This summer we experienced a lot of big leaps for us as family. It was the first year that I have really “let loose” since our autism diagnosis. And by that I mean, because of house renovations and traveling, we took a reprieve from supplements, allowed some starches into our diet, and were not super consistent with homeopathy. We also had big breaks from ABA therapy during the times that we traveled. It was very, very odd at first and sort of made me a bit tense take a break from all the safety nets we had put into place to keep our son healing and moving along in his emotional and physical development. However, this summer I felt a certain freedom that I had not felt in years. I felt, dare I say, “normal”.
Now the new school year has started and we are back in the swing of things. We will be starting up our regimen again this month.
Here’s what I observed with my son over the course of these summer:
1. He is now willing and eager to go up to children at the playground and ask them to play.
2. After some practice, he has learned to wait patiently for his turn at a preferred activity without having a complete meltdown.
3. He asks for new friends to come over for a playdate and desires to “be like them”.
4. He mastered riding a scooter (really really fast!) within a day.
5. His pretend play has reached an all new high. He is currently age appropriate in that department and quite creative (but I’m his mom so, yeah, I’m biased).
6. He now asks often for extended family members and recalls visits to their house. He is also very very loving towards them.
7. He is recalling events in general with increasingly complex language and without prompting. He just tells me about things for the fun of it.
8. He is picking up on sayings from his environment and not just from what he is taught in therapy. We are finally having those “Where did he learn that???” moments.
9. He is connecting the dots and is genuinely curious about how life works, i.e.: that babies grow in someone’s tummy, that you have to be 17 to drive a car, etc.
And here’s what I learned for myself over the course of the summer.
1. My son has healed enough to be able to have “cheat days” without falling into major regression. I saw his verbal skills and social skills continuing to progress throughout the summer, even without external help. That is amazing!
2. Taking a break from therapy allowed me to have a ton of one-on-one time with my son to see for myself what areas he had progressed in and what areas he still needed work on. I was able to really get some hands-on insight into just how far my son had come and to also give good suggestions to his supervisor on future programs. There’s nothing like putting a child in an unstructured environment to really see how they do (something that sometimes happens less and less when your child is in an intense therapy program).
3. Pulling away briefly from intense autism recovery also helped us heal from the whirlwind of the past few years. It was awesome to have free time, and to have it free of stimming, agitation and/or a ton of major meltdowns . Like I said, amazing!
I did have a moment where I thought, do we need to continue with therapy and diet and supplements to the degree that we have been? In fact, I was not looking forward to the detox reactions that sometimes occur when going back on homeopathy and supplements. That is partly why I did not start them up right away again. However, after returning from summer break, I noticed my son still moving in and out of periods of fogginess and hyperactivity at times, even without returning to our protocol. I think this can be attributed to being is exposed to an illness from other children or from stomach distress. He still can’t show a cold the way other kids do or get a fever and knock out the illness. Instead he gets foggy, stims, or gets twitchy. Which, to me, means he still has a ways to go with healing.
At this stage, I would like to move forward with homeopathy in it’s gentlest state, where we can continue to go through detoxes and clears, but perhaps at a slower pace. Bean has come so far and I’d love for him to be able to practice all his new skills at school without being agitated if possible.
In the meantime, I look back at where we were and how far we have come and I cannot believe it. My child talks, socializes, and wants to be a part of our lives. He is finally learning, not just from his therapists but from his environment as well. He is not in a state of constant digestive distress anymore and the fog has lifted. Sometimes even writing it down make me nervous, because I don’t want it to be taken away. But I know that for right now we are in a good place. A great place!
Next week: Healthy fats to add to your diet and their healing effect on the brain.