Janna Marxuach: An open mind | SteamboatToday.com

Janna Marxuach: An open mind

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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