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When counting to 10 means so much

Posted by on February 14, 2010 in Autism, Showcase |

It wasn’t long ago that I wrote a post explaining how Stone is non-verbal and the challenges it has presented. I’ve also shared how we’ve worked hard to change his diet and have gone with an almost exclusive gluten and casein free diet for him. When we made the diet switch last summer, we noticed changes in Stone within a few weeks. He was a lot more calm and focused than ever before – and didn’t seem to “check out” as often as he had before.

In addition to the diet change, we started giving him special clay baths (that are supposed to help detox the body) and added a variety of vitamin supplements. About two months ago we had a significant breakthrough when Stone suddenly surprised me with his ability to spell words. It was a magical Saturday night – he was so wired that he didn’t get to sleep until 11 pm or so.

Stone at Seattle Children's Museum

Tonight we experienced another huge surprising and exciting night with Stone. When I first tried to put Stone to bed around 9 a.m. it was obvious he was really wired – much more so than he typically is (especially that time of night). He kept nudging me to get out of bed and he was being very vocal with his babbling. The babbling has actually dramatically increased in recent months (and weeks) as well and we have noticed ourselves “catching” Stone saying a few words such as “car” and “momma.” But recently more words have been popping into his vocabulary and for the first time he said “pick up” when he wanted me to lift him up (before it was simply “up”).  And tonight in bed I heard him distinctly say “happy.” After 15 minutes, I knew he wasn’t going to sleep anytime soon so we got out of bed and came downstairs.

He ran to the living room and grabbed a counting book. The fact that he even grabbed a book is news – as recently as a few weeks ago he wouldn’t even sit with a book. He had zero interest. If we tried to read to him he would run away or grab the book and throw it across the room. But what happened next truly blew me away. He started counting the objects in the book. While his words would not sound chrystal clear to someone who doesn’t know Stone well, I was able to follow along as he counted to 10. And not only did he count to 10, he was identifying objects in the book, saying “boat” and “cat” and “ball” as he counted them. You could tell that is was like another chamber in his brain was suddenly unlocked. He was as excited as we were. All he wanted to do over and over again was to count out loud, point to objects and have us tell him what they were. He was loving the learning – and we were loving the experience.

As was the case with the last breakthrough experience, I think his brain went on overload and it was again hard to get him to go to bed and sleep. He insisted on bringing his book to bed and he through a major tantrum when I insisted it was time to turn off the lights and go to sleep. And eventually he did crash (at 11:15) – his mind still full of activity I’m sure.

While I’ve always been steadfastly optimistic that Stone would make strides, I have to be honest and say that there were times when I wondered if he would perhaps remain totally non-verbal indefinitely. The thought both terrified and depressed me.

But the strides we have seen – especially recently – have erased all doubts. I know now that it really is a matter of when – not if – Stone will be talking like other children. I know it will still take him time to catch up but at least he is now firmly on that path.

I should note that we have recently (the past 3 weeks or so) added some key supplements as a result of the blood and urine tests and analysis that were performed. I’m lucky in that I’ve built a friendship with Ben Lynch, a ND (who also happens to run a very successful online business – healthegoods.com). He reviewed the analysis and told me to get Stone ramped up on COQ10 immediately – his levels were very low (which is common with children on Autism spectrum). He also said to increase his vitamin B12 and B6 as well as vitamin D. I bought liquid versions of each and have been mixing them into Stone’s morning juice daily. I have no doubt that this has had a huge impact on Stone. Next week we will receive special elixirs to address the other deficiencies identified in the anlaysis. These are very powerful – he’ll only receive 1/4 teaspoon. Given the progress we’ve seen the past couple of weeks with the changes we made there, I can’t wait to see what the future brings as we continue to heal Stone and help free him so he can express himself.

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