So, we survived our trip to San Diego, it was busy but so worth it. Our first night there I ran to the store with my mother in law while my husband took the kids across the street to the neighborhood pool. We pull in the driveway just as they are getting up to come home and I hear a little girl yelling bye to my son. He had already made a friend! A couple of days later we saw Dr. Woeller (our DAN! doctor) and wow, what a different appointment it was this year. He sat and had a conversation with M, asked him who is best friend was. He talked to him about the neighborhood friends he has, what he likes to do, what his favorite toy is. My biggest thrill? Hearing Dr. Woeller say "You're there Terri". Not much was recommended other than staying the course (diet, supps, etc) and maybe getting him onto a basketball team with typical peers. What does this mean for us? Well other than feeling REALLY good about life, not much else. I understand Autism (and its healing) is a marathon, not a sprint. I also know there will be regression. I know these things but to hear my son's specialist confirm what I have known in my heart this past year, that my son is very close to recovery, if not there, was so exciting!
This trip also gave us tons of time with my kids' grandparents. My dad and mother in law are both retired now. We stayed with my mother in law so she was with us the whole time. My dad came and met us for just about everything we did. My kids played with their cousins, swam until they were pruny, ran in the waves and built sandcastles, even sat through the Shamu show at Sea World! It was a vacation like I had never been able to expect until now. No meltdowns, not one. We stayed at Sea World hours later than we thought we would. I could tell he was getting to his limit so we got out of the gift shop quickly and yet still no meltdown.
We got home Saturday and then left town again Friday to see our dear friends in Flagstaff for the holiday weekend. My friend was M's very first Occupational Therapist, she was going back to work as an OT at the same time M was getting an early intervention referral, she specialized in Autism and DIR/Floortime therapy. She helped me navigate this process so much easier and has also been my food guru ever since. Our elder kids have been friends since they were 18 months old. The thing is, her daughter is neuro-typical and until the last year or so, my son wouldn't actually "play" with her daughter to the full extent. Now they talk about being boyfriend and girlfriend and can be found wandering their 5 acres telling secrets and handing out hugs and kisses to each other.
Here's the catch, he will always have Autism and I know that. He will probably always have a hard time with certain sounds. He will probably always do a little self talking, some of these things WILL set him apart from his peers, just like any child who is "quirky" or a bit different. And here's something for the Neuro Diversity crowd, I love him just the way he is! But I know that I have removed many, many stumbling blocks for him. The diet full of wheat and dairy that was clogging up his brain, providing the gliadomorphines and casomorphines that had him "high" off of his food are gone. His pain perception is now appropriate because of it. His speech has developed because of it. He has supplements to help his brain and body work the way they were intended. The methyl B-12 aids in so many processes, including helping with sleep (it is a precursor to melatonin production) and detox pathways. The Respen-A is fixing the enzymatic processes that may have been broken with 20+ hours of pitocin during labor, I credit this therapy for the biggest WOW factor yet. We've treated gut yeast and bacteria, whose toxins also interfere with normal brain functioning. All of these things took roadblocks out of his way. I love him just the way he is but now, he can love me back. Now, he can make meaningful relationships, two-way relationships with peers and family. That he couldn't do. He couldn't even look me in the eye when we started this process of biomed, now he reads ME to see my emotions and to read those unspoken words, something I never thought possible. I remember a day, heartbreaking and vivid, I was exhausted from lack of sleep. He would go about 20 minutes at a time sleeping, that's it. He was screaming most of the day and I was just totally worn out. I began to cry and he thought I was laughing and began to smile. Here I was, totally desolate and my child (who was supposed to FEEL my emotions or so the baby books said) was smiling instead. Flash forward a few years and I was nursing my neurotypical daughter and I began to cry, she stopped nursing, looked up at me and started to cry along with me. So to see his eyes bore into mine and read my unspoken emotions makes me want to shout from the rooftops, it is such a cliche but it really does.
So that is how we spent our summer vacation, actually vacationing. A first for our family. Along with our first fireworks display this year too even after a ride home from Flagstaff and a weekend of staying up later than normal. School will be starting for him in just 2 weeks, 1st grade here we come. It has been an amazing summer, lots of memories made, lots of fun times had. I am sad that it is over but excited to see what the new school year has in store. Once again, I do this blog for me as a way to document our story but also to offer hope to other parents out there. I was the parent crying each night, wondering what was going on with my child. I was the mom carrying a screaming toddler out of the grocery store because some sound set him off and I had no clue what had happened. My child was the one who could never "play" at playgroups, I was chasing him out of their back bedrooms, out of their kitchen cupboards, etc. So I stopped going to playgroups because of it. He wanted nothing to do with the kids or the toys, he wanted to sit and spin Tupperware lids, chew on things and make all of the musical toys go at once. Now he makes friends at the chiropractor's office, not wanting to leave because they are playing (with a child 2 years older than him who is the other chiropractor's son!). He makes friends wherever we go now! So for me, biomed has given my son the future he deserves. It has helped remove those barriers to love, learning, sleep, etc. that were impacting him greatly. It will always been a hard road but I feel like we are past one huge hill. Who knows what lies ahead but I am ready for the journey!