As a mom of a wonderful, happy, autistic toddler, I would be willing to do pretty much anything to make him healthy. We’ve come so far on our journey that in many ways, I have a hard time seeing the autistic traits of my son anymore. His language has exploded, he’s more loving, and he has a wonderful imagination. I have so much to be thankful for!
But, as usual, I was researching autistic treatments online when I came across something I’d never heard of before. A treatment called Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Techniques (NAET) had been studied in a small experiment with 60 autistic children. Thirty children received the treatment, while 30 were placed in the control group. Fifty-six children (26 in the NAET-treated group and 30 in the control group) completed the study. Twenty-three of the 30 children in the treatment group were able to return to regular school classes with their healthy, non-autistic peers after treatment, while all of the children in the control group continued to require special education.
Sounds fairly shocking, doesn’t it? So I researched further to try to figure out what this NAET stuff was all about. NAET is usually done by a licensed acupuncturist. It involves testing the individual for allergies (usually by muscle testing or feeling energy blockages) and clearing those allergies through acupuncture or acupressure. There are hundreds of vials that can be tested, containing everything from egg yolks, white sugar, and gluten, to more bizarre stuff like mercury, formaldehyde, and vaccines. The theory is that once treated for these allergies, autistic individuals often recover or make amazing progress towards recovery.
So, after a bit of research, my mother located an acupuncturist from Asheville that is trained in NAET. He also visits an office nearby once a week, so we were able to schedule an appointment there. I went in with a happy toddler, an optimistic mother, and an open mind. But……It wasn’t quite what I expected.
We were greeted warmly and led to a small doctor’s office. I was told that since Skyler was so young, I would need to act as the surrogate and would need to be in contact with him. I plopped Skyler up onto the exam table, put on his favorite Leap Frog video, and grabbed his hand. We were ready. The doctor pulled out small cases that contained about 20 vials in each. Then he pulled out his dowsing pendulum….. uhm, ok, what?
As the doctor would pull out each vial, he would rotate this pendulum, saying, “Is Skyler allergic to wheat? No. Is Skyler allergic to white sugar? Yes.” Somehow he was divining these answers from the pendulum. At this point, I dared not make eye contact with my mother because I was in danger of giggling, and that seemed somehow disrespectful. After we went through all of the vials, we were left with about 20 vials that Skyler was supposedly allergic to. I had previously inquired about the HepB vaccine, since that was the one vaccine Skyler received at birth. Although the doctor did not possess a vial of this vaccine, he easily solved that problem. He simply pulled out a sticky note and wrote “HepB” on it. Then I was told to sit with Skyler in my lap while holding all of the vials (and the HepB sticky note) while he pressed on my back and then used a vibrating tool around my wrists and ankles. He then told me to continue holding Skyler and the vials for 5 minutes, while he left the room. At that time, I directed my mother’s attention to the bookshelf, which contained a hardbound copy of “Witches and Witchcraft,” not exactly the kind of book you want to see in your doctor’s professional library!
After sitting for a short time, the doctor reentered the room and retested the vials with the pendulum. Skyler was pronounced clear from those allergies. However then the doctor held his hand above Skyler’s head and proceeded to ask, “Is Skyler allergic to something in the home? No. Is Skyler allergic to something at daycare? Yes. Is it something in the bathroom? No. Is it the teacher? No. Is it in the ceiling? No. Is it on the floor? Yes.” He turns to us and explains that Skyler is allergic to something used to clean the floors and tells us to wipe the floor at daycare with a damp paper towel, seal it in a bag, and bring it back with us to our next visit. He once again holds his hand over Skyler’s head and asks different lengths of time until Skyler needs to be seen again and informs us that he needs to come back in two weeks.
Now, as I scheduled the next appointment and walked out the door with my son, you can only imagine how I was feeling. I was shocked by the experience, and I felt somehow duped and conned. In short, I felt like an idiot. I did laugh about it with my mom, but then agreed to keep an open mind until we could see if there were any results over the following days. I definitely believe there are things out there that we do not understand, things that perhaps our medical scientists have not advanced far enough to understand. Maybe this was one of them? So I kept my spirits up, although I remained pessimistic.
Today, it has been four days since the NAET treatment. I am a little (ok, A LOT) surprised to write that perhaps there is something to this bizarre practice. Skyler has been talking a lot more over the past few days, and he’s been very loving. He told me tonight that I looked pretty, and then told his father that he loved him. This was all unprompted and unprecedented. Although Skyler shows us a lot of affection, he just does not verbalize it on his own. For him to say those things tonight was amazing to say the least. Also, Skyler’s runny nose improved the day after the treatment, although it was running when I picked him up from daycare today (perhaps that daycare floor cleaner?).
So, although I did not expect to have positive things to say about this experience, I am pleasantly surprised. I had truly expected to cancel the next appointment, but it looks like we’ll be heading back for another visit, after wiping the daycare floor of course. Perhaps this progress is all in my head because Skyler’s been making amazing progress anyway over the last month. But, I have learned on this journey to keep on believing and never to turn my back on an opportunity to help Skyler, no matter how ridiculous it may seem. As I said before, as a mom, I am willing to do anything to help heal Skyler. So if you see me next week cleaning the daycare floor, try to keep an open mind. I know I am.