Creating Waves of Awareness
It starts with the subtlest signs… a suspicion that’s usually pushed into the subconscious for fear of facing a devastating truth. Many, many months on, crossed fingers and even prayers don’t seem to work as vague symptoms turn into a definite pattern that confirms a painful reality. It’s a moment of truth parents of 2 in every 1,000 children face every year, globally, when they are forced to verbalise what they were afraid to admit all along – the A-word.
Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is a neuro-developmental disorder that continues to baffle medical science even today, although there is a general consensus that it is broadly the result of ‘faulty signalling’ in the brain. In other words, in autistic children, there appears to be a dysfunction in the chemicals and neural pathways that help different areas of the brain communicate with each other.
This faulty signalling results in the classic symptoms of autism: Withdrawal, bursts of aggression, inability to communicate and socialise, repetitive behaviour, hypersensitivity to stimuli such as touch and light, and a host of physical deficiencies.
It is a heart-rending experience to watch an autistic child, and the only way I can describe what they are experiencing is a feeling of being trapped.
Autistic children are prisoners of their brain – with no way out. What we label as ‘sudden and violent outbursts’ are nothing but an expression of unbearable frustration at being unable to express their thoughts and feelings or convey what they want. Try as they might, the words just won’t come… they just won’t! When frustration boils over, a ‘violent outburst’ follows. What we call ‘obstinacy’ is thus nothing but an expression of utter helplessness. An autistic child cannot understand why adults don’t understand them!
According to medical research, autism has a strong genetic component, which suggests that autistic children are born autistic or with an autistic predisposition. However, it is not quite clear whether this applies to all autistic children, as researchers have linked other, external factors to this disorder: overload of vaccines and / or antibiotics and steroids, and exposure to harmful chemicals. This implies that some children are born with an autistic predisposition and external factors precipitate the onset of the disorder.
Classical homeopathy is not inconsistent with the medical view although the interpretation is vastly different. Here’s where the twain diverge: whereas conventional medicine is unable to treat autism, homeopathy can bring about considerable improvement and, on occasion, bring an autistic child to a state of being where they approximate normalcy.
Caring for an autistic child is emotionally and financially exhausting. Which parent hasn’t done the rounds of speech, neuro-developmental and behaviour therapists? (Many, as at the behest of misguided physicians, even approach psychiatrists.) This course can, to some extent, bring about improvement in the child but progress is, at best, minimal and / temporary. Allopathic drugs cannot reverse the genetic or neurological processes that cause this disorder; they only ‘control’ and ‘manage’ the child’s behaviour 9as they do all disease).
Unfortunately, homeopathy is rarely chosen as the preferred remedy for autism. Yet, it is the best form of treatment for ASD. Am I saying that homeopathy can work miracles? Well, take a look at 4-year-old Sami Khan, who was diagnosed as autistic at the age of one and a half.
Just 2 months after I began to treat Sami, he began to speak a few words; he began to sing; he had established eye contact; and his destructive bouts had ceased.
Oct 11, 2001: Sami is brought to MindHeal. He shows no signs of speech and is given to extremely violent outbursts. He screams when hungry, and cries and rolls on the floor when he doesn’t get his way. Sometimes, he is downright destructive, throwing things, hitting out at people around him, pulling their hair and even biting them. In other words, his behaviour is often uncontrollable. (‘According to classical homeopathy, his behaviour is ‘out of control’, which is typical of the Syphilitic Miasm.)
At times, Sami also ‘goes missing’, wandering aimlessly in the neighbourhood if unsupervised. He writes on the walls at home and refuses to play with other children. But he loves watching television and often hums along with a song playing on TV.
Sami’s parents have taken him to doctors at one of Mumbai’s best hospitals, Bombay Hospital. They are advised to get the child psychiatric treatment and speech therapy. Doctors also prescribe strong medicines to keep Sami’s destructive behaviour under control.
Dec 3, 2001: Sami is calm and composed. He begins talking. And he establishes eye contact.
In the course of 10 months, Sami is admitted to school, a red-letter day for any parent, more so for Sami’s!
Homeopathy & Autism
In the context of homeopathy, autism is a disorder which indicates that the child is born into the last of the Three Miasms. The Third Miasm (Syphilis) is the destructive or most severe stage of disease, any disease. When you fall sick, you usually transition from the First to the Second and / or the Third Miasm, whereas autistic children are born directly into the Third (Syphilitic) Miasm. This is what makes treating autism so challenging. Case Taking is especially difficult as autistic children cannot communicate. So there is little to go by except the child’s behaviour and the parents’ history.
Click here for Sami's Case Analysis
Mom’s The Word
Mother’s History: Thus, diagnosing autism rests largely on the parents’ history, especially the mother’s history. Following are the aspects to focus on:
1. Mother’s emotional, psychological and mental balance
2. History of miscarriage
3. Cesarean delivery: (An unnatural form of delivery where the infant is abruptly ‘ripped’ from the womb.)
4. Hormonal treatment during pregnancy
5. Antibiotics to treat infections during pregnancy
This does not mean that every pregnant mother who fulfils one or more of these criteria will bear an autistic child. But the reverse is usually true. That is, autistic children are most likely to have mothers who would check off one or more of these criteria.
Dad’s The Word
Father’s History: There’s tons of literature on the all-important role of a pregnant mother and her influence – how she feels and what she does – on the growing foetus. So you can’t blame dads for feeling left out! But ‘pregnant dads’ are not off the hook. Read on…
When it comes to all birth-related and genetically loaded disorders (such as autism, hydrocephaly, mental retardation and muscular dystrophy), the parents’ history is crucial in determining whether the child develops the disorder or not, and its expression.
What do I mean by ‘parents’ history’? Unlike conventional medicine, which views ‘history’ as ‘prevalence of a specific disorder in the parents and in the extended family’, homeopathy goes much, much deeper.
When it comes to the mother’s history, points 2 – 5 (above) need no explanation. It is point 1 that provides the key to diagnosing and prescribing. So, does point 1 apply to the mother or father when it comes to figuring out these all-important clues?
In either case, the mental and emotional state of the parent before and / or during conception (in the case of the mother, during pregnancy as well) is critical to the disease picture in the child.
Generally, it is the mother’s history that is important. The father’s mental and emotional state is relevant only when the child’s genetics closely resemble the father’s genetics. Clues to this can be found in a strong physical resemblance between child and father and / or when the nature and temperament of father and child are similar.
In Sami’s case, I found that the child’s mother felt neglected by her husband, who didn’t speak to her for almost her entire pregnancy. As a result, she indulged in attention-seeking behaviour including tantrums, tearing at her clothes and even biting and injuring herself. Note how her emotional state and even her behaviour perfectly mirror Sami’s autistic expression.
Here’s a case where the autistic child’s genetics matched those of his father. Shamik bore an uncanny physical resemblance to his dad. Both were lean, and their facial features and tapering chins indicated their especially sensitive nature. Apart from this, they were both extremely quiet, withdrawn and depressed.
When I took the father’s history, I found that he was struggling with serious emotional issues before and during his wife’s pregnancy, and his emotional reaction to these issues perfectly mirrored Shamik’s autistic behaviour!
The ‘Fever Effect’
Four years ago, researchers from the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore in the US discovered an intriguing phenomenon – intriguing to the world of medicine and homeopathy.
They discovered that when autistic children developed a fever, they showed significant improvement, sometimes dramatic improvement, in speech, language, attention span, eye contact and the ability to communicate. The findings, published in the journal Pediatrics, were the result of a study on 80 autistic children aged 2 to 18 and whose behaviour was rated by their parents, before, during andafter an episode of fever. In 80 per cent of the children, symptoms of autism subsided and even disappeared during the fever but re-appeared after the fever subsided.
Unable to explain this at the physiological level, the researchers made the following observations: "The results of this study are important because they show us that the autistic brain is plastic or capable of altering current connections and forming new ones in response to different experiences or conditions," said Andrew Zimmerman, a senior researcher on the project.
According to Dr Gary Goldstein, President and CEO of the Kennedy Krieger Institute, "Pilot research studies such as this provide clues about the underlying metabolic changes in the brain that may prove to be targets for novel autism therapies."
I am quoting this research study as it highlights a stunning parallel between the homeopathic approach to autism and these findings in the realm of conventional medicine.
Again, although conventional medicine has found no cure for this disorder, homeopathy has been treating it with considerable success for decades. Indeed homeopaths have long since observed that autistic children show significant behavioural improvement when they develop a fever.
The objective of homeopathy is to return a sick individual from the Syphilitic or Sycotic (Third and Second Miasm) to Psora (First Miasm). The Psoric Miasm is typified by ‘inflammation’ and fever. A return to Psora is thus always typified by ‘inflammatory’ symptoms such as a runny nose, cough, skin eruptions and high temperature.’ This is a sign that the mind and body are expelling toxins from the patient’s system in the process of rooting out disease. It is also a sign that the patient is returning to the Psoric state.
The italisised quotes 9above) made by the researchers are of special interest to homeopaths. One, that “the autistic brain is plastic” or changeable and that autism is a reversible disease. And two, that fever causes fundamental, if temporary, metabolic changes in the brain.
While treating all disease, the fundamental aim of the homeopath is to reconfigure and fine-tune the patient’s very metabolism and immune system. It works just the same with autism. A skilled homeopath cures by rebalancing the constitutional nature of an individual to correct (faulty) genetic expression.
Could conventional medicine have stumbled upon what homeopaths have known for 200 years? Could homeopaths and medical doctors be speaking the same language? I believe this is true. It’s how we use and practise this knowledge that makes the crucial difference between ‘cure’ and ‘managing disease’.
Re-awaken the healer in you…
- Dr Anita Salunkhe, MD