Interview With “Talk About Curing Autism” Founder Lisa Ackerman


April, we have celebrated incredible women raising children with autism as a
interview series. The mom who is the subject of today’s interview has a special place in my heart and in my
family’s journey, though we have never met face to face. 

When my son was
diagnosed with autism at two years old, it thrust us into a new universe. One
where I had to become amateur doctor, therapist, psychiatrist – you name it, I
had the hat for it. Autism is an incredibly complex condition to treat, and
there is no one proven intervention that works for every child. With everything
being so expensive, and there being so many approaches to treating our kid, we
were a little lost at sea.

From The Inside Out

thing we realized pretty quickly was that there were issues inside our son’s
body that needed to be addressed. We implemented a gluten-free and casein-free
diet. We started hyperbaric therapy, with my husband and I taking turns with my
son in the spaceship-like vessel simulating below sea level conditions. 

My son
was taking nearly 40 pills a day at one point, and our freezer held not only
the usual frozen suspects, but also…are you ready for this…fecal samples for
all the tests we were running! We were knee and elbow deep in biomedical
treatments, which address the causes of autism from the inside out.

wasn’t just overwhelmed. I was drowning. Gasping. Flailing as we struggled to
figure everything out. Enter TACA (Talk About Curing Autism), one of the
organizations that demystified a lot of the treatments my son required, and
offered not only information, but support as we moved forward.

Giving Back

I signed the book deal for my upcoming novel WHEN YOU ARE MINE, I knew I wanted
to give back to the organization that had given so much to families all over
living with Autism. Fifteen percent of my royalties will go directly to
resourcing ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) families through the programs of
TACA. And when I thought about the final ASD mommy I would interview this
month, Lisa Ackerman immediately came to mind.

is co-founder of TACA. Her son, Jeff, was diagnosed in 1998. In 2000, Lisa
along with a few others, blazed a trail for the autism community that started
in her living room and has illuminated the path for more than 38,000 families
across the United States. 

I deeply admire someone who seeks out truth and
solutions, not just for her own, but also ensures that wisdom spreads and
reaches others in need. Lisa, more than just about anyone I have ever met,
embodies that philosophy. She challenges and provokes me in the best way to be
more. To do more. To give more. I believe she will do the same for you!

Q&A with Lisa Ackerman

TINA:  Autism can be an incredibly isolating experience.
TACA started in your living room with about 10 families. What helped you
realize the importance of community so early on?

Lisa:   We were all looking for answers and knew
there had to be more interventions and treatments for families to pursue with
their children—it was very hard to find the right information.  We thought
that if we got together and shared our findings as we researched along the way
that we would be able to support each other as well as other families who would
some day need this information. 

TINA:  What drove you to get help, not just for your
son, but to organize on this scale to get help for others?

Lisa:  I was driven by the
need to find options for all children with autism.  All of our kids have
so much potential. I knew that kids who were having extreme behaviors couldn’t
just be having these behaviors due to their “autism”—most kids I have seen over
the years, even my own, seemed to have been in pain and just couldn’t tell
their parents.  Their only way to express their frustration and need for
attention was by attracting people’s attention, even if it wasn’t in an
appropriate manner. 

TINA:  This interview series has been about amazing
moms. Who amazes and inspires you and why?

Lisa:  Every family that
reaches out to TACA amazes me by demonstrating their strength in overcoming
enormous obstacles to help their children. Their love for their kids is huge.
Saying “no” to a super parent is futile because they will do anything to help
their kids. 

TINA:  One of my favorite quotes, actually a
sentiment that hovers over my life is from Emily Dickinson. “I dwell in
possibility.” What have you seen that you would not have, at the beginning
of your journey, believed was possible?

Lisa:  As I researched and
learned more, I believed it was possible to find appropriate bio-medical
treatments to help the kids who were in pain and couldn’t express how badly
they were feeling.  Finding treatments and options unique to each child’s
needs would help each of them improve in the areas they were struggling with so
they could slowly get to be able to focus and start learning more effectively.

What have you learned about yourself during this process that you may not
have otherwise? About people/others?

Lisa:  What I’ve learned about
myself is that the more I give, the more I get in return. What I’ve learned
from watching others is that hope and information are powerful tools. We can’t
give up!

TINA:  If there was one thing you’d want
the general public to know about our kids and our families, what would it be?

Lisa:  The public needs to know that autism is
treatable.  Kids with autism can get better and reach their maximum potential;
for some recovery can be possible. 

TINA:  Just for fun! You are going into space, and
can only take 5 items with you. None of them can have anything to do with
autism or your children. LOL. What are they?

 Lisa:  My family – that’s 5…  I can’t help it; I will forever be a mom!


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