Speaking Up

I just couldn’t bite my tongue anymore when they said what?

This is the question I asked my kids and later my husband, receiving the exact same response, “You had to speak up when they said autism is genetic.”  “They” meaning the presenters of a breakout session entitled, “Supporting Family Members with an Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis” that I attended at Winona State University’s W.E.L.L. (Wellness Exchange for Lifelong Learners) Conference, of which I was a presenter of information about GAPS™ . Surprisingly, the go-to genetics response (and it was addressed in this breakout session) did not get my goat.  Maybe because it was just one of the possible theories listed to cause autism that I didn’t flinch at the “g” word.  Usually, blaming everything on genetics frustrates me, after all, I am a GAPS’ gal.  Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride dedicates a whole chapter to genetics in her book Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS™).

Here’s and excerpt from that chapter:
“In our modern world genetics is a popular concept.  Almost every health problem is commonly blamed on genetics.  We pollute the water we drink, the food we eat, the air we breathe with industrial and nuclear wastes and when we get ill we blame it on genetics.  We deplete our soils of minerals and other nutrients and replace them with pesticides organophosphates, weedkillers and lots of other chemicals, we grow our crops on these soils, we eat these crops, we get ill and blame it all on genetics.  We damage our children’s immune systems with vaccinations and antibiotics and blame it all on genetics.  We regularly consume processed foods with virtually no nourishment for the body that are full of chemicals and detrimental to health, and when we get ill we blame it all on genetics.  We regularly intoxicate ourselves with alcohol, tobacco and drugs and when we get ill we blame it on genetics.”

To which I say, “You go girl!  You tell ’em!”  Dr. Natasha says openly what I often only share with my family and clients.

The mention of genetics in the breakout session did not spring me forth into action, but today’s sermon did.  Pastor Dale said that he has hypertension because he is hard wired that way.  It’s in his DNA; it’s all genetic, adding that he will have to be on medication the rest of his life.  Really?  Now mainstream medical information is being preached on Sundays?  After the service, I rushed Pastor Dale with unsolicited information dispelling his genetic link to hypertension.  (My unsolicited advice is usually not well received, so I often bite my tongue, but I figured a Minnesota man of the cloth has double reason to at least pretend to be nice.  For my Texas and other state friends, there’s this little thing, actually it’s a big deal, called “Minnesota Nice” where people here are always nice, meaning they never say “no” but that doesn’t mean it’s a “yes”.  Tricky, I know.  Asking for RSVP’s is pointless because people cannot say their child cannot attend a birthday party, even when they can’t.  But I digress with my digression.)  Pastor Dale, being both Minnesota Nice and devoted to God, lived up to my expectations being very “nice” in his reaction to my holistic health ambush.  As part of my spreading the good news about nutrition, I shared with Pastor Dale that many mainstream medical ideas have become part of our belief systems.  The irony of the location, a church, is not lost, where belief is everything.  But, believing that a health condition is genetic when it’s not strips people of their healing powers.  Believing that medication with negative side effects is the only way to sustain life is physically damaging.  We need a health empowerment movement.  People need to believe in their body’s innate intelligence that when given nutrient dense, real, whole foods, the body can heal itself, because it can.

Any guesses to what loosed my long bitten tongue at the breakout session, if it wasn’t genetics?  Here are the seven little words that broke my heart spoken after the theoretical list of causes:  “We really don’t know what causes autism.”  Really?  That’s what I heard nine years ago when my oldest child received his Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis.  Really?  After nine years, nothing has changed?  (I write this with tears streaming down my face.)  How could the information “out there” be the same?  I’m a Certified GAPS™ Practitioner.  We know that autism is caused by a messed up digestive system.  We know that healing the gut successfully treats autism.  How many parents still hear, nine years after I did, that there is no known cause of autism and no known cure from mainstream medical professionals?  Throughout the years my son has had numerous friends on the autism spectrum; friends with wonderful, loving, do-anything-in-the-world-for-their-children parents.  These parents follow the advice of mainstream medicine and I bite my tongue, respecting the parents’ choices to medicate their children.  It’s difficult to sit back and say nothing when I watch as my son’s friends struggle with outside the norm behaviors and emotions, while my son thrives. I spoke up in this breakout session and said, “But we do know.”  That’s not all I said.  After years of being respectful of the different approaches to dealing with autism, I felt uncomfortable with my new found assertive ramblings, but it’s not about me.  I continued, “How many kids are going to remain lost in the world of autism before we acknowledge that we DO know what causes autism and that it CAN be overcome?”  It’s not the time to bite our tongues.  If we don’t speak up, another nine years may pass without anything changing.

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