has Jon in the United States and he’s being seen by Dr. Arthur Krigsman.
Krigsman is heard saying, “He has the autism associated entercolitis.
That’s exactly what he got. Over all this is good news, not bad
news. It’s all treatable….A lot of parents say that they feel vindicated.
That they weren’t crazy. You’re not crazy.”
in a very moving scene, Jon’s mother, Allison
Edwards touches her peacefully sleeping son and asks, “Is this the first moment
in his entire life when he hasn’t felt any pain?”
forward to a scene of Jon Edwards as a greatly
improved young man. He’s smiling and his father is heard saying,
“The change in Jon has been absolutely
dramatic physically and there have been consequential mental changes in him as
well. To look at him, he is a different child. He has the physique
of a normal 14 year old child. Within three weeks of being back from New York, he was
completely out of [diapers]….We are absolutely convinced that his quality of
life has improved immeasurably.”
we’re shown the members of the Autism Team which included a clinical
psychologist and a nutritional consultant, along with Dr. Krigsman.
Michael Edwards: “If you have a parental
instinct that something seriously is wrong, you must go further.
question appears on the screen, “Do you know someone who needs our help?”
there’s a photo of a boy with a horribly swollen eye
named Jack. “There are countless others like him.”
is what The Autism Team is all about---improving the lives of these children
and letting the world know how it’s done.
task is incalculable. I can imagine that there are countless thousands of
children in desperate situations right here in
is as bad as it gets, so if the Autism Team can help Jonathan Edwards, imagine
what they’ll be able to do for other children. Their message needs to be
everywhere on the Internet. We need to share this. What was done
for Jon can be done for others. These children deserve nothing
less. There is help. Lives can improve. The
time is now.
NEED THE AUTISM TEAM-CHANGING LIVES ON U.S. TV
asked Polly Tommey why viewing the video is so important. Here is her response:
one child to help a million others. Open the world of autism up to those who
don’t know. The TV networks in the U.S. need
numbers and we have to prove that autism is an issue that people are interested
in so they’ll be willing to broadcast this series.”
watch the trailer, Changing Lives , and send the link to everyone you know. Ask
them to watch and share this video. –The number of hits on this video matters.
By doing this, you will be helping a
great many families that urgently need support.”
more details on Jonathan Edwards, I went to Allison, his mother. This is her son’s story.
Jon was diagnosed with autism on his second
birthday, corroborated 3 months later following a full assessment and I was left, from then on to search out and fight for the services he
State provision at the age of two barely changed as he grew but mainly centred
his learning difficulties and how to get Jon to respond.
He needed his diapers changed up to eight times a day, occasionally whilst
with the rest of the family's needs, to my horror he managed to eat his pads and contents. I had to battle the great bureaucratic machine's providers, the passionate seeking compassion for Jon,
it was ridiculous, as if no-one cared. I became quite a campaignerdespite being accused of being 'lazy', to get him out of pads, his autism was blamed for most things, I was blamed for the rest... (Read the rest of the story HERE.)
asked Polly Tommey, shown on the video, about
how the Autism Team got started. This is her answer.,
Fourteen years ago we agreed, as a family, to
talk about our son Billy, who atthe time had a recent diagnosis of severe
autism with severe speech delay andbehavioral issues, on a well known news
programme. For us as his parents, there was little help
or knowledge about hiscondition so we felt we had nothing to lose. Billy
was totally lost in hisown world, the boy we once knew had gone.
Billy was sick. He suffered fromdiarrhoea, his hair was falling out, he had
frequent bouts of projectilevomiting, a big bloated tummy, he thrashed
his head against the floor andwalls 24/7 and had no idea we were his
parents - the list goes on. We wereat our wits end and desperate.
It was after the programme aired that I
realised the sheer extent of theproblem and actually how many of us parents
were out there. We were inundated with emails and letters from
desperate parents with very sickchildren.
Soon after Billy’s diagnosis and knowing
nothing about autism or how tohelp,our son, Jon (my husband) threw himself
into research and booked animmediate flight to the USA for
a Defeat Autism Now (DAN)conference. I pur all the letters I had received into a then,
simple newsletter and called
it, The Autism File and hoped for the best -
that somehow between us all we
could work out how to help our children.
The Autism File is now out of my garden shed
and properly managed by
Belvoir Publications and I continue to be the
Editor In Chief. It's run by a
fabulous team and still strives to educate
and support families around the
With the success of the magazine came
campaigns, television and press
around autism and associated disorders. With
every press interview I did, every
meeting at Downing
Street, every issue of Autism File, there came the same
ongoing problem - I was getting inundated
with phone calls and emails from
broken parents simply unable to get help from
their doctors or school
I was being told about teenagers in prison,
sick they couldn't eat or swallow,
bowel issues beyond belief, drugs for
conditions the children didn't even have,
parents that had taken their
lives and that of their children, again, the
list is endless.
We were told Billy would never speak or
live with much purpose but I knew
from all the work my husband (who re
trained as a Clinical Nutritionist)
and many DAN doctors at the time put into
Billy that so much can be done to
improve the quality of life for people
with autism. This is when we formed
The Autism Team and decided to get
video footage of children and teenagers
before and after help was given to
them. The results so far have been
outstanding. In just 3 months, we
have turned the lives around for 4
families. They now still live with
autism but with children and teenagers
that laugh, engage, are toilet trained
and for some there is speech. It's
not rocket science, it's not hocus
pocus, it's just getting the right
experts who understand autism and are
experienced qualified professionals.
We aim to help many more families and
get our footage onto a network, then
we can help many more. This is not my work.
This is team work--we work as
a major team to pull together the right input
for each family.
I am fortunate to now have a strapping
healthy, 16 year old son who now talks, texts and
yes, has a massive purpose in life.
The Autism Team are coming to help.
What is truly wonderful about The Autism Team is the fact that THEY
KNOW WHAT PARENTS NEED. THEY’VE BEEN THERE THEMSELVES.
They have answers. The public needs to see this. The
message is clear—we can help children with autism. Their lives can be
better. It’s time to stop the suffering.