Sunday, July 26, 2009

Week 9

We are holding steady with the vitamins and supplements. We also have added milk back into Tyler diet this past week. This is where I'm confused.

I can't say that I've seen any concentration differences with Tyler this last week. However, I have been thinking about trying dairy free again in a few months when I am working with him every day doing school work. Perhaps even have Ryan sneak him some milk after 6 weeks so I don't know to be looking for it. Where the confusion comes in is with any physical symptoms. Many children on GFCF diets have a physical reaction to dairy. So if they get some they'll complain that their stomach hurts. In trying to find out if Tyler was having any of these things going on this week I asked him if his stomach hurt. He said no.

However, a couple of times over the last few days he has said that something with milk hurts his stomach. Just now he didn't want to eat his BBQ Beef sandwich (which he usually likes) because he said the cheese hurt his tummy. Now, I'm not entirely convinced that this is not the power of suggestion, so I am trying to figure out how seriously to take him. Any thoughts? He wanted a cookie after lunch but when we told him that they had milk in them (I used real butter this time) he opted not to have cookie. He started eating his cheese so he could get his cookie then decided that he would rather not have a cookie at all.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Week 8

Today marks the final week of adding something new into Tyler's diet. This week we are adding Pycnogenol into his daily vitamins. Specifically, Maritime Plus. The goal of this product is to increase focus and concentation. Tyler has been doing OK in this area, but then again I haven't been doing school with him lately to see if he's been any better lately. His problem is that, since he can't process everything you're saying, he tends to tune you out. It takes a great deal of concentration on his part just to focus and process what you're telling him. After the end of this week we just keep giving him everything that he has been taking for another month.

This past week was Bible School, and the report from his teacher is that he did great! I was with a younger class so I only observed him during the group singing time. He really love the songs and all of the motions that went with them.

Last night and today I have added some regular milk back into his diet. The only thing that I've seen so far that might be connected is that he was in a bad mood at church today. His bad moods are difficult to deal with, and overall he hasn't had as many lately. But that could be a coincidence and more directly tied to the fact that we changed the routine slightly. He has a notebook that he takes to church and he is allowed to draw pictures in it (usually of pirates). Last week we let him draw pictures for a while, then we gave him a piece of paper with the words "God" and "Jesus" written on it. Actually, I held the paper and it was his job to tell me if the pastor said either of those words. He did pretty well last week. We tried again this week, but we started with that instead of letting him draw first. He was OK at first, but unfortunately "God" and "Jesus" were not two key words for today's sermon so he lost interest after a while and wanted to draw. When I insisted that he pay attention he got frustrated with me and was in a bad mood for about the next hour. Next week I'll be sure to ask the pastor ahead of time for words that will keep him busy making tally marks.

Here's a picture of him during the VBS closing program (he's in the lime green shirt)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Week 7

This week we're adding in lecithin to Tyler's diet for the purpose of calming the nervous system. After this we only have 1 week left of adding things, then we will hold steady for another month with everything that he has. After this week I do plan on adding some milk back in to see what happens.

From Dianne Craft's website on lecithin:
There is another important fatty acid, lecithin, that helps the body digest and utilize the fats and oils that are so important to efficient brain and nerve function. Perhaps the greatest recent discovery is the use of lecithin to activate a sluggish mind, and improve memory. It accomplishes this by providing the body with the ingredients necessary to produce the vital neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. This is the neurotransmitter that is responsible for memory storage and retrieval, and the effectiveness of nerve signals in many areas of the brain.

One of the most exciting areas in which I have seen lecithin make noticeable differences is in the improvement of auditory processing function in children. I have received many reports from speech pathologists and parents telling of greatly improved auditory processing (hearing and remembering) in children who take this natural soybean product. My experience is that when lecithin is taken alone, it is very helpful, but when taken along with the essential fatty acids (fish oil, flaxseed oil, evening primrose oil) and Vitamin E, it produces marked results. Because of its fat emulsifying properties it helps the child's body digest the extra oils, thereby making use of them properly. Many children who have suffered with numerous ear infections benefit from the regular use of lecithin. The "cilia of the ear," (the tiny hair-like parts of the ear) are frequently damaged when many ear infections have occurred. It is known that the highest concentration of Vitamin A in the whole body is in the "cilia" of the ear. Lecithin increases the body's absorption of this vital Vitamin A dramatically. Thus it is very healing to the areas in the ear structure and brain that affect efficient auditory processing function. In the MIT study referred to earlier, in testing adult subjects in learning and memory tasks, it was found that the subjects taking lecithin daily showed "improvement of thinking and intelligence." Since we know that the left hemisphere of the brain is responsible for auditory storage, and we often refer to it as the "thinking hemisphere," we can see how any substance that improves auditory processing would also affect the thinking ability of the brain. The MIT study also referred to substantial improvement in the area of speech. Again, this is mainly a left-brain function. This is a very exciting application of research, since auditory processing problems are historically difficult and lengthy to treat. Dr. Levinson, a neurologist from New York, in his book Total Concentration, states that he frequently uses lecithin to help both attention and learning in his young patients.
She also has some information about lecithin and how it relates to hyperactivity. You can read the whole article here.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Through Good Times and Bad Times

Recently I've posted quite a few positive things about Tyler. Currently I'm being reminded that we still have a long way to go. While his speech and other things seem to be progressing faster than they were before, there are still a few other areas that haven't seem to changed at all. For example, just now he got very upset that the buckets that were purchased for the beach were being used outside. They are for the sand. Not dirt. No matter what I said could convince him that it was OK. I finally sent him to his room to calm down. It's the type of being upset that, to most people, would sound like the child just needs some more sleep. Or something. It's as though he is incapable of getting a grip. Like the world is overwhelming. Anytime I've felt like this it usually means that I need to start taking my supplements again to get everything to even out. I just don't know how to help him sometimes....

Monday, July 6, 2009

Week 6

I think that I mentioned before that in years past, Tyler would NOT watch the fireworks and he would block everything out by closing his eyes and burying his face in my shoulder. The last show we went to included us having to leave as quickly as possible and Tyler was very nervous about everything else that night.

All this past week Tyler was very excited about going to the fireworks show. We got to the field around 7:00 so we had to wait for about 2 1/2 hours for the show to start. Even though we knew what time it was the show still started without warning, so it did surprise Tyler a bit at first. This is a picture of Tyler at the beginning of the show:

After a few minutes we pulled out the ear protection and he watched for a while that way. During one of the slower moments his daddy convinced him to pull of the ear protection since it wasn't that loud. Here is a picture of how Tyler enjoyed at least half of the show:

After a bit Ryan told Tyler that the finale was coming up and that he could put the ear protection on if he wanted to. He did and he enjoyed every minute of it! When it was over he said, "I LOVE fireworks!" Meanwhile, I think I cried through half of the show!

This week Tyler adds high amounts of fish oil to his daily vitamin intake. The last time that he was taking fish oil we could see several changed in him, but this is in a much high dose so I'm optomistic.

The other thing that is happening this week is it ends our 6 week trial of being dairy free. However, Tyler will be in VBS all next week so I think I'll wait until that is over to put some dairy back in so I'll be able to monitor him better for changes.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

1 in 100

Recently, I read an article that estimates the autism rate in the US as 1 in 100. As always, this number is debated as it is different than the number the CDC has published. However, this got me thinking.

1 in 100. Wow. Does that seem high to anyone else? Why have the numbers grown so much? I have a few theories of my own, but nothing that I can prove. My theories include things like:
  • The qualifications for autism have widened so that they include children that would not have previously been included.
  • More people having their children "officially" diagnosed in order to benefit from the outpouring of programs available
  • Vaccine link
  • Food link
  • Environmental link
I won't go into each of these to explain my theory on them. I think that you may not find it interesting at all, or would just write me off as crazy. That's ok. I can handle it :-)

After I was thinking about 1 in 100 for a while something else struck me as odd. 1 in 100? Is that all? What I mean is this: I can name 10 children right off the top of my head that have some form of autism. These children belong to friends of mine. I did not meet them in some type of autism support group. These are just children that have crossed my path over the natural course of 7 years time. The 10 children that I can name doesn't even count all the children that I worked with in high school when I was in day cares and school age child care programs. However, I don't think that I would venture to say that I know 1000 children, even if I counted all of the child care kids. Not that I'm going to sit here and count them, but I'm pretty sure that I would fall short of 1000.

What do you think? Is 1 in 100 high or low?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Out of Sync?

Tonight I picked up The Out-of-Sync Child and The Out-of-Sync Child has Fun from our local library. I was pretty proud of myself because I actually thought to get them from the library instead of buying them off of Amazon! Someone recommended these books to me a while back and they've been on my wish list ever since.

I started scanning through the books tonight and I must admit that I'm mixed between baffled and frustrated. This just doesn't seem like Tyler. Maybe he just has a few sensory integration (SI) things going on. He is simply not the typical SI child. Then again, maybe there isn't a "typical" non-typical child? I would really love to get The Mislabeled Child, but our county libraries don't carry that one. I just figured out how to request a book from other libraries in the state, so we'll see how long it takes to get it in!

In the good news I did the yeast test with Tyler and it came out good! I'm going to keep testing him for the next couple of days, but for now it looks like I don't have to worry about the low carb/low sugar diet. This is a big relief on one hand, but it also means that the checklist for yeast overgrowth probably doesn't apply to him. So I suppose that it means one more thing that we know it isn't.....on to the next!