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Topic : 12/19 Parents’ Ultimate Test: Dealing with Autism

Number of Replies: 290
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Created on : Thursday, December 13, 2007, 05:12:39 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1
The ultimate test for any parent is loving a child who is difficult, sometimes frightening, to the whole family. It’s a test parents of autistic children are put to daily. Ten-year-old Luz throws screaming tantrums, barks like a dog, and tells his mother, Sara, that he plans to kill her. Sara has long felt despair at Luz’s out-of-control behavior, yet she was shocked when a doctor diagnosed him with autism. Go inside the daily life of this family, see Luz’s wild behavior caught on tape, and learn why Sara’s main coping mechanisms might be putting her at risk. Then, a member of Dr. Phil’s own staff achieved miraculous results for her autistic child and her whole family through an intense program. Could a similar treatment work for Luz? Plus, what causes autism? Several recent media reports and high-profile parents such as Jenny McCarthy have pointed the finger at vaccinations. Is there a link? Child care expert and pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears weighs in. Then, imagine having a crime committed against you, but not having a voice or any way to tell someone you’d been wronged. Some mothers in Las Vegas say that’s exactly what happened when a teacher allegedly abused their autistic children, and they’ve filed a lawsuit. Hear them recount the painful details of the alleged abuse. What are their chances of winning in court? Share your thoughts here.

Find out what happened on the show.

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December 19, 2007, 2:01 pm CST

Living with autism

I am the mother of five children, the oldest of whom has autism.  Watching the show, I could feel Sara's pain and frustration.  The thought of dealing with the outrageous symptoms of autism for the rest of your life can easily seem overwhelming.  It is easy to become so caught up in the stress that you forget that you are only feeling a small fraction of the pain, choas, and frustration that our children live with on a daily basis.  It is not enough  to survive from day to day, instead,  we must learn to not only move forward, but to thrive.  Our children are depending on us.   


Also, I just wanted to say that I think sometimes people think that because children with autism require so much time and attention, they must be completely draining the parent's and family's emotional resources.  Believe me, living with autism is trying, to say the least. However, the love and joy that my daughter has brought into our home could never be replaced.  She is a beautiful, strong, funny, awesome little girl who happens to be living with autism.  She has brought and indescribable joy to me and my family.  I truely consider it a blessing to be her mother. 

December 19, 2007, 2:03 pm CST

the other children in the house...

The only thing I didnt hear dr phil mention was the other children in the house of the artistic child. With all the death threats upon his mother and his out of control behavior... I think the mother needs to take all action to assure her other childrens well being in the home. I would never leave the others alone with the artistic child...and I would set the house up to inform me more of everything that is going on... such as putting baby montiors up in the rooms of the other children so that throughout the house you can hear what is going on in case the artistic child may come in. Also, with all the extra care the artisic child needs to have, I hope that when they leave him with the care giver that they also spend some alone time with the other children so they dont feel like they are pushed aside and grow up feeling resentment against their brother.

December 19, 2007, 2:05 pm CST

Living the nightmare

The show today described my family and home to a T.  I had in fact emailed Dr. Phil some months back to be a guest about this very topic.  I realize that there is only so much room for families to be on his show, but I wonder what makes one family stand out from another to be other words what were the criteria?  He offered that one family help but what about all of the other ones who are struggling with the very same problem?  My daughter (by the way it is far more unlikely to have a daughter with autism than a son)has thrown knives at me and picks her little sister up off the ground by her HAIR.  It is so draining to have this stress in my home, and the doctors have basically  "given up".  They want me to basically institutional her, but what tears you up as a mother is that people don't realize that this is your CHILD, the same one that you carried with love and birthed and nurtured as a tiny baby...The looks we get are incredible, and so-called "friends" say to give her up and have her put away...But the day-to-day struggle only grows (btw my daughter is almost 10, the same age as Luz from the show), and the years ahead loom scary as I wonder how much more aggressive she can get...soon she will be bigger and meaner and THEN what?  Am I only putting off the inevitable by NOT putting her away now?  What a gut-wrenching choice...every day...

December 19, 2007, 2:16 pm CST

12/19 Parents’ Ultimate Test: Dealing with Autism

Quote From: mickisdaddy

I have a daughter who is on the severe end of the spectrum.  She was at one time almost as violent as her son.  She never went for knives and is non-verbal, but she would have violent rages for 2 hours at a time.  We ended up putting her on medication.  For the most part she does not have rages at all.  She is in a terrific school district that is actually willing to spend money on special education.  We really want to try a biomedical approach, but do not have the money because insurance will not cover that.

Doctors are not willing to try and find the cause of Autism.  They are only concerned with treating symptoms.  This needs to change.
I could not agree more.  I think that we tend to use a bandaid approach to treating autism.  We need to focus on what is causing Autism, and on effectively treating the disorder.  I know that speciallized programs for children with autism can be very expensive, but they have been shown to be highly effective for MANY chidlren.  Most parents simply can not afford individualized educational programs.  Often, schools provide the least they can offer by law, because programs are financially draining.  However, if the obvious needs of our mainstream students were going unmet people would be outraged, no matter the cost.  Personlly, I would love to see our educational system change to truely accomodate the needs of children with autism, and other disabilities.  I think that doing any less should be considered an injustice to these students.
December 19, 2007, 2:16 pm CST

i must say to those parents they are very strong good people

 i am a person with mental disabilites. although i am not autistic i am mildly mentaly retarded among other things. seeing this show tells me that those parents going through all they go through for there children are strong and good people. They truely love there children even though there kids have such problems unlike some parents and i must applase them for loveing there kids even though they have those problems. i live with my parents who love me alot and have gone through alot with me and i know i have had many problems and i know that more than likely with all my problems my parents have thought about devorce before. anyway seeing since i am not as severe off as those children it makes me happy about myself and stop questioning why me why do i have these problems. i am sure these parents have asked questions like that before. anyway i just wanted those parents to know even though i myself have my problems and really bad days i feel for you and i know though your children may not be really able to expreses it they love you and apperricate you. be happy you are truely good people
December 19, 2007, 2:17 pm CST






December 19, 2007, 2:19 pm CST

Sacrificing Family

Call me an ogre, but my solution is to give up Luz.  The Mom and Dad have two more children who are going to be traumatized by the chaotic situation in the house.  Does the Mom want to sacrifice her other two children AND her marriange by trying to control a child who is uncontrollable and dangerous?  I wouldn't.  There are places better equipped to handle Luz than a family home.  This is the realistic answer.
December 19, 2007, 2:22 pm CST

12/19 Parents’ Ultimate Test: Dealing with Autism

Quote From: sheaa5

My son is 7 now and he was diagnosed autistic(pdd-nos) at age 3.  Although, his behavior can be a challenge, he is not violent.  He throws tantrums when is routine is messed with(2 hour delays can be fun) and other things.  I am thankful my son is autistic, somedays I may not seem it, but I truly am, he is a bright spot on a bad day. :)  He has overcome so much and we just love him so.


I just wanted to point out that I agree with this poster that it's not the same on everyone and children with autism are very rarely violent. And that learning about the diagnosis is your best defense. :)


I know what you're saying. It reminds me of a short film I saw from Chiller when they had their Dare to Direct contest. It basically was that an Autistic boy acted delusional, and shot someone. The idea basically was Autistic people are monsters and could turn violent at any imagined provokation. Chiller didn't take this seriously, as a film that spread horrible and innacurate fear inducing stereotypes about Autistics. I haven't watched their channel since.


It's rather disgusting how people behave towards anyone these days who are the least bit different. Nobody seems to learn anything, from the issues arising from prejudices from the past.

December 19, 2007, 2:35 pm CST

12/19 Parents’ Ultimate Test: Dealing with Autism

I just wanted to post along the same lines of everyone who is saying each child on the spectrum is so different! I have heard a statement a lot since 3 year old DS was diagnosed that says "If you see one child with Autism, you've seen ONE!" Every child is so different. It makes me so sad that people in stores and different places see my son acting out and think that either I am a horrible mother or that he is just a terribly naughty child! My OT told me that we need to educated more people that these kids are not naughty, they are overwhelmed, confused, just trying to organize sensory input and their own bodies and feelings. Autism is so complex, so is my son, but I think he is the neatest kid ever!!
December 19, 2007, 2:37 pm CST

12/19 Parents’ Ultimate Test: Dealing with Autism

Quote From: annmac38

Call me an ogre, but my solution is to give up Luz.  The Mom and Dad have two more children who are going to be traumatized by the chaotic situation in the house.  Does the Mom want to sacrifice her other two children AND her marriange by trying to control a child who is uncontrollable and dangerous?  I wouldn't.  There are places better equipped to handle Luz than a family home.  This is the realistic answer.

That is NOT realistic.

I have raised a total of 7 kids and another 3 kids foster and another 10 off the streets. I have an 8 year old who is autistic.

Never give up and always give love. Both parents always need total support and people NOT LIKE YOU*

I once knew someone like you and low and behold off they went to a land  we now call forever "LOST" in the obis of  people who should never be listened to.

Honey, I have known Ogre's who are better.

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