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We are an Army family! Miles was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 6 and he is now 15 years old. Marley is Miles' Autism Service Dog and his best friend. This dynamic duo has been together for 5 years and look forward to many more adventures! 

For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love and sound judgement.  
                                                       2 Timothy 1:7


Defeat Autism Now (D.A.N) & MAPS Doctor

But Jesus looked at them and said,
"With men this is impossible,
but with God all things are possible."
                                             Matthew 19:26

Before we started seeing Miles' D.A.N Doctor he was on several different medications. A couple of those medications were used to help him focus on schoolwork, control his behavioral issues, prevent acid reflux, and to help him sleep. On top of all these medications Miles was constantly sick and as a result more medications were added to his regular regime.

One of the medications Miles was taking made him gain excessive weight within a matter of months, gave him a foggy appearance and didn't control the targeted behavioral issues. None of these medications were preventing him from having meltdowns, stomach pain, self injurious behavior and stimming/TICS.

Doctors were more than willing to hand out medication but never informed us there were other therapy choices such as ABA (Applied Behavioral Analyst) or the Bio-Medical for children with Autism. 

What Is the DAN! Protocol, and What are DAN! Doctors?
Defeat Autism Now (DAN!) is a project of the Autism Research Institute, founded in the 1960s by Dr. Bernard Rimland. DAN! doctors are trained in the "DAN! Protocol," an approach to autism treatment which starts with the idea that autism is a biomedical disorder. Specifically, DAN! doctors feel that autism is a disorder caused by a combination of lowered immune response, external toxins from vaccines and other sources, and problems caused by certain foods.
What Do DAN! Doctors Prescribe?
In an article called "Advice to Parents of Children with Autism," authors associated with the Autism Research Institute (ARI) say:
  • Many physicians do not conduct extensive medical testing for autism, because they believe, incorrectly, that the only useful medical treatments are psychiatric medications to reduce seizures and behavioral problems. Some of the major interventions suggested by DAN! practitioners include:
  • Nutritional supplements, including certain vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and essential fatty acids
  • Special diets totally free of gluten (from wheat, barley, rye, and possibly oats) and free of dairy (milk, ice cream, yogurt, etc.)
  • Testing for hidden food allergies, and avoidance of allergenic foods
  • Treatment of intestinal bacterial/yeast overgrowth (with pro-biotics, supplements and other non- pharmaceutical and pharmaceutical medications)
  • Detoxification of heavy metals through chelation
Where Can Parents Find DAN! Doctors?  The Autism Research Institute (ARI) has a list of doctors who have been through the DAN! training. Of course, parents should be very wary, and I recommend that parents check in with parent support groups to be sure that the DAN! doctor of their choice is really what he appears to be. You want to be sure that your DAN Doctor physically evaluates and runs testing on your child before increasing, decreasing or beginning treatments.

Autism Research Institute (ARI) Update:
*Because the name "Defeat Autism Now!" does not accurately describe the medical approach to understanding and treating autism, and because some people have been offended by the phrase, ARI will no longer use the name. In the future, our biannual conferences will simply be called ARI Conferences. 
*We have resolved to "freeze" the clinician registry in 2011; at the end of the year, the list will be removed from our website. There are many reasons why we have chosen to this: although clinicians receive similar and consistent information at the seminars, there is no uniform way patients are subsequently treated, even acknowledging individual differences; many perceive the clinician list as a list of recommended doctors--in reality, the list simply contains the names of professionals who attended our clinician seminars. We do not certify them, and as a result, we cannot assure people that every practitioner on the list always provides the highest quality service. 

Talk About Curing Autism (TACA)
There is a great next step for families living with autism called MAPS: The Medical Academy of Pediatric Special Needs. TACA supports MAPS and is an active community member. You may read more about their goals here: The next generation of doctors MAPS. The goal of MAPS is looking to drive treatment based on science and the needs of individuals. 

Our constant prayer was to find Miles the help he needed through knowledgable therapist and Doctors.  Once we moved to Illinois I began searching for an ABA and Defeat Autism Now (D.A.N) Doctor that would accept our insurance. 

The D.A.N Doctor required Autism parents to attend a new patient briefing. During this briefing the Doctor explained what would be involved in her care of our child. She gave us an outline of things we could begin while we were on the waiting list to make our first visit and explained appointments would be every 3 months. She answered questions and was very informative in the how's and why's behind the Bio-medical approach. We were able to set up Miles' first appointment 3 months after attending the briefing.  At the end of this meeting I knew without a doubt the Lord had answered our prayers and lead us to this Doctor for Miles' treatment!

When we returned home from the D.A.N Doctor's briefing I made an appointment with our Family Doctor to review and remove any unnecessary medications Miles was taking. He also ordered blood, urine and stool tests suggested at the briefing to get an overview of vitamins, minerals, metals and yeast levels in Miles' body. The Family Doctor also gave him referrals to a Gastroenterologist, Child Neurologist and Allergist. When Miles completed all the necessary testing we began implementing the Gluten Free Casein Free Diet (GFCF) and vitamins/supplements the D.A.N Doctor had approved to begin before the first visit. Miles also started allergy shots and ABA. Our Family Doctor was very supportive of the Bio-Medical approach; sadly this is not always the case. 

I can not overemphasize the importance of aggressively pursuing treatment. At our first office visit the D.A.N Doctor was surprised we had already changed Miles over to the GFCF Diet, vitamins/supplements and had results from his laboratory tests and Physician reports. After reviewing his information the Doctor ordered more blood, urine and stool tests to check his current levels of vitamins, minerals, metals and yeast in his body. When she received the new test results we were advised to add more vitamins/supplements and medicine to detox Miles from the heavy metals and yeast and begin to bring his body up to appropriate levels. Had we not shown up with previous test results (as suggested by her at the briefing) this would have been our starting point. 

By the 6 month mark Miles was on the path to healing his gut and the D.A.N Doctor had him begin the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). We integrated the SCD and extra vitamins/supplements into his routine as per the test results. This new diet was a real change because sugars, soy, artificial colors/flavors and starches were not allowed. Thank goodness Miles is a rules based kid because he stuck with the diet and never cheated by sneaking food. 

The Bio-Medical approach is not fully covered by insurance and we were having a hard time affording this treatment for Miles. We had to decrease vitamins/supplements for a few months and noticed an immediate regression in his health. Through much prayer and the support from our local Church the Lord provided a way for Miles to continue his treatments and care under the D.A.N Doctor! 

The results at the end of his 12 months with the D.A.N Doctor were amazing. His stomach quit hurting, self injurious behavior stopped and he had fewer stimming/TICS movement. He was a much happier, creative and interactive boy!

Miles has been receiving care from his D.A.N Doctor for 6 years. At every appointment she orders test of Miles' blood, urine or stool to check his levels. She has us implement decreases or increases of supplements and medication according to the test results. Through the Bio-medical approach Miles found relief from the painful days he used to experience. We have been blessed by this Doctor's care for Miles. Her understanding of Autism, knowledge of latest research developments and therapies have made her a vital part of Miles' team. He still has a way to go to continue recovering his body from several issues but each year puts him closer to a healthier life!

The D.A.N Doctor has recommended Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) for Miles which he received from Chamber of Hope. You can read about this therapy under HBOT to find out more. 

Again, every child is different and what works for one child may not work for another. As with any treatment or therapy you may have to give it 6 months to a year before you might begin seeing changes. For Miles this has been a VERY beneficial treatment and I am glad that the Lord lead us to this wonderful D.A.N/MAPS Doctor! 

The Bio-Medical approach is not cheap but there are organizations who can help with the cost of some of these treatments (see Autism Resources for more information)

The article on D.A.N Doctors can be found at About.com 

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