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Along Came Autism: Dominick’s Story

I think any mother first looks at her newborn son, all pink and soft, and dreams of his future. Maybe he’ll be a doctor, a lawyer, or a teacher. President, perhaps? Well, I knew my Dominick was meant to be something greater.

My son was born with severe torticollis and even had to wear a helmet. Fortunately, with physical therapy and chiropractic care, he improved. He hit all his milestones: smiling, clapping, waving, crawling, walking, and even some speech. By comparison to his twin I thought “Well Dominick is not behind, Jonathan is just a little advanced. Besides, he had to go through all that therapy and wear a helmet!” I never put that much thought into it until I noticed he wouldn’t make eye contact, respond to his name, and sometimes he would bang his head on the floor. He suffered from frequent ear infections, so my first overly protective, motherly assumption was, “Oh my God, he’s deaf!” I immediately scheduled an appointment with an ear, nose, and throat doctor.

The ENT doc did a hearing test, which he failed. He said, “Let’s try to put tubes in and relieve the pressure.” This sounded logical to me, so it was done the following week. A hearing test three months later confirmed his hearing was normal. Okay, we eliminated that possibility, but he was still doing all those strange things. Only now it was arm-flapping and an obsession with cords. I thought, “He’s my little birdie, or he’s going to be an electrician.” Silly, naive mommy.

I finally sought out the help of a neurologist. He wanted to do an EEG to see if Dominick was having seizures. All was clear there. He then started asking questions about his bowel movements and his diet. I thought, “Okay dude, where are you going with the poop questions?” So I allowed him to test Dominick for celiac disease. Again, totally normal. Then along came autism.

The doctor’s office called and said they wanted to speak to me as soon as possible. I sat there thinking, “Every test you’ve run was normal, now what do you want to rip my insurance company for?” I wish it was that simple. He shut the door, put his hand on mine and said, “Dominick has autism.” I got up, offended. “What do you mean? He is walking and babbling. Don’t those kids hate being in new places?” He said, “That can be a symptom. Yours has all the symptoms of a low-functioning child with autism.” I started to cry. “Well then test him!” He looked at me with sorrowful eyes “I can’t,” he said. “There is no test for that. All I can do now is give you information for a support group and a counselor to help you with his future.” I was angry. “His future! What do you mean by that?” He lowered his voice “You need to think about when he gets older; who will take care of him if you can’t? There are many institutions‚Ķ” “Okay I need to call my husband or my mom.” The doctor left the room, and I quickly reached for my cell phone. Of course neither one of them answered. I looked at my baby in the corner who was sitting in the middle of a pile of toys, and instead of playing with them he was throwing them over his shoulder repeatedly. I remember kind of yelling at him, “Just play with the toys! This is a truck! Vroom, Vroom! Why can’t you just play?”

The nurse came in and said the doctor wanted to see Dominick in three months. I said “Well then what happens?” She said, “He’ll just talk to you about his progress.” I held back tears “Isn’t there medicine or treatment for this?” She looked at me sympathetically and replied, “No, but I can try to find a speech therapist for him in your area.” I thanked her and walked out the door with a lump in my throat.

All the way home I kept looking at him in the mirror, and trying to talk to him. Complete silence. I went to get his haircut on the way home, which he never had the patience for. As I held him down while the girl cut his hair, she stopped for a minute and asked “Is he autistic?” I started sobbing. How could this lady pick up on it in five minutes, and I lived with the kid! After breaking down and telling her about my day, I had to get back home to my husband, Jonathan, and my other set of twins. I forgot to mention that, huh? In the midst of all this we had another set of twins, Christopher and Joshlyn.

That April day flew by as I called everyone and cried their ears off. I knew he was the same little boy he was yesterday, but now his unusual behavior had a name: autism.

The summer flew past. We started chiropractic care with Dr. Nicole Poirier and speech therapy. He was in special education, pre-school, and was on an organic diet. The kid needed a day planner, let me tell ya! One September night I was watching Larry King Live. They were interviewing Jenny McCarthy on how she recovered her son from autism. I was hooked. I got her book Louder Than Words. My husband and I read it quickly. (It’s a great read!) We immediately looked for a preventative medicine doctor who follows the DAN (Defeat Autism Now) protocol.

After testing him from hair samples to stool samples, blood work, and urine analysis he put him on this regimen: cod liver oil, ultra flora, B-12 drops, protein shakes, vitamin C, vitamin B supreme, zinc, and lithate. We also put him on gluten-free and casein-free diet and nystatin to get out the yeast. You want to talk about a mom going crazy!?! Within a week he was singing ABCs, asking for things, and even said “mama” and “I love you.”

We never vaccinated our kids. Dr. Poirier sponsored a seminar when I was pregnant featuring key note speaker Mary Tocco, of Moms Opposing Mandatory Vaccines. It scared me out of it. Thank God! Dominick’s mitochondrial injuries were so severe a doctor once told me, “A single vaccine could have been fatal to your son.” Unfortunately, however, I received several Rhogam shots when I was pregnant with Dominick prior to knowing the detrimental affects those shots can have on unborn babies.

I got to see Jenny on April 16, 2008, one year to the day of his diagnosis. She amped me up in ways I didn’t know I had the energy for. She spoke of the Green Our Vaccines rally in Washington DC on June 4. I looked at my husband and said “I’m going with Dominick.” With this information and a new found passion, we drove to Washington DC and marched in a rally with 8,500 families, Jenny, Jim Carrey, Robert Kennedy, and Dr. Jay Gordon, just to name a few. We screamed in front of the CDC, “Shame on you!” Julie Gerberding of course declined to speak as did a representative from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

For awhile it felt like I was screaming a message no one wanted to hear. There are concerns about vaccines, in my eyes, that still make my skin crawl. Many people don’t know vaccines contain aluminum, propylene glycol (antifreeze), formeldahyde, thimerosol ( mercury), monkey kidney, fetal bovine tissue, and aborted human fetal tissue (Source: The FDA still says the thimerosol was removed in 2001. Please always keep in mind that trace amounts of these neurotoxins do not have to be listed in the ingredients, and that pre-2001 stockpiles of multi-dose vaccines are stored all over the world. Thimerosol was used as an anti-bacterial property for multi-dose vials. Again, I am not claiming my son was affected by vaccines, nor am I antivaccine. I am anti-toxin. I will not stop until the nasty toxins are out. In 1980, the rate of autism was 1 in 10,000 with ten vaccines on a child’s schedule. In 2008, the rate of autism is 1 in 150 with 36 vaccines on their schedule. Is this a coincidence? Please do your homework and make the decision for your child. It is your choice. It is a recommended schedule, not a mandatory schedule. I say it’s too many, too soon.

I am in the process of starting a chapter of TACA (Talk About Curing Autism) here in Michigan. Please, if you have a moment drop them an email at and tell them how important bringing these tools of hope and recovery is to your state. Talk to your members of congress. Tell them to vote to add autism as a covered medical expense. There is no risk in the treatment for autism as opposed to treatments for erectile dysfunction, which is covered. Write to the FDA and the CDC. Tell them organic diets, supplementation, and chiropractic care hold no risk and are beneficial in the recovery process for autism.

I thought life was simple. You have kids, raise them, and then they take care of you. With Dominick’s autism, my personality changed. I am a mother, a warrior, an advocate; I am more patient, more compassionate, and a lot more understanding. “Dominickle my little pickle” taught me all that. There are so many advantages to raising this little gift from God. I was chosen by a higher power for this job.

An autism diagnosis is devastating. You have two choices: you can get pro-active in their recovery, or you can practice acceptance. Wake up every morning and visualize them recovered. Your positive attitude and positive outlook will be contagious to your child. You are their number one cheerleader, but please don’t stand on the sidelines and cheer. To quote my hero Miss McCarthy, “Think of autism as being hit by a bus. You can never be cured, but you can recover with a few boo boos.”

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