I was not privileged to meet Dr Bradstreet, I have learned of him from his patients and from his highly informed talks at Autism One in May 2015. I can assume his message to us might be something like this: “Be a difference maker, even if it costs you everything.” Dr Bradstreet was by no means perfect – he was a man who struggled – as we all do. Yet, he was brave in the face of adversity, he was compassionate with those overlooked by society, he demonstrated strength and hope and sought to bring healing and inspiration to many despite enormous obstacles. May his life inspire many to great levels of courage.
A Tribute to a Man Whose Work I Admire
We may not understand how and why Jeff Bradstreet died. But countless families can tell you why he lived.
Dr Bradstreet didn’t claim to have the last word or know everything, but he valiantly explored and experimented with many treatment options and brought healing to many who had been given a diagnosis of ASD. He tirelessly researched ALL the science available on the topic of autism. His depth of knowledge of all the factors related to autism, and the personalized treatment protocols for individual children were epic. He was a walking PubMed reference resource. His primary goal was to understand what was going on in the body and brain of children trapped in a non-responsive body that had been discarded by mainstream practitioners. He focused on helping parents and caregivers understand that the many overwhelming behaviors displayed by their autistic child had a physical cause and when symptoms were diagnosed and treated, behavior improved.
He was thrust into the autism arena through the reality of autism he experienced with his own son. He candidly describes his journey of having a six-year-old non-verbal, self-injurious, fecal obsessed and fecal smearing son for whom no one would have given any hope of education. He relates his long journey towards healing involving many novel treatments and proudly shared the announcement that his son had just graduated from high school on 25 May 2015 at age 21 AND had been accepted to a college in Florida. Perhaps only those closely associated with a severely autistic child can understand the enormity of such an accomplishment.
The death of Dr Bradstreet is a tragic loss to all.
He was a man with answers, hope, and great insight into healing autism. He didn’t claim to have 100% cure rates and he recognized that many methods that achieved great success for some children might not work for others. Each child was unique. He possessed great optimism that he would find even more answers, better personalized healing programs and faster, more effective healing for many more families through the amazing collaborations he had going with several different partners on the cutting edge of brain research.
Dr Bradstreet demonstrated incredible love for the children and families that he served. He understood their pain because he shared it. He listened to the mothers and encouraged them to be active participants in observing the symptoms and effective treatments for their own children. He called them “Dr Mom.” He said they had earned their degree. He shared love, healing and hope with all who came into contact with him.
Dr Bradstreet wasn’t too worried about pandering to mainstream thinking. He sought effective healing modalities. He was willing to experiment and think outside the box. He sought wisdom from others and collaborated widely with great innovation. He recognized many evil forces in the world that had collided to cause severe illness to an incredible number of children – impacting the entire family. He recognized evil forces colluding in cover-up and harmful drug based treatment promotion and the acceptance of lifelong sickness and labels. He worked tirelessly against the malaise brought on families overwhelmed by the burden of severe autism. He brought restored hope for healing.
Every life cut short – especially a vital life overflowing with helping others and making the world a better place – is tragic. Sorrow is natural. As we reflect on the pain of life, God wants to use it to lead us to a better place.
“For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There is no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10.
Life is too short to hate or to allow bitterness to fester. Evil is real. Ignorance of the evil abounds. Our best opposition is love. We love others as we share truth – even in the face of opposition. Dr Bradstreet demonstrated this. He chose a life of honor. He sought truth. He did not seek mainstream praise and popularity. He sought justice and brought hope and healing to many.
Dr Bradstreet will be sorely missed by his family and his many patients. He will be missed by his collaborative partners with whom he designed unique healing modalities. I pray that through this tragic loss, the healing protocols he pioneered will be multiplied exponentially among those who currently suffer with any type of autism/brain injury. I pray that there will be great triumph as we remember his life and the help he brought to so many.
I pray new brave doctors will rise up to continue his bold research in autism cures.
Author: Becky Hastings, wife, mother, grandmother with a passion for health, Jesus and joy.