Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Autism Awareness Month 2016
As Autism Awareness Month comes to an end, I am finally having a moment to write my yearly Autism Awareness post.
In the Autism world, it is so easy to be consumed by hoplessness. It's an overwhelming diagnosis with life-long implications. As the years ticked by after Josh's Autism diagnosis at 4 years of age, things only looked gloomier and more hopeless as more and more diagnoses were tagged on and more problems ensued. By his second psychiatric hospitalization at 8 years of age and the warning by the doctor that it most certainly would not be his last hospitalization and things would get really rough once puberty hit requiring constant medication dosing adjustments to compensate for fluctuating hormone production, we were left with worries about the future and realization that we would need to start planning for his adulthood and his needing care and supervision for the rest of his life. I stopped dreaming that someday he would be able to get married recognizing that it was just too impossible.
Fast forward 3 years, and our hopes for the future have drastically changed. Instead of doom and gloom and the impossibility of independence as an adult, we see a bright future, and I have begun praying that God would raise up a godly spouse for him one day.
What has changed? EVERYTHING! This metamorphosis began when we started using essential oils over 2 years ago then incorporated natural supplements all while getting rid of typical personal care and household products that are toxic switching to natural stuff I make with natural ingredients to keep us safe and healthy. Then began a greater scrutiny about the food we used and the process of eliminating processed stuff and switching to more organic choices.
With each change we made in our daily habits and choices, we saw more and more changes for the better. The two-year transformation began with instability and a threat of a third hospitalization due to the 10 drugs a day he was currently taking not enough to keep him stable. Fast forward two years, and Josh is only taking 1 drug a day that he has been slowly weaning off of over the past 2 years and will be fully weaned off of by the middle of June according to his doctor's wean plan. With each drug he weaned off of, he became happier, more compliant, and more stable. We have been discovering more and more aspects to his personality that had been locked inside him unknown to us.
The medical world has things all backwards when it comes to Autism. They treat symptoms with drugs that often make the person have a flat affect and zero personality. While some behavior therapy recommendations are made and can be effective in helping a child cope in our world, progress is painfully slow. What is often overlooked and neglected is the availability and success of natural things and diet. God created all things for our benefit and good, and mankind has done a lot to taint it or ruin it altogether. We need to get back to the way God created things!
This year, I began a new learning journey into the world of healthy diets and was blown away by what studies are out there regarding the implications of a leaky gut and the benefits of cutting out inflammatory foods from the diet. While this information is helpful to every human who wants to be healthy, it has HUGE implications for people with Autism. After reading the literature available, I decided to take the plunge and eliminate gluten from Josh's diet (I had already eliminated artificial dyes and flavors a year prior to that). Surprisingly, he went from a jittery, fidgety, easily irritated kid to a calm and collected child who hardly gets irritated. After letting him have gluten for one meal around the Easter holiday and having a difficult next 1.5 days of increased irritability and hyperactivity, he reset and went back to his new norm. That was enough to convince us of the importance to avoid gluten for good.
In March, we embarked on a journey as a family beginning the Cellular Healing Diet by Dr. Pompa. It is a pretty involved diet that heals the leaky gut, helps the body rid itself of toxins, decreases inflammation, and improves cellular health. We believe this is the final key for helping Josh fully recover of his Autism and other issues. From the changes we have already seen since starting the diet, we are getting more and more confident of the end results.
There is hope! Don't ever let anyone or any doctor convince you otherwise. Never give up fighting! Don't accept a doom and gloom prognosis. There is always room to improve and excel. Don't discount God's power to do the impossible! Josh's prognosis seemed dismal and improvement seemed so impossible, but God is greater and more powerful! He has directed us to the right people and the right resources, and with the change to natural solutions and healthy diet, Josh is on the road to full recovery! God is amazing!
Psalm 147:11 - "but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love."