THE POTENTIAL DANGER OF PRETEND OR IMAGINARY PLAY...
The Slippery Slope... That Could Lead To... Adult Schizophrenia?
I strongly encourage you to read "Book 3" posted in full on this website... with over 140+ parallels between autism and schizophrenia - including a very common history - I think that the development of schizophrenia in children with autism is certainly an issue all parents should take very, very seriously! At the time I had written the section below (in "Book 2"), I had seen certain things in autism that convinced me schizophrenia also played into this... and now, after a great deal more research, I have absolutely no doubt that this in indeed true... and clearly, I'm not alone in my thinking!
Let me provide for you a quote, that certainly would indicate I am not the only one to see this as a very serious issue: Look at the wording just below the picture of this man... note this appeared in a NARSAD (National Alliance For Research on Schizophrenia and Depression) Newsletter in Fall of 1998! NARSAD is the largest donor-supported organization for research into issues such as schizophrenia... as such, you would think they have a pretty good idea as to where "schizophrenics come from".
This was taken from an article that was supposed to tell us the difference between autism and childhood schizophrenia... clearly, the main "difference" being "age of onset"... well... in my opinion, that is a totally bogus criterion... leukemia is leukemia at age 2 or 80... and likewise, schizophrenia is schizophrenia... at age 2 or 80... you can not say these are "different disorders based primarily on AGE of ONSET criterion"... for that to be true, you needed a constant - the human brain... and we now knew that the human brain was anything but a constant over time... and given metals like mercury were known to have their most devastating effects on "developing cells"... that too would change over time in terms of "what was considered developing" in the human brain at a specific time of life: I quote from this NARSAD Newsletter:
“As the autistic child gets older, a small percentage improve and function well. The majority, however, take on the characteristics of adult schizophrenia with an emphasis on "negative" symptoms (i.e. withdrawal, flattened emotions, poverty of thoughts), rather than "Positive" symptoms (i.e. delusions, hallucinations).” [end of quote, emphasis added, NARSAD Publications: Research Newsletter Archive: Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia, How Related are Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia? By Anne Brown and Rebecca Weaver, NARSAD Staff Writers].
Below was a copy of a "print screen" for the website where I had taken this... look just left of the picture... toward the bottom of it...
I discuss a whole lot more on these issues of the dangers of "pretend play" in autism in my third book... and I think all parents will see after reading that book why I have the concerns I do when it comes to pretend play and the autistic child! I fear we have many therapists out there trying to "teach" pretend play to these children without understanding what I see as very real issues when it comes to the loss of self and the loss of one's grasp with reality due to improper communication among the various parts of the brain in these children !
Here's the issue: Concept of self and imagination functions reside together in the frontal lobe... the ability to distinguish between truth and a lie or the "real and non-real" however, reside in the temporal lobe. If these two parts of the brain are not properly communicating... we have a major problem in terms of one's "grasp of reality".... and I very, very much believe this to be the case, that the parts of the brain are not communicating properly in these children. If I assumed little or no communication among the various parts of the brain, I found I could explain almost everything I saw in my son! I discuss this a great deal more in Book 3 - Breaking The Code: Putting Pieces In Place! - a book I urged all parents of children with autism to read - I think it will put in place many pieces of the autism puzzle for many, many a family!!
Note also the huge implications of seizures in all this... teens with schizophrenia lose a tremendous amount of gray matter with puberty onset... and you can not lose that much gray matter without having seizure activity... and if indeed the "majority" of children with autism go on to develop schizophrenia later in life... as I very much suspect to be the case... then this issue is a huge one for all parents of children with autism. Seizures can result in an alteration of one's sensory perceptions (sight, sound, touch, smell, taste), but they can also alter one's sense of self, one's sense of reality, etc. Seizures can occur anywhere in the brain... they need not occur in the motor cortex... you can have seizure activity without the involvement of the motor cortex (i.e., shaking, etc.).
This picture provides a view of what I fear may now await many children with autism at puberty onset... the pink represents gray matter loss - Article entitled: Teens With Schizophrenia Lose Gray Matter in Back-to-Front Wave, posted at: http://www.loni.ucla.edu/~thompson/MEDIA/PNAS/NIMH.html
Note: Puberty should be a time of gray matter THICKENING...
but in schizophrenia, these teens are LOSING gray matter... and devastatingly so! Remember: According to the Simpsonwood transcript on mercury in vaccines, it was stated, and I quote:
Dr. Keller, pgs. 116 & 118: "…we know the developing neurologic system is more sensitive than one that is fully developed…"
Note: That states "WE KNOW" - not "we think"... "WE KNOW"!
My research into these issues has now convinced me that metals (mercury, aluminum and iron) target/devastate the most immature cells and destroy them... in autism, that would be the cerebellum (takes 20+ years to mature), in schizophrenia, that would be the entire brain (as shown above) when it should be having gray matter thickening throughout... and in Alzheimer's, that would be the hippocampus (formation of new memories) and the olfactory bulb.... a whole lot more is provided on all these issues in "book 3" posted in full on my website... and yes, Alzheimer's absolutely fits into this puzzle... I have 160+ parallels between autism and Alzheimer's... and note again, the very common history...
Note this "screen print"... from the University of Iowa... a university that specializes in the treatment of schizophrenia - look especially at the second paragraph - I quote:
"Schizophrenia, or dementia praecox, was originally distinguished from dementia in the elderly (later named Alzheimer's disease) because it occurred in relatively young people rather than older people". [end of quote, emphasis added, How Was Schizophrenia Discovered, The University of Iowa Mental Health Clinical Research Center (MHCRC)]. http://iowa-mhcrc.psychiatry.uiowa.edu/new/MHCRC_Web_Page/schizdisc.html
Note again: Primary criterion for pulling apart "schizophrenia" and "Alzheimer's" appeared to be AGE OF ONSET - a totally bogus criterion! For that to be a valid criterion, you needed a constant over time - the brain - and the brain was anything but a constant over time!
Indeed, autism used to be called "childhood schizophrenia", schizophrenia used to be called "dementia praecox" and was discovered by Emil Kraepelin, Alzheimer's also used to be called "dementia praecox" and Emil Kraepelin's young protege was none other than Alois Alzheimer! So, these disorders share not only very common parallels (over 140+ parallels across all three), they also very much shared a common history!
And hence, the reasons for which I am now absolutely convinced that autism-schizophrenia-Alzheimer's are the same disorder over the life spectrum... and the result of metal toxicity (mercury, aluminum and/or iron)!
There is much, much more to all this... and how autism and schizophrenia appear to be very much inter-related... in fact, I do believe these are the same disorder over the life spectrum... it took decades to pull these 2 disorders apart... and perhaps that was for a reason... because they are much more alike than different in the first place! Note that "recent research" - again, according to NARSAD - indicates that "autism and schizophrenia may be related"... surprise, surprise! Note this quote in a NARSAD (National Alliance For Research In Schizophrenia and Depression) Special Report entitled The Neurobiology of Infantile Autism, by Roland D. Ciaranello, M.D. - I quote:
"For many years, researchers believed autism and schizophrenia were different variants of the same disorder, but epidemiological research showed that the two disorders did not occur more frequently in the same families than would be predicted by chance, so since about 1971, we have taught that they are distinct. However, more recent research suggests they may be related." [end of quote, emphasis added, The Neurobiology of Infantile Autism, by Roland D. Ciaranello, M.D, NARSAD Special Report, http://www.narsad.org/news/newsletter/specialreports/archautism.html].
Note that "not finding them both in the same family"... in my opinion, just further confirms that these are not "genetic" but rather "environmental assaults" due to things like metal toxicity!
Here's that screen print... note that many other researchers are also finding "common threads"... again, no surprise to me!
The fact also remains that from 1943 to 1971, they were considered "the same"... it was only in 1971 that they were "pulled apart" because of the belief that if indeed "genetic" and "the same", we should see both in the same family... but they were not seeing that... Could it be because the "assumption of this being a genetic disorder" was incorrect to start with!!! That was the reason they were pulled apart... because - "given these disorders were genetic"... if they were "the same" you should "see both" in one family... and they just weren't seeing that! I suspect that "genetic assumption" was the problem... not the fact that they "were the same" in the first place. The fact that so many still have trouble distinguishing the two and that it took decades to pull them apart and that they were pulled apart on a bogus "genetic assumption" and "age of onset criterion" should be enough to raise eyebrows here folks! If indeed parents are screaming "vaccines" for autism... and autism and schizophrenia... and I also believe Alzheimer's... are the same disorder... that certainly poses a HUGE problem for those in the government and in the pharmaceutical industry and as such, we can be certain that they would certainly fight against the "re-merging" of autism and schizophrenia!
This person's "informed hunch" is no better than mine, quite frankly, and based on everything I've researched - thousands of hours now - I absolutely do believe these are the same disorder... there are simply way too many "parallels" and too few "differences" among them... and may I add that the differences may very much be explained by the fact that the brain is not a constant over time and as such... what you see in autism vs schizophrenia may very well be the result of "time of assault" type issues! I also address the "genetics or genes implicated in schizophrenia" issue in the seminar I put together... very eye opening indeed!
The brain is NOT a constant over time... and as such, you can not say that these are not the same disorder based on "age of onset" criteria. Leukemia is leukemia... at 2 or 85... and metal toxicity is metal toxicity... at 2 or 85... and if metals are most devastating to immature or developing cells (as clearly indicated in the Simpsonwood meeting discussing mercury in vaccines), then, you simply can NOT compare the brain of a 2 year old to that of an adolescent or elderly person... the effects of metals WOULD be different based on "what is developing in the brain at the time of the assault"!
Remember this quote from Simpsonwood meeting - a quote by the study's chief author:
Dr. Verstraeten, pg. 166: "When I saw this, and I went back through the literature, I was actually stunned by what I saw because I thought it is plausible. First of all there is the Faeroe study, which I think people have dismissed too easily, and there is a new article in the same Journal that was presented here, the Journal of Pediatrics, where they have looked at PCB. They have looked at other contaminants in seafood and they have adjusted for that, and still mercury comes out. That is one point. Another point is that in many of the studies with animals, it turned out that there is quite a different result depending on the dose of mercury. Depending on the route of exposure and depending on the age at which the animals, it turned out that there is quite a different result depending on the dose of mercury. Depending on the route of exposure and depending on the age at which the animals were exposed. Now, I don't know how much you can extrapolate that from animals to humans, but that tells me mercury at one month of age is not the same as mercury at three months, at 12 months, prenatal mercury, later mercury. There is a whole range of plausible outcomes from mercury. On top of that, I think that we cannot so easily compare the U.S. population to Faeroe or Seychelles populations. We have different mean levels of exposure. We are comparing high to high I the Seychelles, high to high in the Faeroe and low to low in the U.S., so I am not sure how easily you can transpose one finding to another one. So basically to me that leaves all the options open, and that means I can not exclude such a possible effect."
This next (original) section still applies... although now, I see and understand a whole lot more issues fitting into this... based on brain structure and function... see "book 3" for more on that! What I had seen in this child, as described below, I now know has to do with the "need for closure" in persons with autism - as clearly described here (so obviously, I was not the only one to see this as "an issue" in these children... http://www.ont-autism.uoguelph.ca/from.shtml... but again, there is much more to all this in terms of issues with specific parts of the brain not communicating properly and the implications of that for autism, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's and the loss of self and loss of one's grasp with reality.
A whole lot more on all of this in "book 3 - Breaking The Code: Putting Pieces In Place!" posted in full on this website!
Clearly, the views of adults with autism as they relate to the ability to distinguish between "the real" and the "non-real" confirm my views that the teaching of "pretend play" in persons with autism may be very dangerous indeed if those with autism have such difficulty distinguishing the two in the first place!
END OF UPDATE SECTION
Like lying, imaginary play was something most autistic children did not do... until they were taught, "to pretend".
It had long been speculated that schizophrenia was the adult form of autism. Based on what I have come to understand of the role of partiality in the autistic child's life, I now believed that this could indeed be the case. The best way for me to explain this theory was by providing an example of what I believed could be a behavior that led down the slippery slope leading to adult schizophrenia.
For the autistic child, as with any child, fascination started first with objects and then moved on to people as the child grew older. This was why young children were perfectly happy to just be at home with mom and their toys... but, as they grew older, the need to interact with other children became more powerful than the need to play with toys… and in my opinion, that was true of the autistic child also, in spite of his huge issues with “socialization” because, in my opinion, the issue was not one of “ not wanting to play with other children” it was one of not understanding one’s world – and that was a huge difference!
When the autistic child did that "crossover" - when the need to have friends became more important than simply playing with objects - pretend play, in my opinion, could take on a dangerous role... that of actually replacing people – including the autistic child himself!
Again, a very poignant example would best show why I believed this to be the case. A mother I knew recently commented to me that her son had become obsessed with a fictional character in one of his software programs, so much so, that he identified himself completely with the main character in this software package. Although this autistic child, like so many, kept very much to himself and did not like to be disturbed at all when engaged in a particular task, his mother soon discovered that if she called him by the name of this particular fictional character in the software program, her son would leap to his feet and do just about anything she asked without making a fuss. If the character's name was not used, getting her son to do what she wanted was a lot more difficult.
In this particular program - but again, in my opinion, the "identification" could come from any character in ANY video, book, software, etc. - but, in this particular program, one of the main character's tasks was to take ice cubes and make snow. To accomplish this task, the ice cubes were made, then taken and put on a conveyor belt, passed through a machine and thus made into snow. Each snowflake was then inspected for uniqueness with a magnifying glass.
Note, there were several key things here...
1. A process was involved... this process had a beginning and an end.
2. The process had a particular order.
3. The process involved an individual... a fictional character.
4. The task involved something "with order"... first in the form of placing the ice cubes on a conveyor belt and then in checking with a magnifying glass to ensure the perfect order or uniqueness of each snowflake.
This child came to be so completely identified with this character, that he came to respond primarily when called by the name of this fictional character.
This child also came to spend his time exactly as did the fictional character... the child spent a good part of his day... making ice cubes and putting them into his mother's freezer. So many of these ice cubes were made that the mother had to start bagging them... but the child made so many, that there were always loose ice cubes in the freezer, falling out each time the door to the upright freezer was opened.
If the mother took any of the child's ice, the child became very upset and the usual outburst/tantrum followed.
So, how did this fit in with schizophrenia? Please remember, this was simply a theory was putting forth... I had no proof that this was what was happening, but, I suspected that it may very well be...
First, I wanted to emphasize that I believed "pretend play" became a very real issue once an autistic child did that all critical "crossover" from objects to persons in terms of what captivated his attention.
In the example above, the child was not allowed to "complete the process". He was only going "as far as" the making of the ice cubes... but, he never completed the process entirely. This, in my opinion, was a definite source of concern.
As the autistic child grew, I believed he learned more coping mechanisms simply from "being in the world", and as such, he adapted a little more to his environment... picking up the concept of fractions along the way, understanding that things had labels, etc.
Note: A child who was left to “break the code” to life, in my opinion, would have very little chance of doing so and would only slip further into the clutches of autism. As such, when I referred to “coping mechanisms” in the above paragraph, I was referring to positive coping mechanisms such as labeling, explanations, etc. There were indeed many, many negative coping mechanisms in which the autistic child engaged, and these, I believed, would only make him slip further away.
As such, it was critical all parents understood the “simple passage of time” was not the key to recovering these children! In my opinion, these children needed to be provided with the right coping mechanisms and that could only come through a great deal of work and therapy!
Thus, positive coping mechanisms helped with "the real world", "the physical world" as the child grew and more labels were provided to “decode” the physical world, and as such, in my opinion, perhaps less focus was given to environmental tasks since the child was now better able to cope... having had years and years of experience to learn to adapt to his environment, having had years of labels to help understand so much of his world.
As such, it was my opinion that environmental issues or issues as they related “to objects" took less of a priority as the child grew older. Socialization, however, became more and more important to the child. This was indeed true of all children- and I firmly believed, of autistic children as well!
It was, however, a well-known fact that the autistic child had difficulty making friends... and herein, in my opinion, was the danger of pretend play in the life of the autistic child. As the autistic child searched for "friends" and discovered he had very few... or none... he could begin to identify with fictional characters... to consider "them" "his friends"... and since these "fictional characters" were now "one's friends”, readily available for play, for company, in my opinion, it would be natural for the autistic child to want to "play with them" much as a normal child would play with his "real friends".
In our example, the child engaged in the making of ice cubes... just as did the character with which he identified himself. Indeed, this particular child not only engaged in the activities of his "fictional friend", he was "becoming" his fictional friend - responding now, almost exclusively, only when called by the fictional character's name.
Also important to this analysis was the fact that in the above scenario, this child was allowed to make ice cubes - but, the process itself was never completed in its entirety... only a PART of the process was done. There was that key word again: "a part"... a "part" of the "whole" only had been completed!
Based on my understanding of the role of partiality in the autistic brain and the autistic child's inability to deal with the partial, as I observed this autistic child, I could not help but wonder what happened when a process was not completed, a conversation or activity with a fictional friend or character identified with was interrupted?
It was my belief that the fact that the process, conversation or activity was never completed made it so that this "partiality" became a greater focus of the child's attention...and just as the autistic child strived for completeness in the physical environment by spinning, etc., so may the autistic adult strive for completeness by "finishing" the process, conversation, task or activity that was left incomplete or "partial".
It was my belief that as the autistic child grew, by definition, he was simply "exposed" to more labels and concepts... and picked more up along his journey through life in terms of dealing with his actual physical world.
Given the fact that the life of the autistic child was one that demanded "exactness" and "order" in everything, I began to question what would happen if that "completeness in order" was missing... if, for example, a process was left only "partially done" as in the above example.
If a child was allowed to so completely identify with a fictional character, would that child not accept that character as part of his "reality" and consider that "part of his world" or "that new person or process" in his world something that needed to be made "sense of" and categorized or completed?
I could certainly see that as the environment became better coped with, the focus of the child's attention could certainly shift to processes and other "issues" of conversation/ process, etc., that had remained yet unresolved. As the autistic child could not cope with partiality and reverted to spinning, so too, did I suspect, the autistic adult sought a method to complete the partial...only now, it was to complete the partial within... and this, I believed could be what led to schizophrenia.
This may very well explain why the schizophrenic were seen "talking to people who were not there".
Therefore, to allow children who were autistic to identify with fictional characters may, in my opinion, could actually lead to bigger problems down the road as the brain may focus on incomplete processes (as the ice cube to perfect snowflake example), incomplete conversations (as in with fictional friends), or any other incomplete or partial task, etc., that may have been interrupted and left "undone".
As such, I personally, would not encourage any imaginary play in Zachary, especially as he made that critical crossover from objects to people in terms of what captivated his attention, and I would be very careful when he initiated pretend play himself... careful to complete the task... to make sure tasks were completed with the verbalization of an "all done", etc. prior to moving on something else.
In terms of "imaginary friends"... something I had not yet had to deal with... I would do my best to "snuff them out somehow" as soon as possible by perhaps suggesting the "imaginary friend" - "was gone", perhaps using the words: "bye-bye" or something like that! Of course, words like “bye-bye” could reinforce the “existence” of such friends… as such, perhaps the best thing was simply to “snuff them out altogether”! This, in my opinion, was especially true if that “imaginary friend” involved my child actually identifying himself with or as a particular “character” (as had the child in the above example).
This was a problem I had yet to observe in Zachary... but, I would make absolutely sure he did not start to fall down what I saw as that possible slippery slope that perhaps led to adult schizophrenia. :o(
This issue had the potential to be so devastating to my child, if true, that I was simply, personally, not willing to take the risk of allowing my child to engage in anything that had to do with "imaginary friends".
I suspected that as with so much in the life of the autistic child, labeling pretend play when it did occur would be critical in helping the autistic child to cope... to make him understand the difference between reality and the "pretend world". This may be as simple as explaining to the child for example that "dogs did not talk", "that imaginary an friend was not real... that they not someone you could call on the phone... not someone who could really come and fill up your bucket in your sandbox", etc.
Indeed, for the autistic child, I truly believed that it was critical that pretend play, when it surfaced, be carefully and painstakingly labeled for what it was – not real!
Also critical in my opinion was the fact that any actual identification with a character/person be limited, by constantly reminding the child that "his name was...." and actually using the child's real name only. Teaching the concept of "what's your name?"- of one's "self"- early on, I also believed was key... as was, I believed, using the child's real name and that name only when calling the child.
It was too easy for parents, siblings and others around the autistic child to fall into the trap of letting the child identify with a fictional character and allowing him to "respond to that name" when called by that name since that was "the name" that “got” the child's attention. But, in this case, allowing that identification with a fictional character by the autistic child gave him, in my opinion, exactly what you did not want to provide... control over a potentially dangerous situation – a new coping mechanism to deal with loneliness as it so often existed in the life of the autistic child!
If you think about it, pretend play allowed the autistic child to control the situation, or his world... to make it "just the way he wanted it"... much in the way "spinning" was used by younger autistic children to "do away with partiality". Indeed, many coping mechanisms seen in autistic children provided this sense of control over the situation. I found this to be true with spinning, self injurious behaviors, screaming, biting, associations whereby children created "new objects" out of parts to make a new entity (see information on creation of a truck in section on fractions), etc. and in my opinion, that could certainly also be the case here!
The key for parents was to allow only those coping mechanism, like Labeling, Echolia, Ordering Language, Counting, etc., that actually helped the child cope with life in a productive way and to work at eliminating all negative and potentially harmful coping mechanism that allowed the child to not only control his world in a negative or non-productive manner, but also allowed the autistic child a means of eliminating the need to understand his world.
Labels, in my opinion, were truly the parent's most powerful ally in this fight against autism. If something had a label, it was a whole in and of itself... even a partial could be perceived as its own entity. Labels were, I believed, also key to keeping the child in "this world"... because they removed the frustration of "not understanding this world" and as such they could help ensure pretend play was labeled as pretend and this too, helped keep the child, in my opinion, "grounded in reality" as opposed to a fictional world he could completely control on his own. I encouraged all parents to review my section on coping mechanisms and to encourage only the use of "positive ones" in working with their children. Parents would also find very valuable information under my section entitled Exercises I Do At Home. These were exercises I had done with my son in an attempt to help him deal with issues of "partiality"... in an attempt to help him better cope with his world and to find joy within “real life” as opposed to seeking it in a “make believe” world!
My theory was simply that... a theory... as was everything else I had provided in these materials. Of course, what was to those in research simply a “theory”, to me, was very much a fact of life… a “theory” that had proven itself time and time again! Based on what I had come to understand of the role of "partiality" in the life of my own son, I believed this “theory” as it related to the danger of pretend play, in view of its potentially devastating consequences, certainly warranted further investigation.
Issues with "partiality", in my opinion, also helped explain other disorders that involved completing a task, such as obsessive-compulsive behavior.
As I suspected that adult schizophrenia could be tied to the need to "complete the partial" and the need to deal with issues of loneliness in the autistic child, so, too, did I suspect that this obsessive-compulsive behavior could also be an attempt at “completing the partial or incomplete” in life. Many autistic children were reported to have obsessive compulsive disorders... and although many other children were labeled simply as "obsessive compulsive disorder" (and did not have the label of autism), I suspected obsessive compulsive behavior could simply be another, perhaps milder form of autism.
I had once heard a young man speak of his life with obsessive compulsive disorder. The young man was approximately 17 and had no other "label"... he had not been labeled as autistic. As he talked he explained how he felt he could "catch germs everywhere" and that as such, he constantly had to wash his hands. Much in the way that a bandage was quickly removed by the autistic child who had not had a bandage labeled - a child who had not learned to cope with something (the bandage) which was not part of the whole (the skin) - so too, did I suspect a person suffering from obsessive compulsive behavior may be attempting to "remove" something (germs) that were not part of the whole (the skin or person). Again, this was simply a theory... but given we saw so much "obsessive compulsive" type behavior in the autistic, it was certainly an interesting one - at least in my opinion. :o)
In closing this section, I want to mention one final thing. There was apparently research showing that schizophrenics often had parasites (i.e., hookworms) in their brain tissue.
Of course, as in so many other things, the medical community was quick to refute this possible link. You could see this issue listed and refuted under a very popular link on the Internet called "Quackwatch" by simply doing a search for "Hulda", a somewhat controversial person in the medical community. Not surprisingly, "Quackwatch" also did not believe vaccinations could cause autism. Given that most "advisors" for "Quackwatch" were from the medical community, this was not surprising to me. Of course, anyone who denied the impact of mercury, the second most toxic substance in the world, on the human body, in my opinion, was a “quack”, too! In my opinion, it was time for those on “Quackwatch” to look at the facts rather than allowing themselves to be spoonfed what to believe by the pharmaceutical and government agencies tied to vaccination programs!
The medical community, a community so closely linked to the pharmaceutical industry, had long denied the vaccine/autism link - just as had the pharmaceuticals and the many government organizations (i.e., CDC, NIH, etc.) directly linked to this issue of vaccinations. I provide this information on parasites in the schizophrenic as "information only" for those who wanted to look further into this topic since I did find it to be a rather interesting one – especially given the fact that so many autistic children engaged in behaviors that simply made them more prone to parasitic infections (behaviors such as licking, eating sand, etc. – for more on that, see my first book, Saving Zachary: The Death And Rebirth Of A Family Coping With Autism).
As a child, my mother, the wife of a doctor, always used to treat all her children for parasites on a regular basis. When hyperactivity seemed to be a little overwhelming, she always suspected worms. If indeed autistic children were prone to parasitic infestation due for example to the fact that they were often "licking things" and, in Zachary's case, actually eating sand (that could be laced with the eggs of parasites), that would certainly contribute to hyperactivity. As such, treating for parasites (i.e., worms), in my opinion, was a good idea.
As I mentioned earlier, however, the cautionary word for parents here was that, in my opinion, the medical community did not give this issue the attention it deserved. Most tests for parasites tested for only a very few types… and often, by the time the stool samples made it to a lab, the presence of parasites was “negative” because the eggs, etc., had died by the time they reached the lab (one of my sisters-in-law used to work in a medical lab and was the one who had mentioned that to me). As such, I cautioned parents to become informed on the issue of parasites (i.e., pinworms, roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, etc.) and to be very cautious in terms of allowing their children to engage in those behaviors that made children prone to these infections.