Toni Braxton’s son was not cured of autism and it’s irresponsible for her to say so

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alex
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10 Aug 2016, 12:59 pm


A few days ago, Toni Braxton claimed that her son had been cured of autism. There is no way that what Braxton said is true because there is no cure for autism. While early intervention and therapy can certainly help individuals on the spectrum live productive lives, autism is a lifelong condition. By claiming otherwise, Braxton is not only spreading misinformation, she is damaging the autism community in multiple ways.

While being interviewed on Access Hollywood, Braxton said: “My youngest son, everyone knows, suffers from, or I should say, suffered from autism.” When asked to explain, she added “I’m one of ...



RabidFox
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10 Aug 2016, 1:18 pm

I wonder what has made her think that he has changed so much. Does she believe that he is no longer engaging in the typical behaviours? Did a team of people force her son to stop doing things that he really can't control? It's an interesting question, because I would think that a child's mother would be aware of her child's behaviour unless she has him in some boarding school somewhere. I just have a really hard time seeing what could make her think that. To my understanding, autism is something that is so damaging that it never totally goes away. However, I would like a "cure" if that ever became a possibility.

To me, it sounds like she has put her son in a metaphorical straitjacket.



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10 Aug 2016, 2:04 pm

Her son has become more social because he got a lot of support. That doesn't mean that he's no longer on the spectrum. It means he has gained skills to do better in life.


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somanyspoons
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10 Aug 2016, 2:42 pm

Its really painful for me to watch videos of these "cured" kids. At least the kids are relatively happy. But they are so obviously still on the spectrum. A trained eye can see the signs - the very strong, narrow interests, the tenency to go on and on, the subtle ways they are using their bodies. So, instead of acknowledging how well they are doing and how great it is that they are reaching out to other people, we say they aren't autistic anymore. And then what we have is a child working really hard and not getting the supports and understanding that they need.



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10 Aug 2016, 3:07 pm

Obscene amounts of money can 'cure' a lot of things(think Magic Johnson and HIV), I imagine early intervention + tons of supports probably does produce a better less disabled outcome which in the eyes of parent may be considered cured. Most people do not have those means.

My therapist when I was diagnosed wanted me to go to this specialized private school, I don't know but I feel like it would be been a lot better for me than the non-education I got in public school in the big urban city. Funny story tho, in Wisconsin it is mandated for these districts to pay for special education outside the district if the student's needs cannot be met in it for all but one county in the entire state and guess which one I lived in? I will be forever bitter towards these people, they left me to die essentially.



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10 Aug 2016, 6:35 pm

What those selling miracle cures and gold standard treatmemts NEVER, EVER seem to take into considiration is that autistic people mature and learn skills from the experiances of life.


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10 Aug 2016, 7:17 pm

She also stated that she believed that autism was a punishment from God, saying she thought this has happened to her (not her son, it seems all about her, and maybe this is another publicity vehicle) because she had an abortion before having her son. IMO this is is far more toxic and offensive than the false cure claim. I also notice how she skirted around (at least in the articles I read) exactly what these "cures" she used were. (Abusive behavioural conditioning techniques? MMR? Drugs? All of these?)

One wonders if this child is safe in her custody, safe emotionally, psychologically and physically. What happens to him if he has a "relapse" or a series of them in future? Does she go on pretending while isolating him from contact with others perhaps? Refuses to get him supports he needs to maintain the concealment? It will also be interesting to see what kind of statement Autism Speaks makes about this (if any) or what they have said (if they already have).

All of this may possibly stem for naivete, ignorance and suggestibility on her part, though with the amount of information so readily available instantly to everyone, those reasons are hardly valid.



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11 Aug 2016, 12:34 am

I always find it interesting when others begin to doubt the things we know about our own children. If a child has cancer and recovers, others cheer him on and sing the praises of the determined parents. With autism recovery coming out the other side is met with very different results. Without knowing the child or the parent they are ostracized and perfect strangers begin to speak up as to the impossibility of it all. We have been told from the day our children were diagnosed that recovery is not possible, we should stop hoping for it because it will never be. This is a lifelong illness, settle in because your child will never get better, I am here to tell you I know recovery is possible, I have seen it not once, but twice and soon I will see it for the third time. A decade ago I had three children on the spectrum and today I am left with just one and he is fighting his way back every day.

If a child recovers from a disease like cancer, he or she is free of symptoms, we cheer and know that all the hard work payed off. Cancer is a tangible, measurable, medical illness, we can see the positive results with MRI's and blood tests. Recovery from autism is not something we can gauge with blood tests and X-rays, so if we can't quantify results then it must not be possible. If an autistic child after years of treatment is free of symptoms the parent is considered delusional. If the absence of symptoms is undeniable then we move on to the only other logical solution that it wasn't autism in the first place, a misdiagnosis. I have heard it many times before and I know what I see,the truth is right in front of me, the removal of symptoms, which has resulted in recovery. I tend not to read posts online because they tend to regurgitate the same old song and dance, what we have heard for years-autism is not an illness that a child can recover from. What if it were possible? What if your doctors were wrong? What if your doctor was just telling you it wasn't possible because he didn't know how to fix it? What if we started listening to parents who have come out the other side and stop vilifying them when they tell you the progress their child has made? What if instead of no and never we begin to look at those who have made it out the other side and begin to believe it. I know that what Toni Braxton says is true and my fear is that her interview will render such a backlash that she will take her son, her typical son and leave us forever. What we need right now, more than ever is a voice for recovery. We need more people who have come out the other side to speak up. When my children were first diagnosed I put away the journals that said never and started reading stories from the real experts, the parents who lived the life I was entering and was led in a different direction with their inspiring stories of recovery. Let Me Hear Your Voice by Catherine Maurice and A Real Boy by Christina Adams were two of my favorites and a great place to start if you want to read about all that is possible. We need to start listening to those who may have an answer instead of shutting them down because we think we know better, perhaps parents are the ones with the answers, after all we are the ones with the vested interest in our children's recovery, we have the most to gain or lose, so why would we doubt another parent and what they see before them? I fear that Toni Braxton will fall into oblivion not because her son hasn't recovered, I am sure he has, but instead because she won't after a while think it is worth it spending her time fighting the uphill battle of justifying what she knows with millions who aren't willing to listen to the fact that perhaps she is right, perhaps recovery is possible and if you just take the time to listen and have an open mind you may see it as well.



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11 Aug 2016, 1:03 am

Do we even know if he has autism? Maybe it could be something that is similar but can be cured.


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11 Aug 2016, 4:00 am

EJ Brown wrote:
I always find it interesting when others begin to doubt the things we know about our own children. If a child has cancer and recovers, others cheer him on and sing the praises of the determined parents. With autism recovery coming out the other side is met with very different results. Without knowing the child or the parent they are ostracized and perfect strangers begin to speak up as to the impossibility of it all. We have been told from the day our children were diagnosed that recovery is not possible, we should stop hoping for it because it will never be. This is a lifelong illness, settle in because your child will never get better, I am here to tell you I know recovery is possible, I have seen it not once, but twice and soon I will see it for the third time. A decade ago I had three children on the spectrum and today I am left with just one and he is fighting his way back every day.

If a child recovers from a disease like cancer, he or she is free of symptoms, we cheer and know that all the hard work payed off. Cancer is a tangible, measurable, medical illness, we can see the positive results with MRI's and blood tests. Recovery from autism is not something we can gauge with blood tests and X-rays, so if we can't quantify results then it must not be possible. If an autistic child after years of treatment is free of symptoms the parent is considered delusional. If the absence of symptoms is undeniable then we move on to the only other logical solution that it wasn't autism in the first place, a misdiagnosis. I have heard it many times before and I know what I see,the truth is right in front of me, the removal of symptoms, which has resulted in recovery. I tend not to read posts online because they tend to regurgitate the same old song and dance, what we have heard for years-autism is not an illness that a child can recover from. What if it were possible? What if your doctors were wrong? What if your doctor was just telling you it wasn't possible because he didn't know how to fix it? What if we started listening to parents who have come out the other side and stop vilifying them when they tell you the progress their child has made? What if instead of no and never we begin to look at those who have made it out the other side and begin to believe it. I know that what Toni Braxton says is true and my fear is that her interview will render such a backlash that she will take her son, her typical son and leave us forever. What we need right now, more than ever is a voice for recovery. We need more people who have come out the other side to speak up. When my children were first diagnosed I put away the journals that said never and started reading stories from the real experts, the parents who lived the life I was entering and was led in a different direction with their inspiring stories of recovery. Let Me Hear Your Voice by Catherine Maurice and A Real Boy by Christina Adams were two of my favorites and a great place to start if you want to read about all that is possible. We need to start listening to those who may have an answer instead of shutting them down because we think we know better, perhaps parents are the ones with the answers, after all we are the ones with the vested interest in our children's recovery, we have the most to gain or lose, so why would we doubt another parent and what they see before them? I fear that Toni Braxton will fall into oblivion not because her son hasn't recovered, I am sure he has, but instead because she won't after a while think it is worth it spending her time fighting the uphill battle of justifying what she knows with millions who aren't willing to listen to the fact that perhaps she is right, perhaps recovery is possible and if you just take the time to listen and have an open mind you may see it as well.


I do not know Toni Braxton nor her offspring so I have no idea of what happened and neither do you. What we do know is that several studies have indicated that in a small percentage of children the core symptoms go away or ease enough that they lose thier diagnosis. Most of the children studied were not cured "these children face residual learning or emotional problems".

If you are going to plead for people to listen it behooves you to listen to the people you are trying to help because they have more experience bieng autistic then you do. A near daily compliant is that because autism is an invisible disability the exhausting 24/7 effort to appear typical is not noticed or dismissed. We are punished for trying too hard a slipup or burnout is viewed as charactor flaws. How do you know the recovered child is not recovered at all but putting on an act to just to get the adults off thier back and will grow up to be adults that are too eager to please others because that is what was pounded into them as kids?. That is the experiences we discuss here.

Telling us you want to recover us is counterprodutive. Autism is not some santanic like entity that has taken over my body. Of course I want assistance with certain elements of Autism but there is not some nice normal person buried deep inside me that needs recovering by some sort of exorcism.

This in my opinion is part of a societal problem that goes way beyond autism. We do not let kids be kids and grow up naturally. If a kid is a few months late for a marker parental panic sets in,a psychologist gets paid a label is given and intensive therepy is often prescribed which is more money. All kids are different they are going to grow and gain skills at different rates. That simple notion has been lost. It was sure different when I was growing up as an undiagnosed autistic. We were expected to figure out what to play by ourselves, and as we got older there was no helicopter parenting we were told be home by dinner, that was it. By age 6 or I was allowed to walk alone by myself for several blocks. allowing that was normal parenting then, allowing that gets parents arrested today. I am not saying that certain children do not need immediate professional help or that the Laissez-faire attitudes of yesteryear were all that great, I can attest they were certainly not. What I am saying is we have gone too far to the other extreme. But yeah, sometimes these miracle cures is the child maturing slower and later then average which he or she would have done anyway.

What you describe as a child the needs recovering? Constant violent meltdowns, throwing feces around etc? I have just described the childhoods of Temple Grandin and John Elder Robison who designed the special effects for Kiss and has authored books. We have members here who were non verbal at age 5 and later who while not typical are employed, married and so on. Doctors and instinct told thier parents they were hopeless also.


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kraftiekortie
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11 Aug 2016, 8:09 am

Then there are the kids who go from Classic/Kanner Autism to an Aspergian presentation. I was one of those kids.



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11 Aug 2016, 8:44 am

EJ Brown wrote:
I always find it interesting when others begin to doubt the things we know about our own children. If a child has cancer and recovers, others cheer him on and sing the praises of the determined parents. With autism recovery coming out the other side is met with very different results. Without knowing the child or the parent they are ostracized and perfect strangers begin to speak up as to the impossibility of it all. We have been told from the day our children were diagnosed that recovery is not possible, we should stop hoping for it because it will never be. This is a lifelong illness, settle in because your child will never get better, I am here to tell you I know recovery is possible, I have seen it not once, but twice and soon I will see it for the third time. A decade ago I had three children on the spectrum and today I am left with just one and he is fighting his way back every day.

If a child recovers from a disease like cancer, he or she is free of symptoms, we cheer and know that all the hard work payed off. Cancer is a tangible, measurable, medical illness, we can see the positive results with MRI's and blood tests. Recovery from autism is not something we can gauge with blood tests and X-rays, so if we can't quantify results then it must not be possible. If an autistic child after years of treatment is free of symptoms the parent is considered delusional. If the absence of symptoms is undeniable then we move on to the only other logical solution that it wasn't autism in the first place, a misdiagnosis. I have heard it many times before and I know what I see,the truth is right in front of me, the removal of symptoms, which has resulted in recovery. I tend not to read posts online because they tend to regurgitate the same old song and dance, what we have heard for years-autism is not an illness that a child can recover from. What if it were possible? What if your doctors were wrong? What if your doctor was just telling you it wasn't possible because he didn't know how to fix it? What if we started listening to parents who have come out the other side and stop vilifying them when they tell you the progress their child has made? What if instead of no and never we begin to look at those who have made it out the other side and begin to believe it. I know that what Toni Braxton says is true and my fear is that her interview will render such a backlash that she will take her son, her typical son and leave us forever. What we need right now, more than ever is a voice for recovery. We need more people who have come out the other side to speak up. When my children were first diagnosed I put away the journals that said never and started reading stories from the real experts, the parents who lived the life I was entering and was led in a different direction with their inspiring stories of recovery. Let Me Hear Your Voice by Catherine Maurice and A Real Boy by Christina Adams were two of my favorites and a great place to start if you want to read about all that is possible. We need to start listening to those who may have an answer instead of shutting them down because we think we know better, perhaps parents are the ones with the answers, after all we are the ones with the vested interest in our children's recovery, we have the most to gain or lose, so why would we doubt another parent and what they see before them? I fear that Toni Braxton will fall into oblivion not because her son hasn't recovered, I am sure he has, but instead because she won't after a while think it is worth it spending her time fighting the uphill battle of justifying what she knows with millions who aren't willing to listen to the fact that perhaps she is right, perhaps recovery is possible and if you just take the time to listen and have an open mind you may see it as well.


You want more listening? Then listen. I am one of those kids. I was diagnosed in the early 80's with various learning disabilities. I was put in special education classes. I was told that I would never go to collage. I was kept out of science and art classes because "you're not going to need those" in order to make room for more remedial classes. I was an under-the-desk crier. I hid under that desk every day, rocking and crying, until they forbade me. Then I hid in the closet, the bathroom, anywhere to get small and quiet. I never got recess but I didn't care because recess was a horror show. At home, I stayed in my room in the basement alone, pretending I was on the Battlestar Galactica, a game I never once shared with another human being. Aspergers was not in the DSM at the time and I was verbal (and somewhat hyperlexic,) so my diagnoses did not include Autism, but they included plenty.

And then around 13 years of age, everything changed for me. I had the growth spurt that most 13 year olds have. Internally, I began to understand how to use my "special interests" and intense internal world to assist me in being with the outside world, instead of just keeping me away from it. (I imagine being friends with the people I know from TV shows and let them give me advice on socializing. Its weird, but it works for me.) From my parent's POV, years of interventions were finally taking hold.

I was a F-ing success story. I went from a remedial/special education track in middle school, to the honors track in three years. I graduated high school with honors and an AP class under my belt, and went on to earn my undergraduate degree from a competitive school, and then went on to get a graduate degree, too. People love this sh-t. They eat it up. Not a dry eye in the house if I tell it right.

I'm not the kid anymore. I'm a 41 year old adult. And I'm here to tell you. I wasn't "cured." I didn't "grow out of it." I learned to cope. And that's great. But I'm 40 now, and I was so busy being good at being a teen-ager that I missed out on learning the things that I need to learn as an adult in her 20's and 30's. Most specifically, how to work in a social environment where I'm the boss, not the student, or where I have to deal with parents of my students (a weird kind of 1/2 boss, 1/2 employee situation.) And most painfully, how to be in intimate relationships.

I learned the things they wanted me to learn in elementary school. That success is real. I'm not "faking it." But I'm not cured!

I need help with adult things and we don't give help to adults with stuff like this. And part of it is because of BS like you are posting here. Just because your kids matched their childhood lessons, doesn't mean that the job is done. It doesn't mean that there is no more need. You're going to launch those children into adulthood, thinking that everything is A-OK. Because that's what they've been told. It's this giant myth that if we can just provide this great childhood experience, you'll be perfectly equipped for adulthood. But someday those kids will have trouble in graduate school, or they will get in conflict with a boss, or they will have a hard time finding a romantic partner, or they will have a child and feel overwhelmed. And they are going to feel lost, and its going to SUCK for them to go through what I had to go through to re-claim that part of myself that was really struggling. To remove the story that I "recovered" and to really accept that I'm still different.

Parents and teachers need to stop this self-serving non-sense about curing their kids of their differences. And to get away from the idea that their kids will need the same skill set in the work place than they do as kids. Its very different being an adult. There will be new challenges. And that's OK. But your kids need to hear that that's OK. Telling them that they will not have the challenges that many autistics have because they are doing well with childhood skills is harmful. Heaping all this praise on them for being "normal" is setting them up for a life of not embracing their differences.



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11 Aug 2016, 10:43 am

Wow, I'm already lost. This conversation sure has exploded.

I'm not sure what everyone is talking about at this point, because the discussion has gotten so complicated so fast. To the best of my ability, it sounds like there is a lot of anger going around.

Do I think that someone with autism can be cured? Well, maybe not in this lifetime, but I really do believe that there might be some kind of "cure" that people have not yet found. I really don't believe that it's a medical cure, like a pill. I think that it's something psychological, like a special treatment program involving intensive therapy or something similar.

My understanding of this situation is extremely limited. I do not read about celebrities and I do not keep up with the latest information. What I think about this is really simple. I am trying to imagine a child that has been diagnosed with a severe developmental disability suddenly acting and talking like a normal, everyday child. That confuses me. From my point of view, it's like all of a sudden he's learned to play a piano without any visible effort.

So I'm thinking here... Okay, there's this kid that's autistic, and he must have been doing something to get that diagnosis, yet now he's just fine. That is what confuses me so much. One day, he was severely undeveloped, and the next, he's completely off the spectrum.

Now that doesn't make me close minded. I do believe that a "cure" is possible and I do believe that some people get misdiagnosed as very young children. What I have trouble understanding is the sudden drop of behaviour that classifies as autistic.



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11 Aug 2016, 10:46 am

The Common Cold cannot be cured, either.

Just like the Common Cold, Autism is treatable. People can grow. Symptoms could be eased or alleviated.



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11 Aug 2016, 11:09 am

Alex:

1) How much were you paid to write this?

If you weren't,

2) Do you think we're naive?
3) Are you naive?


Toni has a tour. A story is good to have people searching her name. Any story will do.


This is a promotional piece for a tour. Maybe not your own contribution, but the story itself certainly is.


Everyone reading this thread - do you really think the media just 'happen to mention' a stint in rehab just days before yet another media tool known as a pop artist has an album release? If you do, you're living in a bubble.


Alex this site is your site and you can do with it as you wish - but if you are promoting a tour for some pop shill, it's highly disingenuous to disguise it as concern for autistics.

As an autistic, this bothers me.


To those who think I'm deluded - you're naive children.