Autism and Neurodevelopmental Challenges

Majid Ali, M.D.

  • Of Darwin, Freud, Mothers, and Infant Psychologists

I asked several mothers how many times did their newborns need instructions to find milk from its source, three days? Five days? A week? Or possibly a month? Are you that dumb? They replied with puzzled eyes.

The title of the article on page 48 of the August 2016 issue of Counseling Today Is: Counseling Babies. It begins with following words: “There is no excuse for our society not putting scientific knowledge into practice….” Who could dare question the wisdom of these words.  I am an old-timer. When I read about infants and babies, I like to see things through the eyes of moms. They are true naturalists. In 2016, in one of my commentaries published online by the journal Nature, I introduced the term Darwin Moms for mothers of my patients whose lucid descriptions of what they observed in their newborns, infants, and children were most revealing.   So, I eagerly read the first page of the article about counseling babies, looking for the word mother. No, I was not surprised not to find the word there. I did find the word caregiver but I am never ready to accept the word caregiver as a substitute for the word mothers. Mothers are mothers, not caregivers.

Just to be sure, I asked two members of our staff to read the first two pages of the article in  Counseling Today  and find the word mothers. It was not there. The same thing happened when I glanced upon a celebrated book by three preeminent child psychologists. I read the preface carefully and was not surprised not to find the word mother there. Then I read the first fifty pages, rapidly I admit, looking for the words mother or mom. I did not find any.

Darwin did his science among his elements. Freud did his psychology head-fixated. Darwin’s conversed about what was spread before him to be observed. Freud, by most accounts, left a record of six patients, none of whom, by his own admission, got better.

Within One’s Elements

Within one’s elements, one becomes a part of one’s elements, owning one’s breath, surfing one’s sky, at equilibrium under one’s skin. One continues to be the scientist one was at birth, knowing where to find its nourishment. Then at two months, the scientist in the infant rolls its eyes in the direction of the light or sound that enters its field of enquiry. At three months, the scientist in the infant cranes his neck to see where a sound or light might be coming from. At six months, so authentic is the baby scientist that it puts everything that can be picked up from the floorinto the month just to know how it taste.

The Tragedy – De-Scientist-izing the Scientist

Then comes the lifelong tragedy. The whole Freudian world conspires to “de-scientist-ize” the poor soul. For decades, the “nutrition scientists” will tell him that eggs are bad and cholesterol causes heart attacks. Poor thing! Who is he to challenge the nutritionist scientitists. Or the Freudian scientists in the matter of his innate senses and his growing capacity to make sense of things within and around.

I have walked in Darwin’s foot steps. His name appears in the titles of four of my books. He guided me in writing all fourteen volumes of my textbook, The Principles and Practice of Integrative Medicine.

I have had growing difficulty with Freud’s mental machinations. I have had much sympathy for him (he was a cocaine addict, made his girlfriend a cocaine addicts, and suffered much with multiple surgeries for his throat cancer). But his writings are mostly limited to what he imagined through his troubled mind.

My point here in the context of neuro-developmental challenges is this: I want to observe the natural order in the way of Darwin, not the way of the Greek goddess Psyche or her disciples of today.  I want to learn what the challenged children teach me about their mitochondrial cellular energetics, food and mold allergy, toxic metals, and their difficulties with oxygen homeostasis and insulin homeostasis. I want them to teach me how they respond to simple nutritional, detox, and self-regulatory (slow breathing and others) remedies for coping with the disruptions of their energetic, metabolic, and immune-inflammatory systems.

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