Adam's Journey

Homeopathic Healing of Autism

Programs and Services and Waiting Lists – Oh My!

I realize that some of you may be wondering about the “services” that are now available to Adam as a result of his autism diagnosis.  In the last few weeks I’ve been sorting through all the available programs and DREADING the supposed “year-long PLUS” waiting lists.  Anyhow, here’s a brief update on where we currently stand.

The first service that opened its door was speech therapy.  The first referral was made when Adam was about 20 months old.  It took about 6 months of waiting to get a speech assessment which indicated a NEED for speech therapy so then we were placed on the waiting list for this therapy.  Now, almost a year later, Adam started his first 8 week block of speech of one-on-one therapy at the beginning of March.  *Phew*  Done.  Check!    

When Adam was 20 months old he was also referred to a community Infant Development Program which sends workers to your home for developmental therapy.  After waiting a year, I called to make sure Adam was still on the list and I was assured that indeed he was but that the programming is allocated based on need.  At that point Adam had not yet been diagnosed with any developmental disorder so he was not labelled “high priority.”  *Sigh*  However FINALLY, after about a year and a half of waiting Adam’s turn is up and we met with Melanie (our resource worker) this week.  Done.  Check!

Then, there’s the Community Living daycare program.  About a week after Adam was diagnosed with autism, I brought him to a government run play centre one Saturday morning while Jon took Emersyn to a winter carnival.  We decided to separate the two for the day so that Adam wouldn’t spoil Emersyn’s fun in case he decided to have a tantrum (poor Emersyn is contantly making concessions for her little brother and though she never complains, she deserves to have a little unspoiled fun every once in a while).  It turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  While we were there, I started talking to one of the workers and she told me about the Community Living daycare program and wrote down the name and number of lead hand on a scrap piece of paper.  I called the following week and had the most wonderful chat with Kathy who was very knowledgeable about the available programs and funding for kids on the spectrum.  It was the first conversation I had where I didn’t feel overwhelmed or inundated by information.  Anyhow, she told me that were several available spots coming up in September and if I referred Adam soon he would most definitely have a year to participate in the program before he started school in September 2012.  So I took care of THAT paperwork too.  Done.  Check!  Amazingly enough, a spot has opened up immediately and Adam will be starting the program after the March Break.  Twice a week, he’ll spend the morning at a local daycare with a dedicated ECE worker who helps him integrate with the other kids his age.  How awesome is that?!?!  Originally I was worried that Adam would be rejected since the daycare requires up-to-date vaccination records but Kathy advocated on our behalf and they’re allowing the exemption.  Phew!  Also, Kathy will be the ECE worker assisting Adam at the daycare.  Can’t get any better than that!

So it all appears to be coming together.  It all culminated so quickly that I almost forget he’s been on some waiting lists for longer than a year!  I said almost people.  Speaking of waiting lists, Adam is still on waiting list for occupational therapy (which can supposedly help him with sensory issues and any gross/fine motor difficulties he might have).  Adam is also waiting to be put on the waiting list for Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) offered through Timmins’ Child and Family Services.  This is the program that everyone seems to tout as the most important yet they won’t put him on the waiting list until they see the official report of Adam’s diagnosis.  When I called the pediatrician’s office to see if they could just fax over a copy I was told that I needed to make an appointment to come in and “discuss available options” for Adam.  *Sigh*  That appointment is scheduled at the end of March. 

And so, it is coming together yet there is still more waiting to go.  I think this is a good start though as I wouldn’t want Adam to overwhelmed by too many weekly appointments.  The Lord is good and he is clearly holding our hands and walking us through this process.  We are blessed.

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Phase Six – (DPPT, Hib and Pneumo Conjugate Vaccinations)

At the end of February, Adam started his remedies for his 2 month, 4 month and 6 month vaccinations.  Because all the vaccinations were identical and there were no traumas inbetween we are able to treat him for all three at the same time.  Bonus!

Before we start getting into healing reactions and all that rigamarole, I should let you know the progress he’s made since phase 5 of his sequential treatment.  Adam’s language gains are continuing and we’re hearing him make new sounds all the time.  It started with “ba, ba, ba, ba” and in the past few days I’ve also heard “ma, ma, ma” and “da, da, da.”  Of course, it’s not ALL the time but it’s still progress to hear sounds that don’t seem to emanate from the back of his throat.  I’ve actually been woken up in the middle of the night by the sound of him “ba-ba-ba”-ing in his crib.  🙂 

To date, Adam’s word list includes the following:  “uh-oh,” “yarrrr” (yucky), “dare” (there), “cuhhhhr” (car) and his latest development “go.”  Initally, I had heard the rudimentary beginnings of the word “go” and then heard him say it perfectly to his speech pathologist during his speech assessment.  We also observed Adam take about six turns saying “go” and the end of a “1-2-3” countdown (after which Jon would propel him up the air).  Sometimes it was a stretch to hear the word “go” from his verbalization and sometimes it was an obvious “GO.”  We were all enthusiastically cheering him since you could see the concentration on his face and that he was trying SO HARD to change the sounds coming out of his mouth.  I don’t think I’ve EVER seen him try that hard to vocalise a word before.  Dr. Mahoney told us that Adam’s language development will continue to be slow until his vocabulary reaches 10 words.  At that point, lanuguage gains “should” happen more quickly.  Adam is starting an eight week block of speech therapy in March so we are happy that he will finally be receiving some outside help in this area.

Most of his gains since phase five have been verbal.  There was one other momentous observation when Jon took Adam for a quick trip to the grocery store.  While at the checkout, Adam stood up in the cart and locked his eyes on a little girl standing up in an adjacent cart.  The girl was about Adam’s age and he literally stood face to face with her and smiled and made some verbalizations.  Considering this was a complete stranger, Jon was stunned.  Once again, PROGRESS.  🙂

After two or three doses into the remedy, Adam’s verbalization had increased and he seemed much more alert and aware.  It’s like that light was on and somebody was home (some days, I don’t get this impression).  At nighttime he started crying though.  The first night, he didn’t want Jon to leave his side.  He cried continually and Jon noted that it was more of a sad cry (I was out for the evening so I didn’t observe anything).  The following night, he went to bed but woke up a few hours later crying in his crib.  He kept putting his fingers in his mouth as though something was bothering him (a canker?  a sore throat?).  We brought him out of his crib for awhile but there wasn’t anything we could do to calm him.  It reminded me of this documentary I saw which stated autistic tantrums are hard to appease because they’re neurological in nature; you just have to ride out the storm.  Of course eventually he calmed down and went back to bed in good spirits so I don’t think he’s developed any fear of the dark or being alone (our homeopath warned us that this might happen).

Adam’s also started spinning.  Yep, spinning.  It’s not like he does it for hours on end but at least every day you can find him spinning for a minute or two.  We don’t try to discourage the behaviour; I figure he’s doing it because the sensation is soothing to him.

March 7, 2011:

So here we are a week later and I still haven’t noticed any extreme reaction yet.  Perhaps the trauma was buried deeper and it’s taking awhile to come out or maybe it’s affecting him on levels I can’t really detect (i.e. headaches?).  We did notice that he had a really good weekend.  He seemed more alert (recall how I said before that sometimes it’s more apparent that his “light’s on and somebody is home”) and generally calm and easy going.  

On Saturday morning, Adam came to get our attention and led us over to a castle he had built out of blocks.  He seemed very proud and excited of his creation and wanted us to praise his efforts.  It isn’t until Adam does something like this that I realize it’s NEW behaviour.  Generally, Adam builds the same structure out of blocks.  Two tall towers which he connects at the top with a bridge.  Usually, we see him building this and we interject with our cheers and praises without him having to seek them.  This castle structure was something completely new and creative and the mere fact that he was proud enough to bring us over to have a look is progress in my eyes.

I also noticed that Adam’s skill at putting puzzles together is quite amazing.  Adam has been able to tackle a block puzzle with ease for some time now but he seems to be more interested in jigsaw puzzles now (30 – 50 pieces).  Usually, I put two connecting pieces close to each other and he puts them together.  Last night however, we were doing a puzzle and he picked up a random piece and found the correct spot all by himself.  I decided to hold off on lining the pieces up for him and just handed him pieces instead.  I noticed that he looks at the piece then looks at the picture on the puzzle board and he can find where it goes all by himself!!  Not even Emersyn could do puzzles like that at age three.  It’s really quite remarkable!  We’re been doing puzzles ever since and he still amazes me with his skill.

I’m going to go ahead and post this update and if there are obvious signs of healing reactions going on I’ll just edit my post.

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They Didn’t Really Belong There, Yet There They Were

I stole this title from a line in a movie I watched this weekend with Jon.  The movie is called “Adam”  (can you see why it peeked my interest? 😉  ).  It’s about a young man with Asperger’s Sydrome (a form of high-functioning autism) who is learning to live life alone after his father dies.  It also focuses on a relationship he forms with a woman (Beth) who moves into the same NYC apartment building.

At one point in the movie, Adam drags Beth to Central Park to watch two raccoons emerge from the bushes.  Adam says to Beth “They don’t really belong here, yet here they are.”  In all of his logical common sense, Adam is referring that these raccons are wild animals and shouldn’t be living in the city. 

Eventually, Beth falls in love with Adam.  Throughout their courtship, Beth teaches Adam a lot about “fitting in” with the regular people, or NTs – neurotypicals – as Adam calls them.  There is also an interesting parallel in the story between Adam and Beth’s father who has been an obvious role model to Beth and is revealed to be deceitful and dishonest; something Adam is incapable of due to his Asperger’s.  However, as the relationship get more serious and Adam is about to embark on a move to California for a job opportunity, Beth (being a neurotypical of course) needs to hear Adam say that he loves her before she’ll agree to go with him.  Of course, Adam can’t or doesn’t know how to express love so he moves to California without Beth.  I know right?!?  So sad!! *sniff, sniff*

At the end of the movie, Adam opens a package from Beth.  It’s a children’s book she wrote about the raccoons in Central Park and it’s called Adam.  He sits down on a bench to read it and the first page is narrated in Beth’s voice: 

Adam, his mother and his father…

were a family of talking raccoons…

who lived in Central Park
in the middle of New York City.

They didn’t really belong there,
but there they were.

The look on Adam’s face after reading this page seems to initially reflect that he remembers saying these words.  Then he seems to recognize the significance about the statement:  He didn’t really belong there yet there he was.

Why are these kids here?  I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately trying to make sense of the fact that the autism rate has increased to 1 in 50 boys.  These children are here; in this world, yet they don’t belong.  Regular things, like conversation and social interaction is a constant struggle for these kids yet here they come at a rapid rate; forced to live in a world that isn’t ready for them and is struggling to accomodate them.  Someone told me that the autism rate in Timmins might be as high as 1 in 10.  I don’t know if that’s true but off the top of my head I could name 5 other kids on the spectrum. 

THIS IS AN EPIDEMIC PEOPLE!!  What is happening to our children??  

Time and time again I’ve heard that these children are here to form an army of change.  Changes to the medical system, changes to the educational system, changes to the human race to be more compassionate and less-judgemental, etc.  It’s like a silent revolution is taking place (maybe not-so-silent for the parents who must constantly advocate for services and rights and for their precious children); after all, there’s a reason why they say “there is power in numbers.”  I was thinking about this other day when I was looking into government funding and tax credits.  Adam is now labelled as “disabled” so we are eligible to receive government money to help with all the extra expenses.  Then I realized that the government is probably being inundated with handouts and I wonder if they can keep up with the demand.  Then again, maybe the “financial burden” is exactly what we need to put the spotlight on the issue.

All I know is that the revolutionary wheels are turning.  At least, they are in my head.  These children are here to change the world, just as Adam is here to change mine.  I am certain of this.

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A Little Heart to Heart

This post is intended just to digress a little from Adam’s treatments and remind us all what a clever, sweet and funny little boy he is. 

Last night was date night for Jon and I.  Luckily we have a great support network in town and don’t usually struggle to find a sitter.  This time, it was Jon’s sister Sharon.  Auntie Sharon is the best.  And it’s not just me saying that; the kids agree whole-heartedly.  To illustrate my point, it was Sharon who put the kids to bed last night and when I heard Emersyn on the monitor this morning she was calling for auntie Sharon.  The look on her face when I walked into the room said it all.  I am a big ‘ol bowl of chopped liver compared to auntie Sharon.  🙂

So last night, in all of her creative wonderfulness, Sharon helped Emersyn make a crown out of tinfoil, stickers and candy sprinkles (GENIUS!).  Of course, Adam wanted to get in on the fun too, so Sharon helped Adam make a crown.  While Emersyn’s crown was more elaborately designed and bejewled with sprinkles, Adam’s was simple and sported a simple red heart sticker in the middle.  I had bought these heart stickers for my Sunday School class on Valentine’s Day.  They’re gel stickers so the whole thing is squishy and sticky (much like those “sticky hands” you used to be able to buy in candy vending machines). 

Adam took a liking to the squishy gel hearts and started carrying several around in his hand.  I believe he even took them in the bath with him.  Later on, Auntie Sharon took one of the gel hearts and pulled up his pajama shirt and stuck it on his chest where his real heart would be.  “See Adam, this is where your heart is.”  She pressed on the sticker and said “Beat, beat…Beat, beat…”

Sharon left Adam upstairs to go put Emersyn to bed.  When she came back, she discovered that Adam had piled ALL of the heart stickers on his chest underneath his pajama shirt.   🙂 

Apparently, Adam is a collector of hearts.  If you leave your heart unguarded, I’m pretty sure he’ll steal yours too.

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