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Today we’re talking with Monica Meyer, of Monica Meyer Consulting, an expert in adult autism.
For adult autism, how do you handle healthcare issues?
Monica Meyer: Healthcare issues in regards to people with autism, and specifically people with adult autism, is difficult. Just access to services in the community, people, practitioners, understanding the complexity of autism sometimes is over and above what a typical primary care physician may know. They typically deal with acute care and not necessarily with things that have to do with chronic care or things that are really specific to an autism spectrum disorder.
Monica, you mentioned a recent health issue with your son. Could you explain that?
Monica Meyer: Sure. Along with having autism, my son has what is called an intractable seizure disorder, which intractable means that it is not controlled by medications or by any other way… he also has what is referred to as a vagus nerve stimulator. For him, what had happened is he started having an increase in seizures. And what people typically want to do is look at, we need to stop the seizures and sometimes the related behaviors that go with that. So instead of just jumping to “let’s stop,” we have to really figure out what’s going on. What could be causing the increase in seizures? And in this case, for him, he had had a fall earlier that week, and he was having back pain, which then increased his seizures and increased a lot of his aggressive behavior.
So it is really imperative that people look at all the baseline information and move from there. Look at the physiological. What else is going on in that person’s life? Rather than just trying to extinguish a symptom.
What would you say are lessons parents should take from this specific situation?
Monica Meyer: Parents typically are the expert in their son or daughter’s health. They’ve been with them their whole entire life and they can recognize when things aren’t right, just sometimes by looking at a person. So that is what I would suggest, is for families to follow your instincts. Know that if there’s an increase in some sort of symptoms, whether it’s the aggressive behavior and, in my son’s case, it was both the aggressive behavior and in the onset of more drop seizures, I knew immediately that there was something else going on in his life. So first is to just write down what are some of the baseline situations that can cause an increase in aggression or, in this case, seizures. It is being able to step-by-step eliminate as a process to be able to really figure out what is the basis for this person’s change in behavior or in seizures.
Thank you Monica. For more information, listeners may call Monica at (360) 904-8938 or visit monicameyer.com.