P o n d e r i n g s
It was only 12 years ago that I first discovered the truth about myself: I was autistic. It was at my place of work, at lunch time, that I first saw a religious tract that listed some main traits of autism. I well recognized them all in myself, and gasped in surprise. My bologna sandwich sort of fell onto the table and I didn't bother to pick it back up. I even felt violated, for here were the authors of this piece of literature, total strangers to me, and yet they seemed to know all about me - even things I had never told anyone before, particularly things from childhood. I went the rest of the day in a daze. I knew I had to find out more.
Indeed, my whole life changed. In the following months, several lifelong mysteries suddenly began to make sense, as if so many pieces to some elaborate puzzle had rearranged themselves and now fit perfectly. I felt relief.
I was in my final semester at the University of Arkansas. I had to know more, much more about this subject. So I went first to the university library, only to come away further confused. Many of the older books indicated it was a type of schizophrenia, which made no sense to me. As I kept looking, I did come across a then fairly recent book on autism, with a chapter on how to help individuals with autism find employment. As I sat there in the floor between the aisles and read, I only became further confused. The book seemed to be recommending that all autistic individuals stick to janitorial and stock clerk jobs, and only then with high supervision. I was dismayed. In just two months, I would be graduating, with honors, in accounting; yet this author seemed to be saying that a menial job was the best that I could ever hope for. I slowly got up and ambled back to my car to go home.
1995 was also a time when the Internet was first becoming popular, so I next turned to it for answers. As I did so, I learned about the various treatments, many of which made sense, a few of which didn't. I was particularly flabbergasted by one so-called therapy used to break autistic from head-banging. As I recall, it involved the use of electrical shocks on certain sensitive parts of the body, which seemed to me more like cruel and unusual punishment than therapy.
To me, the reason the children banged their heads was obvious: they did it to try to gratify a craving for feeling. I knew from experience that after a while of being totally numb all over, one's body starts craving this sense of touch. I could only shake my head, only then realizing just how misunderstood autism was. I felt strongly that the way to reduce negative autistic traits, one should treat the causes of those traits rather than just the traits by themselves. After all, the body is a logical machine.
Later, I came to learn about candidiasis, and how only-partially digested foods can get into the blood stream unhindered. I understand gluten, a protein found in bread, along with certain other heavy compounds, can cause numbness, especially if those compounds cross the blood/brain barrier. Reduce the cause of the behavior, and therefore reduce the behavior. I have also found that Sensory Integration also helps gratify this craving, in a more appropriate way.
In the months to come, I became friends with numerous people within the autism community. I could see for myself the heavy toll the stress was taking on everyone involved, especially the children, their parents and teachers. I was convinced that so much of the stress was unnecessary, if only everyone could understand what factors aggravated the condition. If knowledge truly was power, then any insights I could share would help lessen the stress for all involved.
So why do I want to speak out about my being autistic? I want to help make this a better world for us all. I appreciate all of my readers, and will, hopefully, continue at this for some time to come. If some of you share my dream, I would love to hear from you . . . and do recommend my page to a friend. :)
If you're interested in ordering my book "A Reason for Hope",
or have any questions about autism, email me at
. Thank you for visiting
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* "A Reason for Hope: Insights into Autism" by Daniel R. Hawthorne, copyrighted 2007. "Child of the Forest" by Daniel R. Hawthorne, copyrighted 2004.
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