Participants: Dr. James Marcum (Host), David Adams
Series Code: BRX
Program Code: BRX00009B
00:01 Welcome Back! Our topic today is Autism.
00:04 We are talking to Dr David Adams
00:06 about this interesting and fascinating subject.
00:09 I would just asked you Dr. Adams, go over the
00:11 statistics once more for our audience.
00:13 I don't think it's sunk in enough.
00:15 Right now Autism is the largest developmental disability
00:20 in the United States.
00:22 The rate of Autism has gone up
00:24 from, in the last 20 years from
00:26 1 in 5 thousand children to 1 in 150 children.
00:29 It affects approximately 1 in 80 families
00:32 in the United States.
00:33 In some states such as the state of New Jersey the rate
00:38 is 1 in 98 children. - okay!
00:40 When you primary those are clustered in the
00:46 elementary school age group, there is literally a tidal
00:49 wave of autistic children who are hitting the school
00:52 system right now, overwhelming the school system.
00:56 Eventually we will have to acquire adult services.
01:00 Well, you know, you talk about economic problems that the
01:03 country is having, health problems.
01:05 You look at the economic impact this is going to have,
01:07 not only in the children that become the productive
01:11 individuals, but also the family using their resources
01:13 just to take care of the children rather than being
01:16 productive individuals in society.
01:19 The last statistic that we have is 5 years old,
01:21 the average cost, in the United States, for educating
01:25 a child with Autism, is 22 thousand dollars per year.
01:28 22 thousand?
01:30 Which then you multiply it by 1 in a 150 kids,
01:33 it is a huge burden on the school system.
01:35 Well let's move toward next question.
01:37 This comes from Kate in Minnesota.
01:39 Kate says:
01:49 This goes with another question from Jean in Arizona.
01:52 And Jean asks:
01:55 I think we can answer these two questions here.
01:57 Where is this disease coming from?
01:58 Why can't we see it, were the doctors
02:00 not picking it up?
02:02 The first, Autism was originally defined in 1943 by a
02:06 gentleman named Dr. Leo Kanner, who was a physician and child
02:10 psychiatrist in John Hopkins in Baltimore Maryland.
02:14 In his original paper, he stated this was a syndrome
02:17 that he never seen before and had not seen described
02:21 before in the literature.
02:22 Some people have argued that it was present earlier,
02:28 but it's hard to justify that because medical physicians
02:33 have been very good at describing syndromes for years.
02:37 I would be surprised if the leading child psychiatrist
02:40 in the United States would make a statement that this
02:44 is a new condition unless he could be sure
02:47 he had not seen it before.
02:48 The rate continued very low until it was,
02:53 really until the early or late 80's.
02:59 The rate began to increase if you look from the 1940's
03:03 to the 1960's, 1970's the rate of Autism in the
03:07 United States was relatively stable.
03:09 In the late 80's early 90's it began to rise to
03:12 the rate that we are at now.
03:13 No one really knows what causes it and probably it
03:22 will turn out to be multiple things.
03:25 Autism is probably not just one disorder,
03:28 it is probably a group of disorders that we
03:31 label and put together.
03:35 Well, let me interrupt you here.
03:36 When I treat cardio vascular disease,
03:37 I see that something is stressing the system.
03:39 That can happen at many different levels.
03:42 Look at society it has changed a lot in 40 or 50 years.
03:46 Do you think that society might be having
03:48 some roles in this?
03:50 I think the best evidence right now in Autism
03:52 is not just a genetic disorder, but children are born
03:57 within innate susceptibility and then something happens,
04:02 a deranged development.
04:04 There has been evidence for ambient air pollution,
04:08 pesticides exposure, Mercury exposure, viral infections,
04:14 exposure to certain medications,
04:17 they have all been linked to Autism.
04:19 It will probably be a multitude of affect.
04:24 You know the brain is one of the things that we do
04:26 not know as much about as some of the other organs.
04:28 Especially when it affects the communication system.
04:31 The brain is downstream from a lot of other the things.
04:35 Lot of things that affect the body, affects the brain much
04:39 more because the brain becomes the most sensitive organ
04:43 in the body and it is complex and the organ most likely
04:47 to have dysfunction.
04:48 What really scares me though, you say this is a
04:52 curve that is going up.
04:53 We could see more Autism in 20 years than we have
04:56 right now, if we don't come up with some answers.
04:59 So far the rate has continued to increase.
05:03 There has not been a leveling out.
05:05 To some degree that rate increase is related to the
05:09 recognition of milder cases.
05:12 There is always a severe case and there is always
05:16 the milder cases.
05:19 It's a spectrum, and so in identifying those milder
05:22 cases probably run the number up as well.
05:26 But if you go back and you try to eliminate that,
05:28 you still see an increase in Autism.
05:31 Yet this seems more like the, it is not like a
05:34 blood test, it's more like a clinical diagnosis.
05:36 At this present time there is no blood test,
05:39 there is no MRI, there is no brain scan...
05:42 no tissue?
05:44 No tissue for diagnoses at present.
05:47 There are clear abnormalities that we see in
05:51 children with Autism, primarily related to the
05:55 immune system, but as of yet there is nothing
05:58 that can really diagnose.
06:00 It is strictly on the basis of observation.
06:03 What is this child doing?
06:04 Where is this child's deficits? Does this child compared to a
06:08 normally developing child?
06:10 So some day when we look back over time,
06:12 we might find that this Autism was just a global
06:15 word to describe various brain abnormalities
06:18 of communication.
06:19 Absolutely! - wow! - absolutely! - That's incredible.
06:22 Let's go on to our next question.
06:31 This comes from Jim in Texas.
06:39 Are there different types of Autism?
06:43 Autism right now is divided into three main subcategories.
06:47 How that division and where the lines lie are up to argument.
06:51 But the three categories usually is full spectrum,
06:55 Canner's Autism, were children have all three criteria.
06:58 They have language delays, they have communication delays,
07:02 they have stereotypic behavior,
07:04 they have repetitive behavior.
07:06 The second group is called, Pervasive Developmental Delay.
07:10 That is a big word?
07:12 That is a big word it is essentially Autism without
07:16 so much stereotypic behavior.
07:18 The third group is Asperger's syndrome, which some people
07:23 think is completely separate from Autism.
07:25 But most people put it in with Autism.
07:27 Now was that named after a person?
07:29 It was named after a professor in Vienna by the name of
07:31 Hans Asperger who first described it 1944.
07:34 Asperger Syndrome, their language is intact and it's
07:39 principally a disorder of communication
07:41 and social interaction.
07:45 Where they have a great deal of difficulty
07:47 picking up on non-verbal social ques.
07:51 Have difficulty interacting with individuals.
07:55 And getting back to our question here, those are the 3 types,
08:00 do you think we are going to find more types
08:01 as we learn more about this disease?
08:03 I guess you call it a disease?
08:05 A developmental of disease?
08:08 I think it will probably end up doing a better
08:11 job sub-categorizing.
08:13 I think we have a pretty good description of what
08:17 these children look like.
08:19 I think what we don't have is a good diagnosis that
08:23 says this is what is going on in this child that
08:26 produce these symptoms.
08:28 The next hope in Autism research is to be
08:31 able to develop that.
08:33 To look and say okay, this child has Autism because of
08:36 this particular process going on.
08:39 I guess once you, every child is going to need a little
08:44 different type of... one of the things that we try to
08:48 do is we try to go back to the Bible.
08:51 Does the Bible talk about what to do in these situations?
08:54 I know for families this is a disease that not only
08:56 of the child, but a disease of the family.
09:00 How did you learn to cope with this disease?
09:03 You know, I'm sure that people would come up to you,
09:06 with a child didn't to act right, and you would probably
09:09 get all sorts of weird looks.
09:14 As a Christian looking at, and having a child
09:17 with Autism, the first thing is really dealing
09:21 with the utter devastation.
09:23 God why did this happen to me?
09:25 Why did this happen to my child?
09:28 What happened, what went wrong?
09:31 I've had responses from Christian individuals,
09:36 everything from demon possession, to sin,
09:39 to being afraid of the child, as if Autism is a communicable
09:44 disease and they could catch it.
09:48 The first response I would encourage is the church.
09:53 The first response for anything is the church to
09:56 love and respond with love and understanding.
10:01 To respond with the ability as Job needed,
10:05 is people not to give him advice, but people to listen.
10:08 People to understand and be with them rather than
10:11 people to give answers to his problem.
10:13 Now in your situation, when you have a child that
10:17 does not receive love in traditional methods,
10:20 how does he show love and how do you give love back
10:23 to someone that has impaired communication skills
10:25 because of this developmental disease?
10:28 We began a long quest involving prayer and a
10:31 lot of therapy, a lot of behavior therapy.
10:36 Fortunately for my son at the age of 9,
10:41 he is a very loving child.
10:42 He reciprocates emotions to a degree,
10:45 not to the degree of a normal child would but
10:48 he is able to communicate his needs at this point.
10:52 Other children have not progressed to that point.
10:56 I have heard one Pastor say that God has a lot of
11:00 Autistic children spiritually, that are not able to
11:03 respond to what God tells them to do and
11:06 not be able to reciprocate God's love.
11:10 In one way you have to, I have approached my child,
11:15 tried to approach my child and saying I love my child,
11:19 no matter how they are able to respond.
11:23 It sounds like this has certainly changed your
11:25 relationship with the God you serve?
11:27 It really does, one thing in thinking about this,
11:33 I think of the story of Jacob wrestling.
11:36 Jacob is wrestling an Angel and does not respond
11:43 necessarily spiritually, he doesn't say,
11:46 this is an Angel.
11:47 He does not recognize he is in the presence of an Angel.
11:49 But he is willing to endure the long night.
11:54 And one of the things that God calls us,
11:56 He gives us places where we're at in our spiritual walk where
12:00 there is not answers.
12:01 We have to rely on our relationship with Him,
12:05 and to hold onto Him even in a physical manner.
12:11 Even deal with the pain of a situation and trust that
12:15 at the end there is an answer, at the end there is
12:19 something that makes it meaningful.
12:21 At the end there is a blessing.
12:24 Seeing families suffer and deal with a child
12:30 with Autism, it should produce in the church
12:35 a different level of compassion.
12:37 To say we need to help these families, a lot of these
12:41 families can't go to church because there is
12:44 no place for their child.
12:45 A lot of churches have begun to develop special-needs
12:48 ministries where children can be placed in a safe place.
12:52 Training Sunday school workers to be able to watch and educate
12:57 these children and to meet these children's needs
13:00 to get the parents time to even go to church service.
13:04 Well this is certainly a disease that affects not only
13:07 the whole Church, but families, it affects everyone.
13:11 There has to be some plans with this number and the
13:14 numbers going up, everyone is affected,
13:16 this is devastating.
13:18 Honestly, my experience is most communities are
13:23 way behind the curve in terms of responding to this.
13:26 Most school systems do not have adequate Autism
13:31 education services, unfortunately to some degree
13:35 that is a difficulty with obtaining enough trained
13:39 personnel because the disorder wasn't there 10 years ago.
13:43 So you would have to retrain your teachers.
13:46 On top of that it requires an intensity of instruction
13:50 that many other disorders do not have.
13:54 You know this is fascinating and we are running
13:56 out of time here.
13:57 If you have questions I want to invite you to
13:59 give us a call at:
14:06 give us your questions about Autism.
14:07 We know that God is going to heal us all in His time.
14:10 Thank you for joining us today!