Friday, October 30, 2009

6 months - 30 DMSA/ALA rounds

It has been 6 months since we started the Andy Cutler chelation protocol. Jonathan had a rough start, particularly with the intestinal yeast. But he has really adapted to it. I eliminated the intestinal yeast with a product called In-Liven. He has perfectly formed stools now and he has no other adverse reaction.

Sick for the first time in almost 2 years

For the first time in almost 2 years, Jonathan got very sick. Vanessa caught a virus from school on Monday and came home with a fever. This turned into a very high fever with a dry cough that evening and all day Tuesday. Jonathan seemed fine. I took Vanessa to the Dr's worrying that it could be H1N1, but the Dr. said that she was fine. Just a virus and that I had to keep her fever down. He expected her fever to last 24 to 32 hours. On Wednesday she was all recovered. But Jonathan came down with the same virus. It hit Jonathan harder than Vanessa. He developed an extremely high fever of 103.9 almost the entire night. I took him to the Dr's on Thursday and he came to the same conclusion. A virus and I needed to keep his fever down which proved to be challenging. Jonathan had very had fever the second night and the second day. We all got pretty scared at some point when it reached 104.5 and the Motrin was not working. I was at work and my dad bathed him with cool water and put some ice on his head. I don't recall Jonathan having such high fever since he was a baby when he had pneumonia. After 48 hours, his fever started to go down. But it was very scary. He also had a bad cough that stated to get better after 48 hours.

New School

Jonathan started in a new private school this year. This school was built for kids with certain types of learning challenges such as anxiety, ADD, and high functioning autism to mention a few. The children-teacher ratio is small so that the teachers can focus on the children. They also offer a number of therapies that we did with Jonathan via private sessions, so we don't have to do them after hours any more. We love it. Jonathan loves this new school, he is doing great and he is learning a lot.

General Observations

In the past few months, Jonathan has continued to improve. I sometimes sit back and reflect on things that he says or behaviors and realize how far he has come. The combination of the neurofeedback, the Andy Cutler chelation protocol and the new school has made a huge impact in his progress the past 6 months.

His brain continues to "wake up". And I don't notice it so much any more because it is second nature now. But I notice it more when other people point it out. When I took him to the Dr's office yesterday, his former pediatrician saw him. Jonathan doesn't like him as much as his regular Dr. because he is a bit rougher. Vanessa doesn't like him much either. The nurse took us in and asked what was going on. I explained and Jonathan added some comments and then he asked which Dr. was going to see him. The nurse told him that is was Dr. M. Jonathan's eyes opened up and he turned to me and said in low voice "I don't like Dr. M Mom. He is rough. Is he going to do the stick in the mouth?" and I said that I knew he didn't like him, but he needed to be brave. He stared at me and I said "be good and do what the Dr. tells you so it doesn't hurt. It hurts when you fight him". And he said "ok mom". When the Dr. came in the room and asked Jonathan what happened (since we had been there 2 days before with Vanessa), Jonathan had a fairly normal conversation with the Dr., explaining that he was sick and that at 2am he had 103 fever and he missed school because he was sick, etc. The Dr. checked him thoroughly and when done, Jonathan turned to me and said "I did it mom. I was brave". And I cheered him and explained to the Dr. that he didn't like the stick and that I had asked him to be brave. The Dr. asked him a few other questions and told Jonathan that he had a "big brain" like his mom, and Jonathan said "yeap, I know. Humongous". The Dr. laughed, turned and said to me "Mom, you made my day. It has been a rough day, but witnessing such miraculous progress made my day. You have done a great job with him. This is fantastic. You made my day. This is just a virus like the one Vanessa had. He'll be fine by Friday. Happy Halloween". My eyes got tearful and I thanked him. I see that there is still so much work to do, but I really appreciate outside feedback to keep me going.

He continues to be obsessed with electronics, now into listening to music and creating contacts in my iPod and sending emails to friends, family and even his school principal. We are working on a reward system so he starts earning electronic playing time because it is becoming uncontrollable.

Despite the electronics obsessions, I am very happy that he finally has gotten into Lego's. I always, since he was a baby, wanted him to play with Lego's and he never liked it. But something changed in the past few weeks. He likes the Lego's with the books so he can follow instructions. He does a very nice job completing them. It is now turning into an expensive hobby.

My concerns continue to be:
  • Expressive Language: he still says things that are off, or not socially correct and sounds flat sometimes. He is also very loud. He simply does not speak like other neurotypical kids his age. There are times when he sounds neurotypical, but not 100% of the time. My personal goal is to see his verbal IQ reach 95 by the time he goes to college. With a non-verbal IQ of a genius, he needs to be able to articulate better as he grows up so he can be part of society and become independent by the time he goes to college. But I now realize how hard reaching this goal is. Just before Kindergarden, his verbal IQ was 77. Before first grade, it was 79. And before second grade it was 80. And it is shocking to me because the overall improvements each year have been dramatically, but his expressive language continues to improve slowly compared to other areas of his autism. And his expressive language continues to be my main focus.
  • Social Adaptability: he has a serious trouble fitting in with other children his age. If the situation does not involve electronics, he does not play well. Sometimes he becomes preoccupied and rigid and tells the kids not to break rules. If the game is fun, he will play for a while until something makes him get upset and then he turns away. This is another one of the areas I am worried about. As he grows older, he needs to learn to adapt more.
  • Playing Skills: Jonathan simply won't play with toys other kids his age like to play with. He doesn't have the initiative to imagine situations and play with action figures, cars, dinosaurs, etc. Despite all the play therapies he has gone through, despite Vanessa's attempts, he simply cannot on his own pick up a toy and play with it. If he doesn't have an electronic toy, or a board game to play with, or Vanessa to guide him, he will simply lay on the couch and suck his thumb. Because he is not able to do this, it affects his playing skills with other kids, which affects his social adaptability.

Overall I am very pleased with the accomplishments. He is more engaged and more social these days. He is doing very well at school, so that part I don't have to worry about. And he is a really good kid, very sweet and with great intentions.