Pubdate: Wed, 10 Nov 2010
Source: Steamboat Pilot & Today, The (CO)
Copyright: 2010 The Steamboat Pilot & Today
Author: Janna Marxuach


After reading the article about Mrs. Dickson giving her autistic son
medical marijuana ("An alternative treatment,"  Oct. 31 Steamboat
Pilot & Today), I continued to read on through the online comments.
Interestingly enough, the debate only concerned the use of medical
marijuana. No one seemed to know much about autism itself. Those of us
who live with a child with autism have spent years listening to the
use of medications (legal or not) and their controversies. There are
volumes of books written on the use of prescription drugs and whether
these drugs have positive effects on our children.

Even the adults who have autism who are cognitively aware enough to
judge the effects of the drugs do not agree about which ones are the
most successful. The bottom line is that there isn't a pill to
"fix"  our children. So what we do is study, discuss, read the
scientific research, try diets, ABA therapy, chelation, etc., and we
talk to each other. What worked for your child? What were the side
effects? What seemed to have no effect?

Right here, right now, the use of medical marijuana is legal, and it
has helped this child. I have heard of others across the country. Will
I use it for my child? No, because it is an inappropriate medication
for him. Will I ever medicate him? Possibly "" if he needs it, and if
I find the right medication. Do I believe that this drug is helping
James? Yes, because his mother knows him, and she can see the results.
That is the point of it all. We, as parents, wish to see our children
happy and as successful as they can be.

Mrs. Dickson is sharing, because that is what we do as parents of
children with autism. Twenty-five years ago, the number of children
with autism was much lower, and parents much more isolated. Now, one
in 110 children has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.
We need to wake up and challenge what is going on around us. The
current research is focusing on chemicals in our environment and our
food. Personally, I have removed preservatives and chemicals from my
son's diet. Is this controversial? Of course. I have received plenty
of criticism for being so careful about his diet. But I know it works.

So yes, while the use of medical marijuana remains controversial, we
need to listen to the reports of parents and continue to look for ways
to improve the lives of our children with autism spectrum disorders.
And if this drug helps a child with autism, I am going to listen with
an open mind.

Janna Marxuach

Steamboat Springs
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