Update: I came across a blog post from Marie Myung-Ok Lee which does indicate that she believed that her son was in severe pain from two surgeries and a medical condition unrelated to his autism. Pot was used to treat the pain. The point of this post remains the same: Behavior-based interventions are effective and often overlooked by educators and journalists. Generally a better bet than marijuana for kids on the spectrum.
Through a LinkedIn discussion, I read about a mother who is giving funny cookies to her autistic child to control serious behavior problems in school.
The unfortunate thing about this story is that it seems to imply that the only solutions to this kid’s behavioral issues are pot or other drugs like Risperdal:
With her son in crisis, Marie had no choice but to perform an intervention. But the only solution offered by child psychiatrists came in a pill bottle. “His school tried to force us to medicate him,” says Marie, who feared the risk of dangerous side effects associated with commonly prescribed antipsychotic drugs like Risperdal.
It appears that neither the school nor the psychologist suggested a behavior plan. Certainly every kid is different, but was this mother even aware that a behavior-based plan might address the problem? Is the author of the article aware that coordinated, well-documented behavior plans are used successfully in other schools and districts? We can only speculate, but at the very least it seems fair to say that the article was poorly researched.
Also, the article seems to imply that autistic kids may be behaving inappropriately because they are in pain. This confuses the issue. Are we talking about pain management or behavior management? Pot is known to be effective in pain management, but it isn’t clear that was an issue with this kid. I haven’t read or heard anything to indicate that chronic pain is a significant issue for people with autism.
This child may have been mellow when he was high, but the underlying issues causing his aggression weren’t addressed. Another course of action would have been to find another school.