usMy firstborn son Ben (more info on Bennie here) was diagnosed as being on the Autism spectrum just shy of his third birthday, and ever since I’ve walked a road of learning and discovery about this increasingly-common diagnosis. For the wealth of information that seems to exist – especially on the web, where parents gather to share and post their successes, treatments, joys, pains – unfortunately it typically ends up being left to the parent to absorb as much information as they can, try to digest and process, and then determine which treatment paths are best for their special and unique child. ASD is not a diagnosis that has a “magic pill,” as every kid diagnosed is different, their sensitivities and issues are unique to them, and what works for one ASD kid may not work for another. So unfortunately, while the umbrella (or “spectrum,” as is the appropriate term) is relatively well defined, the various treatment options are not so well provided (or summarized) to parents…

Ben has gone down the typical/expected treatment paths over the past 5 years: intensive therapies (behavior, occupational, speech, music), traditional medicine (doctors, specialists, pharmaceutical prescriptions – both on and off-label), parents championing loud and hard to ensure he receives the most appropriate (and supportive) education from his schools… but after many years of walking down this path, Ben’s challenges are still pressing enough that I’ve reached a point where I am now casting a wider net to seek out new/different treatments for Ben (“treatments” = approaches to addressing/tackling his individual challenges.)

The breaking point for me came at a doctor’s visit that was set up because Ben had been having a rough couple months of regressive behavior: falling back to self-stimming, focusing on his obsessions, getting easily upset and irritable (0-60 in the blink of an eye) – all behaviors that been at least subdued thanks to a combination of pharmaceutical prescriptions and intensive therapies. When his doctor saw/heard how Ben had regressed, and recommended tripling the dosage of his current medication (and exposing Ben to the risk of some awful – and potentially permanent – side effects), something snapped inside of me. I was no longer willing to sit on the sidelines and let others guide the therapeutic path Ben was on, waiting for others to tell us what to do. It was time to step up, take charge and fully immerse myself in the ASD world so that Ben’s best interests would be championed by the ones who love him most.

So I jumped in, head first, and began soaking up information on everything I could find, devouring sites that talked about different therapies, different prescriptions, different gastrointestinal issues (and treatments) that could be a factor – more reading than I’d done in the past year or two (I’m ashamed to admit.) I made a conscious and long-overdue decision to become the best champion for Ben that I could be, and in the space of a couple weeks I was emboldened and excited by the amazing possibilities available to help Ben… opportunities that no one else could (or did) tell me about, but had to be sought out and discovered on my own.

It then dawned on me that my journey, my learnings, my thoughts could maybe help other parents out there who could also be desperately seeking out any information they can find to help their own ASD kids… so the idea of this blog was born. In part, a way for me to organize, disseminate and share whatever it is that catches my eye or interest in all my reading and research, but also (I humbly hope) a way to maybe help other parents lost in the overwhelming onslaught of ASD options. Even if there’s only 1 parent out there who learns something new/interesting/helpful because of what I post on this blog, I would be truly happy.

That being said: ultimately this blog is for me, and for Bennie, as I walk with him down this road and do whatever I can to ensure his path is as smooth as possible, doing all I can to make him beam that beautiful smile at all times.

Thank you for reading.