Thursday, September 23, 2010

Vision therapy

One of the areas that costs a lot but helped, especially for John, was Vision Therapy.

Leslie could not read well and John just was not able to see many things. For example, if you asked him to go into a room and find a red ball that was clearly visible, he probably could not have done that. After his evaluation, we were told that his major problems were a narrow field of vision (little peripheral vision), poor depth perception, and poor eye tracking.

Initially, both kids had a form of light therapy where they had to look at a green or amber light in a dark room for about 20 minutes. Then Leslie was given eye exercises which helped her eyes track better and, as a result, her ability to read improved.

John did only light therapy for 6 weeks, then started the eye exercises. We really started seeing improvement fast when he began the exercises. He used to shave and come out of the bathroom with blood all over his neck and face but now, amazingly, he can shave without a nick. He is handwriting has changed, became more legible (less of a scrawl) and he can write on a line now. He can now do simple things—like raking leaves or vacuuming better. He reports that he is much better at video games now—he thinks it is the tracking; he could not find his adversary easily before. He says it is much easier to cross a street now; before he had to really concentrate (understandably). I notice that he is not as awkward probably because he can see where is body is in relation to his environment.

The down side of  vision therapy is that each week we go in for evaluation/therapy, it costs $132 per kid. That's $528 per month because I can only afford to go in every other week.

We see New Horizons Vision Therapy in Waunakee, WI.

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After 5 months of Vision Therapy: John had a progress reading test to in his reading class at MATC. His teacher was amazed! He had gone up four reading levels! She said he was the star of his class as no one had improved that much. Leslie and John both did daily vision therapy at home for about 6 months.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Good days, bad days

Five years later, John was about 80% recovered. Some days I wondered how accurate that guesstimate is but usually it seemed to be true.

Variations in his life, school, really made him anxious, partly because he had to struggle so. He so much wanted to do well; his parents are educated and he had all the values that go with it but learning eluded him. It was a big frustration which is understandable. So cognition improvement was high on our list of needs for him.

Les, his sister, was doing better, too. She seemed to always have suffered from a low thyroid function; she found exercise hard to do, had little energy, was cold easily--especially her hands and feet. But fours years after we have started the biomedical protocol, she finds exercise easier to do and was now enjoying her PE class as a high school senior.

Both John and Les took substantial amounts of supplements, at this time, as part of their therapy. The supplements have made a big difference in their functioning. Iodine (Lugol's) has helped Les' thyroid, zinc has helped them both become healthier as they can generate new cells easier now, and probiotics have helped the functioning of their intestines. Specific enzymes (Repair Gold by Enzymedica) target inflammation and have tremendously reduced John's horrible depression and he is now off all medications. Les still takes medication for seizures and still is not quite where she should be cognitively. Otherwise, she is an exceptionally fun, empathetic, and lovely girl with few mood swings.

We also spent $14,000 on Hyperbaric Treatments with the facility in Fitchburg (Madison). It helped John's chronic depression a lot and led us to ultimately realize that inflammation in his brain was causing this. That said, I wish I had the $14,000 back so I could use it on less expensive anti-inflammatory products that I now know about. (At the time—2006—it was a huge break through, though.)

One of the early things that we did for John when he was about 14 was to hire a young male friend (Nathan) whom John looked up to and was into body building to introduce John to body building. We were members of the YMCA and I bought Nathan a membership, too, and paid him $10 an hour to work with John. Later, when John was in high school, he was too uncoordinated to do well at most sports so he signed up for weight lifting for PE. When he graduated and decided he did not want to get fat, he started going to the Y again and started lifting. Eventually, as he recovered from autism, I believe the sweating he did while he was exercising was of great benefit.

Sometimes, it is the seeds planted early that eventually give huge benefits.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Where do we start?

When I learned that one could treat autism, my next step was to find out how. And that was (and is) no small task. We cannot go to a doctor and say, "Fix him; do your stuff." Each kid has symptoms and problems that is so unique to them that a doctor cannot say, "Do this, then this." The doctors that work with this protocol were called MAPS doctors.

Two important things that I learned were:
1) The senerio in creating autism for us was: the vaccinations (too many, child too small) causes a weakened immune system; the child then get sick--especially ear and respiratory infections; they are taken to the doctor and are prescribed antibiotics; the antibiotics cause a change in the enzymes/bacteria in the gut with an overgrowth of Candida; the small intestines then start having problems digesting foods; the brain then gets an inadequate type of nutrients to develop normally. How severe a child's disability becomes depends upon factors such as their genetic susceptibility, when they got their shots, if they were ill at the time, what type of ingredients were in the shots (most were made by a couple of different companies), etc.
2) Autism, ADD, ADHD, seizures, Aspergers Syndrome, OCD, asthma, etc. are all related and considered "autism spectrum" disorders.
3)There is also toxic ingredients in the vaccinations (called adjuvants) which increase the response but some kids, especially those with lowered immunity, are not able to detoxify this material well and ends up causing them more health issues.

It just takes so much time to learn what is wrong with each kid/person that it truly takes a village, or in our case, at least a family. We learned quickly that no doctor or practitioner will advocate for your child like the parents. We HAVE to be part of the treatment plan and we quickly learned that we must be the lead for treatment, unlike the old model where the doctor lays out the road map for treatment. We are the ones who observe our child's symptoms, what helps, what doesn't.

We also learned that allopathic medicine (typical western medicine) is not as effective as natural means. (This was a real surprise to us as we thought natural medicine was weaker and unreliable.) This means that Naturalpaths, Homeopaths, Chiropracters, and acupuncturists all seem to be able to treat our kids better than the allopaths. The only thing the allopaths seem to do well is order and read tests which is important.

All in all, we have spent (over the course of the 21 years of their lives) well over $200,000 out of our pockets for all the special therapies, school, tests, treatments, supplements, and other incidentals to help them both. We are now looking at our retirement years and seeing that we will be working well past age 65.