Reality TV, Come View Me!

“One thing you can’t say about our life is that it’s dull,” my husband recently said. So true. I can’t really remember the last time we’ve had a predictable, routine week around here. In fact, we think our lives could make some interesting reality tv. Unfortunately, all the good show titles are already taken, like “Survivor,” “The Surreal Life,” and “The Amazing Race.”


We were thinking that we could come up with a pretty good show. We’d call it: “Autism Today: A Recovery Story.” Not only would it get the word out about autism and what families face, but we would get the very best in the country together to try to recover our little guy, and they’ve got about a year to get him well on his way. I’ve thought through who our experts would be, and it would all be moderated by Jenny McCarthy.

We ‘d have Dr. Kenneth Bock orchestrate the healing program with the right nutrients and detox strategies. Dr. James Neubrander would administer the best combination of MB-12 shots. Julie Matthews would develop the nutritional, dietary treatment plan, and Lisa Lewis would create delicious meals each day from her Special Diets for Special Kids recipes and she would know just how to get Josiah to eat them. Raun Kaufmann from the Sonrise Program would team up with Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh to administer the very best in ABA and social therapies, and fun loving therapist of Jenny McCarthy’s child and producer of Teach2Talk videos, Sarah Clifford Scheflen, would help them out.  We would all live in a tricked-out mansion that has been built with the same materials as Pittsburg’s Children Institute’s autism environmental “clean room,” and it has the best sensory toys, swings and trampolines throughout the house.


Not to forget the extra help for the parents, who have put their jobs on hold for a year to be part of this experiment. We would get psychological help from Dr. Phil with an occasional visit from Oprah. TACA autism group founder Lisa Ackerman would become a good buddy. We’d have our own spa to hang out in while Josiah has his therapy, and we’d have Supernanny Jo Frost on hand and our soon-to-be-famous housekeeper we call “Marta” whose highjinks will make her a beloved character. In exchange for the invasion of privacy, at the end of the season after all of the tears and highs and lows, we will have a recovered child, know so much more about ourselves, and be ready to face life with renewed vision and vigor. It will bring hope to thousands! (I’d watch!)


Alas, if a camera would have been following us around the last couple of weeks, it actually would have looked something like this: Josiah got the sniffles, Joe got a cold, Tahni also got a cold–worse than anyone. Josiah went on a hunger strike after having been on a round of Diflucan for yeast overgrowth which apparently made him lose his appetite; we go off the Diflucan. We took a 7-hour car ride to North Dakota for Thanksgiving, stopped at Burger King playland to eat, had to leave right away because it overwhelmed Josiah. We barely arrived at Joe’s parents’ house which is completely beautiful and redecorated with new carpet and furniture, and somehow in a bedroom where there’s a blanket covering the whole middle of the floor, I manage to grab Josiah’s vitamin drink wrong and the cap comes off. The whole cup of green sludge spills in the corner on the new carpet where there is no blanket and I grab a white towel to clean it up. Two of the four nights, Josiah is awake between the hours of 1-4 am or so and the whole place can’t get any sleep. Josiah keeps putting both fingers in his nose, and it gets a little irritated.

By the time we get him back into school on Monday, they call us up and tell us he must what looks like the highly-contagious impetigo. We have to take him out of the center for a day, and the pediatrician prescribes anti-biotics, then we have to call the DAN doc about probiotics, and about $150 later, his face clears up fine.


Then, Josiah’s appetite comes back in full force, he starts eating hamburger! He even eats a little squash for the first time! I get a couple of exciting books on nutrition for Josiah, and feel a renewed hope for changing Josiah’s diet.

On Friday, my day off, I get to connect with a couple of autism moms from my church, which is great, and talk to a beloved autism mom on the phone. We have a good Friday night and Saturday. Josiah is such a good, sweet boy, and he’s doing so much better with eating and some self-help skills. Joe turns the wrong way, and wrenches his neck rendering him out of commission. Josiah picks up a recorder flute, and figures out how to blow through it for the first time! Yep! It might sound both mundane and unbelievable at times, but it’s our life, and it really isn’t dull.

With God’s help, we’re responsible to take what we have and to do something with it as we write this story of our lives. As we look at our beautiful boy and all of his potential, we are driven to press beyond our fantasies of what could help and try to make our dreams for him a reality. But, hey, you’ve gotta do it with a sense of humor! It would make for some interesting TV, is all I’m saying.


4 Responses

  1. Great idea (and great links)! Can I be your friend on the show and come hang out in the spa while our kids have therapy??? LOL!

  2. I think it would be a hit! Go for it before someone else does…well in your spare time 🙂

  3. I would watch! And if you needed more families we would sign right up!!! 😉

  4. What if you set it up like American Idol. And each week there’d be a clip of the worst moments of each family’s week, starting with 12 families. Then the country votes on whose life looks the hardest that week, and votes one off. Until you get to a winner. Then Oprah comes in and pays the Extreme Home MakeOver guys to build us a new house in one week while we destroy Disneyland…LOL

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