Recovery Print E-mail

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When I first read Catherine Maurice's "Let Me Hear Your Voice," 
I was filled with great hope that I could "recover" my child. 
We set out to find ABA therapists in my area, locate a consultant/trainer/troubleshooter/specialist in autism, and create an in-home "classroom" to begin his recovery. We have been at this for about 2 years and we have seen huge improvements. He had zero words to start in November 2000 and now he has over 700 words and has over 50 phrases that have multiple word combinations up to 3-8 word sentences. He is beginning to ask questions and will actually try and converse with us!! He comments on things in his environment and is using a lot of descriptions and cool phrases. He has learned a lot of phrases from his classmates not to mention body language. He is now into what the other cool 4 year old NT boys are interested in -- Rescue Heroes, Power Rangers, Super Hereos, Star Wars and such. Good bye to Blue's Clues, Bob the Builder, Toy Story and other pre-school icons.

We now have him in a private pre-K with a constant shadow that we pay for. It has become very expensive for us, but we are trying to keep our focus on providing him the most we can these early years. I think being around NT kids in a regular classroom has helped him so much. I know he could not have done it on his own (especially in the beginning) without a shadow but hopefully in the next couple of years we will be able to fade the shadow (teacher assistant) out. Andrew still needs the one-on-one therapy to close the gaps where his delays are concerned. If only time would stand still, we might could catch up. We still deal with some behaviors and idiosyncrasies but it is so much better. We are currently trying to " recover " little things to help him along. We use the ABLLS, the Brigance, the ABA curriculum book (Catherine Maurice inspired) to judge where he is at and where we should go next. We are really a team- parents and therapists. It can be an odd relationship but we all want the same thing--to help Andrew reach his potential. Sometimes more personalities with different techniques can create a better program.

"This next section was written in the spring of 2001 and I wanted to keep it on the site to help anyone understand what was going on when he was 3 years old." 
In the spring of 2001 we started a once a week "school time" where 3 non-autistic children come over and they practice things that he will need to know for school like songs, circle time, holding hands and walking in a line, calendar song/time, good morning song where they have to answer questions (your name, age, favorite color, etc..) and more. The video I watched a few weeks ago of their "school time" was amazing (Remember this was around January-March 2001). Andrew got his carpet square like the other kids, he sat cross-legged on it the whole time, answered questions, sang songs and performed the hand/body motions to them. He even asked someone else a question during the good morning song ("What's your name?"). My husband and I re so proud at how far he has come. Back in November 2000, he could not even sit in a chair, follow directions, match, and could not talk. It gives us hope through the rough days. The therapists have worked hard and try to make it fun for him, but in the end it is still a lot of work for him to do. He is behind and he does have a lot of catching up to do. The best part is that he loves the praise and is very proud of his accomplishments.

What I have tried to do on this page is to include some information and links that may help you understand what other families and researchers are doing to "recover" autistic spectrum children. I don't know why some children do not recover, but I do know that there are too many children being diagnosed and even one child that is not recovered is one too many. As parents, all we can do is to help our children to do the best they can with what they have.

I know that I may not be able to "recover" my child totally, but I will fight the damage that has been to my son as long as I have a breath in my body. For me "recovery" is a multifaceted ideal. We "recover" Andrew from new things every week. He might be playing inappropriately with the musical flute/recorder (taking the top off and on). We work with him on how to play with it appropriately and that is a small problem we have "recovered." We take him out and expose him to different sounds, lights, and activities so that we can help him to get used to dealing with things that might bother his senses (was real hard at first with people staring and making comments about his behavior but he has improved so much. We try not to do too much in a routine way so that he can get used to change (this has been hard but he is doing well with it). We are not trying to make him into a robot or to torture him. We are basically trying to help him prepare for the world that he will be exposed to.

In the end he will hopefully have reached his greatest potential and be the happiest and most successful that he can be. No matter what, we will love him and appreciate him like no other.

I encourage you to find a good doctor, preferably someone with knowledge of the DAN (Defeat Autism Now) protocol. Have them run tests on your child to check for things you would feel comfortable with such as: fragileX, amino acids, metals, intestinal permeability, candida, yeast, mercury toxicity, food allergies, viruses, vitamin & mineral deficiences, and such. Most, if not all, of our kids have medical/biological problems that need to be addressed; read a great paper about medical/biological problems in our children. Check out what the Pfeiffer Treatment Center has to say about Metallothinonein (MT) and Autism (supposedly affects 99% of our ASD kids). I would also suggest that you order the DAN protocol for yourself. While you are trying to heal your child's immune system and gut, start with the therapy that will help catch them up developmentally ( ABA, Speech, VB, OT, PT, Supplements, etc..). Check out my BioMedical Page for more information and links. 
Remember to listen to what your child's body is telling you.