The Straight Dope

I think, for a lot of us parents with children with Autism, there’s this fantasy of a “magic treatment”.  Something that we can give our child – if not a wand that we could just wave over them – and take away the worst of their challenges, and our challenges for coping with their behaviors, and make things as close to normal as possible without ridding them of their personalities…

On the other hand, there are the parents who would prefer not to tinker, for the concern that the other side of it isn’t all that rosy.  That treatments and medications have all those side-effects, some of which might not be known for years, that might rob their child of what makes them unique.

So with the talk recently about medical marijuana, and a host of other potential treatments that have reached the news lately in our corner of the woods, my wife asked if I would ever consider things like that for the Monster.  The other reason is that we’ve recently heard about a trial at NIH which is looking for children of a range that includes his age… and while it would entail going down to Bethesda for visits, there’s also the potential for inclusion in a drug trial that might help.  And would I want to go through that?

And the answer is, “of course I would”.

You’ve heard me poo-pooing things like special diets that are without measurable evidence, because I like to operate in a world where we only inflict on our children things that are proven, or at least have evidence behind them as being possible treatments.  Further constricting what my son can eat, as an example, or putting him through treatments that have been shown to potentially hold great harm… that’s not my idea of “treating” his Autism.

But… as I said, I’m willing to medical entertain treatment for the symptoms if it holds the promise of really, genuinely helping him catch up with the other children his own age.  The caveat would be that there has to be real, measured, scientifically-vetted evidence.  (Even if it were, say, a trial that had a background that said it stands a good chance of working.)  And that would include medical marijuana, again if measurable evidence – not just hearsay on the Internet or subjective observations by a few parents without objective measurement – pointed to it working.

Because isn’t that what a parent is supposed to do, protect their kids and get them all the help they can?

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