“Your son fits into the Autistic Spectrum Disorder.” Her voice was clear yet somewhat monotone. How many times has she said these words to an unprepared parent? I silently cried as her message began to fill hollowness deep inside my heart. I stood and waited for the instruction manual that was sure to come as she continued on with her 45 minute dissertation. “He will need to be on Ritalin by 1st grade, he will need therapy, he will need…” Her voice began to sound distant and hollow.
The remaining portions of my barely functioning mind slowly left my body and began to float up to the ceiling. I realized that I could no longer speak. I couldn’t exhale and I couldn’t see her clearly. I wrestled with the desire to pinch myself and end this hopeless dream.
“He will be able to rely on his is I.Q of 170 to survive…” As if reacting to a dark figure that had just entered my nightmare, I wanted to scream. My vocal cords refused to operate. My voice was stuck inside, along with my fear, like really thick peanut butter on the roof of my mouth.
“He has an I.Q. of 170,” I finally asked… “How can this be? How can I help him to talk again? Where should I begin? What do I do next?”
Her voice sounded like a coffin closing when she replied, “Come back and see me in six months. I’ll be able to diagnose the form of Autism then. ” The form of Autism? What did that mean? Autism comes in “forms?” My only reference to Autism at that time was the very moving portrayal by Dustin Hoffman in Rainman.
I rationalized the steps of Autism in my mind. Based on Rainman, Autism = Rainman. Rainman = home for the disabled. Home for disabled = non-productive life. Nonproductive life = sadness. My heart was splintering into microscopic pieces.
I held out my hand to receive her instructions. There had to be instructions I thought. She shook my hand and turned to go. A dark cloud suddenly appeared over my head and the rain began to fall on my cheeks as I stood there in the hallway of the, now silent, hospital. Everyone faded into the background and I was suddenly lost. My darling son Tanner broke the spell when he dropped his water bottle over the edge of his stroller. It was time to go but I didn’t know where.
Putting on a brave face I ventured out into the murkiness with her words still swarming around my head. “There has to be a better answer out there, somewhere, and we are going to find it,” I told my sleepy son. We had been at the hospital for the better part of the entire day. It was supposed to be a day of discovery and hope. We came for answers. Now, solving the mystery was even more of a challenge it seemed. I had known all along that there was a prodigy in there! The trick now was to get him out!
Back when Tanner was a happy, smiley and talkative baby I never dreamed that I would begin to stay up all night researching terms and conditions that I barely knew how to pronounce! Now, night after night I began to spend every moment searching. I began to realize that there was a vastness to the world of Autism that was not only magical and mysterious but completely misunderstood!
My quest to understand Autism became a never-ending journey. The more I learned the more I realized that to fully understand and help my son I needed to grasp the meaning of Autistic Spectrum Disorders as fully as I possibly could. I was on a relentless journey to find the key to set my son free.
When Tanner saw the first doctor she did not offer any solutions. I now think it was because she really didn’t fully grasp the complexity of Autism. Her medical training, while expansive, did not include caring for children with multi-dimensional disorders.
When Tanner turned four I began to study diets and foods that contributed to behavior problems. Determined to “cure” him I began changing his meals by eliminating all wheat products first. Within 24 hours he was more lucid. Dairy came next and eleven months later we ended up with a wheat-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, egg-free, preservative-free, dye-free, oat-free, corn-free diet!
I created recipes for just about everything he wanted. My pediatrician called my diet a “behavior modifying diet” and noted that the change in Tanner was “remarkable.”
Although the improvements were to be celebrated he continued to require assistance with every task and his social skills were very poor. My son needed a program that would do more than mask his symptoms… he needed realistic short-term and long-term goals that would help with the real cause(s) of his multiple problems.
Easy enough, right? It seemed like the right course to take… just figure out why he has a form of Autism and then “fixing” it will be the next step. I felt like a 2nd grader who just woke up in a space ship on auto-pilot to mars! We saw 18 doctors over the course of the next two years, with each one offered their suggestions.
Mind altering drugs and other forms of controlling his behaviors were suggested. Treatment options that came with a $45,000 annual price tag and only a 50% success rate didn’t seem like the right plan. I didn’t know what else to do so I just kept researching. By mid-2008 I had over 7,000 logged hours.
Tanner was eventually diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a condition known by remarkable I.Q.’s and memories and a wide spectrum of social deficits. People like Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison and many other incredible contributors to our world are believed to have had Asperger’s Syndrome.
Like Einstein and Edison, Tanner enjoys experimenting to “see what happens.” Connecting with his experimental abilities ~ from the spinal cord to the paper ~ can be the challenge! On a regular basis he amazes me with his ideas and well thought-out questions. Recently he asked, “Do you think I’ll be able to figure out how make cars run on recycled stuff?” (At 9 years old.) Note to self: keep a close eye on recycle bins!
Although Asperger’s Syndrome is considered to be one of the main forms of Autism I personally think Asperger’s Syndrome should stand alone. The characteristics of the two disabilities are virtually opposite. This is a partial list:
|Diagnosed||Early (before 3)||Later (after 3)|
|Prognosis||Gets Worse||Gets Better|
|Social / Peers||Very Poor||Poor|
|Verbal Skills||Very Poor||Very Good|
|Acute Interests||Less Likely||More Likely|
|Imaginative Play||Less Likely||More Likely|
|Neurological||More Likely||Less Likely|
|Repetitive||More Likely||Less Likely|
My research efforts grew and opportunities to share our successes grew as well. To my surprise, I received an email and then a call from a representative of the Who’s Who in the Medical Industry one day. Convinced that they were spam I ignored both. When they called again I was surprised that the interviewer knew so much about me and my research. I played along with the interview (it was a real treat to talk about something other than dinosaurs for a change!) but I didn’t really believe it was real.
I had begun to share my program, “Autism Awareness: From Suspicion to Success” with mothers, teachers, doctors, and a variety of groups. She knew about my program but wouldn’t tell me how she found out. “It’s confidential,” she said.
The following week I saw our pediatrician. I told him about the email and calls. “Nice,” he said. “You will probably be receiving more calls than that.” Was it possible, I wondered, that the research that began as a way to help my son might actually help others, too?
Enzymes, whole food mineral supplements, liquid and powdered potions, vitamins C, D and A, Candida eliminators, DMSA chelation, Epsom salts baths, mud baths, detoxifiers, immune builders, “snake oils” ~ we tried enough to open our own store. Some helped, some didn’t. All only helped for a short time.
There had to be a reason why his body wasn’t absorbing the nutrition I was feeding him! After 21 ear infections his immune system surely suffered but nothing seemed to be making it stronger. Blood tests to determine what was “missing” resulted in low uric acid levels, low cell hydration levels, low creatinine levels and a chronic infection indicating liver dysfunction.
Low uric acid levels? Taking one item at a time I started with an article in Pub Med by Dr. Robert H. Keller that stated, “… uric acid is the last antioxidant at the body’s disposal when all the normal antioxidants have been exhausted.” I wanted to increase my son’s antioxidants, I didn’t understand how. I learned that glutathione, the body’s primary antioxidant, is found in every cell of the body.
Because glutathione acts as both as an antioxidant and an antitoxin it just had to help the body’s immune system! I felt like I had stumbled upon a virtual gold mine as I continued to read article after article by Dr. Keller. I read where glutathione improves the liver function and strengthens the immune system. “Why doesn’t everyone know this?” I found several of his websites and researched even more for the next two months.
Tanner took his first glutathione capsule, MaxGxl, on December 17, 2008. I quit giving him all of his other supplements to do a ‘true” test. Within one week there were subtle improvements. His eye contact seemed to be better. Within three weeks there was no mistake that he was thinking clearer.
Now, a full two months later, I can enthusiastically share that Tanner:
• Sits at the table through entire meals (a FIRST!)
• Talks in a normal tone of voice about “normal” subject matters
• Is sleeping well (through the night without being “restless”)
• Is “on task” with most school subject matters and participating with the Gifted & Talented book club
• Is not argumentative as much (hardly at all)
• Is eating MUCH better (trying new things) He is still on a GF / CF diet – for now.
• PLUS – NO more “tics” – he was acting like he had Tourettes – head jerks, eye twitches, rubbing his forehead until he had a rash, twisting his hands and “playing” his fingers a lot… ALL are !
I have witnessed, first hand, how my son’s multi-dimensional disorder has improved beyond what I thought it could simply by boosting his immune system. Who knew that the answer I’ve been looking for (for seven years) would work so well in only seven weeks? For more information about Dr. Keller and glutathione, visit http://MaxGxl.com/158429.
My first book for adults follows my two children’s books. Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome? One Mother’s Journey in Search of Truth will cover our seven year journey. It will go it to editing next week. I want my book to serve as a hand book with the “key” elements that have worked for us.
My story has been like a journey to free my son from an invisible box holding him captive. It has been and will continue to be a journey of discovery. I’ve learned that the only prerequisite to this “job” is the willingness to try, the refusal to quit and the frequent reminder that God doesn’t chose the qualified, He qualifies the chosen.
© Rhonda Spellman
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