(Script below video)
Raising a Son With Autism–Following Science is Pro-life
Hello, I’m Julie Nichols, the Neuro-Catholic MamaBear.
Yesterday I spoke of my personal experience with neurosurgery and how it is pro-life to follow science. Today, I will speak of my experience as a parent who raised a son with Autism. Following science was pro-life in his case as it is for many other parents of Autistic children I personally know. I am also a Certified Autism Specialist in addition to other credentialing.
Our son Sam was born as a premature baby into a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in August of 2000. Right before his third birthday, a Sam received a diagnosis of High-Functioning Autism. With the help of a brilliant Catholic developmental Pediatrician, Dr. Patricia Harkins of San Antonio, she prescribed the therapies and interventions that were in alignment with the vast majority of experts in her field of developmental pediatrics. She followed science by aligning her practice with the medical consensus of her colleagues. Some of this science in developmental pediatrics over the last 20 years has developed and changed like science does. Dr, Harkins also told me many years ago that variances in gender and sexuality are higher in those on the Autism Spectrum and in their families. At the time, I wasn’t quite ready to hear this, but I am now!
Starting in Sam’s preschool years, he received 20-25 hours a week of Applied Behavioral Analysis and another 4 to 6 hours a week of a Speech and Occupational Therapies combined. The interventions worked so well that Sam was ready for a regular first grade classroom at age seven.
As the years went on, Sam continued with researched-based therapies but at a lesser intensity. His after-school activities were therapies and tutors until he started altar service in the Church at age thirteen and the Boy Scouts at age fourteen. In middle school, my husband and I moved Sam to a small private Christian school who accommodated children with disabilities and where I established a private practice. We were both there for 6 years until Sam graduated from high school.
Sam completed his Eagle Scout Honor, graduated with a regular high school diploma, and went off to college at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. During his studies in Huntsville, he became a licensed pharmacy technician at a local pharmacy after a year and a half of on-the-job training. Sam returned home to start the application process for a local Catholic Pharmacy School and wants to become a Doctor of Pharmacy.
I tell you this story about our son Sam because following science was truly a matter of life and death in his case as it was in my case with neurosurgery for Parkinson’s Disease.
When a collaboration of experts comes together in a scientific field and formulates any type of agreement, it’s important to listen because peoples’ lives and humanity depend on this. As a clinician, I would never try to buck a collaborative decision by the top experts on behalf of a vulnerable minority population. This it is pro-life for the Church and society to follow the medical consensus for any field of science or medicine, including LBGTQIA+ science and medicine.