Recovering Mark by Cynthia Macluskie and Mark Makes a Difference! by Mark Macluskie

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Recovering Mark
Mark with lobbyist Gretchen Jacobs, who advocated for Steven’s Law
Mark was diagnosed with autism at age two and today, at age ten, most people ask me if he ever really had autism. I can assure you he did. Here is our journey of recovery.
had the opportunity to testify before the Senate Health Committee expressing my support of Steven’s Law, which mandates autism insurance coverage in Arizona. As I spoke of my struggles financially and emotionally, I broke down and cried. My son, Mark, leaned over, hugged and comforted me. As I looked up, every Senator had tears in their eyes, not because of my emotional testimony, but because of my son’s empathy and compassion. Mark then stepped up to the podium and testified on behalf of all children with autism. You see, Mark was diagnosed with autism at age two and today, at age ten, most people ask me if he ever really had autism. I can assure you he did. Here is our journey of recovery. Mark, like so many of our kids, was born with no issues and developed normally until age 14 months. He then became ill and ended up in the hospital. The next six months were filled with antibiotics, doctors’ appointments and constant illness. One
day, I suddenly realized he did not call me “Mommy” anymore, and he no longer seemed to hear what I was saying. We saw our developmental pediatrician and were shocked to leave with an autism diagnosis. We traveled to the University of California, Irvine for a second opinion. The Head of Pediatric Neurology told us that we would have to institutionalize our son. That was the day our recovery journey started. We would not accept the hopeless picture the doctor left us with that day. Luckily for us, the Internet was invented and showed us the way! The gluten-, casein- and soy-free diet was the first treatment we tried, and this was hugely successful. Within days, the head banging stopped and language started. Eventually we learned that Mark’s diet must also exclude dyes, preservatives and be primarily organic. The few times we deviated from this diet, Mark had behavior issues and complained of “brain shaking” and feeling
“high as a kite.” Today our whole family is on this diet and we are all healthier because of it. We also found that Mark was very sensitive to chemicals and environmental triggers. We ripped out our carpet and removed all chemicals from our house, including cleaning supplies. We now clean with vinegar and baking soda. We also bought an expensive air filter system that would clean out chemicals, as well as other allergens. We removed clutter (dust collectors) from our home. We sleep in organic cotton sheets, pillows and pajamas. I believe that our children have a difficult time eliminating toxins from their bodies, so I do my best to avoid them. We spend approximately a third of our lives sleeping in bed, so I have attempted to make our bedrooms as healthy as possible. We used the book Home Safe Home to make incremental changes in our house. We found that the whole family improved physically with these changes. Supplements were also extremely helpful. Subcutaneous methyl B-12 injections were started when Mark was 5½ years old with great success. Within days, Mark stopped wetting the bed and stuttering. We took him off methyl B-12 injections twice, and both times Mark’s bedwetting and stuttering came back. We also noticed a slowing down of his learning capacity. Methyl B-12 is definitely one of the interventions at the top of our list. We completed several IV glutathione injections. Each time, we saw huge gains in social skills. After the first injection, Mark played hide-and-seek and tag at the park. I could not believe how well he fit in with his peers. I cried on the way home from the park. He had never played that way before. However, the effects did not last for more than a few days, and the effects decreased over time. I still strongly believe that the IVs kick started something in his system and helped develop social skills gains. We did use a lot of other biomedical interventions. We chelated with IV EDTA, but we could never decide if it truly helped. We used homeopathy -- which we still use today -- to address any illnesses in the family. I can assure you that we were not an “all natural” family when we started this journey. This journey has caused us to stretch our knowledge and open-mindedness. The other hugely successful intervention
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family was lucky that Mark was a child who responded quickly to these interventions. My best advice is to trust your instincts, never give up hope and always keep an open mind. Don’t become too loyal to a doctor, therapy or treatment and always be willing to make a change. I can promise you that every choice we have made on this journey was outside of our comfort zone. We never thought we would homeschool our child, and yet this has been one of our greatest joys. I always envisioned myself as an “Oreo cookie” and “Mac and Cheese” mom, and now I am an expert gluten-free dessert maker! Lastly, I wish you good luck, determination and success in your journey of recovery.
Mark Makes a Difference!
The following article is written totally in Mark Macluskie’s own words.
Mark with Representative Bill Konopnicki, who sponsored Steven’s Law
was to remove Mark from the school system. Mark attended developmental preschool for one year where he lost skills and, in my view, wasted time. We decided to set up an intensive Applied Behavior Analysis program 35 hours per week in our home. We could not afford a Master’s level expert, so I read books and designed my own program. Mark made more progress in three months than he did in a whole year of preschool! Both our speech and occupational therapists were astonished with our success. We turned a room in our house into a Montessori style ABA room. At age six, we transitioned the program from an ABA style program to a typical school program. We removed all therapists from our home, and I spent two hours per day for over a year reading aloud and bonding with Mark. Today he is at or above grade level for every subject. Mark is now a 10-year-old happy and well adjusted little boy. He has many friends, is an active member of a robotics team, plays piano beautifully and loves all things little boys love. Our journey was filled with many ups and downs, especially because there was no clear roadmap to follow. Unfortunately, not everything works for every child. Our
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y name is Mark Anthony Macluskie, and I am 10 years old. I was diagnosed with autism at age 2, but I lost my diagnosis at age 8. My mom helped me recover. I did a lot of therapy and biomedical treatment. Currently, I am on a gluten-, dairy- and soy-free diet, take supplements, and methyl B-12 shots. My family eats all organic, and we do not use any chemicals of any kind in our house. We buy 100% cotton clothing and sleep in organic cotton sheets. In the past, I had so many IVs that you could not imagine, but it helped me recover by detoxifying my body of metals and other toxins. My mom started working on a bill called Steven’s Law. Steven’s Law would force insurance companies to cover autism in Arizona. It got me thinking that I wanted to help her, so I started going to meetings with her. I designed buttons that told people that autism is treatable. I discovered that insurance companies would cover diseases like cancer but would not cover autism. I thought that was so unfair. Kids with autism should get the insurance they need and should not be discriminated against. So, I decided to speak on behalf of all kids with autism at the Arizona Senate Health Committee. I said, “I am speaking for all the children who cannot speak up. Autism is treatable, so please make insurance update their policies and help these children. Thank you!” The vote was going to be 4 to 2, but when I spoke, the vote changed to 6 to 0 in support of our bill. At one point, my mom was ready to give up but I said, “No! You cannot give up. There are kids in Arizona who need you, who need us, who need this whole team to work
together. We need to get this bill passed.” I was worried that kids in Arizona would not get coverage and would grow up and not be able to get a job or have friends. That just made me too sad, and I could not let it happen. So I told my mom we were going to pass this bill. One day, while I was working at the Capitol, I met the Speaker of the House. He showed me around, and he let me take a couple of pictures with him. My mom and I and a few of our friends were sitting at the table negotiating with the Speaker of The House. I drew a picture of an elephant stomping a donkey. The Speaker thought it was so funny. He said he would do what he could do and he would pass the bill. This last spring, Steven’s Law, the law I worked so hard on, passed. It made me feel so happy and glad that kids with autism would be recovered in Arizona. I thought all the kids of the United States of America should have autism covered too. So, that is where I came up with Ava’s Law. One of my personal friends, Gretchen Jacobs, has a little girl named Ava. Gretchen Jacobs is a very important person and best friend to Steven’s Law, and is responsible for it passing. So I thought if I was going to make a federal law, I should name it after her daughter, Ava. Therapy and biomedical treatment is so important for kids with autism so that they can get recovered. It is important for children to get recovered so they can have a chance to be great -- to become a NASA astronaut or the President of the United States. So that all kids, even kids with autism, can live their dream. This bill, I hope, will be passed in the next year so that all kids can be recovered and have the treatment they need.