Dr. Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D,B.C.S.A.,DAPA.

Dr. Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D,B.C.S.A.,DAPA.
e-mail: batushkad@yahoo.com

Sunday, May 31, 2009


It is very exciting to see the expansion of our work. In Northeastern Pennsylvania, and possibly even beyond Northeastern Pennsylvania, we are the only alternative to drugs and labels, we are the only ones offering a perspective of journeying with the client and seeking to understand their experience. In addition to seeing clients in Tunkhannock, PA, I am now beginning plans to also have a location in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Many individuals have come from across Pennsylvania and from neighboring States looking for an alternative to a system that has evoked more harm than good upon them.
I have been delivering talks on my recent book 'ROOTS OF DISTRESS' which details the familial, social, and political processes that leads to emotional distress and offers a plan for taking action. In addition, my first book "CHILDREN OUR TREASURE", which addresses drug free approaches for children who have received the label of ADHD as well as exploring the psychiatric system in regards to children is now available to be ordered through Amazon.com

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Miami Herald
Answers needed in case of child’s suicide
April 24, 2009
OUR OPINION: Mistakes apparent in death of seven-year-old Gabriel Myers

By the time it becomes necessary for the Department of Children & Families to intervene in a child’s life, the youngster almost certainly has already been severely traumatized by neglect and abuse. The agency faces tough, agonizing choices, but the objective never changes: Always act in the best interest of the child. That didn’t happen in the depressingly sad case of 7-year-old Gabriel Myers, who threw a tantrum last week and hanged himself in the shower of a foster home.

Clearly, somebody dropped the ball. Now it becomes the responsibility of police, DCF and other agencies to determine what happened, how it happened and why. Then, DCF and all of the other public entities and individuals who had a hand in this matter — including the state lawmakers — should determine what must be done to prevent another child from suffering a similar fate.

Doctor `red-flagged’

A good place to begin the examination is with the menu of potent, mind-altering drugs that Gabriel was taking under a doctor’s prescription. The boy was being treated by a Broward psychiatrist who had been red-flagged by a state agency as having ”problematic” prescribing habits, according to a state Medicaid drug-therapy expert. The term applies to doctors with a high volume of prescriptions of mental-health drugs or who prescribe potentially risky drug combinations.

DCF has of history of relying too heavily on psychotropic drugs to manage children in its care. After a series of Miami Herald stories describing the problems, the Florida Legislature passed a law that attempted to control and limit the use of psychotropic drugs on children. The legislation cited a DCF study in 2004 showing that 13 percent of all children in state custody were receiving and least one psychotropic drug. The study also showed that 25 percent of the children living in foster care were being treated with psychotropic drugs, a rate five times higher than in the general population of Medicaid-eligible children.

Sound judgment needed

Laws can be prescriptive, provide guidance, set parameters. They specify fines and penalties when the intent, if not the spirit, of a statute isn’t followed. No matter how well it is crafted, though, no law can substitute for the human intuition and sound judgment of caring individuals.

People who cared about Gabriel, including a guardian ad litem and some of his relatives, believed that the psychotropic drugs he was being given could have been doing more harm than good — something the 2005 law attempted to address and cautioned against. More to the point, allowing potent drugs to be used inappropriately to control a child’s behavior would be a short cut that is contrary to DCF’s mission.

With Gabriel’s death, the question to be answered is whether the DCF is living up to its goal of acting in the best interest of the child.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


I remain in denial.
I shall not face the truth.
I shall escape in any way I can.
I will use who ever I may for my plan of escape.
I dislike those who use labels for themselves.
I will use one not commonly heard.
Through this, I can find my excuses, I can find my way out.
Never mind my sins, this label will absolve me.
Never mind the sins of my family, it will absolve them too.
I will retreat, and no one will know who I really am.
I will keep in that way.


The supposed dramatic increase can be attributed to the fact that autism is an umbrella term in which certain behavioral characteristics which can arise from various causations are being placed together. It is an adjective, not a noun, Autism is not a entity in itself. Children with actual physical conditions can display the traits of autism, however there mauy also be other factors as to why a child expresses behaviors that fall under this categorization. In addition, children who in the past were labeled with mental retardation are now being reclassified in the category of autism. Also, various developmental challenges are being classified as PDD and there exists the diagnosis of Asperger's. These are considered part of a spectrum and thus are accounted in the rates of autism. Lastly, there is some indication that the diagnosis of Asperger's is frequently overly used and suggested for children who may exhibit any form of social awkwardness. The umbrella of autism can include the behaviors exhibited by those having actual actual organic disease, but this cannot be verified as the sole causation of autism (Sanua, 1983).
Hammersley, et. al (2003) reported in the British Journal of Psychiatry a linkage between childhood trauma and the development of later auditory hallucinations. McKenzie (2003) notes that those who develop features appearing as psychosis often experience a traumatic event in the first 18 months of life. In regards to autism, in examination of the over 70 children I have directly been involved with in therapy, it appears that there are a number of common themes. The majority of the children were Caucasian. Therefore, it would be of interest to further examine multi-cultural aspects of autism. The rates of autism have appeared more prevalent in Western cultures. The majority of the 70 children experienced birth trauma or a traumatic event usually in the first year of life. It is seen that autistic children have a rate 12 times higher of birth trauma than their non-autistic siblings. The rate of complicated pregnancy with these children was high. In addition, a majority also had exposure to toxicity- either through parental drug use, elevated levels of protein within the amniotic fluid, or heavy metal toxicity. Some children had a medical condition (such as cerebral palsy). All of the children displayed social deficits, however those in the more severe range of autism who had language and communication barriers, had both factors of toxicity as well as trauma within the first year of life. This is not to blame parents for the occurrence of the traumas. Most of these events, with the exception of parental drug use during pregnancy is beyond the control of the parent. It also appears that environment and the use of appropriate interventions has the ability to override the factors causing developmental challenges however where there existed a chaotic environment for the child that such reactivated the prior trauma and futher complicated the ability to resolve challenging behaviors. Thus, psycho-social challenges can further the isolation and withdrawal exhibited and continue to halt development. Psychotropic medications would be a means by which a new toxin would be introduced and the anti-psychotics such as Risperdal carry significant risks as far as potential for tardive dyskinesia, weight gain, and other adverse events. Their mechanism of actions is merely to subdue behavior and blunt the brain. Therefore, if children have developed challenges due to toxicity, then adding more toxins will not be to their benefit. It will be necessary as well to examine the trauma. This appeared to often be birth trauma or in some cases a physical condition (such as cerebral palsy) and many of these children were hospitalized in neo-natal care which would imply a separation from parents. This separation and the experience of intensive medical intervention could have a role in the sensory integration problems these children experience and why some autistic children may experience difficulties in regards to affection and touch. In addition, these children often have higher pain threshholds which could be accounted for in some instances to exposure to substances in utero which have caused them to develop a higher production of natural opiates. There appear to be more males than females diagnosed with autism. This is possibly due to males being more susceptible to the impact of environmental toxins. In addition, the males may have had higher testosterone levels in utero. Baron-Cohen (2004) noted that those children with higher testosterone levels showed more significant social deficits. As mentioned prior, appropriate intervention in a conducive environment can be overriding to these challenges. Therefore, an intervention plan should be established which does not seek to force or coerce the child towards conformity to what is 'typical' but is respectful of the inherent differences in the autistic person and helps them to navigate through the mainstream. We need to come to a greater level of acceptance of autistic persons and encourage their self determination and self-advocacy.

Monday, May 04, 2009



Come Join the Masquerade!
The spoiled rich boy wants to be a Bohemian!
Did you hear? He wants to be a Bohemian!
He will discard his riches and all the glittering trappings.
He will roam the streets and live among the simple ones, sharing his arts and tricks.
He will discard the ways of his people.
He will receive mommy and daddy's riches, but dare not let the simple ones know.
And he will say to the simple ones, "I know you well, I am one of you."
And the simple ones, seeing the mask will receive him.
But when they uncover the mask, they will find something more gruesome underneath, and the spoiled rich boy will escape again to the arms of mommy and daddyn and the bosom of the elite.


All I ask is to be heard.
Yet when I look at you, you turn away.
You do not have time for me. Your world created my pain, and when I seek to share a glimmer of my experience, you look at me with revulsion. Staring at the watch, pretending to listen, but really distant. And some of you seek to mock me further. Is it not the wish of us all simply to be heard? And because there is no one to listen, no one to understand, I retreat into myself, and I find my own to listen.

Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.