Friday, January 14, 2011

The Final Part of How it all started with not AS many words

We got to NY and realized that, unlike most of the rest of the continental US, ABA is not the standard therapy for autism. Nothing is, actually, except what is offered by the public school system. NY actually is looked on by the other states as providing the BEST services from the school districts for special needs kids, so I am certainly not complaining. We have very much appreciated the speech therapy and special education services that the school district has given Rowan over the past year.  But it was very difficult to find anybody who knew anything about ABA when we got here. It took a lot of searching and phone calls. I googled "Autism Oswego NY" and everything similar, and then emailed or called every single person that had anything to do with autism in the area. Yeah. Obsessed much? Unashamedly. And it paid off.
Thanks to my friend Craig and his List, we found some college students to train in the ways of ABA, and a consultant nearby who was certified.  Thus began our program.  2 hours/day, 4 days/week (now we are up 4 hours/day, 5 days /week!). I can't even begin to tell you the progress we saw, pretty much immediately.  Here is an example from my journal before we started therapy and right around the time we started dietary stuffs: 

"March 28 – the past few days have been really difficult for him. Very irritable, throwing fits and basically asking to be disciplined. Getting more aloof and less and less interactive. Constantly scripting. Seems to be regressing." 

And here's one from right after one of his first therapy sessions:

"Ro came back up and could name all of his colors, numbers, animals, and all their sounds. He's never done any of that before! We are thrilled!"

Since then, he has learned an incredible amount of content, responds to his name immediately, makes excellent eye contact, and enjoys social interaction much more.   I could talk for a very long time about the benefits that this kind of one-on-one therapy has shown for Ro, but just take my word when I say that people who see him now for the first time in a few years can't even believe it's the same boy!
before we started in-home ABA therapy. notice the far away look in his eyes
a little over a year later. Thats a very non-far-off look in those beautiful eyes. :)
Now, all of these positive changes cannot be exclusively credited to the ABA therapy.  I've written about this before, so you can look back and read about the MB12 shots we had started giving him.  It was a tiny insulin needle with a few drops of methylcobalamin, which has been shown extensively in studies to improve many things like sleep, mood, attention, etc.  We did this for about a year and we believe it really helped! We decided to stop them to see if it made a difference, and since we didn't notice anything after doing that, we took it as a sign that that particular treatment had run its course. So we continued to focus on the yeast issue.  Since the meds didn't seem to work well, we were kind of at a loss. What now, Lord? Where do we go from here? There has to be a way to fix this little boy's body! We prayed and continued to believe that God would show us what to do next. So we waited. We just stuck with the gluten free, dairy free, sugar free diet and gave him his mega vitamins.  For months we waited. We didn't see any improvement in his gut, as evidenced by his nasty poops. Man, they were so nasty. 

Then one day, many months later, a friend contacted me about Essential Oils. Honestly, I always thought they were for hippies or those of the middle eastern religions. I hadn't researched them much, but what she told me about them was really appealing, and she had tons of testimonies about how they helped her and many she knew. If you dont know about them, go here and read a little. Really interesting. The original medicine, way before pharmaceuticals.  Anyway, after talking with her, and another person, and then another, about the major benefits they've seen, Joel and I prayed and talked and decided to go for it. And that's what we're doing today. And guess what? We're finally seeing improvement in his gut!! The nasty wasty poops are gone.  We haven't even been doing it for long. By 'it', I mean the topical application of the essential oils. We aren't doing much more than rubbing a few oils like Frankincense,  on his skin and sometimes we diffuse some into the air, but that's mostly cuz it smells really good.  I still don't know a ton about essential oils, though. Please do me a favor and don't google it. You will come across some majorly creepy and wierd people who use oils for some things that I definetly wouldn't endorse. But the fact still remains: This is the original medicine of earth, the stuff that was used in Jesus' day, and the stuff that is mentioned in the Bible over and over as having healing properties.

And this is where we are today. Using our oils, praying for continued guidance in parenting our extremely special children, and trusting God.  Through all of this, even in the valleys, we have always known that God is in control. Whether or not we think he's doing a good job sometimes is a different story but you know what?  What we think does not change God's goodness; only our perception of it, and praise God for that!  Since He IS good, He has never let us stay in that season of hopelessness. Every now and then we get very tired and discouraged, but He doesn't let us remain that way. He always brings us out with another glimmer of hope, of His faithfulness.  Even after all this, we fully believe that God is going to heal our boy, whether it is in 2 days, 2 months, 2 years, or 20 years. I love what I learned in my Beth Moore bible study:
God is who He says He is.
God can do what He says He can do.
I am who God says I am.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
His Word is alive and active in me.

Thanks for reading, friends. I will probably come back and update this as I remember things.  I know I've left alot out but this was a really good time for me to sit and recall the amazing progress my boy has made over this past year.   My deepest desire while writing this is that someone who might be struggling with a family member who has autism could be encouraged and drawn closer to God. He is your only hope, and the only one who can heal. Don't lose hope, and don't be afraid to dream big with God. He's bigger than you think He is, and better too.    I leave you with this quote from my favorite book by Kelly Langston called "Autism's Hidden Blessings."

"If love is all we have to give our children, then God will see to it that love is enough."



Carolina said...

thank you again - what an amazing journey you have all been on. we are blessed by your parenting, by your tenderness, by your heart. you are an amazing woman and Ro is blessed to have you!

susanna said...

i love you guys!!

Jessa said...

Thanks for writing all this out Jenn. I've learned a lot about Rowan's story that I didn't know. Also I've just recently started looking into essential oils. Can I ask where you are ordering them from? You can msg it to me on fb if you are able. Thanks~ :)

Kelly Langston said...

Oh, I so love this:

"My deepest desire while writing this is that someone who might be struggling with a family member who has autism could be encouraged and drawn closer to God. He is your only hope, and the only one who can heal. Don't lose hope, and don't be afraid to dream big with God. He's bigger than you think He is, and better too."

And yes, that line about "If love is all we have to give our children, then God would see to it that love was enough." IS TRUE.

I didn't think when I wrote it that God would be proving it true in the next two years...but that is what happened. and YES...HE IS ENOUGH.

Love ya, girl! Looking into those oils!