Energy

“I’ll believe it when I see it”. You’ve heard that one before havn’t you? Is it always true? Is it to be taken literally? I don’t think so. How could it be? There are many things in our world that we can’t see but are very real. Love, hatred, kindness, joy, jealousy…

And things that we use on a daily basis. Things that are scientifically proven (that takes a lot!) like, sound waves and electricity. But there are still people in present times that don’t believe something is real unless they can actually see it, with their own two eyes. How is this possible? They do listen to the radio don’t they? And use energy to get thru their busy days? Hmmmm…seems pretty selective to me.

How can you deny that our world is made up of energy. So, why wouldn’t it effect us both positively and negatively. And why can’t it cause a variety of reactions in our bodies as well?  I have to be honest with you. This was a tough one for me to swallow. I was a pretty “black and white” thinker before Liam got sick. I was an atheist and someone who conveniently did not believe in “energy”. So when we brought Liam to his Nutritionist for the very first time I was literally blown away by what we witnessed.

As I’ve told you before she does “muscle testing” which essentially is using energy to get answers for what is good and bad for his body. Garry and I both thought it was joke. “Let’s just get his diet straightened out, grab some vitamins and get the “F” out of there”. Then she did the muscle testing on us. That’s when we “saw” it. We felt it, and couldn’t deny that it was real. She used us as a surrogate to test Liam for everything including food, vitamins and supplements, yeast overgrowth, parasites, and even what brands of vitamins to use. It was incredible and sincerely life-changing for all of us.

But, even after we “saw” this we were still skeptical. She muscle tested Liam for toxins as well. Insisting that he has an overload of toxins from his vaccinations. And that it triggered many of the symptoms we are now seeing in Liam. How could this be, we thought. It took me a while before I believed this to be true as well. In fact with every step, every new therapy, every new finding and discovery I had a hard time “believing what I didn’t see”.

I think that most of it comes from living in this “modern” world. We have come so far in many ways. But, it amayzes me how we really need to just get back to the basics and redo things we have completely messed up. We shouldn’t have to “see” something to believe it’s true. More than half of the worlds population (59% according to the latest statistics) believes that their is a god. Do we see this god? (well, I suppose some can say yes…but, .that’s another story) Some people believe that god and all living beings are made up of energy.  So, why would these same people question that energy can effect our every day lives?

We take Liam to see his Nutritionist and to do “muscle testing” about once per month. Why? we know what his diet is, and he’s on the best vitamins and supplements for his body. So why do we have to go so often? Because his body changes every day. Lets look at it like this. Every day your body gets dirty, or stressed, or cleansed, or it catches a virus, or parasite or maybe you drank one too many or ate impeccably well, or went to McDonald’s (yuck), or went on a 50 mile bike ride, or saw someone you love, or saw someone you don’t love. Whatever  happened in your day it is different than what happened yesterday. So, because we are human and not robots our body changes with it all. For good or for bad our bodies respond. Not only do we see the physical effects that happen to our bodies but, we also collect toxins and bad energy.  Some people can detoxify and some people keep these things forever. So everyday your body is different. Good and bad. The good news is that you have the opportunity to change that. The bad news is that you also have the opportunity to make it worse! But, this change that our bodies go through is constant and very very real.

Historically I am not a girl who likes change. Well, who is really? I mean seriously, does anyone really like change? unless its a good change, like: you got a raise. I’d take that change anyday!  So wrapping my brain around this concept took some time.  But when I did, the “energy” piece really made sense to me. And for Autistic kids in general this is a big one!

Thanks to my big sister Sherri (love you) I am reading my new favorite book called “The Fabric of Autism” by, Judith Bluestone. She is a “Recovering Autistic” (as I like to call it). Much like Temple Grandin (another brilliant recovering autistic), she has figured out how to get to the root causes of many Autistic behaviors and to work with them not against them. It is fascinating to me, of course but, truly speaks about all of humanity in that every body is ever-changing and made up of energies that are effected by other energies.

Judith explains that the reason why Autistic children (and adults) have so many sensory problems are yes from toxins, poor diet, immune systems (well many reasons really) but the sensory overload has much to do with the way their bodies respond to energies like:

Electricity, sound, light, natural fibers (like cotton) vs. synthetic fibers (like plastic), certain metals (good= copper, bad= mercury), and most of all the energy that other living things give off.

I am learning on this long but incredible  journey that there are many ways of realigning these energies in ones body. I think some people are more open to this than others. I also believe that being “open” is essential to healing. Thankfully my beautiful little boy is very open to anything we try. He will do anything, eat anything, take any vitamin, go in a hyperbaric chamber, see the Nutritionist, go to any doctor, wear his copper anklet, and go to any therapy with a smile on his face and an open mind. We are incredibly grateful and lucky that Liam was chosen to be in our family.

My next blog will explain any and all energy healing therapies we do.

Keep reading and sharing and caring :)

 

The Autism Gene … ugh!

To be honest with you I really don’t care. I don’t care that some scientists have found a link between some (and I mean only some) individuals who have Autism and a genetic mutation. And I don’t care if they are finding that the genetic mutation is coming from the dad, particularly dad’s over 35 years old. But, I Do care that they are spending millions of dollars on this research. That I care about.

The last time we took Liam to see a Neurologist was a year ago. It was our third Neurologist and probably our last. He was new father himself. I thought that alone would help him sympathize with our situation. It didn’t help.

He really had nothing to say but, was eager to hand us some pamphlets on Autism and how to help your child. I had to stop myself from laughing out loud. I knew wayyyyy more than he did about how to help my child and I was already doing it all, and then some. I wanted to hand HIM some pamphlets on ”How to treat your patients and their families when they are facing Autism”. After he handed us those “extremely useful” pamphlets he told he’d like to do some genetic testing on Liam. My first gut feeling was “why? why put us through that?”  But, we did it anyway. Even though we told him Liam’s story from start to finish and explained that he wasn’t always like this and that he was talking and interacting and playful and funny and…… he didn’t hear one thing! In fact, HE didn’t care.

Genetic testing in my eyes, is a cop out. I kept thinking “even if he HAS the gene, then what?” we give up? we throw in the towel? we take him off this incredibly vital diet he is on (which is what the doctor (and all others) wanted us to do, by the way). I couldn’t understand the value in it.

When researching this new finding of a possible genetic mutation linked to Autism I read that they are finding only a small percentage of people with Autism that have this mutation. That many many kids nowadays being diagnosed with Autism don’t have the mutation. Their is a new breed of Autism that has developed through environmental and other contributing factors. This is exactly what I predicted. And the real reason for this is just too scary for Doctors to admit and pass on to their patients (the public).

The answer is that it’s us and our environment. Why do you think most disorders and diseases are on the rise? We are not a healthy nation and we don’t live in a healthy environment. Period. This is the result of years of abuse on our systems.  But instead of owning up to this and trying to do something about it…like maybe spend some of that money to actually help FIX the problem, they are now trying to “undiagnose” many kids on the spectrum. Making it harder for a child to actually get the Autism diagnosis. Yes, this will bring down the numbers on paper but in actuality it will make it harder and almost impossible for some kids to get the services and therapies they need to improve and survive in school.

So, as you can see their are many things going on here that aren’t helpful. The intent on finding this gene is questionable. I think it gives the medical profession some relief. As if to say ”Ah Hah! It’s your fault, too bad, nothing we can do”.

The only benefit, as I see it is that they find this gene in utero, while Mom is pregnant and then she has the ability to make the conscious decisions to:     a) make sure he/she is living and eating a clean healthy diet and lifestyle including making mindful decisions about vaccinations and b) be aware of very early signs of Autism that many parents either don’t see or dismiss (justifiably so). Now this would be helpful. It would stop the guessing game, the worry and fears we all have as parents when are kids are developing. It still wouldn’t help those kids that become Autistic at a later age due to toxins and other environmental factors but if we are all being honest these kids are flagged in their own ways. They typically have compromised immune systems, digestive and gut issues (the two go hand in hand) which of course leads to extreme inflammatory reactions to vaccinations.

In the future if these children were  ”tagged” before vaccinations were introduced to their systems I believe we will have very different results. I am not saying that kids should not be vaccinated. I believe vaccinations are around for a reason. But I also believe that some kids cannot tolerate them. And why, for god’s sake do we have to give them to our children all at once? Why can’ they be spread out more? Giving the child and its system time to respond to them appropriately.

Maybe this gene finding will be helpful in more ways than I am seeing it. Maybe it will guide us better in helping our kids to recover. We can then put a line in the sand: Kids born with Autism go this way to recover and kids who acquire the syndrome go this way to recover. If only it were that easy.

Liam’s Neurologist called us 6 weeks later with the results of that infamous genetic test. He wasn’t satisfied and wanted to do further testing on Liam and us, as the parents. We refused.

By the way Liam’s genetic test came back negative. Now what fancy doctor? ;)

Thanks for reading, caring and sharing. :)

 

 

Low cholesterol and Autism

True story.                                                                                                                          Liam and I were at his favorite book store a few months back, trying to pass the time. As I was racing around after him making sure he wasn’t pulling down all of the books, knocking kids over (because he truly doesn’t see them) or stepping on a baby (because he truly doesn’t see them) I saw a book in my favorite section of the store called “Special Kids”. There are tons of books on all disabilities including (of course) Autism. There are also some great cookbooks with Gluten free, Dairy free recipes. So, I picked one up. I’ve looked through this cookbook many times. It always catches my eye. Liam can NEVER eat any of the recipes from it (because his diet is so incredibly restricted. No recipe ever works. We always end up making our own recipes). Regardless, I like to look at it.

On this particular day I flipped right to a certain page.  It read in bold letters ”Autism and Low Cholesterol”. It had an entire section dedicated to this topic. It described how many Autistic children have low cholesterol and how it effects their brain and causes certain symptoms. Hmmm… That’s interesting. I’ve never heard of that before.

WAIT A MINUTE!  YES I HAVE!!!! Liam has low cholesterol. A year and a half ago we took Liam to see a special DAN (Defeating Autism Now) Dr. in Florida. She was really helpful in some ways but not so much in others. The one good thing she did was make sure we got Liam’s blood work taken. She tested everything and I mean everything! When we went to the hospital to get his blood drawn for the tests the nurses could not believe what she ordered. They had to take 18 tubes of blood! It was a little insane and I had to stand my ground (once again) because they kept looking at me as if I were a vampire but, well worth the agony! We got a lot of answers. This was one of them. I remember this Dr. telling me and Garry that Liam had pretty low cholesterol. At the time we thought nothing of it. We figured that was a good thing. It’s certainly better than high cholesterol. We thought.

Here’s a little lesson ( a short one, I promise) on cholesterol. Our country is pretty obsessed with high cholesterol. It is blamed for many illnesses, including heart disease and other “unhealthy” diseases. But, high cholesterol is really not the problem. The problem is the lifestyle these people usually lead. Cholesterol is good for your body, in fact ESSENTIAL. And having low cholesterol is really bad.

Your brain is made up of mostly cholesterol. If it is low your brain does not work properly. Speech is impaired, memory and communication is impaired, interactions with other people are impaired, so are gross motor and fine motor skills as well as poor digestion and behavioral issues. Sounding familiar? Yeah, it did for me too! I was astounded when I read all of this. And the scary thing is, is that they are finding that a lot of Autistic individuals have low cholesterol. We also found that there is a small subset of autistic kids that have a genetic mutation called “SLOS”. Their cholesterol is below 100. These kids typically fully recover from Autism when given the amount of cholesterol their body needs. Pretty amazing that I’ve never heard about this and I just happened to flip open to this exact page, in this random cookbook on that particular day. I actually don’t think things are “random” any longer. It all happens the way it’s supposed to. And I was supposed to find this information on that day.

Your cholesterol should be (at the lowest) 160-200. Doctors who prescribe this to their patients look for a cholesterol level of around 170. They say their patients do best and function optimally at this level. Liam’s cholesterol was 132.

So, here we go again….my heads spinning, my hearts racing…I gotta get this stuff for my kid! We call his pediatrician and get him retested to make sure his cholesterol is still low. And it is. Only now it’s 124.

The kind of cholesterol we need is by prescription only. It is the medicinal form and made from lambs wool. All pure, nothing else. Liam style :) Eating extra eggs and red meat will not sufficiently  raise your cholesterol to the appropriate levels (if you are wondering). The women I spoke with from this company said she has many parents of Autistic kids taking this and have seen amazing results…more speech, focus, strength…the list goes on. She said we can see results after a few days or it can take up to 6 months to fully see the effects. Like everything, it all depends on the child. Because of course everyone is different.

Liam’s been on it for a little over a week now and we have seen pretty amazing things so far. More speech, more interactions, more eye contact, more engagement, more focus. At home, in school, at his after school therapy….It’s been awesome :)

But, with the good always comes the bad, right? Now that Liam is more aware and focused and “present” he is also more stubborn and emotional and naughty.  We’ll take it! I’m not complaining!  And like an alcoholic learns the 10 step process ,so do we. One day at a Time. We try not to get ahead of ourselves. Stay in the present, and enjoy the moments.

The real moral to this story and why I’ve shared it is to pass on this knowledge. Most pediatricians have no clue that this is a sign. If you have child with Autism please get this simple blood test done. You can ask your doctor to do it in his office. I am in no way trying to give anyone false hopes. It’s the last thing I want to do but, I feel as though it is part of your research as a parent to at least explore this avenue. Look up “low cholesterol and Autism” and you will see tons of research being done. The facility we purchased our cholesterol from comes right up.  It’s easy, cheap and relatively painless. And something to check off your list. As always please contact me with any questions. I am no expert, just a Mom on a mission :)

Thanks for reading and sharing and caring! xo

Your body knows.

walking home from school :)

walking home from school :)

When I was teaching I had many different types of students. Some of which had Autism. I remember the “distant look” in not only the students eyes but, the parents eyes. I couldn’t imagine (way back then) why they were so distraught. I thought they had a wonderful child. They offered a different view point and perspective on the world, something we all needed. Even then I knew that.

But, I never knew their pain. I had no idea. I remember thinking that some of them were grumpy and aloof.  I met most of these families as they were entering high school. And by then these parents had fought for almost 14 years. Fought for their rights, fought for their services, fought to get them “well”. By the time I showed up they were broken and tired. I get that now.

There are many things I wish I could tell those parents now. At the very least I would say, “I’m sorry”. I’m sorry for the way I unsympathetically dealt with their whole family. I gave no slack and expected 100% all of the time. And judged them when they couldn’t follow through or produce. I made no effort to encourage anything alternative or holistic. I snickered at the thought of a “diet” and worst of all laughed at the idea that a vaccination could cause any harm to the body let alone Autism. Ugh. Atrocious, right?

In my defense I was young. And I wasn’t taught any of this in school. And neither are doctor’s, as you know. So now what? How do we bridge this gap? We really need to educate our educators and caregivers. We need to speak up and speak out! So here I am. Not ready to return to the teaching world but able to help at least the few teachers I am close with, especially Liam’s teachers. He is after all here to teach us something. I believe that.

Pica is a disorder in many children and adults with Autism. Its called a non- food disorder.  People who eat  inedible things like: chalk, dirt, coins, clay and more. Back when I was that young, “uneducated” special ed teacher I had a few Autistic students with this disorder. They would try and eat non edible items throughout the day. I would simply remove the items and carry on. Everyone told me it was behavioral or sensory based. I believed them and so did their families. Nowadays if you were to look it up on the internet you would immediately see that it is directly correlated to a vitamin or mineral deficiency.

Ah Hah!!!!  Of course it is! Because the body knows what it needs!

If you look at what these people are eating (the non edible items) you will surely see that they are looking for replacements of minerals and vitamins their body needs. They aren’t choosing to eat a couch or the curtains in your living room for god’s sake! They are eating things with substance. This really should be obvious! And with so many Autistic children having terrible gut and digestion issues this all really makes sense. When you have poor digestion and stomach problems you aren’t fully absorbing any vitamins or nutrients. And especially when your child is on a GMO filled, gluten filled, dairy glazed diet! ;)

Liam started presenting signs of having Pica last year. He puts many things in his mouth to explore them and for sensory reasons but doesn’t eat them all. He has however, become obsessed with eating the plants in our yard. I have looked up every single one of them to make sure they aren’t poisonous. And like a bird foraging for food in the forest he is not eating the poisonous plants. The main plant Liam is obsessed with is called “Arborvitae”. He will, in fact leap tall buildings in a single bound to get to one! You should see the impressive show in our back yard every afternoon. Garry put up an awesome fence a few months back with chicken wire to conceal the Arborvitae’s that are lining our yard. Liam has found a way to get to those damned bushes every time!

A few weeks back I decided to ask our Nutritionist what was in this plant and why is Liam so incredibly obsessed with it. Now, if Liam was my student way back when he would have been labeled as having Pica and that would be that. No one would try and figure out why, they would just try and stop him through behavioral modification. Nowadays we know better….hopefully.

When we looked up Arborvitae on the internet something really interesting came up. The natural agent for detoxifying the body of heavy metals and other toxins is called Thuja. Thuja is in the Arborvitae bush naturally. Ah-Hah!!!! Both of us got the goose bumps all over our bodies when we read this. Liam’s body was telling us what he needed! And does he ever!!!!

So here we are peeling back another piece of the onion. This time it’s detoxifying his body. One of the next steps to helping Liam recover. I know this is a process and I know that he hasn’t been ready for this until now. One thing at a time. Slow and steady. I just thought it was so interesting. Here we were doing everything we thought we needed to do and Liam was the one telling us the next step! :) Love it! My smart, intuitive little 7 year old!

Thanks for Reading :) Pass it on.

 

 

 

 

 

Layers of disease

When looking at an illness, any illness you will find layers. It isn’t just one thing that went wrong. Typically it’s the “perfect storm” of many things going wrong that gets you to this point. The breaking point. This describes Autism perfectly.

When Liam first got sick there were so many things that went wrong it was unfathomable. It felt like it all happened at once like a car accident. But, after months and months of wracking my brain over what went wrong I finally saw a clear path. Many, many things accumulated to cause this destruction. And looking back now I can truly see him falling apart piece by piece. His health came first. Always sick. When that wasn’t addressed he was inundated with vaccinations and other poisons, when that wasn’t addressed out came the behaviors, and when that wasn’t addressed in comes Autism.  Insult after insult after insult. And now undoing this incredible mess is like peeling back the layers of an onion. Sorting through them one by one.

When we first went into see the Nutritionist she was overwhelmed by what she saw. Liam had so many issues it was hard to know where to start. First thing she needed to do was to stop him from being in pain. The diet fixed that in about two weeks. She needed to get rid of the parasite he had, the high levels of two different yeasts and start repairing his gut. But that was just the beginning.

People forget that often times it takes quite a few years to accumulate damage in the body. The body is resilient, strong and can fight like the dickens. It hides things well, compensates for parts that aren’t working any longer and doesn’t really show signs of distress until its almost too late (in many cases). Good and bad, right? Our bodies take a pounding! Look at an alcoholic. It can take years of heavy drinking before liver damage can occur. Years! I’m always amazed by that.

Undoing damage can take just as long, if not more to make a recovery. So, why would we ever believe that a single pill can magically fix everything, instantly. Most of the time pills are just covering up symptoms instead of healing the problem. Even more dangerous, don’t you think?

When we left the Nutritionists office for the first time we were armed but, not very ready. She dashed our dreams, our hopes that maybe this would be “fixed”, all of it (like taking a little miracle pill) in a short time. I’m sure at the time she didn’t want to overwhelm us with too much information. As I’ve said before she told us to stick to it and never deviate from his new diet for three months. Three months? I can do anything for three months. But, I do remember thinking what bad timing this was because the next three months included Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. How inconvenient, I thought.

Before we walked out the door (in tears mind you because I had no idea what I was going to feed my child)  she said, ” I want to see Liam again in 4 weeks so, we can readjust vitamins, check his yeast levels and figure out the next step”. Huh? the “next step”? Aren’t we already doing it all? This is where we failed to understand the depths of this illness.

I wish someone sat down with us and clearly said this: Your son is very sick, if you don’t change his diet and everything you know about Nutrition right now he will keep getting worse and worse. Recovery is a process and not a race. His progress may be fast at times and slow at other times. He will regress and then regain skills many many times. You must be patient and stay on the path. It may take years. He will recover.

That is it in a nutshell. It’s honest and so so very true.

But, because we weren’t really aware of all of this we did the complete opposite: We changed his diet but, didn’t understand that it was a new lifestyle. We held on to the notion that he will be able to eat ”real food” (aka JUNK) in three months. Which actually made it worse when we found out he couldn’t. We raced through hoping the fastest would win, not realizing that it takes time to recover. We still have a hard time excepting when he regresses and are always fearful he will never regain skills. We were not patient. I really believe that life would have been much easier for everyone if were told all of this straight away.

The other piece was that we never really grasped the concept of “layers”. We thought ,”Liam will be on a diet for now and things will just get better and better until he’s fixed”. I remember thinking that. The diet is just a piece of his recovery. It’s taken us almost two years to realize this. Liam needs constant reevaluation, checking of yeast levels, looking for viruses and parasites, figuring out new vitamins his body needs…. and we haven’t even gotten to “chelation”( detoxifying his body from heavy metals). His body was so damaged from all of those insults we talked about  that we have to meticulously go through each and every one of them. We sometimes have to revisit things (like yeast) when he gets sick or has to go on antibiotics.

I’m pretty sure  that this was my mission for the summer. I have taken Liam to see his Nutritionist 5 times between May and August for various reasons. We addressed issues as they came up instead of letting them go.  And because of this Liam is doing well. This is all relative of course. But, in my eyes I can see he is doing well. Like my sister said to me once, “Whenever I am near Liam I get either a heavy or light feeling about him”. I feel the exact same way. I can tell instantly when he is doing well or when something is wrong, or “off”.

People think I am crazy , I’m sure of that. He’s just having a “bad day” they say. Or “not everything makes sense”. But, I know better. And I know that  if it isn’t taken care of (the right way) it only gets worse. We have another appointment to see the Nutritionist tomorrow to address something minor but, as I said it’s all “layers” and therefore all important. Just another piece to his recovery. :)

Thank you for reading and passing it along.

 

 

 

There is always a reason

There is always a reason. You do something and there is a consequence. You speed, you get a ticket (or wink and smile). You eat too much and you feel sick. You drink too much and you act like a jerk. Same goes for injuries. You fall, you sprain your ankle or break a bone. These things don’t just occur. You don’t wake up one day and have a broken leg or are suddenly drunk. Ridiculous, right?

As you know there are reasons for internal issues in your body too.  Heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, cancer…anything and everything.

And there are reasons for behavioral/emotional and psychological disorders as well. Why shouldn’t there be? This is what most Autistic children are up against. Most doctors, specialists and even families have no clue that there are in fact reasons, real reasons for their child’s obscure behaviors. In fact, most of the behaviors that Autistic children display have very clear reasons.

We talked about low levels of zinc and magnesium and how it can disregulate the system causing sensory issues and bathroom issues. We talked a lot about food and its effects on the body and especially behavior.  We talked about yeast overload and bacteria and the changes that can take place as a result in the body. And of course we talked about the “leaky gut”. This causes incredible behavioral changes and dysfunction. There are reasons for everything. It’s not magical, or invisible and should never, ever be dealt with in that matter. Somebody needs to carefully dissect the behavior to determine what went wrong in the machine we call our body.

We aren’t robots, I know that.  We shouldn’t all be perfect. We all have personalities, similarities, differences…things we don’t necessarily need to change. But, when something goes wrong or deviant trying to figure it out instead of covering it up with medication should be the first line of defense. Why do we settle when we know that something is wrong. Much like a serial killer. This is not “ok” behavior. We all know this. Doctors/specialists/investigators have been trying to figure out the difference in these people for years…an extra chromosome, an abnormality in the brain, too much of one hormone and not enough of another.

Two weeks ago Liam started displaying some very strange, out of character behaviors at school and at home. We were completely stressed about it. It was scary and awful. Liam has always been a love. Sweet, kind, affectionate and generally obedient.  He is a really good listener and aims to please. But, suddenly things changed. The school, friends and even we didn’t know what happened? “Everyone changes”, people said. Maybe he is just “fed up” with listening to everyone that he is protesting? Maybe he’s bored or trying to get out of work….

I emailed our Nutritionist thinking maybe she would know if something had gone wrong with his diet or he is deficient in a vitamin, or has another parasite…she said that there is “always a reason for behavior”. I knew that. Of course there is. But, when you are in the thick of it and the people around you have little to no schooling in this philosophy it’s difficult to be the one, the brave soul to act on such radical thinking.

We went to see our Nutritionist a week after all of these “crazy” behaviors started and sure enough Liam had two types of yeast that were extremely high in his body. She named the 5 most common behaviors seen in Autistic children with high levels of yeast. Liam had all 5 of them. She gave us a new probiotic which helped both types of yeast and anti-fungal yeast drops to take twice a day. Three days after we started both remedies Liam stopped these behaviors. There is no amount of behavior modification,  ABA, or consequences that would have stopped these behaviors in three days!!!

I can’t help but think about many other Autistic children displaying “obscure” behaviors due to internal problems in their bodies.                                                                     Behaviors including:  self injury, crying and screaming out , tantrums, hurting others, loss of language and other skills like potty training . The list goes on.  It’s heartbreaking. Imagine that is your child. Just for a minute. And you could help them. Wouldn’t you? We can change the fate of our children. Good or bad. Many families have no idea that this is possible. They are told, to this day, that they should “accept the fate of their child and to move on”. We were told this…..only 10 months ago.

If I would have brought Liam to the Doctor or Specialist when he started these behaviors do you know what would have happened? We would have been sent home in tears thinking that this is “our new normal”. To readjust our expectations and to move on. That just infuriates me. It’s not ok!

I guess the moral to this story is to always do your own investigating. Don’t let others choose the fate of your child. If you see something “off”, different or wrong do your research. Look very closely at what has changed. Don’t accept this as your “new normal” or a phase until you are absolutely sure that everything is working properly inside. There is always a reason.

Please pass this one along. I wish I wrote this as my very first post. I think it’s more important than anything else I have written.

Thx for reading :)

TSO and Fecal Transplant

Let me just start by saying that this conversation is gross.  But, I’m pretty sure you can handle it so, just put on your “big girl” panties and we’ll get through it! It’s really just science and the human body we’re talking about. When you think about it in those terms it’s just like taking apart a machine and figuring out what is broken. Easy as that!

Autism can be categorized as a mental illness. It can be invisible at times and it mainly effects human behavior.  If you have ever had a mental illness or know some one close to you that has, you know how devastating it can be. Not only do you feel crazy but, other people think you are crazy. Like you can just snap out of it at any time. I had PPD (Postpartum Depression) TWICE so I know how “crazy” feels. Not fun. Luckily mine was short lived and was caused by hormones that just needed time to become balanced.  But, there are many reasons for mental illness. Drugs aren’t always the answer and don’t always fix the actual problem. Much like Autism.

Finding the root to problems in our bodies is not an easy task. But, as you know you can always start by looking at what you are consuming.  Not everyone’s body works the same way. I process sugar differently than a diabetic would. My husband can eat french fries and steak bombs till the cows come home and have perfect cholesterol and blood pressure. My daughter can eat anything she wants and not gain one pound. Someone else may look at a cookie and gain 10 pounds…..you get the point. We all work differently and respond differently to everything in our world. But the problem is that most people (including doctors) don’t understand this or respect this.

The root to Liam’s problems are in his gut. This is true for many people who are physically and mentally ill. Unfortunately we are given pills to try and “fix” the problem when the solution is actually taking things away….not putting in more poison into our systems.

When researching “gut” issues many many diseases came up. Here are just a few:  (IBS) Irritable Bowel Syndrome. A huge “new” disease we are seeing in our country. I don’t know the exact statistics but we all know someone suffering with some form of this disease. Don’t we?                                                                                                Allergy’s: Lactose intolerance and  Peanut especially. This has become another “new” and very common disease. Again, we all know someone with this issue (especially a child).                                                                                                                     Chrone’s Disease or Celiac’s Disease. Both running ramped in our country.   Autoimmune disorders (inflammatory diseases): MS, Arthritis, Hashimoto’s and etc…    And of course ASD-Autism, PDD, ADD and ADHD, which even doctor’s now are connecting with gut problems/immune deficiencies.                                                   Many mental illnesses came up as well. Depression, anxiety, Tourettes Syndrome, OCD….the list goes on.

Our gut is in charge of a lot. And if it is sick, we are sick.

So, On my journey to find some help for Liam I learned about special diets and bacteria. We talked about bacteria in an earlier post. Our bodies have a certain amount of bacteria and yeast in our bodies. Overload can lead to many problems but on the reverse not enough bacteria can cause many problems as well. Balance! Like everything else in life our bodies bacteria levels also have to be in balance. Because Liam practically lived on antibiotics as a baby his gut was stripped of the good bacteria needed to keep his gut in balance.

This research led us to two different discoveries: Bacteriotherapy (otherwise known as Fecal transplant) and TSO ( Trichuris Suis Ova, otherwise known as “pig worms”).

Fecal Transplant is just what it sounds like. Putting someone else’s feces into your body to help provide the right amount of good bacteria. The donor is tested and then tested again for a gazillion different things (as you can imagine) and its a bit of a lengthy process. It’s done in the hospital through a tube up your you know where, then you have to lie down for about an hour and turn from side to side in order to coat the entire intestine. And then go back a few days later and do it again. I’m not certain how often. There has been a lot of evidence that this helps patients with IBS/Chrone’s but not as much with Autism.

TSO- My husband read an article in a Men’s Health magazine in early December 2012 about a man from Massachusetts that was ingesting pig-worms (TSO) to restore the good bacteria in his gut. He was afflicted with major major food allergies, to the point where he could practically die from a green bean (along with a ton of other common foods). He did his own research and learned about these pig-worms called “Helminthic Therapy”.

The process is as follows: you drink the eggs and the worms are born in your gut. Here they supply the right amount of bacteria but then are gone within two weeks. In order to continue with this much needed bacteria you need to keep ingesting these pig-worm eggs every two weeks. This man saw amazing results and can now eat anything he wants. It was the coolest thing I’ve read in a long time. We did more research and found out that they were indeed giving these pig-worms to Autistic children for the very reason of restoring the good bacteria in their guts. And here too they were seeing amazing results. Some Autistic kids were losing their diagnosis because they were getting so much better. So, we had to do more research.

We finally found a doctor in NY that would help us find these pig-worms and walk us through the process of administering them to Liam. We didn’t want to do it without the guidance of a doctor. It seemed to risky otherwise. I researched this doctor, watched his webinars, read all about him. He was legit! He was the doctor that started the DAN Doctor movement. He had been working with Autistic patients for over 30 years and doing Helminthic Therapy (TSO-The pig worms) for over 10 years now. He had patients from all over the country and stories of hope and recovery. I was dying to meet him!

I found his phone number online and called him two days before Christmas. I left him a pretty lengthy message not knowing who was going to get it. And he called me back within 15 minutes. Our story was like none other. He couldn’t believe how suddenly and how old Liam had been when he got sick. And the whole digestion piece really all made sense. He wanted to know more and better yet, wanted to meet us.

So one week and three ferries later we found ourselves in his office on Long island NY. He was a kind man, older with a little grey beard. The minute he met us he swept Liam away to his favorite swing in his backyard. He played with him for about 10 minutes. It was both heartwarming and genius all at once. Immediately we all loved him. And Liam generally does not like doctors. We then went inside his glorious house/office and talked for about 4 hours ( see what I mean? insurance company’s would never pay for a 4 hour visit!). He had all of Liam’s paperwork and tests and blood work ahead of time so, the whole time was spent talking and listening to us! That had never happened to us before. Someone was actually listening!

We left our visit with a huge sigh of relief and a ton of hope. We really felt like this was the answer. This was the root to Liam’s problems. We went home and immediately ordered the TSO from a company in Boston. It was much easier than we thought. It is not FDA approved so I thought we’d have to smuggle them into the country. What a thought. They are a bit pricey so open up your wallet, once again.

Long story short, we tried them for 5 months. Played with the dosage and timing. Tracked every behavior we saw. Celebrated the accomplishments and were heartbroken over the regressions…like everything  else you try there is a moment of doubt. Is this really working or is it something else? Maybe he was just improving from the diet change we made, maybe it was cyclical. Many Autistic children have behaviors that come and go with the season. Eventually we got to the point where we wanted to stop the treatments to see if that made a difference.  Liam has been off of the TSO for almost 2 months now and we have not seen a great deal of regression. He has great days and not so great days ….just like he was while taking the TSO.

We may try it again at some point but for now we will go without and see where that leads us. I think the most important thing we  have learned from this is that we are on the right track. We’ll keep on searching and never give up. Once again, I encourage you to look into this, look into everything that comes your way. You never know what will work for your child. You have to keep on trying because no one else will. If you have any questions or need any guidance with this please let me know. I am happy to give you any information that will help your child.

Thanx for reading and sharing my blog. It means the world to me :)

 

 

 

 

 

The age of Autism

For a family dealing with Autism, being able to trust a professional like a doctor is a very difficult task. Believe me, we want to.

We have taken Liam to many different doctors. We started with a Neurologist, of course. We got nowhere with him so decided to see a different one. “Maybe the first one was just a quack”, I remember thinking. Nope. The second doctor not only knew nothing but scared us half to death. Sent us to a specialist and made us think our child was dying. Not only that,  but the first appointment to see this specialist was two months away (so we thought Liam was dying for two whole months). The specialist had nothing to say either, you would have thought we learned our lesson by now, right? Nope. We went to see yet another Neurologist. This time we came armed with a tape recorder so we could replay the visit in case we missed something spectacular….that moment never came.

In between these visits we also seeked out the attention of doctors that actually “knew something about something”.  DAN (Defeat Autism Now) Doctors. They believe that diet, vitamins, supplements and other alternative treatments are crucial for healing our kids. Bingo! Right? They are helpful and if you are just starting this journey I definitely think you should concentrate on finding a trusted DAN doctor who knows this area well.

But, first go to a Neurologist for the child’s diagnosis. Insurance with cover it (unlike DAN doctors who don’t take insurance, but that is a discussion for another time ). The diagnosis is painful (for the parent) but necessary. In order for you to get the services your child needs (OT/PT and speech) he/she needs that diagnosis from a doctor.  I also suggest you request  both an MRI ( to see the brain) and an EEG (to make sure there is no seizure activity). Then, move on. Don’t discuss diet or any other alternative treatments with this Neurologist. You will be disappointed and frustrated with the results, I assure you this.

I have this talk with Liam’s pediatrician whenever we see him. Neurologists and other specialists typically have (maybe) one class in Nutrition the entire time in medical school. They know nothing about food and the effects they have on the body. The other problem is that Autism is so complex of an illness that it is very difficult to treat. As I’ve said before there are many ways of becoming Autistic, many types and degrees of Autism and many cures for Autism. Liam’s DAN doctor in Florida told us that she has patients with cancer. And that her Autistic patients are 100 times harder to treat than her patients with Cancer. Cancer!

But, even a DAN doctor doesn’t know it all. They don’t everything about your child. There are so many factors that go in to making Liam the way he is. Genetics, Immune deficiency, illnesses, medicine, vaccinations, environmental insults like chemicals, allergens, and things we aren’t even fully aware of. And this is just Liam’s profile. Imagine every child diagnosed with Autism and their history. It’s mind blowing. As much as they try to figure it all out it almost seems impossible. But, the biggest piece that I haven’t mentioned is YOU, as a parent. YOU know more about your child than anyone else on the planet. And as much as I try to deny this because it is so stressful to have this responsibility it almost always comes back to me. So, here we are again. I can run from it, or embrace it. I have tried running from it. But, 9 times out of 10 Liam improves when I embrace it. When I stand up, take the bull by its horns and steer the ship.

The other problem with having a DAN Doctor on board is that you will not have their full attention. It’s impossible for them to give you every second of their time. And sometimes that is what you need, every second of their time to figure something out. This is especially true in the beginning. My guess is that it’s like having a child with Diabetes  and trying to navigate the how to administer Insulin…how much and when all by yourself. That would be scary and difficult, right?

You really need more hand-holding with your child’s DAN doctor but in most cases these doctors are: A) swamped with patients, working overtime and with little to no support from the medical community B) have to charge you a ton of money every time you look at them because insurance companies won’t touch them with a 10 foot pole. So, anytime I needed to speak with Liam’s doctor about a vitamin or a food or his behavior or why he’s still pressing on his belly or why he’s laughing in the middle of the night or how much medicine or shots to give him (the list goes on and on) it would cost us 250.00. That doesn’t include the up-front/initial payment (between $2,000-4,000) nor does it include any vitamin or supplement cost or any other treatment he/she prescribes for your child. It doesn’t even include things like blood work or emails. You get my point, I’m sure.

I’m not trying to scare you off, just something you should be prepared for. I am hoping that one day soon all of this will be covered by insurance. With perseverance and education their will be enough kids/families/cases to prove to the medical field that this treatment actually works. That this is the path we need to take with these children. And therefore it should all be covered.

We are no millionaires ,but I often think “what if we couldn’t afford these treatments for Liam”? What if we couldn’t even buy him organic foods (which are also, by the way twice the price as the GMO filled crap sold in the stores)? or all of the vitamins and supplements he needs? Where would we be now? What would happen to Liam? I know there are many many families out there thinking the same thing, feeling the same way. Now THIS is not fair. Trying to do the best thing for your child, give him/her the best opportunity to do well in life and we have to pay double, triple for our efforts. What?????

I do think we are well on our way to all of this. If you look back in the history of Autism you will see how far we have come. Their are at least resources you can find on the subject of “healing your Autistic child”. Gluten free/Dairy free foods are found in many stores, even some restaurants. Biomedical treatments (the use of vitamins and supplements and alternative treatments) are pretty well known around the country.  GMO (genetically modified organisms) are common knowledge nowadays.  Food companies take pride in displaying that they don’t use GMO foods or High Fructose Corn Syrup. It’s all very encouraging. Baby steps are better than no steps.

Thanks for reading :)

 

 

 

The power of yoga

 I was in yoga class the other day, and the man on the mat next to me was crying. I go to hot power yoga so, everyone is very sweaty. Dripping, ring out your shirt sweaty.  Therefore, if someone is crying you can barely notice. I spoke about crying in yoga class in a short article I wrote for my yoga studio last month. So I am fairly aware of the phenomenon.

When I heard this man crying I immediately felt his despair. I watched him quietly for a few minutes. His body was shaking, he was covering his face with a towel and he was sobbing. It was truly awful. I don’t think crying in yoga comes easily . You don’t plan on It. ” Hmmm…I think I’ll cry in yoga class today. That sounds like so much fun”. I believe you have to be pretty broken and raw for this to occur.

Before any of this had happened to my family, before Liam got sick, before I came to yoga…I would have passed all sorts of judgment on this poor man. I even looked over at the girl sitting on his other side and she looked horrified. Gave him a nasty look and all. I don’t usually spend this much time looking at other people during yoga. In fact, it’s really frowned upon. But, now that I too have felt despair and deep sadness in my life I empathized with him. I even started to cry myself. It was bazaar. I don’t know him very well, I don’t even know why he was crying but it somehow brought it all back to me. I wanted to ask him what was wrong and I desperately wanted to give him a hug and share my story with him but, sadly I didn’t.

I have heard this many times during yoga class from various instructors. Everyone has a big life, everyone has their crap that they are dealing with, everyone has despair and if you don’t now…you will at some point. You are told time and time again that you never know what the person next to you is going through in their life. Be kind, show compassion. And realize that you will at some point feel this same way. Yoga has taught me so much about how to deal with trauma. I believe in God and the afterlife but, I don’t believe that “trauma” is particularly selective. It happens everyday, every minute of the day. Someone is going through something awful all of the time. Just like the man in my yoga class. It’s how you deal with it that matters. You can certainly crawl under a rock, disappear, allow it to control your life. Or, you can learn from it.

It’s easy to crawl under a rock. I’m not passing judgment, I just know from experience.  It takes courage and strength to rise above it. This takes time, of course. Doesn’t happen overnight. I crawled under my very large rock right away. I was in denial and hid from the world. Because I am human I made it all very personal. Until I realized that I could either become it’s slave and be miserable (which was fulfilling in its own right), or take it on like a soldier! I love that we have choices about our feelings and actions. Its empowering.

I also believe it teaches the people around you (like your children, friends and family) how to manage their own crazy, very big lives. It’s always inspiring to me to see how someone got through a disaster in their lives. Whether it be a loss of a child, spouse, parent, friend, house, job, pet or more. To see someone go through that and come out the other end is truly life changing, isn’t it? It makes you reevaluate your priorities, your blessings, your own strength. If I am ever feeling down and out, like I’ve been given a bad deal, I always try and come back to that place. And yoga always helps me to do this.

I am a better mom, friend, wife (I hope), sister and daughter because I have accepted this path that I am on. I am open to learning and changing my ways. Many of us get stuck in our lives. Not because we are literally in mud but, because we refuse to change. It’s comfortable and easy. Handing my kids goldfish and chicken nuggets was SO easy! I sometimes dream of the days we can go back to living that way. But, I now realize the damage these foods and attitude can cause. Changing all of that was SO hard and uncomfortable. Everyday gets easier. I encourage you to look at your lives (as I am still doing) and see where you are “stuck”. And try really hard not to discourage the change that may need to occur.

And go to yoga :) I promise I won’t look at you if you cry!

Diets

Sometimes I feel like I say the same things over and over again. Looking back on my earlier posts I mention the word ” diet ” at least 100 times. The intricacies of each piece is essential though. And the word “diet” is vague really.

There are many “diets” that Autistic children are on. The most popular is the Gluten Free/Casein Free (GF/CF). You will typically see results pretty quickly and it’s (relatively) easy to follow. Many supermarkets provide GF/CF products, have their own sections in the store, freezers full of breads, pizza dough, muffins, even donuts. It isn’t hard to replace well known foods and treats. This is usually the starting point. Some families try this diet with their child and don’t see results. They throw in the towel (because any diet is hard to follow, let alone one this restrictive) and claim it didn’t work. I can understand why. I don’t blame them for a minute. It seems pretty ironic that the one thing that ties us together and has become the most social part of our society is the same thing our children can’t partake in. So, unless you are seeing any benefit at all it is almost impossible to follow. Unfortunately though, this initial diet (GF/CF) is only  the beginning for many of our kids.

There are other groups of foods that Autistic children are sensitive to. And you should really have your child muscle tested or work with a nutritionist to sort out what he can and cannot have. It’s difficult because your child may not necessarily be “allergic” to these foods but be “sensitive” to them which will cause behavior changes and gut issues. So you need to find the right practitioner that understands the difference.

Salicylates:  Another main group of foods that effect behavior is called ” salicylates”. Salicylates include foods like: apples, cinnamon, almonds, coconut, avocado, berries, many herbs, vegetables and fruits. To see a full list of these items please ask me! I have the entire list. Most of what you can get on the Internet (as far as lists go) is not always accurate….other than my blog of course :)   Liam was GF/CF (plus a bunch of other things, we’ll talk about that later) for the first full year. It was clear that the diet he was on was not restrictive enough. He was still extremely spacey, inappropriately laughing a ton, and losing speech by the minute.

When our nutritionist muscle tested him for these foods I was praying, of course that he wouldn’t be sensitive to them…he lived on apple sauce, almonds and coconut milk (not to mention the awesome avocado dressing I invented). But, of course he was intolerant to these new foods. It only took a week without them to see a difference. This is how quickly your body responds to a food, good or bad. In a way this is a blessing. Quick results. I love that!

Liam has been salicylate free (or so I thought) for 6 months. When we went back to see her I realized I had been giving him some foods he should not have having. Hence the list that I now have .Olive oil and sweet potato are two things I had been giving Liam without knowing they were on the “naughty” list. So, now he is truly salicylate free. I am told that to see the full effects generally will take between 4-6 months. I will keep you posted on that.

Sugar: I spoke about yeast in one of my previous posts. Along with having an excess of yeast in your body you need to refrain from any (and I mean any) sugar, artificial or natural. This includes: cane sugar, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup (which is poison really), molasses, honey, maple syrup, artificial sweeteners, xylitol, stevia, and many fruits including citrus. It also means you need to stay away from vinegar (which makes yeast), mustard, pickles, olives, anything smoked…and tomatoes!!!! ugh! How we miss tomatoes!

Corn and soy: This is another category of foods that we need to stay away from. Corn and soy (if you don’t already know) are produced more than anything else in our country. They are fed to our animals (because it is cheap and it makes them fat) and they are fed to our humans (because it is cheap and it makes them fat).  They are put in almost every boxed or packaged item you will find in the typical supermarket. Do it! Take a look for yourself. America is not only getting fat from these foods, we are getting really really sick!!! I can go on forever about this subject but, it’ll only get annoying so I’ll stop here! My main point is that Liam cannot go near these foods but, really no one should.

I’m sorry if I sound bossy. And I know it’s harsh. I too, lived on these foods and didn’t think a thing about them. We aren’t educated. It’s not our fault. But, when we know better, we do better. My mantra as you can see.

Peanuts: A food that is marketed as being healthy and full of protein but in reality it is full of mold and making people sick. You want protein? Have a piece of meat, an egg, some quinoa pasta, rice and beans….yum! If you really need nuts eat some pecans, almonds or cashews (not dry roasted).

SCD (Specific Carb. Diet): This is a diet recommended to many Autistic children. One thought is that carbohydrates cause “brain fog” and seizures to these children. It is extremely difficult to follow. Almost like the Atkins diet but with no dairy whatsoever. Only lean protein and very few vegetables (cooked until they are mush). Most children are only on it for up to 6 months. This usually does the trick, heals the child’s gut and improves behavior significantly. I am not there yet. I can’t imagine doing this to Liam or our family at this time. The good news is that Liam’s new Doctor agrees with me and doesn’t see the need to put him on this diet. THANK GOD!!!! My fear is that this day will come. But, I suppose when or if it does we will be ready.

I’m not saying your child will need to stay away from all of these foods. Unfortunately, I feel like Liam is the most restricted child on the planet and have yet to meet another family dealing with anything close to this strict. But, I do think you need to be aware of these foods, what they can do to your body and how they can effect your child, his health and his behavior. Just make a note and do a little research to make sure you have looked into everything before you give up too easily. Some kids don’t have to be on this diet for life. It takes a few years, sometimes more to restore the health of their systems and they can eventually eat more and more foods without seeing any effects. This is inspiring to me. My hopes for Liam is that he can eat more foods someday soon. I dream of the day he can eat tomatoes and oranges….there will be so many new dishes I can make for him!!! But, I do know that I must be strict now, heal his gut and digestion before any changes can be made.

It brakes my heart when he asks for “pizza” or “maple syrup” but, I have to keep reminding myself that without this diet he will not have a life. And I am giving him the gift of life (again). It’s unfortunate that our society is revolved around food and that pure happiness comes from junk food. But, its the society that we all live in. I guess the only way it will change is if we change that. I always tell people it would be much easier for us if we packed up and moved to a little village in Africa. Maybe one day that’s where you’ll find us!

Thanks for reading :)