Adam's Journey

Homeopathic Healing of Autism

The Diagnosis – Two Weeks Later

“Sooooo.  What do YOU think?”  This question will be burned in my memory forever.  I realize now that Dr. Mahoney was checking in to see how prepared we were for the diagnosis.

In all honesty, even though we had frequently talked about our “autistic concerns” and had even implemented several ASD interventions (such as the GFCF diet and vitamin/mineral supplementation) I was still surprised by the diagnosis.  I think I had expected that Adam had progressed enough that he would evade a diagnosis for another year.  Even as Dr. Mahoney went about his long winded speech on Pervasive Development Disorders, I still refused to accept ASD as the diagnosis.  I think I actually said “Sooo, the diagnosis is PDD?” a couple of times toward the end of the appointment to which Dr. Mahoney gave some vague answers (or maybe I wasn’t fully present; not wanting to accept where he was heading).  Finally, Dr. Mahoney cut to the chase:  “OK.  Under the umbrella of pervasive development disorders there are Rhett’s syndrome, Childhood Disintigrative Disorder (CDD), Asperger’s, PDD-Not Otherwise Specified and Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Adam can’t have Rhett’s because he’s not a girl.  Adam can’t have CDD because he didn’t acquire certain developments and then lose them.  Adam can’t have Asperger’s because Asperger’s kids develop language normally.  That leaves PDD-NOS and ASD.”  Dr. Mahoney went on to explain that Adam could possibly fit either category but that the individual labels are currently being reviewed by the medical community and they will all be reduced to ASD in a couple of years anyway.

Dr. Mahoney DID say it was perplexing that Adam displayed some developments that are typical of 3 year olds.  For example, his knowledge of shapes and colours and his ability to draw pictures beyond a scribble.  “His strengths are strong yet his weaknesses are strong” Dr. Mahoney said illustrating his point with his hand riding an invisible roller coaster of tall hills and deep valleys.  In my hopelessness, I cling to this as being a good thing and I’ve realized I make a point of including it every time I recount his assessment.  Perhaps I need to reassure myself and to everyone else that Adam is smart.  Adam IS smart.  Adam is SMART. 

Do I believe it?  How will others believe it if I don’t believe it.

Ever since the diagnosis I find myself looking at Adam through the lens of autism.  How did I not definitively SEE that he was autistic until now?  It’s like my blinders have been lifted and a new reality presents itself.  Even during the assessment I was describing how well Adam’s social skills had developed:

“He always points out certain things he sees on the TV.  It’s like he wants me to acknowledge and share in what he sees.  And he ONLY does it with me.  Not Jon.  He’ll hunt me down wherever I am in the house to come see the ladybug in his Toopy movie!” 

To which Dr. Mahoney asked “Almost like a ritual?” 

Enter sound of my enthusiam deflating here – farting balloon style. 

If my life was sitcom, there would be plenty of farting balloon sounds these days.  *Sigh*

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D-Day – February 2, 2011

Adam was diagnosed on February 2, 2011 with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). 

*Sigh*

I’m at a loss of what to write which is probably an indication that not even my own thoughts have been collected and processed.  My heart is broken.  That much I know.  Even though we always had our concerns it still stings to hear the diagnosis and I’m having a hard time letting go of the hope (however slight) that it would be something else.  Something that “sounds better than autism.”  Like a language or communication disorder.  The glimmer of hope has faded.

I don’t know what else to say.  In many respects I’m glad that the diagnosis will open doors for services and funding but I’m also angry with the medical system which only goes so far as to label these children and then abandon them.  It was apparent that there was no need for the specialist to see Adam again.

*Sigh*  I’ve been retyping this post for several days now.  I’m too defeated to go over the details of the assessment so I’ll go ahead and post. 

Please say a prayer for my special little boy.  His future is shaping up to be full of challenges and judgement by a world who doesn’t understand him.

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Phase Five (Head Injury, January 2009)

I’ve been thinking a lot about these blogs lately and I think I’d like to make them shorter and hence, more reader friendly.  I’d also like to post them a lot sooner so that people who might be worrying or wondering don’t have to stew in their worry pot as long.  Just be patient with me as I tinker with the best way to divide things up.

This next phase of treatment involved treating Adam for the trauma of falling down the stairs on his first birthday.  In the midst of all the party planning I remember than Jon and I were constantly up and down the stairs and at one point, our swinging gate was not properly latched and poor little Adam took a tumble.  His nose immediately started bleeding and he cried himself to exhaustion.  As a result, Adam slept through his own first birthday party.  Don’t worry, he got his cake and ate it too; just a little later than expected 🙂 . 

Again, Adam is processing the trauma immediately and his healing reaction started after his third powder.  This one appears to be more behavioural.  Adam is impatient, fussy and VERY sensitive to my tone of voice.  He is quick to cry and sometimes I am convinced that even he doesn’t know why he’s upset (or he can’t remember what set him off by the time he leads me by the hand to the “scene of the crime.”).  He also gets angry and he’s started taking swings at us.  He actually draws back a fist and pauses as though he knows he shouldn’t and then swings through the open air to let us know who’s boss. 

His behaviour seems very OCD or ritualistic at times (i.e. runs to the stairs, stops, and turns around twice before climbing them).  Other times he zones out and appears to laugh at nothing.  It’s like he “goes somewhere else” for a couple of minutes.  

While lately he’s started putting his hand inside his diaper, during this healing reaction he’s actually taken his pants and diaper off.  It’s a little surprising to walk into a room and see Adam standing there half naked.  By “surprising” I mean “totally funny.”  🙂 

Adam also drew on both couches with a green marker.  As I mentioned above, his emotions are all over the map and when he becomes angry he looks for “naughty” things to do.  The little He-Man even threw a folding chair down the stairs in a fit of rage.  Pretty ironic considering we’re treating him for the trauma of falling down that same set of stairs.  Our homeopath might actually suggest that this behaviour is VERY representative of Adam’s trauma.  I have read case studies about a child being treated for circumcision trauma and he complained of pain in his penis as well as a child who drew a menacing picture of being stuck needle when being treated with a vaccination shock.  Of course, I kind of “eye-rolled” all this at the time but maybe, just maybe, there’s some truth to it.  I’m not 100% sold yet, but I must admit it’s a fascinating theory that our body keeps a “memory” of the shocks and traumas it’s subjected too.  (As I sit here writing this, Adam just threw a toy car down the stairs).  

In terms of physical symptoms, I haven’t noticed too much except his red cheeks.  They are sometimes warm to the touch.  He is also squinting A LOT with facial grimaces and his hyperactive (and compulsive) jumping from the coffee table to the couch has returned.

In an nutshell, Adam is displaying classic autistic behaviour.  Luckily, I’m not worried by it at all since I’m able to recognize it as atypical behaviour for Adam.  I look forward to his “return to self” in the next few days.  Hopefully with a few positive gains (fingers crossed)!!

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Adam’s Sequential Treatment (Phase Four – MMR and Men. C vaccines)

So after taking a brief Christmas hiatus from our homeopathic treatments, I had a phone consultation with my homeopath on January 5th.  I told her that I had been sporting a crusty pink eye for several days and Adam’s nose was running like a faucet (his eye was looking a little crusty as well).  Monique told us that once our bodies get into a cycle of deep healing we will undergo healing reactions every few weeks whether we’ve been taking remedies or not.  Very interesting indeed!  I am fascinated by all the stuff I’m learning, being a new-comer to the world of homeopathy and all.  Adam’s nose did in fact stop running the very next day which is typical for your run-of-the-mill healing reaction.  They are often short lived compared to common colds.

January 9, 2011:

So, as of today Adam has received three of his five powders for treating his MMR and Men. C vaccines.  In many people’s opinion, the MMR vaccine is labelled as one of the main triggers of autism;  some children come in with a loaded “autism gun” and the MMR vaccine pulls the trigger.  Looking back, I try to remember when Adam’s “autistic” behaviours started (the rocking, the lack of eye contact, social disconnect, etc.) and I can’t remember when they first presented themselves.  It’s funny though that I have several pictures during his first year where he makes eye contact with the camera and then they start disappearing after his first birthday.  I wish I could travel back in time and just observe him as a baby again.  I do have a couple of videos (one of which is him learning to crawl) and he seems to be pretty engaged with me.  Whatever.  I don’t want to get caught up in the nonsense of trying to figure this all out.  All we can do is move forward.    

Anyhow, here we are three days into the treatment and I want to mention the following:

  • Adam appears to be developing a conscience.  Remember how I mentioned that he would just laugh at any reprimand from me or Jon?  Well, the other night he received a stern “Noooo!” after pitching one of his match-box cars at Jon’s head.  Adam immediately burst into a sad cry and after a few minutes tried to make peace with Jon by requesting he kiss the car that was thrown at him.  The night before, Adam had also cried after being reprimanded for spilling his chips all over the floor (He wanted to keep his bowl of chips on the couch WHILE he jumped on it and I was insisting that he keep his bowl on the coffee table.  After a brief tug-of-war the bowl ended up on the floor).  He even followed me around wailing while I swept up the mess and wanted to be picked up and consoled when I was done.  This is a far cry from him laughing maniacally at us. 
  • You’ll remember that Adam learned to say “Uh oh” over the Christmas holidays.  Well, now he says it like 500 times a day.  I can only imagine the chatterbox he’ll become when he learns a word or two 🙂 .
  • Adam’s fears seem to be magnified right now.  He’s never been scared on the typical kid fears (i.e. the dark, water, dogs, people in costumes, clowns, public washrooms – oh wait, those last few were MY fears  🙂  ).  However, we discovered that Adam is scared of McDonald’s and more importantly its P-L-A-Y-L-A-N-D.  Thinking back to the last few times we were there, I can recall that Adam was a little agitated and did not want to stay in the Playland.  He made every attempt to bolt once the door was opened.  We hadn’t been to McDonald’s in awhile but this past weekend, Adam started crying as soon as we pulled up, cried the whole way walking in and then REALLY started crying once inside.  He was pointing at the door as if to say “OUT!”  Poor thing.  After a short discussion we left and went to Wendy’s for lunch where Adam was cool as a cucumber.  He could sit in Wendy’s and eat fries for hours.  He even scarfed down a whole burger before we could take the patty out of the bun.  I think he earned that gluten-ridden treat though 😉 .  Adam is also scared of certain TV shows namely – Thomas the Tank Engine, Mister Maker and Wonderpets.  Sometimes, he can watch a little bit (always cautiously by peeking around a corner) but right now the sight of ANY of these shows throws him into a major panic and he cries (even trembles sometimes) until the TV is turned off.
  • He’s still head-banging.  He used to do this a looooong time ago when he was upset or angry but ever since we started the homeopathic treatments he’s been head banging pretty much daily, just a couple of knocks at least a few times a day.  He doesn’t seem to reserve it for just when he’s angry or sad either.  I’ve seen him do when he’s happy as a clam.
  • He’s still looking at objects (mostly toys) from odd angles.   For example, just the other day he pressed a book right up against his face and pulled it slowly upwards.

January 12, 2011:

Yesterday was a pretty typical day.  Adam took his last powder, played happily all morning then went down for a nap around 2PM.  He woke up and seemed fine but he cried and fussed a little when it was supper time (he’s normally happy to climb up into his high chair and get some grub).  He ate quite a bit but then vurped (vomit burped).  It didn’t seem like a sick barf so I wiped it up and offered him a popsicle which he took about two licks of then threw it on the floor.  Later on, I gave him a bath and when I took him out he was shivering quite violently.  About 10 minutes later he barfed again.  This one was bigger.  He laid on the couch for most of the evening and then wanted to go to bed early.  This is a clear indication he’s not feeling good if he wants to go to bed early even though he napped in the afternoon.  I heard him coughing a little through the monitor.  

Adam woke up this morning feeling warm and he’s currently parked on the sofa.  Could be a healing reaction?  He was thirsty so I offered him juice and he pretty much chugged it.  I also made him some toast but he took one look at it and heaved a couple of times.

January13 2011:

So, I never finished that post from yesterday because Adam and I became so ill that we literally couldn’t move.  I was feeling pretty good yesterday morning but I had popped an Advil shortly after waking up because I had a headache.  Oh boy, when that Advil wore off I was a wreck.  Both Adam and I went to rest in our beds around 11:30 AM.  I fell asleep, woke up around 12:30 and literally couldn’t move for the next hour.  Luckily there was a knock at the door so I forced myself to go answer it and took an Advil before returning to bed.  Adam must have been feeling just as awful because he didn’t emerge from his crib until 7:30 PM.  He just lay there all day and dozed on and off.  Adam and I both had fevers, chills and loss of appetite.  If he felt anything like me he also had a headache and general body aches and pains.  Adam also had an explosive, foul smelling diarrhea that was dark brown and watery with some solid chunks as Jon described it.  I was too sick to even look at it. 

Typically, you can expect a healing reaction anywhere from 7-10days ater taking a remedy so this reaction seemed a bit premature (Adam had taken his last powder the day before).  I emailed our homeopath that evening and she confirmed that it sounded like a healing reaction.  Apparently they can happen sooner because if your body was ready to start processing the next trauma; it starts processing right away (otherwise it may take a few extra days).  I’ll admit that I get confused over whether the remedies are causing these bouts of illness or whether we just caught a virus or flu.  I figure if Jon and Em don’t end up with similar symptoms then this was indeed healing reactions and NOT the flu. 

January 14, 2011:

Adam and I were still not 100% yesterday and spent a lot of time on bed/couch rest.  We were definitely moving around a lot more so that’s a pretty big improvement.  The mucous is flowing now.  Mostly snot.  It’s not a good look for either of us 😉

Today, Adam’s emotions were running high.  EVERYTHING made him cry.  Couldn’t fit the puzzle pieces together, cry.  Train falls apart, cry.  Doesn’t like what’s on TV, cry.  Seriously, he was sensitive over everything.  He cried because he was sad, he cried because he was frustrated, he cried because he was angry.  Cry, cry, cry, cry, cry.  That was today.  I have a cute little story though.  When Jon and I were eating dinner (leftover hamburgers from the night before), Adam wandered into the kitchen and pointed at the cupboards.  Usually that only means one thing – cookie.  So we asked him if he wanted a cookie and what does he do?  Cry.  Jon picks him up and he points to the ketchup bottle.  “Adam do you want ketchup?”  Adam nods yes.  What does he mean he wants ketchup???  Adam walks into the kitchen and points on the counter.  I thought he wanted a banana so I gave him one and he immediately threw it on the floor and cried.  But he was still pointing at the counter- to the bag of hamburger buns perhaps?  “Adam, do you want a hamburger?”  Adam nods yes.  The kid wants a hamburger!!  Unfortunately, Jon and I ate the last two burgers so Jon went out to Wendy’s.  The poor kid has barely eaten in three days!!  He’s clearly earned this burger too 😉

January 16th, 2011:

After a couple of days of appearing to be “on the mend”, Adam is a couch potato once again.  His fever is back and he gets these fits of dry coughing spells.  There’s only one word to describe him accurately.  Pathetic.  He hasn’t touched a toy in a day in a half and he barely eats a thing (a bite here, a bite there).  He just lays there and slips in and out of sleep.  He’s happy to slouch up against someone though so Jon and I have been taking advantage of these opportunities to cuddle him and kiss him for extended periods of time.

January 23, 2011:

Haven’t blogged in a week.  Jon ended up getting really sick this week so I’m left wondering where the healing reaction came into play or whether we all caught a virus or flu.

We took Adam to his grandparent’s house for lunch today and he was quite the Mr. Personality.  I caught myself staring at him, just watching because there’s something different about him but I just can’t put it into words.  My mother-in-law used the term “more aware” which I agreed with.  It’s like he’s becoming a little “more aware” of himself and other people all the time.  Like he’s waking up from a long sleep 😉

On the behaviour front, we haven’t really observed anything too difficult.  He’s still crying a lot but it’s usually short-lived and he allows me to pick him up and comfort him – which I must admit I’m LOVING.  He’s been sleeping in his big boy race car bed for the past few nights which leaves me wondering if he’s done with his crib for good.  He sleeps very soundly in it and I’ve realized that I don’t remember the last time he face-bounced himself off his pillow to fall asleep.  Bouncing or quickly rocking himself back and forth were necessary to help him fall asleep and I know that this behaviour was observed as disturbing to most people outside our immediate family.  Now he just calmly lays on his pillow or GENTLY rocks himself to sleep.  This is a glorious development!!

REALITY CHECK:  I still observed him face-bouncing on the couch so I’m aware this behaviour has not completely disappeared.  It just seems to be dimishing.

January 24th, 2011:

Adam slept 14 hours last night.  I’ve actually noticed that he’s been sleeping A LOT these past couple of weeks.  I like the idea though that his body might be repairing/regenerating itself while he’s sleeping.

I’ve noticed that his poops are less regular right now.  He had a big dark brown, tar-like poop today.  It was hard to wipe off his skin.

Adam is very bossy with MY time these days.  If I should even disappear into another room for a few minutes he marches right in and gestures for me to come back into the living room.  At first I thought he needed my help or wanted to show me something but no.  He just wants me there 😉

January 31, 2011:

Another several days have passed without blogging.  Adam officially turned three on January 27th and we had a small “Lightning McQueen” themed party for him.  He seemed slightly overwhelmed by all the fuss and would periodically retreat to the couch and rock for a few seconds.  We also opted NOT to sing “Happy Birthday” when we brought out the cake.  Last year it upset him to the point of crying so I tested it out before the party and discovered he still doesn’t like it.  Adam is funny when it comes to music; some songs he “tolerates” (I wouldn’t say he actually enjoys it) and other songs seem to upset him.

Today we’re starting our next phase of treatment so I should wrap up this post.  Here’s some of the developments we’ve noticed:

  • Adam seems to be expressing himself a lot more verbally.  He actually started using “dare” for “there” which is something we’ve heard in the past but he’s been using it more frequently (multiple times a day) and I’m starting to hear the word “go.”  He still uses “yarrrr” to indicate anything “yucky” or “messy.” 
  • Over the weekend, we took him to a play gym and he actually joined the group of kids during the warm-up and followed some of the leader’s instructions (namely, jumping and running on the spot).  Obviously this is behaviour we wouldn’t have expected since Jon and I automatically exchanged glances.
  • Adam now points out his baby cousins when we ask where they are.  He’s starting to recognize them as people.  He even shared a toy with one!
  • Adam seems to be increasingly calmer and less frustrated.  He is following our instruction much more readily instead of always trying to run off and do his own thing.
  • Adam is showing empathy and cries whenever his sister cries.  It’s actually pretty sweet to watch him try and hold back his tears to no avail.  He clearly does not like to see his sister upset.
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