Adam's Journey

Homeopathic Healing of Autism

Adam Then and Now – A Six Month Progress Report

The other day it dawned on me that it’s been six months since Adam embarked on his healing journey.  I thought it would be nice to write a post focusing on all the remarkable progress he’s made in such a short period of time.  I think you’ll all be amazed by the contrast.  I know we sure are!

ADAM THEN:

Six months ago, Adam’s communication primarily consisted of finger pointing at and “hand leading” to items of interest.  He couldn’t nod or shake his head or wave goodbye.  He was definitely allowing us to play with him but his focus and attention span was short so he could only concentrate on the task (i.e. building a leggo tower) for a few minutes before wandering off to play with something else or watch TV or rock on the couch.  Adam watched A LOT of TV; mostly DVDs which he would often ask to be changed as much as every 5 or 10 minutes.  Flipping through a book with him was impossible.  He had no patience to listen to the story and he did not like to render control of turning pages to us.  He only showed “minimal” interest in a few books and even then he only seemed to like certain pages.  As a result of his inability to focus or concentrate he could not sit with other children at a table or participate in circle time.  He literally could not sit still for longer than a few minutes.  In the fall, I had tried to keep him in my Sunday School class but after a handfull of attempts I realized he was too unfocused and disruptive.  Back to the nursey he went. 

Adam’s behaviour during trips out of the house was unpredictable.  You couldn’t shop with him or even take him for a walk unless you were fully prepared to allow him be in total control and follow his lead.  You had to watch him like a hawk because in the span of a few seconds he could easily run out into the road or wander out of sight.  He was simply incapable of following anybody’s agenda but his own and once his agenda was thwarted he would immediately get frustrated and have a meltdown.  *Sigh*  It was much easier to just stay home or be somwhere where he was safely contained (i.e. by fence) so he could maintain the perception that he was in control.  I still remember the horror show of taking both kids to the mall so that Emersyn could see Santa – luckily Emersyn didn’t have to wait in line and she was done talking with Santa before Adam took off running down the mall.  Yep, that trip ended with Adam in tears and a premature trip back home.

Socially, Adam only played with Emersyn.  He wouldn’t even LOOK at children younger than he was.  I remember observing this during a trip to the doctor’s office where an infant was trying desperately to get Adam to notice her while he completely ignored her (he wouldn’t even LOOK at her).  He also seemed to get anxious around other children and perceived them as threatening.  If he was playing with a toy and he could sense another child approaching he would panic and throw the toy away as if he was attempting to diffuse the threat.

Six months ago, Adam’s personality seemed more buried.  This was Robot Adam.  He earned the reputation of being serious because his smiles were not doled out freely.  He would laugh at us when we reprimanded him and showed zero remorse.  He didn’t respond to verbal praise though we gave it to him anyway.  He could easily stack a tower of eight cans and while he seemed impressed with himself he didn’t really respond if we broke out in applause and praise. 

ADAM NOW:

It’s funny, but in many respects, we didn’t realize that Adam was as bad as he was until we started seeing these changes appearing.  Many days we just commented “he’s doing really good today” without knowing specifically what we meant by that.  He was just different.  A good kind of different:  more alive, more silly, more easy going, more playful, more focused.  It shed a lot of light on his prior weaknesses which we hadn’t even realized were there.  However, we certainly took notice when they left!! 

Now, six months later, Adam can gesture “yes,” “no” and wave goodbye.  He can still only say a handfull of words and he uses them sparingly but he’s learned a multitude of animal sounds.   Adam’s daily play routine has changed and he watches much less TV.  In fact, sometimes he turns it off completely.  He much prefers to engage with his family, play with Emersyn, put together jigsaw puzzles or play with his V-tech laptop.  He’s become obsessed with this V-Tech laptop computer and he’s learned all of his letters and numbers from it (we suspect it may be teaching him to read as well).  His focus has increased significantly and he’s now interested in books.  He’ll even let you read them to him!  He’s also learning to sit with other children during structured activities such as circle time and snack time and he’ll even participate in group games.  Six months ago this would have been impossible. 

These days, Adam listens to instruction much better and it is much easier to take him on outings out of the house.  The other week, we actually stood in a driveway and chatted with some people for about 15 minutes and Adam stayed close by and responded to our instruction to stay away from the road.  I took him to the park this week and was amazed to watch him play on the play structure the whole time without getting bored and running off in the opposite direction.  What a world of difference!! 

Socially, Adam plays with Emersyn in less selfish ways and even follows her lead.  Before, he only wanted to play with her if she would chase him.  Now, he watches what she is doing and often intrudes on her play (i.e. takes away her toys) much to Emersyn’s frustration.  Adam is also starting to observe other children and even plays with them the best that he can.  Sometimes this means, just playing near them since he can’t converse with them yet.  His anxiety is disappearing and he’ll even share toys unprompted.  Amazing!!

Adam’s personality is developing at a rapid rate.  His emotions are more apparent and he is less robotic.  He cries when he is reprimanded and is upset when Emersyn cries (empathy).  He also shows much more excitement to see us after being separated.  He is extremely silly and does an assortment of things for attention (i.e. jumping out of the bathtub covered in suds and waiting to be chased back in).  He’s responding much more to verbal praise and seems to enjoy the attention.

Besides the signifcant language delay, Adam appears to be a regular kid.  At this point, I would say his greatest struggles are language, ritualistic behaviours, transitional problems and irrational fears.  You would have to spend a lot of time with Adam to recognize he plays in a ritualistic manner (i.e.  first the Canada puzzle, then the farm puzzle, then the Hullabaloo game).  It’s always the same toys in the same order.  He even completes his Canada puzzle so that the same two puzzle pieces are left at the end and he first fits them together on the floor before putting them on the board.  His transition problems seem to involve places where there are kids around (i.e. daycare, the church nursery).  Even though he is much less anxious around them I suspect their behaviour is a little too unpredictable for him and he immediately puts on the brakes.  This is probably why he doesn’t like to render control of the TV to Emersyn either.  He likes it to be his DVDs all the time.  Otherwise it’s too unpredictable for him to handle.    He even has a hard time allowing a show he dislikes to play on another TV in another room, with the door closed.  Based on his reaction he seems to be genuinely fearful of certain characters or shows.  Poor little guy.  😦

Luckily, the list of Adam’s struggles continues to get smaller and smaller.  You’ve likely noticed that I have MUCH less time for blogging because Adam hogs all my attention these days.  Before I could easily write an entire post while Adam watched TV or played with his cars.  These days, he’s hopping up into my lap as soon as I sit down at the computer.  So in a way, my lack of blogging is a good thing people!! 

I realize that it is impossible to attribute all of these changes to his Heilkunst therapy since there are many other interventions to consider:  natural development, speech therapy, daycare, etc.  While I can’t attribute ALL of his developments to Heilkunst, my mother’s intuition (which is highly scientific and not in the least biased, right?  RIGHT??  😉  ) tells me that it is working.  And BOY is it working. 

Looking forward to updating you all in the NEXT six months.  Can’t wait!!

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Daycare

This week marks Adam third consecutive week of daycare in the Community Living Program.  He only goes twice a week for the morning but he has a dedicated resource worker (Kathy) who plays with him, works on his speech and helps him integrate with the other children during organized activities (snack, outdoor play, circle time, etc.). 

I’m not gonna lie; it’s been really, REALLY hard.  The first time we went to tour the daycare facility Adam had a tantrum as soon as we set foot in the door.  It must have been hard for him to be in a completely new environment with strange adults and unpredictable “little people” running about.  I COMPLETELY understand.  Of course, in my naivety, I figured it would take a couple of mornings for him to learn it was actually a fun place to be and then he would be raring and willing to go.  *Sigh*  Unforunately that was NOT the case.

Almost every daycare morning, Adam puts on the breaks.  Sometimes he starts at home (i.e. “Don’t patronize me mom!  I KNOW why you’re you getting me dressed so early!”) and other times he leaves the house in a good mood and the anxiety starts the second the car veers down the daycare street.  Every time, I end up carrying him inside wailing, back arched, eyes closed.  Thankfully, the tears only last a few minutes and he’s easily distracted by toys.  😉

I think it’s been hard for him to accept all the daycare rules and not be able to putter about according to his own agenda.  The first day he threw his snack and dumped his juice because his resource worker made him sit at a table with the other kids.  He also disliked circle time and having to sit with all the other kids and focus on the book being read or songs being sung.  Luckily, Kathy is allowing him to transition at a comfortable pace and when Adam looked up at her on the first day and said “go” during circle time she took him into the “quiet room” for some one-on-one play.  In Kathy’s words “How could I resist that sweet little ‘go’ ?”

So there’s been some ups and downs.  This week though I started to question whether it was too early for him to have his comfort zone invaded.  My fear was that he would start to withdraw from interacting with people if he started to perceive it as frightening or threatening.  A lot of the developmental literature suggests that autistic kids need an environment that is loving and trustworthy so that they feel safe enough to break out of their shell.  I was wondering if the daycare would EVER be such a place for Adam.

Thankfully this week brought some wonderful developments!  Adam has been showing progress by staying with the children at circle time and snack time.  On Wednesday, I was told that he was starting to engage in some play with other other children and by Friday he was joining them as they wriggled around on their bellies pretending to be worms.  Perhaps the most unbelievable development was that they observed Adam looking into the faces of several children!  Not just a glance but a purposeful gaze as if to say “who are you?”  SAY WHAT?!?!  I don’t think I was able to hide the fact that tears were welling up in my eyes when they told me.

I must admit that it is both wonderful and reassuring to hear all the daycare workers and Kathy boast about his progress.  As his mother I am extremely protective of Adam and I constantly worry that his behaviour will be harshly judged or that other people will place unrealistic expectations on him.  Much to my surprise the “daycare ladies” seem extremely proud of his achievements and are quick to sing his praises.  It’s music to my ears and it was just the encouragment I needed to push through my worry and hesitation.

Now if only I could get Adam excited to go.  Let’s hope that day comes next week.  🙂

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Phase Seven – Circumcision

Wow, I can’t believe how fast we’re “turning back the clock.”  It’s only been six months since we started this sequential healing journey and we’re almost back to Adam’s birth already.  Just to remind all of you who aren’t as familiar with Helikunst healing, we’ve been treating Adam homeopathically to repair any damage caused by the traumas he’s experienced in his three years of life (i.e. antibiotics, vaccinations, physical injuries, etc.).  We had to start with the most recent traumas and then work backwards in time towards his birth.  After the birthing remedies and prebirth remedies (ultrasounds), our homeopath will start miasmic treatment (treatment of any chronic inherited diseases). 

So far, our journey has been very rewarding.  Each phase I’m looking forward to new developments and healing, and week by week we watch Adam become increasingly present in this world.   Hmmmmm.  What do I mean by that?  

It’s difficult to explain but if I had to I’d say it’s the sum total of all the little things.  It’s in the way he jumps up and down with excitement in the driveway when Auntie Sharon drops him off and he sees us waiting at the window; or waving bye to Jon when he leaves for work unprompted (you can tell from the joint attention – looking to me for acknowledgement of his wave – that he is proud of himself).  It’s in the way he sits on the potty in the bathroom and wants us to notice; all the while seeming to realize that he will have to conquer it at some point.  It’s the way he makes a poopy diaper and then “tells me” by pointing to his bum and saying “yarrrrrr.”  All these little things demonstrate that he is emerging slowly from his autistic condition and wanting to communicate with the people he loves and trusts.  It’s a slow progression and while most people are banished to the outside the perimeters of Adam’s world, he’s decided to let his family in.  However, every time I bring him to speech or daycare I see the opposite side of Adam.  I don’t know if it’s the different environment, the unfamiliar resource workers or ??? but he totally goes into “stranger danger” mode.  Even when I’m right beside him, something signals him to withdraw his boundaries and immediately he becomes more selfish with the toys, angry with the rules and melts down at the slightest upset.  It’s frustrating for me to watch since I KNOW this isn’t Adam.  For the moment, he’s gone somewhere else.    

During March break it was a real treat to watch Adam play with Emersyn during the day.  At one point they were making tents under the bed sheets and another time they were hiding behind the door to the bedroom sneaking peeks and trying not be seen by me.  Adam’s play with Emersyn seems to be progressing from more selfish games like chase where he was only interested in having Emersyn be the chaser while he got to run and have all the fun.  Now, he seems to be following her lead and imitating her actions as though he’s finally discovered she’s a lot of fun.  Of course, Emersyn isn’t always thrilled when Adam wants to intrude on her play.  She’s never really been “bugged” by her little brother before.

In terms of verbal gains, Adam’s use of “geh” and “go” has become quite frequent; daily for sure.  And in the past week, he’s developed this silly little laugh where he draws in a breath and then exhales with a “heh, heh, heh, heh, heh, heh…” (reminiscent of Beavis and Butthead for those of you who remember, only more adorable and less annoying).  He’s actually verbal ALL THE TIME.  Not necessarily actual words but every time he has a request he is combining his gestures (pointing, shoulder shrugging, hand leading, arm raising) with some type of sound.  I think I’ve been taking it for granted and it’s been the development workers who have pointed it out as a positive development.  

Phase six of Adam’s treatment did not really produce too extreme of a healing reaction.  We had a few nights of crying at nightime and one evening of difficult behaviour when the in-laws came over for supper but other than that it was easy peasy.  This time, it was a little more dramatic, both in terms of positive gains and healing reaction.  On the day Adam took his first powder we observed some amazing verbal gains.  While working on a barnyard puzzle I randomly asked him what sounds the animals made.  Much to my amazement I got a “meow,” “woof,”  “snort” (for pig), and “moo.”  Several months back I had heard some rudimentary meows and woofs but I had not heard them in a long time and I had most certainly NEVER heard him “snort” for a pig or say “moo” before.  In fact, this is the first time that Adam has ever answered a question verbally!  I’m pretty sure my jaw dropped like one of those overly dramatized cartoon charaters where the jaw literally hits and floor and the tongue rolls out.  The same day Adam stunned me again by saying “up” while playing a game where he would sit on my lap and I would lower him backwards towards the floor and then yank him up again.  While he was lowered, I waited and prompted Adam to say “UP” and he did!  Perfectly and wonderfully.  Luckily, Jon was there to bear witness to this one as well.  🙂

Almost daily, we’ve been doing the farm puzzle and Adam will make verbal attempts for every animal.  The best ones are a “buh, buh” (buck buck for a chicken) and a “hooo” for owl.  He’ll also makes sounds for a sheep, horse, duck, elephant, monkey, and lion.  We practice them daily since I’m fearful he’ll forget but he’ll pretty much say them whenever he’s asked now (at the beginning, he would only produce the animal sounds when we were working on the puzzle).

Another wonderful development is this yell he’s adopted to convey his frustration/anger.  I first noticed it when he was frustrated with some leggo blocks and he scrunched up his face angrily, kicked his legs and yelled.  He uses the same face and yell to voice his frustration with Jon and I if we aren’t dealing with his requests in a “timely fashion.”  Once again, it’s a NEW behaviour so I welcome it with open arms.  

In terms of a physical healing reaction, this was a big one.  Immediately, he developed a croupy sounding cough and about a week later he developed a fever and vomiting which left him bedridden for an entire day.  Even now, a week later, he is STILL experiencing a wet cough and a runny nose and nasal congestion.  He also developed a red rash around his anus which was a little surprising to see since he hasn’t had a diaper rash in probably over a year.  Another major physical development would be the dramatic increase in solid stools.  Before they were spaced months apart but now we’ve observed at least 10 or so in the past couple of weeks.  WOOOOT for solid poops!!  I’m trying not to get my hopes up too much but it would be amazing if his chronic diarrhea was healed because to me it was always a red flag that something was awry internally.  Bring on the healing!!  And phase number eight!!

Time to consult with the homeopath again…

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