If you could cure your child, would you?
A while back, my friend Amber over on Wonderbaby published the post If you had a magic wand that could “cure” your child’s disability, would you use it? I participated in her questionnaire and my quote is included, but that is not the relevant part. Surprisingly to me, is that the group is pretty evenly split. The refreshing part, however, is that no one said, “But wait! There is a cure!”
Why? Because there isn’t. If there is not a cure for our kids’ disabilities and issues, and down at our core we know this….why do we keep falling for the idea that one might exist? And why are not listening to reason…if a cure did exist for some of these things, wouldn’t the entire world know about it? Would it really be kept a secret, due to some conspiracy or whatever? I doubt it.
Today is one of those head-bang kind of days on Facebook. I have twice seen parents ask about or suggest chiropractic treatments to other parents. One suggestion was for seizures, the other….wait for it….social skills. I feel so sad for that parent. My good friend’s husband said, “We don’t cry because our kids can’t read and write, we cry because of the isolation and social exclusion.” So true, and because of that sadness, some parent is out there paying for chiropractic treatments in hopes of…her child developing social skills. What a
Look I know the feeling. I have a son who does not have any friends. At age 8 he has never giggled at a sleepover or built a fort out back with a buddy. He has never received a Valentine or holiday gift from a classmate that was not signed using hand-over-hand by the parent. I get it. But we have to stay strong for our kids. We owe it to them to not put them in further danger or frivolously spend our household money.
I wish that these “natural and holistic” treatments would receive the same scrutiny that parents give to other medicines. Good grief, you should see it! I mean, almost daily in these Facebook groups, I read, “My son’s doctor has prescribed ABC Drug, what do you know about it?” and the anecdotal information flies around, links to fake watchdog websites, even shrieks of “FIGHT IT! The schools always want to medicate our kids!!!”
But a mention of chiropractic manipulations, herbs, supplements, nutritional supplements, special diets…and, nothing. No one speaks up against it. I’m am almost always the lone voice suggesting that perhaps you research it more.
Why don’t alternative medicines (or, gag, the “biomeds”) receive the same scrutiny? The perception is that because they are complementary, alternative and holistic, that they must be safe. And that is just not true.
Much of my feelings towards this are the same as the feelings I have about the anti-vaxxers-they lie. If, after you have examined all the evidence, you still wish to proceed and try this alternative therapy. By all means, knock yourself out. But please don’t lie to me. Don’t tell us that there is evidence supporting it when there isn’t. Don’t tell us that there are not any risks, when nothing is without risk. There is risk–and you need to be honest about that.
It is just baffling to me that in a group of parents, one parent can ask about a prescribed medication and people will come out of the woodwork to criticize it. But a mom can mention “Hey, I’m going to have someone manipulate my child’s spine in hopes of developing social skills” or “I’m going to cut all dairy and wheat out of my child’s diet” and no one bats an eye! No one but me suggests that perhaps adjusting a child’s spine is oh, I don’t know…a little crazy? No one suggests that maybe dairy and grains have nutrients that your child needs? Why is safety not a concern? As much a concern as it is with prescriptions? Why do prescriptions that come from a trained physician get scrutinized more than a random internet article?
I also have to be responsible with my family’s money. Not one of us has unlimited resources. So why would I spend our money on a treatment that is not proven to work? Desperation. And there are just soooo many companies out there willing to take your money. One of my recent favorites was a claim that some essential oils can cure….ebola. Essential oils is a billion dollar industry.
Chiropractic care is often covered by insurance which to me only presents a bigger flaw in the arguments to use it. First it’s “I go to a chiropractor because doctors and insurance companies are BAD and they only want to make money and sell you big pharma products. My chiropractor wants to treat the whole person.” But then in the next breath, “Well, it’s covered by insurance, so insurance companies must know something!” Do they? I thought they just wanted your money, so which is it?
First, let’s dispel this “big pharma” idea that only big pharmaceutical companies make money. GNC lists it’s revenues at $613 million….per quarter. Quarter–that’s every 3 months! If that is not “big vitamin” or “big supplement” I don’t know what is. Let’s call it what it is–all these alternative folks are making money. They are not just doing this out of the goodness of their hearts. The average chiropractor salary in this country is $135k per year, more than 3x the average teacher salary.
Imagine this scenario in your head…because I know that this happened to some of you. You’re meeting with some members of your child’s team, and your child has ADHD. Some team members suggest medication. What do you do? According to others I know who have encountered this, first you get mad. You vent about it on Facebook, and to others. Am I right? I mean HOW DARE THEY suggest medication? But what if went a little differently? What if, the teacher said to you, “You know, I’ve been doing some reading about gut flora and ADHD and some parents are doing the GFCF diet for their kids.”
I think I know the answer. You don’t get mad. Why not? She has suggested an alternative treatment that has not one shred of evidence behind it to show that it helps ADHD. Why are you not equally as mad?
Why are you more offended at something that has actually been proven to work for some kids? Just because it is actual medicince? (And yes, in both scenarios, a teacher should not be giving medical advice, but that’s another post for another day!)
Parents, please…I’m not anti-alternative medicine. I’m anti-taking-advantage-of-an-extremely-vulnerable-population which is what many of these companies do. Examine the risks and the rewards. If you’re still willing to take the risk, go for it. But at least be honest about what you are doing. Don’t lie to yourself and your family that this has been proven to work when it hasn’t. Among some of the risks that I never see being discussed:
- Chiropractic manipulations and increased risk of strokes
- Detoxing- a waste of money at best, you are not toxic! If you are, you need a kidney or a liver transplant, not a detox. Your kidneys and liver do just fine at eliminating waste from your body.
- Gut flora-some of the “treatments” used to rid the body of this gut flora have been shown to cause liver damage; not enough research has been done on this one to determine what treatments will work
- mercury or metal poisoning- I have never seen this diagnosed by an actual doctor. In all cases, the family had to drive hundreds of miles away to find a kinestheologist or someone else who miraculously found out that this is the real problem, not autism. Seriously? How far in denial can you be?
- vitamins and supplements-very few have been proven to help anything and some can be toxic at high levels or long term use. In 2012, Americans spent over $23 billion on vitamins. So don’t try to tell me that these companies don’t want to make money.
Hey, I love essential oils. I have them. But I know what I’m buying and what they do. I’m not hoping that they cure or prevent cancer, autism or anything else. Because they have not been proven to do that.
Ask yourself, when you are chatting with other parents either in person or on Facebook–are you scrutinizing every suggestion with the same level of enthusiasm? Because in my experience, that does not happen. Real medicines, which have actually been through numerous studies, get far more scrutiny from parents than the ‘natural’ treatments. Why is that?
I have a responsibility to all my family members–not just my child with disabilities. I owe it to the others to not piss away our money on things that do not work. That is what guides my decision making: risk, reward, affordability, can I just toss this money out a window?
That thought process has done well for me so far.
I hope you find the information and peace you are looking for.
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