I originally started this blog a few years ago to chronicle Noah's daily struggles with autism. It was a dark time in my life - a time when I felt that things would never get better. It was a time when I felt that all my hopes and dreams for my son and for our family had died. In my efforts to help Noah recover from autism, I began a journey that inadvertently led me to rediscover myself. I learned how to laugh again. How to dream again. How to live again. How to love again.

Autism Schmaustism. He's still our son.

This is a blog celebrating our family. Our kids. Our life.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Catching up

Yikes, I can't believe it's been over two months since we updated (head hung in shame). To my defense, we have been soooooooooo sick lately. In the last two months, we've all had the flu. I've had strep twice and pink eye in BOTH eyes twice, and both boys have had strep (as of last week) and Noah had pink eye. It's been two months of constant sickness. Knock on wood, we're getting over it, but I do feel strep coming on. I think I must be a strep carrier or something b/c I get it waaaaaaaaay to often.

Okay, enough of that. Now for an update...

Last time I wrote, we were on our way to see a new homeopath. Well, that didn't work out. I'm trying to be really nice here, but basically she was bi-poloar or split personality or something b/c she turned on us like you wouldn't believe. Complete wacko. And Noah suffered because of it. His skin got infected and he had to go on antibiotics. Oh yeah, add impetigo to the list above. (Insert scowling face). We have had the worst luck with homeopaths, but fortunately, we are on our third - and third time is a charm. We're seeing Dr Ullman up in Washington. He and his wife wrote the book "Ritalin Free Kids" and "A Drug Free Approach to Autism and Aspergers". Two words: LOVE THEM! They are so relaxed and flexible. They've worked with over 4,000 kids - so they've got a lot of experience dealing with moms. haha. Seriously, though, that makes a huge difference. I feel really good about it. And, obviously, we believe that homeopathy will help Noah, otherwise we wouldn't keep at it, but we now realize how important it is to find one that meshes with your personality.

So, Noah seems to be making small, but steady progress. They're treating him with sulphur and hoping it will clear up his skin and also deal with his inability to process sulphur - and that inability has kept Noah from being able to benefit from many of the treatments available for autism. But because he is so incredibly sensitive to sulphur, he is doing the most diluted remedy available - LM- and only 1x a week. Even with that, he is popping out viruses. Within two days, he had an ear infection, rash on his face, and strep. Oh, and rancid BM's. (Hope you're not eating breakfast while reading this). Something is definitely happening. We're also noticing small improvements in cognition. For example: he thinks nothing of going into his room, moving the step stool over to his closet door, stepping up and turning on the lights, opening the door and digging through his toy box for a toy he wants. Sounds simple, doesn't it? But think about how many steps are involved and think about how Noah has to recognize that the light switch turns on the light. And that he isn't tall enough to reach it and then realizing that if he's taller then he can reach it. And then realizing that the step stool will achieve that skill. And then understanding that he has to move it over to the door and then has to step on it. And then he has to know that he has to step off the stool and put his hand on the door and turn it to open it. Then, he has to realize that his toys are kept in a certain place. But the best part is that in his mind, he is remembering a toy that he has and wants and can't see.... but he theorizes that it is in the toy box hidden underneath other toys, and that if he takes the other toys off, he'll find it.

It sounds so easy and IS so easy. That thought process is something we take for granted all the time, but just a few weeks ago, Noah couldn't do it. These types of things are happening more frequently and it's so exciting. Yeah, true, in the grand scheme of things, it's minute and doesn't matter. But it's one less thing out of a trillion billion jillion that he has to know and we have to teach him. So what if the fact that he can now open his wagon door, step inside, shut the wagon door, and sit down in the wagon isn't a skill that will help him graduate from high school. We're still incredibly proud of it and who knows what he'll be doing 20 years from now, you know?

We're definitely going to stick with the homeopathy, but we can't let it be the only thing we do. A friend of our is letting us borrow "The Listening Program". It's a program that helps with auditory processing disorders. I know two people whose children have started talking after using the program. It really helps with receptive language (what the child understands) and, you know, if you don't understand what's being said then how can you talk. Anyway, it's a really expensive program and she's letting us borrow it. Yea!!!!

We've also booked a camp in Austin at HALO for 4 days in October. It was founded by this lady, Soma, who taught her nonverbal autistic son to communicate by typing. It's actually a lot more scientific than that, but basically they're finding that kids with autism understand everything that is going on - they absorb things just like regular kids do, but can't communicate it. It's so wild to see kids like Noah handflapping and spinning in circles and then going up to a keyboard while rocking back and forth and slowly typing out conversations and essays. It's so amazing! And you CANNOT tell by reading them that these children have autism. It's insane. We're really excited about it. Truthfully, it's going to take several years for Noah to get to that point. I mean, he can't even recognize the letter "A" (that we know of), but Soma's going to teach us how to teach him and then we'll work on it at home.

Right now, our dilema is whether to homeschool Noah next year or keep him in school. He goes 1/2 days right now b/c he's in PPCD, but next year he'll be in Kindergarten (actually, Life Skills) and he has to go full days, every day. Noah misses sooooooo much school b/c he's always sick and we have tons of appointments here, there, and everywhere. So, I'm not sure what we'll do. We have a meeting about it on April 12, so say a prayer if you will that God's will prevails. I really don't know what to do.

Well, I have some pictures to upload that are too cute. Maybe I'll get around to that later on today. And I know I say this each time I write, but I'll try not to wait so long to update the blog next time.

Have a great weekend!

Noah's Mom