Cambridge Autism

 
 

This is a story of hope. It will help parents of children with autism to help their children with a combination of treatment, education and nurturing talents. This can lead to dramatic improvements in the child’s functioning and quality of life, as our experience in Cambridge and that of other like-minded parents shows. In the long run this can make the difference between a child becoming a net contributor to society, or needing a lifetime of care.

Treatment

Popular mythology would have you believe that there is “no evidence” of the efficacy of any treatment for autism. As many parents and a growing number of practitioners know, this statement is false. Although there is no “cure” as such, treatment involving diet, detoxification and anti-pathogenic drugs is effective and safe, can help the child to better access education and allow latent talents to emerge. See the Treatment section.

In science, all evidence must fit the theory or else the theory is wrong. It is simply not science to ignore the many thousands of cases which have shown improvement far in excess of their prognosis, simply because there is no single wonder-medicine that can cure more than 50% of a cohort in a double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Because autism is a behavioural diagnosis for a complex range of underlying medical conditions, treating it requires far more patient profiling than these kinds of limited-scope trials allow.

Education

Treatment will help the children to access mainstream education. It is critical that children with autism do so at an early age, or else they will fall further and further behind their peers. They have so many deficits in social skills that they cannot also be allowed to lag far behind academically, otherwise the battle later on will be on too many fronts to be winnable.

In the UK, with its dysfunctional SEN framework, this inevitably means a legal struggle against Local Authorities who do not see beyond their budget. Cambridge public bodies are no exception despite the educational tradition. Depriving a child of mainstream education may save the LA money, but the overall cost to the taxpayer of an uneducated adult with autism becomes much greater. On the other hand keeping the child in a small class size in a mainstream school will pay handsome dividends for everyone in the long term.

The goal should be to keep the child in mainstream education for as long as possible, and that means following the National Curriculum and getting formal qualifications. This gives them the best possible chance of achieving independence as an adult.

Nurturing Talent

Someone with autism is frequently stereotyped as being very gifted in a particular area but just socially inept. For most untreated children this is simply untrue, as their multiple deficits in speech, interaction, imagination, vision, hearing, balance etc. are just too numerous to allow any latent talent to emerge. Yet there is some evidence that a small percentage of those with Asperger’s syndrome or high-functioning autism do have some talent in either music, art or numeracy. Can this be harnessed early on for the wider good of the child, and can talents be uncovered in the large majority of children with autism who do not appear to have them?

Our experience indicates an emphatic “yes” to the first question, and “probably” to the second. In Jamie’s case, his musical talent has enabled him to gain respect and self-esteem at a very caring and nurturing school near Cambridge. His musical qualifications are have been a passport to mainstream secondary education, making him an asset to a high-achieving school rather than a liability. Treatment has undoubtedly helped the development of his talent by improving concentration and attention span, as it will help uncover talents in other children who at first are more severely affected. Just take a look at his progress.

Don’t Give Up

We hope to inspire those whose children have been written off, and to give them hope. By fighting on all fronts and implementing a broad range of treatments, therapies and educational methods, your children will get better. The so-called experts who deny this are selecting evidence to suit preconceived prejudices: do not listen to them. By following the three principles of treatment, education and talent nurturing, your child will certainly improve and may one day be able to function independently.

                  

 

“For years we have heard the experts say that autism is a lifelong disability....This simply is not true anymore.”


Bernard Rimland

- Founder and Director of Autism Research Institute until his death in 2006

Autism in Cambridge: the True Story

 

Organ at Trumpington Church, Cambridge where Jamie first learned to play

Harlton Church near Cambridge which kindly granted Jamie an organ scholarship with lessons form Nigel Kerry