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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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!