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James Williams


Biomedical Issues From An Autistic Perspective: ... underwent extensive occupational and physical therapy as a child and wore orthotics in my shoes for over 10 ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: James Williams

James Williams
  • Biomedical Issues From An Autistic Perspective
    How Do We Experience Them?

  • Name James Williams
  • Individual with autism, aged 24
  • History of biomedical health issues
  • Have not always been open about these issues

What will be included in this presentation
  • My personal experiences with biomedical issues
  • How I dealt with those issues and how they
    impacted my life
  • Stories of others I have met with biomedical
  • What finally compelled me to open up about
    biomedical issues

  • This presentation is NOT an anti-vaccine or
    pro-vaccine presentation!

Lets Not Forget
  • The vaccine controversy has been a major obstacle
    for accurate research on biomedical issues and
  • People with autism still endure biomedical issues
    regardless of their cause and should still be
  • Not all biomedical research is anti-vaccine yet
    people often stereotype it as being so

New Research Suggests People With Autism Have
Body Differences Just As They Have Brain
  • Dr. Jeff Bradstreet has found evidence of
    distinct medical ailments that he has only found
    in the bodies of children with autism
  • Dena Gassner has uncovered evidence showing that
    hormone levels differ in the bodies of
    individuals with autism, discussing the
    possibility of hormone poisoning
  • And many people with autism often have greater
    behavioral issues when they dont feel well

Lets Ask the Audience
  • Raise your hand if you are a parent who has a
    child who has endured any biomedical issue, such
    as impaired digestion, food allergies, or an
    impaired immune system.
  • Raise your hand if you are a person with autism
    who has endured biomedical issues.
  • Have you or any of your children benefited from a
    special diet, or any biomedical interventions
    such as probiotics or vitamin supplements?

Case Study Autism Oasis for Kids
  • In 2011 I made several visits to the Autism Oasis
    for Kids, a special school for children with
    autism in Florida.
  • The schools director prepared hot lunches daily
    that were gluten-free, casein-free, and
    vegetarian, and every student enrolled in her
    school was given the option to receive these
    adapted hot lunches.
  • The director noted to me that the students with
    autism who ate her hot lunches daily often showed
    improvement academically and behaviorally.

  • The physiological symptoms and biomedical issues
    with autism should not be ignored or dismissed!
  • One could even argue, as I do routinely, that
    autism constitutes a physiological disorder as it
    does a mental disorder, and that biomedical
    issues and physiological symptoms are just as
    much a part of autism as are social and sensory
  • For this reason, I decided last year to start
    becoming vocal about biomedical issues with
    autism, as a person who has endured many of these
    issues myself.

Origins of this Presentation
  • I have attended the AutismOne conference, a
    biomedical conference, for many years
  • Concerned by the lack of speakers with autism
    discussing their biomedical issues and attempts
    to stereotype these issues as being the ramblings
    of incompetent doctors or nutty anti-vaccine
  • Have benefited from many biomedical interventions
    myself, even those that have been dismissed as
    tomfoolery by others
  • Decided I wanted to change things and share my

  • With that, I shall now discuss my history!

Biomedical Memories
  • Endured a major sinus infection, known as
    sinusitis, from age 3 to 5
  • Endured frequent headaches from age 5 to age 7
  • Suffered from two eyes that could not teem or
    work together and underwent intensive eye therapy
    around similar time
  • Endured routine feelings of soreness in my feet
    and could not walk longer than two blocks without
    pain and exhaustion
  • Was unable to keep my head straight while walking
  • Had multiple cuts to my chin as a young child
  • Endured several freak nosebleeds in the middle of
    the night at age 7

Biomedical Memories
  • Many doctors were unable to diagnose the causes
    of those ailments at first
  • Finally, some of them were diagnosed and treated
  • The sinusitis was caused by enlarged adenoids in
    my nose and I received a major adenoidectomy when
    I was five
  • The headaches were caused by an unknown allergy
    to glutenafter cutting out gluten at the age of
    7 my headaches finally disappeared, and I have
    been gluten free for the rest of my life
  • To this day I endure major physical ailments if I
    eat gluten, which can range from chills,
    headaches, hot flashes, a sore throat and runny
    nose, physical soreness, and diarrhea

Biomedical Memories
  • Freak nosebleeds were never diagnosed
  • Foot soreness was due to a combination of low
    muscle tone and improperly jointed feet,
    underwent extensive occupational and physical
    therapy as a child and wore orthotics in my shoes
    for over 10 years, today I routinely walk up to
    3-4 miles as a time
  • Improper walking posture was due to curves in my
    spine and developing scoliosis and I underwent
    extensive chiropractic treatments for over 6
  • Chin cuts due to issues with balance that often
    caused me to have falls while running or walking

Biomedical Memories
  • Important to remember All of these issues
    happened concurrently with many mental issues of
  • Often struggled with communicating these issues
    to others sometimes due to verbal ability and
    other times due to not being able to know where
    and when to talk out of fear of being
    misunderstood or disciplined
  • Often wondered if these experiences were unique
    to me or if this was the reality of childhood,
    since I was not aware of my autism until age 8
  • Spent many hours trying to focus on how to endure
    the pain I was going through
  • However, I did NOT spend much time thinking
    whether or not these issues were caused by

Biomedical Memories
  • During this time, I endured many cycles of being
    unable to regulate meals and digestion
  • At one part of my life, I routinely stuffed
    myself at meals, unable to entirely know when I
    was full
  • I often felt intense hunger even after a large
    meal (sometimes only 5 minutes after previously
    feeling full) and a constant need to eat
  • No diagnosis was ever given for this and this
    continued until

  • My immune system and digestive system collapsed
    between the ages of 11 and 12 and I almost
    starved to death!

My Autoimmune Collapse
  • When I was 11 I had an extremely stressful
    experience in the fifth grade, where I was never
    able to feel calm in school
  • Suffered periodic bouts of stomach flu and
    abdominal pain during the year
  • Finally, I woke up with extreme abdominal pain
    less than two weeks after I completed the fifth
  • Started feeling abdominal pain after each meal
    and gradually lost my ability to eat normally

My Autoimmune Collapse
  • Doctors were unable to accurately find a cause of
    this ailment and no interventions worked,
    sometimes, they made it worse!
  • I gradually became unable to tolerate solid food
    and lived on liquid meal replacements for
    approximately 6 months
  • Blood tests showed an autoimmune collapse, high
    levels of mercury, and an impaired digestive
    system yet doctors were interpreting the tests as
    showing I had nothing wrong
  • Lost 45 pounds

My Autoimmune Collapse
  • Although my abdominal pain eventually started
    fading, I started losing my desire to recover and
    started enjoying being sick
  • Often force fed by parents in an attempt to stay
    alive, resulting in a constant war zone between
    me and my parents
  • Started hearing schizophrenic-like voices in my
    brain due to malnourishment and starvation
  • Endured major appetite loss even after my
    abdominal pain faded after meals
  • Started enduring respiratory attacks after
    certain movements as well

My Autoimmune Collapse
  • Joined a Buddhist temple and used meditation
    temporarily to help clear my mind, however, this
    eventually did not work for me
  • Also underwent drama therapy to help deal with
    some of my past autism-related traumas
  • An endoscopy showed signs of acid reflux disease
  • I was almost on the verge of death until a
    turning point emerged 6 months after the collapse

My Autoimmune Collapse
  • Started sessions of acupuncture which gradually
    impaired digestive abilities
  • Discovered some of my abdominal pain could be
    resolved by drinking hot tea during meals, along
    with ice cream
  • Gradually started eating soups to improve

My Autoimmune Collapse
  • These remedies were not sufficient, however, as I
    still endured a total appetite loss and has lost
    the will to eat
  • Often viewed eating and drinking as a chore
  • The final remedy that caused a full recovery from
    my autoimmune collapse was taking zinc
  • After zinc supplements, my appetite loss ended
    and I was transformed into a person who now felt
    hungry and was willing to eat and recover from my

My Autoimmune Collapse
  • Two weeks after taking zinc supplements, I had
    fully recovered from my autoimmune collapse
  • I was eating normally and had regained digestive
  • My respiratory ailments and schizophrenic voices
    soon cleared up afterwards
  • By the time of my recovery, I had been ill for a
    little over 9 months

  • Ive had many more issues since then, but thats
    all the time I have for now.
  • So why did I decide to become vocal about
    biomedical issues?

For Many Years
  • Was very quiet about my biomedical issues
  • Wrote several novels and spoke more about social
    and educational issues
  • Established myself as an author and presenter and
    have spoken at conferences all around the U.S.

  • But during my travels around the United States, I
    started hearing stories from people with autism
    and their families about their biomedical issues.

  • One of my good friends with ASD got pregnant and
    her biomedical ailments worsened during her
  • At a summer camp for individuals with ASD, I
    worked with a girl with ASD who had major
    digestive issues (that she called her tummy
    problems) and the other staff did not always
    understand her issues
  • Met a family with a young boy with ASD who has a
    weakened immune system and has been unable to
    attend school due to his physical ailments

  • After hearing these stories and many more I
    realized that since I had endured many biomedical
    issues myself, it was time for me to speak out
    about them.
  • I have met many doctors such as Dr. Jeff
    Bradstreet and Dr. John Hicks who have been
    impressed at my ability to articulate my story
    with others.

  • I also felt upset that there were not a lot of
    people with autism talking about their biomedical
  • With that, I would like to share the following
    advice for anyone who wants to help a person with
    autism who is enduring biomedical issues

  • Be aware that many of us are not always unable to
    understand the science of our ailments but we
    still suffer and feel the pain.
  • People with autism arent always focusing on
    whether or not vaccinations caused their
    ailments, and the vaccine debate should not
    distract people or get in the way of helping
    autistic kids who are chronically ill.

  • Some children with autism may not be fully aware
    of what it means to not be sick since they have
    been ill much of their lives and may resist
    attempts to recovery because they may see it as
    an unknown change to them.
  • And finally

  • Safe zones should be provided for people with
    autism to openly share their issues with people
    they feel comfortable talking to. They should be
    allowed to talk to people they are comfortable
    sharing with.
  • Remember that social rules in society make many
    topics about health inappropriate subjects to
    talk about, and have hurt people with autism in
    their attempts to communicate their problems with
    others, and we need to find ways to help them

  • In high school, I had many friends who endured
    health issues and often felt frustrated that they
    could not speak openly in many social situations
    when they needed to about their problems.
  • My friends and I created safe social groups where
    we had the right to be open. We should create
    these places for kids with biomedical issues.

  • Biomedical issues are real and not just the
    ramblings of quacks.
  • I hope that more people with autism in the future
    can be vocal about their biomedical experiences,
    and I hope I have given a voice to others in this
    presentation with autism who have not been able
    to communicate these issues.

  • My mother always told me growing up, The ability
    to communicate your needs honestly is the best
    way for people to understand what you are feeling
    and going through!
  • Thank you for listening. I will now answer your
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