A Mother’s Search for Treatment 

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(From left to right) Christine Corrigan, daughter Alanna, and son Conor enjoying the board game Candy Land on game night. Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016, in Centereach, NY (Photo by: Victoria Lore)
While there is no known cure for autism, it is clear with early dedication and intervention children with the condition can sustain a better quality of life, which leaves the question to what the right treatment is for a particular child.

There are various intensive forms of treatment and therapies for the condition. For Christine Corrigan, mother of 14-year-old son Conor who has low functioning autism, has set out through Conor’s lifetime to find the best course of treatment to combat her son’s condition.

“He went to a DDI program when he was younger full time. He went from being home all the time to going to a full day program where he left at 8 o’clock in the morning and came home at 5 o’clock at night and then got therapies, a therapist would come here too,” said Corrigan. “He was being worked all the time, it was very draining for him, it was very draining for me, but it was such intense therapy it really helped because his crazy OCD behaviors subsided and they taught me how to manage his behaviors, how to work with him, and how to get more speech from him.”

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(Infographic by: Victoria Lore)
Corrigan had also found that many of the therapies from home had helped her son’s condition, especially ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapy, which focuses on systematically applying interventions in order to improve social behaviors while demonstrating interventions to a reasonable degree and that they are based on principles of learning, according to Applied Behavioral Strategies’ website.

“The ABA therapy was the biggest help, which he had through the school district until he was in the third grade and then they cut that. There were a whole bunch of budget cuts and we fought and fought that,” said Corrigan.

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(Infographic by: Victoria Lore)
In search for a replacement treatment, Corrigan had discovered DAN! (Defeat Autism Now) Protocol, which is a general approach to treating children with the condition through biomedical interventions such as dietary, nutritional, gastroenterology, immune therapy, heavy metal removal, etc., according to Autism Society Larimer County’s website. The Autism Research Institute discontinued DAN Protocol in 2011 due to it’s controversial and risky method of treatment, according to Very Well‘s article.

“We did Chelation therapy, where they removed the heavy metals from his body every 2 weeks and that made a big difference, he had very high levels in him,” said Corrigan. “He actually gained a lot of speech with that, he was doing really well.”

Along with these various treatments and therapies, Corrigan has found that in-home health care services have helped her teenage son’s condition and have enabled him to obtain a more normal quality of life.

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(From left to right) In-home aid Nick interacting with Conor as he plays with play-doh. Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016, in Centereach, NY (Photo by: Victoria Lore)
“I get services for Conor through the state that has taken me a long time to get, but I was diligent with the paperwork and now that I‘ve gotten it it’s been life changing. He can be a teenager who goes out in the community and does things and like any teenager he does not want to be with mom and 6-year-old all the time, whether they’re autistic or not,” said Corrigan. “With the aids that come in, they are in their 20’s and they are more of a peer model than they are mom. Conor can have a friendship-like relationship and it’s so wonderful.”

For more information, visit www.autismspeaks.org.

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