Sunday, May 29, 2011

Inchstones instead of Milestones

This week I had dinner with a wonderful group of moms, all of whom have boys considered “low performing” – ranging from six to nine years old.  Our dinner was a blast – the Martinis really helped!- and we really had a chance to compare notes and vent over our children’s behaviors, and there were all sorts:  one boy has become very violent, two take prescription medications for their behavior, three don’t really watch TV but run around stimming, three have played with their poop and spread it (not Dante, thank God), none play purposely with their toys, none speak well, etc.  Dante is the only one with huge digestive issues, on a restricted diet (GFCF and vegetarian at this point), and who headbangs.  On the other hand, Dante is also the only one who loves hugs and is able to sit and enjoy the TV.  Understanding the common autistic symptoms helps me notice whether or not Dante is moving away from them, and I believe he is.

As we complete the vaccine clearings, I have definitely noticed lots of small positive changes in Dante. Most parents probably agree that if their kids have a lot of issues, sometimes small changes are just not noticed – because there are so many other issues left!  However, small changes count. 

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
Lao-tzu, The Way of Lao-tzu
Chinese philosopher (604 BC - 531 BC)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Our Timeline so far

As we pause after completing the MMR vaccine clearing, I thought it would be a good idea to see everything we have done so far since starting CEASE therapy in January, 2011.  I like to organize things visually so I created the diagram below of the steps we have taken so far this year. 

As I went through my notes I realized that the two biggest changes in Dante so far have been with his digestion and with his speech.  We have been able to expand the things he eats, although we did remove all animal protein during April.  His digestion is really good and his BMs are excellent.  We will continue to evaluate this vegetarian diet and hope that it really does help him.

As far as speech goes, I began to hear words after the DTaP clearing.  Within the MMR clear I began to hear phrases.  He's vocalizing often but I make out phrases here and there.  It's not often, maybe once every few days, but it's 1000% more than it used to be!

His behavior has been good in general, but as we tweak the diet we have had ups and downs - with more or less headbanging.  I can't wait to see that stabilize and have no headbanging.  That is the goal!

I pray that as the warm weather begins all special kids get a sunny boost of improvement and that all their parents get some welcome rest and joy.

Friday, May 13, 2011

MMR Clearing Update

Dante on pony, this week
The MMR clearing is the second vaccine clearing Dante has gone through.  The first one was for the DtaP vaccine.  Dante has reacted very strongly to the MMR vaccine clearing, much more than he did to the DtaP.  Therefore, we slowed down on this clearing while we were on vacation.  And as we slowed down the process, we got to see some very good behavior.

Last week was our first week back and Dante got the first MMR 10M dose.  His clearing symptoms started two days later, when he head-banged substantially more at school.  Mother’s day weekend was pretty rough as well.  He was very uncomfortable constantly.  My Mother’s Day gift, however, was this wonderful exchange we had while Dante was on – of all places- the potty:

Mom:  “Dante, are you done with the poopy?”
Dante:  “Inotdone”
Mom:  ?
Mom (2 seconds later): “WOW!  YOU JUST SAID “I’M NOT DONE!”  YOU ARE TALKING TO MOMMY!!!!  GOOD JOB, DUDE!  YOU’RE NOT DONE!  Of course you’re not done, you’re still sitting on the potty, aren’t you?  I LOVE YOUR WORDS!!!…”

Sunday, May 8, 2011

All About my Mother

Back in the 70's when my family was living in San Juan, my parents were raising three kids:  my two older brothers and me.  Like many moms, mine was the stay-at-home kind:  the cook, the maid, the launderer, the decorator, the gardener, the nurse, and the loving and supporting wife.  She worked very hard to stretch each dollar so that we could attend Catholic school and live in a very decent, and spotlessly clean home.  Thirty years later and now home as a visitor, it dawns on me with painful clarity just how dedicated my mother has been to truly making our lives easier.  So many of her personal pleasures were put on hold so that she could endlessly worry about how much my dad was working, what to cook for us in the evening, and how to guide and discipline the three kids.

Mami, in her 'happy' place

Monday, May 2, 2011

CousinFest and Coming Home

One of the best parts of our trip to Puerto Rico was to meet with all our wonderful cousins who live on the island.  I grew up within a large tight-knit extended family in San Juan.  We would see our cousins often in get-togethers, during highly desired sleep-overs, and on trips to the beach or around the island.  I have cousins of all ages and personality types, and am grateful for how sweet and loving they are. 
Here Dante is getting some of Juliana's brightness!!!