The Story of Julian (goodbye to autism)
First, the Before picture
Here is my son Julian, at four years old: he couldn’t play with toys; he scowled most of the time; he had explosive, violent rages; had little or no recognition of danger; panicked easily; aggressive; little to no tolerance for changes of any sort; intolerant of light, loud noises, anyone touching him; constantly sick with asthma, ear infections, virus after virus after virus.
Julian would compulsively rub his head all over me and want to put his hands and head under my shirt. He made strange noises a lot of the time, something like the sound dolphins make. His outbursts of rage seemed most of the time to come out of nowhere.
How I found the way out, after the fold. It gets worse before it gets better.
He never played with his little sister, but rather could not tolerate her presence at all, and we couldn’t leave the two of them alone because Julian could unpredictably become aggressive. He never expressed empathy for people or animals. He was not developing any capacity to play by himself. At times he seemed not to be able to think clearly, although he was very intelligent. No pretend play whatsoever. At school he was self-contained; he didn’t explode, but made no friends and did not become actively involved in what was happening. He watched. He never waved hello — he didn’t seem to understand the point of greetings at all.
Our home life was, as you might guess, a disaster. My husband and I were deeply stressed out and my little daughter was routinely very frightened. We pretty much stayed home all the time because crowds made Julian so upset, but home was no place of calm no matter how much we worked at making it that way. On his third birthday I invited three kids and their moms over, people he had spent a lot of time with, and his reaction, when the first child arrived with a smile and a present, was to scream, “I HATE OTHER PEOPLE!” and run upstairs to his room and refuse to come back.
It’s also true that Julian could be extremely interesting to talk to. He invented his own terminologies, he asked questions such as “Who invented language?” while fighting the carseat buckle, he could draw pictures from perspectives that were absolutely his own, unique and strange and lovely.
At that point I was a nearly total believer in mainstream medicine. He got every vaccination on time, he went to every well-visit, I gave him fluoride drops because the pediatrician told me to, round after round of antibiotics because the pediatrician told me to. I followed directions. But I had a child who was a wreck, and sick nearly all the time. When I suggested that something might be wrong, she reassured me that he was fine (a story many many parents of autistic kids can tell). Julian was my first child, my mother died before he was one, my other relatives thought he behaved badly because I was a crummy parent — so I relied on the pediatrician’s observations.
But then Julian fell off a cliff. He spiraled into a meltdown that wouldn’t quit. Hours and hours of crying every day, violent, vicious hissing talk about how he wanted to chop me up into little pieces and put me in the trashcan, how he wanted to kill people, how he wanted to die. He was FOUR……..