My fiance talks about her early life together with her son, a life filled with screams and biting, weight loss because nothing fit into his taste spectrum, weeks on end of sleepless nights, not feeling like she was loved by her own child, being bitten and hit out of his frustration because he was non-verbal. The screams of getting a haircut at a “kid friendly” salon, being told he’d be institutionalized, not being able to go out for a simple trip to the store, rejection from day cares were enough to make anyone question their sanity.
When I met them almost one year ago, he spent a lot of time on his computer, and they were into a steady workable routine. I’d never parented a human before, but I had spent years … hundreds if not thousands of hours reading about what goes into our bodies and how it affects us, how we interact with the world when we aren’t eating what is conducive to our needs, and what can happen with the slightest changes of consumption. With love, education and support, everyday is a progression forward.
I entered into our relationship with an open and ready heart and mind, and the only viable attitude of loving him as my own. I came into this knowing that much of what I’d learned from the hours spent reading would now help someone. Readers are leaders and leaders are readers.
Early on, we changed his bread from standard white sugary bread, to an organic ancient grains white bread full of nutrients and vitamins. Within 3 days, the chicken skin that consumed his body was cleared away, except for his arms, which is the most common spot for gluten intolerance indication. We aren’t 100% gluten free, but we reduced it dramatically, along with the sugar that was in the earlier bread, and it made a significant improvement for him, and for us. We’ve made tremendous reductions to artificial sweeteners in his consumption, and will continue to further adjust as we navigate forward.
We’ve given him structure, support, love, rules, boundaries, guidance, advice, coaching, encouragement, new ideas and activities such as: School of Rock, Cub Scouts and horse riding lessons. I come into this with a bit more structure, rules, etiquette, and Tosca lives in love and the “soft” touches, history, understanding, battle scars, years of small wins she wasn’t sure would come. Now, we have small (and big) wins almost everyday.
Over the summer, we focused on pleasantries. Please, thank you, have a nice day, how was your day?, asking for what we want and need, and using a kinder tone. We’re now working on being self aware—wiping his face, tucking pockets in, not picking his nose, making sure he’s ready to face the day.
He no longer argues that he doesn’t know how to do something when we ask him to do something new—put his clothes away, put his dishes away, toss trash in the bin, clean his room, feed and water our dogs … the list is growing, and he will be a beautifully well-rounded adult one day, that is more than capable of independence and love and happiness and fulfillment and success.
We have progressed from: having a very dependent 8 year old that needed a lot of things done for him to a very independent 9 year old, that is largely self-sufficient and maturing so beautifully into the amazing person that he is meant to be, without the confines of most of what was his restrictive world of Autism. He is: an amazing singer with rhythm like you’ve never heard, kind, caring, empathetic, generous, funny, extremely observant, intelligent, inventive, crafty, savvy, fashionable, cuddly, affectionate, polite, steadfast in who he is, stubborn, convincing, negotiating.
He is amazing and I can’t believe I get to be a part of this.
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