Long-Term Autism Treatment Results
Dec 17, 2015
1999-2000, we tested the first version of our new autism treatment. It used trauma techniques to heal epigenetic (generational) damage at a key moment in prenatal development. To our surprise, we had immediate and remarkable results in four out of the five children tested. However, in spite of these successes, we suspended the project because (at the time) we did not adequately understand the underlying biology, and so were unable to improve on the technique.
Over the next decade, we were fortunate to be able to keep in touch with one of the parents to monitor results. Below is her fascinating description of what the treatment did for her autistic child at the time, and then the outcome over the next 10 years. The changes lasted; and her boy grew up to earn a degree in mathematics.
Since then, due to advances in our understanding of subcellular and developmental biology, we've restarted the project. We feel we now understand the (complex) underlying disease process of autism and are in the testing phase of a revised treatment.
My name is Linda Johnson and Michael is my 21-year-old formerly autistic son. Dr. Grant McFetridge asked me to answer some questions and describe what happened about ten years ago when we did Grant's earliest version of his Autism Process with my son.
To backtrack, when Michael was nearly one, he spoke a few sentences and then stopped speaking. He didn't connect to us. He seemed to view us - myself, his father, his older sister and everyone else - as moving furniture that made noise. That's the best way I can describe it. There was no real bonding or even response to us as people. It was very, very hard to be "mom" without the "child" .
He also felt no fear, little pain and had no real connection to anything or anyone. It was brutal. He didn't speak. He never slept. I started sleeping on the kitchen floor to protect him and protect us from the dangerous things he did during the night. We took the knobs off the stove, latched the refrigerator, moved the electrical outlets to 4 feet off the floor. I have horrendous and some darkly funny stories. Life was hell.
When he was two, I had him evaluated by the local school district. He was put in the category of highest need and the the school personnel seemed angry with me about just how impaired Michael was. Remember, this was about 1991, before anyone had seen many autistic children. The belief at that time was that autistic children were mentally retarded. The school could tell that wasn't the case with Michael, so they missed it and that worked to his benefit. Our school district had spent a half million dollars the year before trying to deny services to an autistic child.
After years of special ed preschool, he got an infection and lost hearing in one ear in kindergarten and that got him better school services as hearing impaired. His partial deafness also helped explain his unresponsiveness to the school personnel. And it oddly seemed to help his ability to speak and understand speech. He was mainstreamed with support. We had all the regular special ed IEP meetings and often more meetings because his teachers were so frustrated with his unresponsiveness. I was repeatedly pressured to medicate him.
I got into biomedical stuff and we got a lot of improvement from that. I started a Floortime style behavioral program at home with me as provider. He got healthier and sturdier. He was reasonably well behaved. He did better at school. But biomedical didn't touch what I considered his primary autistic feature - that he wasn't really "present" or connected to us. He was going through the motions better.
How did I feel about all this? I don't think there are words. It's so traumatic. Autism is a violation of being human. That's how I feel about it. I think all the moms have a deep well of grief and trauma. I did and I'm not sure it's all gone.
Grant contacted me in 2000, when Michael was 11, from a post I made on the the EFT website. He proposed trying out his newly developed Autism Process with my son. We emailed back and forth a bit, I signed a non-disclosure form. I still didn't understand how this could work but there was something about Grant that I liked. I decided to trust my gut feeling and go ahead.
The Autism Process took maybe 45 minutes to do. It involved specific music, spoken phrases, body postures and tapping on acupuncture points. It was awkward and surprisingly emotionally difficult to do but I'd had years of practice with emotionally difficult so I just did it.
I didn't quite know what to expect and Grant didn't tell me. I didn't notice anything for about a week and then - wow. Michael started to cry at night, an almost existential pain. He tried to describe his feelings to me. That was completely new. Michael expressing anything with emotional content. He became afraid to be alone and followed me from room to room during the day to be close. Didn't leave my side in a store. I can't describe how different this was. More than once I've had to put a store on lockdown to find him.
I have a lot of graduate hours in education and child development. I could hardly believe what I was seeing during the weeks after doing the Autism Process. It was shocking to me. Michael was moving through developmental stages in days that should have taken years. He moved through emotional developmental stages in the correct order that he missed entirely from very early ages.
I should have contacted Grant immediately when Michael developed emotional pain. Grant said later that it could and should have been taken care of right away. But I was indulging the guilty pleasure of watching my child fully and deeply experiencing emotion and connectedness for the first time and I was hanging on to it. Sorry Michael. If I'd understood that the pain could have been removed while leaving all the other new emotional responsiveness and interaction, I would have contacted Grant right away.
Anyway, from that week onward, not only did he want to be physically close at all times but he wanted to share all his thoughts and interests with us. I recently asked my daughter, his older sister, what she remembered about right after the Autism Process. She had me laughing as she described in amazing detail how annoying Michael became to her and how she just wanted him to shut up. He rarely communicated before and I guess that's a fine quality in a younger brother. But she said I was ecstatic.
The year 2000 was a long time ago and I don't remember a lot of the details. But the memory of Michael looking out of his own eyes at me, connecting and expressing things with emotional content are not forgettable. A highlight, maybe THE highlight in this mother's life.
I had done a range of therapies with Michael across the years and he made a lot of progress. He really did. From what I see, the children are autistic and also physically ill. I want to recommend the biomedical community of moms. They believe that their children can improve or recover. It's hard to see or respond to changes in your child if all the people around you believe and enforce the idea that your child can't and/or won't change.
Grant asked whether the changes were stable. Yes, rock solid stable. Michael still has gut issues that interfere with his energy and attention occasionally, but it's temporary and has been that way for nearly ten years. Still makes me anxious, though.
I haven't shared this part of his story in a long time. I'm still a biomedical mom. But those many years ago, when I tried to describe the way Michael changed with this Autism Process, I would get a blank look. It was so outside of anyone's experience then that I stopped trying.
How is he doing now? Well, there are more problems with landing hard in your body for the first time at the age of 11 than at a much younger age. He gained the capacity but did not have the emotional or social experience to be his own age. That has taken longer and he's still a bit young for his age. Some of the biomedical issues that contributed to his autism, like the gut issues, did not disappear. Grant tells me the current version of the Autism Process addresses more of the complex issues of autism.
He's now a young man with skills and interests. He's taken direction of his life, is going to college, maintaining a very high grade point average with difficult courses, is driving a car. He's gotten A's on all his college English and philosophy papers. Sweet. After all those years of conferences and calls from his English teachers. Still a bit young for his age, but gaining. I'm thrilled beyond words when I look back.
Would I recommend Grant's Autism Process? Grant says that not all children will respond as Michael did because autism is a collection of problems, but this was, by far, the best single thing we did. Without Michael "in there" responding to us and the rest of the world, the other therapies and advances would have been empty.
December 18, 2009
1.1 December 17, 2015: Added this testimonial page to the research website.
1.0 December 29, 2009: First testimonial letter from Linda Johnston.