Acute PTSD from Infancy
Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, Symbiosis
While there has been violent opposition to the assertion that these disorders have anything to do with mother-infant relationships, I note that, of the last six I saw with autism, three had onset immediately following car accidents. The other three had drug addicted mothers, and necessarily had separation-from-mother traumas that affected them. Of the first three, two were 15 months old, and the third was 18 months old. All three had normal development until there was a terrifying crash following which the baby simply stopped talking, and would point at what it wanted and grunt. They had partially retreated to an earlier stage of development prior to the terrifying moments of the crash. Other children have onset following immunizations using mercury, a powerful neurotoxin.
Autism used to occur in a ratio of ten boys to one girl, and I had attributed this to circumcision without anesthesia and without the mother present. Now it is more like three or four to one. Perhaps circumcision has been made less traumatic, or there are more early separation traumas as a result of the advent of the working mother in America and by the increase in drug addiction among young mothers.
One time I asked a noted researcher in the field of autism, about his findings in reference to infant separation traumas, and he replied that he wouldn’t dare research that because of criticism from mothers who had infants with autism. This has nothing to do with science – which is open exploration, yet, here was another highly regarded expert who admitted he would not dare explore infant separation traumas because he would be criticized. Unfortunately, many who are considered to be scientists are scientists in name only.
Treatment Protocol for Acute PTSD from Infancy
In treating persons with these disorders, I like to focus on what they can do that we cannot do. Some of these children have incredible abilities that we do not have, yet people try to make them into “normal” individuals. They are using earlier developmental regions of brain that have unique abilities. One child I treated who had been diagnosed with autism but eventually managed to attend school, would write the answers to math problems but could not explain how he got the answers. His teachers thought he was retarded, but I considered him a genius. Persons diagnosed as “idiot savant” (a terrible name) can be asked “what day of the week is October 13, 1896,” and if it happens to be Tuesday, they will reply Tuesday and not be wrong!
Another young child was brought to me with the diagnosis of autism, and the parents were focused on trying to make him normal. Meanwhile the child had incredible artistic ability and even at age five he was able to draw cartoon characters very quickly like a cartoonist might. These children are using earlier developmental regions of brain which have unique abilities, and should be encouraged. Another person with autism, was flown over Rome for an hour or two by helicopter, following which he drew every building with every window in it.
Bruno Bettelheim received scathing criticism for his opinions about origin. He first saw autistic children in concentration camps where mothers were necessarily concerned about things other than their babies. Could anyone blame those mothers?
Bettelheim and I both evaluated one patient who had symbiosis, and whose development was normal until, one night, someone broke into their apartment and raped his mother at gunpoint in front of the child and the child’s father. The child was 20 months old, and the woman was from a country where such an event would cause the woman to be regarded as worthless. Following this experience, the mother became psychotic, clung to the baby and the baby clung to her. Thus, subsequent to that early trauma, she was physically present but emotionally absent to the child. As a result, his development, including his speech, was arrested at age 20 months. Evaluation took place about two years after the traumatic experience.