Diagnosis brought 25 years of pain
After 25 years of taking medication for a wrongly diagnosed
disorder, Wendy Lawson is now tackling the issue on
television and in a book. (code: 00723DW10) Wendy Lawson
knows what it is to suffer due to the wrong medical
prescription. Wrongly diagnosed as being schizophrenic
when she really had autism spectrum disorder, the successful
Warrnambool academic and author suffered the misery
of 25 painful years of inappropriate medication.
Wendy has just returned from the UK where she featured
in a new BBC documentary focusing on the incorrect prescription
of anti-psychotic drugs for people who had autism spectrum
disorder, or ASD. "I'm not angry about what happened
to me, because it was ignorance. I didn't have a correct
diagnosis at that stage but I am very angry that it
is continuing to happen to other people," she said.
Wendy said the documentary revealed that the wrong prescription
of anti-psychotic drugs for people with autism spectrum
disorder was continuing, causing a wide range of damaging
side effects, although the extent of the problem was
unclear. "For me it caused constipation, blurred vision,
a dried mouth and it caused me to drift in and out of
a zombie state and worsened the effects of autism spectrum
disorder," she said.
Wendy said that after a correct diagnosis in 1996 she
stopped taking anti-psychotic medication. Although her
life improved dramatically since then, she said years
of taking anti-psychotic medication had left her with
the legacy of occasional involuntary limb movements.
The documentary, which screened in the UK recently,
showed the inappropriate prescription of anti-psychotic
medication for people with ASD could also cause epileptic
attacks, heart and weight problems, Wendy said. "I can't
quote figures (as to the extent of the problem) in Australia
but I do know, via the Internet, that lots of parents
think anti-psychotic medication will help their (ASD)
child with aggression and anxiety." "It will not help
unless the child has a psychotic disorder as well as
autism spectrum disorder."
Following the success of her first book, Life Behind
Glass, a personal account of autism spectrum disorder,
Wendy has completed a second book of ways to improve
life for children with ASD. The new book, titled Life
Within Grasp, is due for release in January 2001.
. . .
(Report: EVE LAMB) © Copyright 2000 The Standard -
a member of The Fairfax Publishing Group Australia All