Grayson’s Journey Towards Healing

by Lauren on February 12, 2017

I’ve been working on writing this post for weeks now, contemplating the right words to share or how I would approach the entire subject.  Truthfully, I’ve been trying to digest everything and get my head in a rational and proactive place before I even began to explain to others what was going on. I wasn’t even sure I would share anything at all, but then, as I spent days upon days in prayer, I heard God clearly call to me to be transparent and to journal about this experience.  Like any other life experience I’ve endured, I knew this was yet another facet that I am meant to scribe, in hopes that our journey may touch or influence another who may be on the same path.

I guess you are wondering what I’m talking about by this point, and by the title of this post, I bet you gathered that this particular reality isn’t exactly about me but about my first-born, Grayson, and you are right. To put things simply, Grayson, who is not quite yet two and a half, was recently diagnosed with autism.

Now before I dive into this whole account, I have to tell you that this is a post of hope, a starting point if you will.  Before a few months ago, I knew little about autism or “the spectrum” and now, I feel as though I could write a book on the subject.  While I won’t be writing a book, I will be journaling here on Grayson’s journey through this, because I fully and wholeheartedly believe that he can and will be healed.

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So here we go…..

Grayson had always been a very strong-willed, vibrant, and passionate boy, even from day one.  He was the baby that you could spend just a few minutes with and know you’d have your hands full as he was always on the go, always wanting to touch, taste and feel life around him.  John and I began socializing him right away and he was always so easy to take out in public.  Well, we started to notice subtle changes in Grayson’s demeanor shortly after his first birthday.  At 11 months, Grayson suffered a rather traumatic vaccine injury that we thought would cause problems for him later on. Fortunately, he recovered from his breathing issues from that, but we noticed that the ways he was developing started to slow.

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I began to take notice at around 18 months that Grayson wasn’t doing much of any talking.  He was vocal, making all kinds of noise and sound, but never would he repeat a word if you asked him to.  He also started to become uninterested in people talking to him.

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When Grayson turned two, I started to get concerned that he still wasn’t talking much at all.  He knew a handful of words and would use them sometimes, but hardly ever when you asked him to.  He also had a really hard time engaging with adults he didn’t know. If I took him to the grocery store and someone tried talking to him or got too close to him, he would freak out.  He also began throwing constantly and not throwing toys at people but just up in the air over and over.

I had a few people mention to me that there could be some red flags and I should keep an eye on his behavior.  I also had a few friends gently suggest I seek out Early Intervention.  You see, I was still so new to this all and I couldn’t determine if there was an actual problem or if he was simply just being a two-year old. But I listened and called Early Intervention hoping to get him involved in speech therapy.

When his evaluation came, the therapist suggested to us that it would be a good idea to have Grayson tested for autism by a developmental pediatrician. John and I were crushed.  Autism?  Not our child!  But the more I heard it, the more I realized my gut feeling shouldn’t be ignored….I wasn’t going to be one of those parents that brushed off a problem if there really was something going on.

So we made the appointment and got him started in occupational therapy right away.  The appointment for his autism diagnosis wasn’t exactly what we were expecting and I remember just praying that Grayson would be good for it. We went into it feeling hopeful but deep down, I knew the news would probably confirm what my heart was telling me. After a 90 minute process, the doctor told us she believed Grayson did show the signs for autism.  I immediately asked what that meant, where he fell on the spectrum and was it really autism or maybe something else.  She told me that anymore, EVERYTHING is just considered autism, there are no levels and no other diagnosis.  This was hard to swallow but we left and began to process.

When we got home that day, I remember thinking, “this doesn’t really change anything. Grayson is still the same child he was today as he was yesterday.” But then worry began to set in.  Did this mean he would need to go to a special school or would need special treatment?  Was I supposed to explain for him every time he was being difficult in public?  And once I got out all of my fear and doubt, my worry turned to a purpose.  I accepted the news and then said, “Ok, let’s heal him.”

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Now I know there are a thousand different opinions on what does or does not cause autism and John and I have our own opinions, but that isn’t the point.  The point is, I believe his body isn’t able to detox the way others may and there is something going on inside of him that he may not be able to control himself…he needs our help.  After I got over the guilt that I could have possibly done this to him, I began researching day and night.  I submerged myself in articles, books, videos, and sought out the advice of holistic doctors.

We didn’t waste anytime putting Grayson on a gluten free / casein free diet.  I read over and over that this diet was proven to help reduce symptoms in many autistic kids due to the fact that their bodies may not be able to digest these proteins properly.  Luckily, Grayson’s diet hasn’t been a big issue for us because he eats so well as it is, but I knew I needed to start eliminating to see if he may have any food sensitivities that were affecting his behavior.

I also began doing some detox baths of epsom salts and essential oils and upping his probiotic intake.

I swear, a few days after we took out gluten and diary completely, and implemented the other small changes, I noticed a change in Grayson.  He just appeared more focused, less stressed, and overall more pleasant.  His therapist even noticed a difference from the previous week she had been there.

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The next step was calling a doctor who practices functional medicine to talk about biomedical treatment options.  Fortunately, there is a doctor locally for us that specializes in healing children with autism through nutrition and other holistic treatments.  I spent an hour on the phone with her going over options and hearing such hope that we are being so proactive at such a young age.  She said we would start with getting an extensive history on Grayson including lab work to see if he had any triggers in his body that could be attributing to his symptoms. This is exactly the route I want to take so I was excited to know that there are these options available.  What is hard is that this type of treatment isn’t covered by insurance and it comes at a big cost.

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So this is where we are currently at.  Grayson is the exact same loving, joyful and kindhearted little boy he always was, now we just understand him a little better and realize he may need our help to ensure his body is as healthy as it can be.  As I mentioned earlier, I’ve let go of the guilt but I still feel a level of responsibility and I’m determined to heal him.  As John says, it has become my crusade.

This is our starting point:

  • OT therapy once a week
  • Speech therapy once a week
  • Gluten / Casein Free diet
  • Diet rich in fermented foods and gut healing ingredients (I believe the majority of the healing must take place in his gut)
  • Daily probiotics and essential fats
  • Routine chiropractic adjusting
  • Abundant prayer

Our next steps will be homeopathic and biomedical treatment, I’m just not sure in what form quite yet, which is why I am seeking out a holistic doctor who specializes in functional medicine. The challenge for us comes in the cost, but I know we will find a way to overcome that.

I’m not sure why God chose us to embark on this journey but I know he is entrusting us and equipping us with everything we need to overcome it.  So we may be just beginning, but we are ready to see amazing things happen and ready to learn so much from this incredible little boy.  I hope you are too!

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27 thoughts on “Grayson’s Journey Towards Healing”

  1. Stacy L Salter says:

    Love you and Love that perfect child of GOD <3

    1. Lauren says:

      We love you too! <3

  2. Debbie says:

    I am quite certain that Grayson has been blessed with great parents who will pray, research and provide everything and anything that he will need!

    1. Lauren says:

      Thank you Debbie! <3

  3. JennyV says:

    I’m an occasional reader here and a manager of an integrated health clinic. My husband owns it and is our lead chiropractor. You are on the right path to healing! Prayer, detox, diet, chiro, chelation, etc. Praying for your son and for you as you are on this journey. Not that you wanted or chose this path, but let God work through you and share your son’s healing journey with others.

    Also, I’m a firm believer that vaccines contribute to these reactions that lead to some of these conditions. I’ve had too many patients come through our doors with these stories. That said, do NOT beat yourself up – you did what you thought was right at that time and now you’re giving your son the best care you can find.

    1. Lauren says:

      Thanks Jenny! That means so much.

  4. Anonymous says:

    You are doing great!!! Great article.

  5. Melissa says:

    Lauren,
    I’m can’t imagine how difficult it has been for you guys. You have been dealing with a lot of hardships at once. You obviously love your boys and want the best for them. However, as a speech and language pathologist who studied autism and who works individuals with autism, there is no cure as of now. Speech and occupational therapy will help your adorable little boy reach his full, amazing potential, but changing his diet and alternative therapies are not going to cure him. I urge you to seek counseling for yourself so you can come to terms with his diagnosis. Believing that you can cure him is only going to lead to extreme heartache for all involved.

    1. Lauren says:

      Hi Melissa, thanks for your comment. I hear what you are saying and I appreciate it, I really do. While I know it’s unconventional to think that there is a cure, I do believe his body needs healed and I am determined to help him heal in every way I can, whether that means he is cured from autism or not, the end goal is to give him the best life possible. So sure, there is no drug or medication that “cures” him, but I trust in the human body, I trust in my ability to create the environment his specific body needs to thrive, and I trust in God to walk me through it. So I’ll continue to put on my armor each day and fight for him because at the end of the day, I’m his biggest advocate.

      1. Lauren says:

        Also I wanted to add, I know curing something with no said cure is unlikely to think about, but I look at it like this. I have an autoimmune disorder with no cure. Again, there is no one pill I can take to make it go away. But I’ve cured nearly ALL of my symptoms through my nutrition, through my lifestyle and by healing my gut and strengthening my immune system. So no, I guess I’m not cured, but I don’t live with my disease anymore.

  6. Jim says:

    It sounds to me like tantrums, probably consistent with the “terrible twos”.

    Jim

  7. Lynn says:

    I found this youtube video extremely interesting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPk6sNLfqrU.
    I don’t send this because I’m being argumentative or judgmental. I’m sending it because I am going through the EXACT same thing you are now with my three-year-old son (also named Grayson!) and we are struggling with what to do. In fact, my son has been on the GFCF diet for one week now. We have read and read and read also. I have been skeptical about the diet and the different theories, but as a desperate mom, I had to at least give the diet a try. This video is making me rethink what course I should take. I don’t send it to convince you. We each have to take the steps we feel are best for our child, but I thought you would be interested to hear it so you had a full range of information. (Her other videos are awesome as well!) Believe me, I understand what you’re going through, the sleepless nights, the tears, and fear for their future. Much love and prayers.

    1. Lauren says:

      Hey Lynn,

      Thanks so much for sharing this point of view. I definitely try to take in account all sides as with any important medical decision we make for our children. While I’ve heard some of these points before and agree that there are some treatments I don’t know enough about or think I would embark on, there are a few fundamentals things that I don’t agree with in this video based on our own personal experience. At the end of the day, we all want what is best for our kids and we will do just about anything to ensure that they get that you are right. I have nothing but respect and love for you as you sort through the same emotions and decisions as we are right now. And I still have so much hope. Thanks again so much!

  8. Jessica says:

    Hi Lauren! Such a touching point, the love you have for your son is evident. Some won’t agree with your approach, others will but at the end of the day it’s your family and your choice to do what you think is best. Sending prayers! He is blessed to have you as his mother

  9. D says:

    Hi Lauren! I’m new to your blog. My daughter was diagnosed at age 3, and will be 8 in April. It has been a momentous 5 years! Before you begin biomedical treatment, I strongly recommend reading the book NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity. The chapter about Leo (whose mother I’ve met personally; Shannon is wonderful and runs the blog The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism), is really insightful. The book came out long after my daughter’s DX, but reading case histories like Leo’s are essential for parents of newly diagnosed children before they commit large amounts of money and time. I also recommend the blog A Diary of a Mom. Her posts for parents of newly diagnosed kids are essential reading. Best of luck!

    1. Lauren says:

      Thank you for these resources! I am still in the learning/researching phase and appreciate all experiences I can gather. Thank you again!

  10. Katie says:

    Hi Lauren–

    I am a long term reader and I love reading your posts specifically about Grayson. My son and Grayson are one day apart and he too has issues with speech. I had him in EI since he was 15 months. They told me he had low muscle tone which qualified him for PT and he was okay with his speech at that point because he was still young. But as the months went on we got a speech teacher and also a special instruction teacher in the home since his speech was not developing. We also met with a developmental pediatrician and we have been back a couple of times and she sees that it’s an expressive language issue with my son. He gets it cognitively but he has difficulty expressing it. I too thought it was Austim. We are just now starting to see progress with his speech. More and more sounds everyday. No real words but it’s progress. We are starting him in a special preschool through EI soon so he can be around other kids. I know every case is different….I always go back and forth all the time wondering if he doesn’t make the progress he should. It’s mommy guilt for sure. Grayson will be fine and he will come into his own. He is still your lovable little boy with or without this diagnosis. What reasons did the Developmental Pediatrician give you for their diagnosis?

    1. Lauren says:

      Hi Katie. Thanks for your comment. I’m so happy your son is making great progress. The developmental ped we saw said they diagnose on two main things…speech and social and Grayson qualified for both. Grayson has been making more and more progress in both areas so I know we are on the right track. I’m grateful that they recognize these things early on in kid’s but anymore it also feels like they are so quick to throw a label on them. It’s hard to determine whether to give them time to grow into their own or to take action to help them. We are doing a little of both to be honest.

      1. Katie says:

        I agree…very quick to label. Do you have another appointment witht the developmental pediatrician? He so young to have that label. Plus he’s making progress like you said. Everything will work out…you are doing the best for him and he will be non the wiser!

        1. Lauren says:

          We do, we have another appointment in 6 months and he will be re-evaluated again when he is 3.

          1. Katie says:

            Ok good. You all are in my thoughts and prayers oxox

  11. Julie says:

    I’m so sorry you’re going through this! I can’t imagine how heartbreaking (& scary!) it was to hear that diagnosis. I’m glad you’re trusting your instincts w/ Grayson. He is lucky to have you. I also think it was brave of you to post about it, but it will be so helpful to others & hopefully to you, too. (It sounds like you’ve gotten a few helpful comments already.) I look forward to hearing how he’s doing & will keep all of you in my prayers. XO

  12. Melissa Gray Havens says:

    Lauren, Grayson couldn’t ask for better momma for this journey! I’ve recently seen a little boy at the age of 3 saying only a few words to counting to 12 with a little outside help. Not comparing the two boys but we each have our own journey and yours was to be an awesome “boy mom”. Hugs and love!

    1. Lauren says:

      Thanks so much Melissa!

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