Eli is showing some red flags for autism. We are waiting for an appointment with a neurologist in a couple of weeks to find out, although some friends who have been down this road have recommended we see a pediatric psychologist instead. I’ll be looking into that this week. I honestly don’t think Eli is autistic right now. He is incredibly relational, shows empathy, likes to do everything with somebody else, and has been recently been showing vast improvement in giving eye contact.
I do however have this feeling that he is in danger of becoming autistic… kind of like he’s on the tipping point and it is important to keep him from going over. It is a gut-feeling, intuitive thing and it is very strong. It has only happened a few other times in my life and each time I have been later so thankful that I paid attention. I’m kind of feeling that God is giving me a heads-up here. And while it may seem a bit screwy to other people, especially with an issue like autism and all of the controversy that surrounds the condition, I don’t want to find myself a year from now with my son locked in his own world bemoaning the fact that I didn’t listen to the voice inside that was doing everything it could to get my attention. If in the end he does end up with an Autism diagnosis despite our interventions and precautions, at least I will know I did everything I could and not waste any time or emotional energy on guilt.
So what will we be doing?
First, we will see the neurologist and most likely the psychologist as well to make sure he doesn’t already fall on the spectrum. I may think he doesn’t, but I’m not a expert in this area and I’m also not completely objective when it comes to my little boy.
We will continue with the speech therapy and occupational therapy that he already receives for his speech delay and Sensory Processing Disorder. These are the same therapies he’d receive with an autism diagnosis. When we are at therapy I am trying to learn as much as I can and am continuing the activities at home. If he does get a diagnosis we will add on any other therapeutic interventions they recommend.
We took Eli to see Dr. Sears last week. It was an extremely helpful appointment. The biomedical theory about Autism makes sense to me. We will be following Dr. Sears’ advice found in the preventing autism chapter in The Autism Book: What Every Parent Needs to Know About Early Detection, Treatment, Recovery, and Prevention (Sears Parenting Library). See here for an overview of the book.
We have decided to stop all vaccinations (we were previously on his alternative vaccination schedule), at least for now. We will likely reevaluate this decision in a couple of years. We are starting Eli on the recommended supplements (multivitamin, cod liver oil, vitamin D, and a probiotic). And the biggie is we are now doing the gluten free casein free diet (GFCF). There will be future posts about that one, I’m sure.
(I know some of this stuff is controversial. I’ve read quite a bit from both sides, and this is direction we have chosen to take. While I am generally open to hearing conflicting points of view, this is a time of struggle for me and I don’t want the comment section on this post to turn into a heated discussion. It’s fine if you don’t agree with me, but please don’t choose this place and this time to spell it all out. I just don’t have the energy.)
As a footnote… We also spoke to Dr. Sears about how hard it has been lately to get Eli down at night. (Actually it always has been, but prior to therapy I could just let him sleep in in the morning and it wasn’t such a big deal.) It doesn’t matter when we try to start putting him down, or what we do, we are lucky if he falls asleep by 10:30 and often it is 11 or midnight. The doctor recommended we give him melatonin at night. I had wondered about that before but don’t feel comfortable giving supplements to the little guy without medical advice. Well, let me tell you, the stuff is amazing! Eli is out for the count and snoring away within 15 minutes of taking it.