The community of practitioners who care for children on the autism spectrum (formerly known as DAN! – Defeat Autism Now) is evolving into the Medical Academy of Pediatric Special Needs (medmaps.org). This is due, in large part, to the work of Dr. Dan Rossignol, an early adopter of alternative medicine to address the needs of children with ASD. He has recognized that, in order to gain more traction with the conventional scientific community, and the AAP specifically, formal and authenticated training programs are needed. Research documenting the great strides that affected patients have made will be available in more accepted journals and conferences.
This first conference, Module One, was a very intensive 2-1/2 day course that showcased a great deal of thoughtful information requiring intense concentration as scientific theories were presented and discussed. Although the venue was Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, I assure you that, after 12 hours of classes, my bed was much more alluring than the blackjack table at the long day’s end.
Rather than simply report the detailed content of these complicated lectures, I wish to impart that this was a great opportunity to learn from others and to share information that represents real care for helping the ASD epidemic. Even at mealtimes, the members took the opportunity to discuss our local practices and to learn about successful protocols, many of which are yet to be studied or published, but bear great relevance to our medical practices.
We heard from some of the top researchers in the field such as Martha Herbert, Dan Rossignol and Judy Van Der Water. I spoke with long-time practitioners (as long as this new specialty has been around) such as David Berger, Jim Neubrander and ‘Dr. Bob’ Sears. I also met physicians from all around the world; in remote US counties from Iowa and Indiana, and from Mexico, India, and South Africa. These were docs, just like myself, who were there to learn new strategies to help our patients. Additionally, I spoke with Nurse Practitioners, Chiropractors, Naturopaths, therapists and even the parents who were attending the TACA conference in the next meeting room.
I have attended various conferences for many decades, from pediatric and neonatal conventions to the Society for Autism Research Institute, to the DAN! classes that have been the mainstay of my education lately. It feels very much like the ‘olden days’ of neonatology when we created our own subspecialty and branched off from general pediatrics. I look forward to the new infrastructure as it specifically addresses the intellectual curiosity and diligent work of all the practitioners who are trying to help your children.
One of the reasons that the term ‘DAN!’ was dropped was that the Divers Alert Network didn’t want to be confused with our band of healthcare workers. I hope we won’t have the same problem and be confused with the other MAPS – The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies!