Create a Better Brain Through Neuroplasticity – More Autism Shaming With Added Fat Shaming Bonus!

Create a Better Brain Through Neuroplasticity – More Autism Shaming With Added Fat Shaming Bonus! February 16, 2020
A chubby little doggo from Pinterest.

Last week in our review of Debi Pearl’s brain damaged book on brains we got to see all the things Debi blames for autism. Now we move on to Debi’s brain damaged cures. Oh joy! And there is even more fat shaming! Oh goody!

This week we’re treated to the likely fictional story of Benny, whose momma was writing Debi for advice back in the early 1990s, the same time frame Debi claims to have been fostering a brain damaged baby named “Peanut”. This is literally the only quick mention of Peanut anywhere in the book. Debi claims because Peanut had a tiny deformed skull she was researching in the library how to heal Peanut, which led her to tell Benny’s mom how to heal him.

Debi says this of poor Benny:

“She wrote of being overrun by mice and rats because  he slopped food  all over the house and of his nasty diapers, which he continually dug in, smearing the contents all over the walls.”

Debi followed with descriptions of out of control destructive behaviors and high pitched screaming so bad the neighbors were constantly calling the cops. Think it’s quite likely this is one of those faked Pearl stories. Sure, while it is possible to have autism to this degree in my time working in a children’s residential treatment center with some kids having an autism diagnosis on top of everything else I never once saw anyone like this. It sounds like this was way more than autism, like perhaps some strain of mental retardation, or comorbidity going on.

I’m not a big fan of institutionalizing children, but this sounds like one of those situations where to keep the child safe in a stable environment it might have been better to put him in  a professional environment with those trained to deal with his issues.

Debi’s solution? Sauerkraut. Sauerkraut, fiber and organics. Yawn, the usual supplements.

“I knew I was her one escape from her world of torment, someone who heard her voice crying in her wilderness. It was so sad.”

Doubly sad because this was clearly one of those situations where the right kind of professional help would have benefited this family. Not advice on  stuffing the kid full of sauerkraut!

Debi’s second piece of “advice” – Get a dog!

There are oodles of good reasons to get a child a pet. Teaching compassion, responsibility, love, so many positives. Of course Debi has to fat shame the dog too, by noting it was an old fat dachshund. She then goes on to claim that Benny bonded so tightly with Flop the dog and with eating his sauerkraut that his brain started pruning off all those bad connections and he stopped screaming and acting out.

Third way Debi thinks you can cure autism – exercise, and plenty of it.

Benny’s parents bought a trampoline and put him on it.

“Benny and his family lived up north, so all their winter months were spent inside a dark house.  That would be enough to give me brain damage.”

Has Debi genuinely never been north of the Mason-Dixon line? Even in the snowiest climes there are tons of outdoor things to do daily. During my years living in Germany we went downhill skiing, cross county skiing, ice skating, or just simply a daily walk in the cold snowy forests. Cold weather does not mean you must huddle in the house in the dark!  Sometimes there was nothing better than bundling up for a long tramp through the snowy countryside and coming back to a big mug of hot tea or cocoa afterward.

Debi keeps mentioning again and again how ‘fat’ Flop is. She’s really singularly focused on the weight of even imaginary beings.

Benny bounces around happily on his trampoline. Daddy cries because Benny is smiling. There’s some nasty clothing malfunction that Debi mentions that adds nothing to the story before she complains how ‘fat’ Benny’s mother is, complaining that she never told Debi what an unhealthy plump little sausage she is. Debi claims Benny is so much better because of the Vitamin D he was getting from the sunshine.

And just like that Debi is claiming how many formerly severely autistic children she’s seen “Cured” with sunshine, sauerkraut and doggos. She claims they are now college graduates, in the military and one is a trial lawyer. Sure…….. Debi…….

She ends is by randomly throwing in that you must play music like hymns and that Bible on tape for a good half hour a day and your formerly autistic kid will be miraculously healed.

This is literally not how any of this works! Please do not think that any of these things are going to suddenly miraculously heal your child! While none of them can hurt, and likely there is some benefit it’s not the real answer. Get an appropriate level of help from proven and time tested professionals if you have an autistic child. Debi is not that.

Debi does not even give us a clue what happened to her poor little foster baby with the tiny skull, Peanut. It is frightening that a foster care agency thought that the Pearls were an appropriate foster care home.

Next week, the brains of young adults. Teenagers. It looks staid and dull compared with earlier chapters, and Debi links to a few pieces of real info.

Part 1 ~ Part 2 ~ Part 3 ~ Part 4

Part 5 ~ Part 6 ~ Part 7 ~ Part 8

Part 9 Part 10 ~ Part 11 ~ Part 12

Part 13Part 14

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NLQ Recommended Reading …

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce

I Fired God by Jocelyn Zichtermann

13:24 A Dark Thriller by M Dolon Hickmon

About Suzanne Titkemeyer
Suzanne Titkemeyer went from a childhood in Louisiana to a life lived in the shadow of Washington D.C. For many years she worked in the field of social work, from national licensure to working hands on in a children's residential treatment center. Suzanne has been involved with helping the plights of women and children' in religious bondage. She is a ordained Stephen's Minister with many years of counseling experience. Now she's retired to be a full time beach bum in Tamarindo, Costa Rica with the monkeys and iguanas. She is also a thalassophile. She also left behind years in a Quiverfull church and loves to chronicle the worst abuses of that particular theology. She has been happily married to her best friend for the last 33 years. You can read more about the author here.
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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • French Pandora

    I saw once 2 documentaries about how working with animals (dolphins and horses) can help with some autistic children and teens but it was supervised by doctors and educators.

    I have/had 3 dogs, 2 of them would have been unsuitable for autistic children (one dangerous since she hated children to the point of attacking them, the other has all the qualities required for an assistance dog except she is very immature due to a lack of socialization).

    PS : I really hope the picture is photoshopped, I can’t see how a dog so big can have a good life, just the strain on his heart make me shudder especially since he looks like a sharpei or sharpei mix like mine.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    That dog was put on a medically supervised diet and returned to a healthy weight.

  • French Pandora

    Thank you.

  • Delta

    Once I saw some antivaxxers arguing agaunst vaccines/in favor of “natural” whatever. One account chimed in, saying that Sauerkraut was the answer.

    That account’s username was SauerkrautSales.

  • Nea

    I’m almost surprised that Jilly hasn’t sued Debi for stealing the idea of Jilly Juice. What is it with all the sauerkraut worship these days?

    As for food… Debi lost any credibility for feeding anyone “right” in the cat food days, and I don’t hear her claiming cabbage and sunshine are curing Mikey.

  • SAO

    Start with an exaggerated description of behavior, add in a diagnosis by someone with no medical qualifications and a tendency to label as abnormal the normal behavior of children who are not beaten into instantaneous, terrified obedience and then apply some completely useless “treatments” and the kid will probably grow out of the terrible twos and voila! Sauerkraut and sunshine has cured autism!

  • SAO

    Some people view fostering as a job for extra money. My guess would be Peanut did not respond to Debi’s “cures” and got sent or taken back.

  • SAO

    Yes, because in the olden days, before refrigeration and modern medicine, when people needed to ferment foods to preserve them over the winter, there was no measles, mumps, polio or whooping cough, right?

  • Delta

    See, that’s the thing. These cures aren’t about you or me. It never is.

    They’re aimed at the “normal” people we know — our parents, and to a lesser extent our spouses, siblings, etc. Autistic people aren’t the customers, we’re more like the product with stuff like this.

  • NoOne of Consequence

    “Debi does not even give us a clue what happened to her poor little foster baby with the tiny skull, Peanut.”

    Well, that child grew up to be… Albert Einstein. Only Christian, so better.

    I don’t understand how people like this lady can’t be held legally liable for this level of terrible medical advice. Perhaps the first time harm is done she gets education, next time jail. She is endangering lives even if she believes her nonsense and if she doesn’t then she *intentionally* doing harm.

  • therealcie

    Oddly enough, I’m skeptical. Sauerkraut is good for the digestion, but I don’t think it’s worth doodly squat against tetanus or polio.

  • TheBookOfDavid

    Wait, wut? Isn’t she the co-author of that horrifying manual for child abuse? A list of rustic home remedies not topped in order of precedence by a plastic hose is what reveals the Peanut story as pure unfiltered bullshitcrapNo2.

  • I’d pay to see that court battle!

  • Saraquill

    Debi, a refuge from torm3nt? She’s very much lying.

  • Saraquill

    You’re kinder than I am. I took a peek at their profile.

  • Ann Nienow Bowen

    Every time you post another chapter overview I think this can’t get any worse. But it does. I wish someone could confront her and ask for citations, documentation and review. This s*&t is overwhelmingly sad and if people follow her advice there will more little coffins in the ground.

  • Jenn H

    “And just like that Debi is claiming how many formerly severely autistic children she’s seen “Cured” with sunshine, sauerkraut and doggos”

    As opposed to beating the autism out of them. Debi has pulled a massive retcon here.

  • Nea

    I doubt it was an official agency in the first place. If Peanut exists, they were probably handed to Debi by an acolyte.

  • Tawreos

    I think that if Peanut exists it is an actual peanut that was sitting near where she was writing this and she tossed it in as the name and forgot to go back and change it.

  • Tawreos

    Just remember the most important lesson from today’s post. If you scratch the butt2 of a pudgy puppy, you have made a friend for life. =)

  • Mimc

    This seems likely. After all to become a foster parent you have to have home visits by social workers, take parenting classes, go through mandatory reporter training. There might be more for long term placements I’m only familiar with respite care. I don’t think Debi would want that level of scrutiny on her home and parenting.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    That’s why I was surprised to hear her say they fostered a child.

  • Jennny

    Mark Twain sems particularly appropriate here Mrs P: ‘Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than open it and remove all doubt.’
    The late great UK comedian and wit, Frank Muir was asked to give an after-dinner speech to a group of top business people. He said he wasn’t sure why he was chosen because ‘I am to the world of business management what Dame Alicia Markova was to the world of oxy-acetylene welding.’ (that’s become a family joke in my family!)

  • Delta

    You’re wiser than I am. Still, I figured from how they went on about their hatred of “the scandal of neurodiversity,” but the fact is that nobody selling these cures intends them for the 1 in 1000 autistic person who wants to become NT. They’re intended either for parents who want some idealized picture of what children are like instead of their actual child, or for people who want a reason to feel superior about the fact that nobody in their family is autistic.

  • Saraquill

    I hope Julia from Sesame Street, the girl from Loop and other positive portrayals will change minds.

  • Delta

    I hope so too. But Sesame Street has been using Julia in ads partnering with Autism Speaks recently, and the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network ended their partnership with Sesame Street. I’m worried about that.

  • undead merc3

    Well, I will apologize for coming off as off putting. I will admit as i’ve said, I don’t like these fake cures. I just can’t give the Nerodiversity movement a free pass either. You’re more than welcome to say otherwise.

  • Nightflyer

    I know an autistic adult who’s the same way…he can take only so much heavy stimulation for a while. Then he will literally walk away from the party and into the garden or the other room, to reduce the noise bouncing around his skull.

  • persephone

    I’m on the high end of autism, and my choice is to withdraw. I’ve made more than a few Irish goodbyes. I was at a holiday party, did the chat thing, too tense to eat and I don’t drink for multiple reasons, and I finally maxed out. I was able to say I was heading out as I left, but I was out of there and some fresh air and a quiet night helped.

  • persephone

    I would guess that Debi is freaked at the idea of northern winters because her kids probably didn’t have shoes much of the time and the cost of two seasons of clothing would have been impossible with Mike in charge.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    I hide and pet the cat..

  • Astrin Ymris

    That’s what I did as a kid at family reunions! When I got too overwhelmed, I’d go outside and find a cat to pet.