BECKLEY, W.Va. — It's little wonder that a single puzzle piece is used as the symbol by most organizations that deal with autism.
This disorder that now affects one in 150 children in this country involves a puzzling array of symptoms and behaviors. Medical research accepted by most physicians indicates there is still no known single cause or cure for autism.
However, leading autism researches and some local moms have joined thousands like them across the country and have refused to accept there is little or nothing that can be done to help their children. Having turned to biomedical interventions in addition to other therapies, they have experienced varying degrees of success and setbacks.
"We are not trying some weird form of voodoo. We are treating medical conditions known to exist in children with autism," said Janet Lintala of Beckley.
There is a new medical model established by Defeat Autism Now! or DAN! doctors. Traditionally, autism has been thought of as a brain disorder. DAN! doctors say they have the science to back up their beliefs that autism is made up of several physiological conditions, such as intestinal and immune disorders, inability to flush toxins from their bodies and high levels of yeast and metals in their bodies.
"This is a new model that says there is a set of medical conditions, and there is a need to treat the biochemistry not just the behaviors," said Lintala, the mother of a child with autism and who has taken the DAN! clinician training.
However, she is quick to point out the biomedical interventions are used in conjunction with traditional therapies that have been developed for children with autism.
"We're not saying this is a magic bullet. Families experience different results, but we are beginning to see lots of positive results from these biomedical interventions," Lintala said.