Our StoryThis is the story of a little boy who is the inspiration and driving force behind The Golden Fund for Autism. His name is Liam and he is a remarkable, sweet, loving, unique and beautiful child. Liam is my son. Liam was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder ("ASD") when he was two and a half years old - specifically he was diagnosed with PDD or Pervasive Development Disorder often considered a milder form of Autism.
Upon Liam's diagnosis, I began this journey - a journey that I am still traveling, with a compelling determination to do everything in my power to help my son be the absolute best that he is capable of being. It began with voracious research into the theoretical causes and various treatments for ASD. I quickly learned that the traditional medical community really did not have any answers and, that there were many alternative treatments, diets and therapies that were not being embraced. Despite this, I kept hearing and reading of success stories from parents who tried many of these alternative means and were seeing tremendous results! With this information, and much more that I would learn in the future, I began introducing some of these treatments, diets and therapies to Liam.
The first thing that I tried was a change in diet. I began by removing Gluten (basically wheat and other grains that contain Gluten) and Casein (dairy) from his diet. (See GFCFDiet.com link below for more information). The results were astounding! Liam quickly went through a detoxification process (much like a drug addict being weaned off drugs) and what emerged was a much calmer more focused child than I had ever seen before. It was at this moment that I knew I was indeed on the right path.
This gave me even more determination to forge ahead with this alternative remedy approach, which ultimately lead me to seek out a DAN! (Defeat Autism Now) doctor. In doing so, I was fortunate to find an remarkable doctor to assist me in introducing various bio-medical treatments. We quickly began introducing various vitamins, supplements and homeopathic remedies and began a natural form of chelation (a process that removes heavy metals from the body). Liam also started receiving Cranial Sacral Therapy which is a technique designed to remove structural interference to the flow of cerebral spinal fluid which assists the body in neurologically integrating more efficiently. Again, we saw more positive results.
As I continued along this journey, more tweaks were made to the diet - I introduced The Feingold Diet - a diet which removes all forms of preservatives, artificial colors and flavors, synthetic sweeteners and naturally occurring salicylates (naturally occurring preservatives found in certain foods).(See link below for more information). Again, more positive results.
Once I felt as though we were doing mostly everything from a dietary and bio-medical perspective, I was urged to continue my quest for more forms of non-invasive alternative remedies in order to help bolster Liam's development. What I found was something called Neuro-Enhancement Therapy (N.E.T.). (See The Long Island Spectrum Center link below for more information). After researching N.E.T. and meeting the incredible doctor who was providing this form of therapy I knew this was something that we needed to try. Again, we saw more positive results.
Today, Liam is what most would consider a very high functioning child on the spectrum who, in a group of typically developing children, would to most, be considered indistinguishable. He attends Kindergarten in the mainstream class and is doing amazingly well - in fact academically speaking, he is either on target or ahead of his peers. He is smart, communicates beautifully, is loving and is making new strides each and every day. I know that all of the alternative remedies that I have mentioned here coupled with all of the educational interventions that we engaged are the reasons why Liam is doing so well and will continue to thrive and strive to reach his highest potential.
While traveling this journey, I have also learned that there are many families who wish to try various alternative remedies for their children (including treatments that I have not mentioned here) but they simply cannot afford to do so. And, the reality is that insurance companies simply do not cover nearly all of these forms of alternative treatments and therapies.
This is the reason why The Golden Fund for Autism was created. To help the families of children diagnosed with ASD afford alternative treatments and therapies. Our Fund will also help these children obtain various other forms of alternative therapies that were not discussed here but that have also been shown to help children on the spectrum. We by no means make a claim that any of the methods discussed are a "cure" for autism or that they will work for everyone who tries them - we simply want to give parents the opportunity and the hope to go forward with the methods that are helping many others. They deserve this opportunity and hope and we are determined to give it to them!
Thank you for taking the time to read our story. We hope that you have found it inspiring and that you will act to spread the word about what The Golden Fund for Autism is trying to accomplish. In a world where 1 in 150 children are diagnosed with Autism and indeed where 1 in 94 boys are diagnosed with Autism, it is time to take action. Parents deserve the hope that these alternative therapies and treatments are providing. Please help us give it to them!
A message from the Founder, Joelle Perez : November 2007