Autism or lead poisoning? Do you a give dam if it’s hurting you or your kids?
(P&C) Lead poisoning has faded as a major health concern over the years, but one Daniel Island mother is joining a national effort to bring it back and to change the perception that the issue only pertains to low-income families.
Mindy Allen says her son, Haddon, was misdiagnosed with autism by the N.C. Children’s Developmental Services Agency before age 2 after he exhibited disorder symptoms, such as making no eye contact, not wanting to be touched, having tantrums and severely delayed language skills.
For the Allens, who lived in Wilmington, N.C., where they had restored a historic home, life had been trying and traumatic since his birth.
“I was in pain because he was in pain,” recalls Allen. “It was something I carried in my soul.”
But when a speech therapist noticed that Haddon also suffered from eczema, watery eyes and other symptoms that don’t typically accompany autism, the question was raised about allergies. The Allens were referred to the Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine, located off of Ashley Phosphate in North Charleston.
Allen says the center’s tissue samples came back with “off the charts” lead levels.
According to Allen, the center’s medical director, Dr. Allan Lieberman, suspected that Haddon’s issue dated back to when she was pregnant and supervising renovation of their 1925-era house in Wilmington, where workers demolished a wall that likely contained lead paint.
Lead paint exposure is a well-known problem in Charleston where there are so many houses, dating to pre-1978 years, when lead was banned from paint. The city of Charleston has worked to clean up urban homes where the lead paint is a problem for low-income residents.