Power of Exile

The Power of Exile -
 Autism, A journey to recovery


Introduction: Sara’s Diet
and the IDEA


  1. Sara
  2. Sandra
  3. The Journey begins
  4. Sara joins our Family
  5. Journal Notes
  6. Impressions
  7. Influential People
  8. Center Stage
  9. I believe in Miracles
  10. Miracles in Abundance
  11. A Second Rainbow
  12. Widening Horizons
  1. World travel on a Wing and a Prayer
  2. Asperger Syndrome (Sam’s story)
  3. Autism: a Causal Theory and Treatment Option
  4. A Change in the Weather
  1. Second Timothy
  2. Turning Blue
  3. Food Intolerance in autism
  4. Sara’s Diet
    1. Introduction to the restricted diet
    2. Essential nutrients from foods
    3. Practical help with implementing a diet program
  5. What is Lutein?
  6. Autism, Pigments and the Immune System
  7. South Africa, World Community Autism Program
  8. Eating disorder in autism
  9. Autism, Origin – A Plausible Theory
  10. Autism, putting it all together

From: Impressions
Charlotte writes:
“When I first met Sara at the age of 5 years, she was like a wild animal unleashed on the world, wearing a huge plaid black/yellow flannel shirt layered over the top of other clothing in the heat of summer. Her physical appearance and emotional problems were obvious - no attention span and obsessive/compulsive behaviors that seemed impossible to overcome. But, after a few days it became apparent that there was a higher intelligence than stated in her evaluations, an intelligence that was not easily recognizable in the span of a brief encounter.
  “Although she seemed to have little reasoning skills, she could manipulate knobs and buttons, and seemed to do so with an understanding of the cause/effect relationship. She had a small indestructible Fisher Price phonograph record player that Sandy had brought with her to occupy Sara’s time and she played the same record over and over until a reward like ice-cream pulled her away (she got lots of ice-cream!). Her verbal skills were almost non-existent, however she could repeat phrases over and over several hundred times. Sara referred to herself in the third person when she did attempt to communicate and was most upset over spilling a drink on her flannel shirt. She let me have the shirt to be washed, and after talking to Sandy about it, it didn’t go home with her since this was the final day of work for Sandy, and Sandy was pleased that she had taken off the shirt as she was so attached to it that it would be easier on Sara to accidentally leave it then to have to give it up on her own or have it wrestled from her.
  “At times Sara was violent and destructive, but with no obvious malice intended - she did not seem to understand that hitting someone hurt them. She showed no signs of pain, cold, heat or discomfort. Sara was very self-centered, and although she noticed the environment she seemed to be the only one in it. She showed no emotion unless you counted  the occasional maniacal outbursts of laughter. She shied away from all attempt at affection.
  “Even with all her problems, Sara had a ‘light’ about her that hinted at great potential. She was like a little vacuum sucking in all that was new. She memorized phrases that interested her, and in only a few weeks her verbal skills had improved. It was as if the words were there and she was struggling to put them to use. I knew in my heart this child would someday excel at something.”

My Mom’s first impressions:
“I thought of Sara as a severely wounded animal. She ran from place to place pushing buttons on TV’s and VCR’s with a wild look on her tiny, odd-shaped face. Sandy would remove her from one object and she would run to another uttering unintelligible sounds. Then she would run to the front door, or gaze out the window, in her own world rocking back and forth, no longer interacting with our world, the occasional hysterical laughter. She had an overwhelming need for pain. She inflicted it on herself in any way she could: she bent her little fingers back until they touched the top of her hands. We thought they would break off.
  “I finally managed to get her in my lap and tried talking to her gently. Her response was to pat my face with both hands, first gently then harder and harder. I thought to myself: this child may be beyond help.
  “I watched a few days later as she was in a total screaming rage and Sandy picked her up, sat down on the couch with this kicking, screaming wild child and held her until she couldn’t scream anymore. Sara was exhausted, she laid her head back and slept with her eyes open. I witnessed this scene many times. I noticed each time Sandy was perfectly calm and consistent far beyond what I could have been. I also observed from the first day that Sara was aware of what pushed Bob’s buttons. The things that annoyed him the most were behaviors she reserved for visits to our house. It would be nearly six years before Sara could tell us why she behaved the way she did towards Bob. Bob also realized that Sara saved these special behaviors for him, so he chose to ignore her completely. He would even leave the room when she came in the house. After several visits, she came in one day and Bob’s little tattoo caught her eye. She finally approached him and put her finger on it and looked at him. He said “Tattoo”. Sara repeated “tattoo tattoo”. The next time, she came in and went straight to him, pulled up his sleeve, and with a strange, almost artificial grin, put her finger on the tattoo and repeated “tattoo”.
  “That was the beginning of her acceptance of Bob. For months she did her best to aggravate him, but it slowly became less and less. After her first few visits, when Sara came into the house I told her I wanted a hug, I hugged her, and she put one arm around me with my help. I told her I wanted a hug with two arms and when she put her other arm around me it brought tears to my eyes as it does right now as I write this. I’ve had hundreds of hugs since the first one and still occasionally have to ask for two arms.”
Bob writes:
“By her actions and the expressions on her face I thought her to be severely mentally retarded, dangerous to herself and others, beyond help. My thoughts were that Sandy should send her back or on to someone else right away, possibly  to professional people in an institution. As time went on my fears were re-inforced by Sara’s actions. Sandy had to watch her constantly to keep her from hurting herself by causing herself nosebleeds, digging at her eyes, slamming her hands in doors, throwing herself off steps. Her fits of screaming rage were so intolerable I would sometimes get up and leave the house.”