Some days, it feels like a lifetime ago that Nate was a nonverbal two year old struggling with meltdowns, eating issues, sleep issues, communication problems, etc. Other days, I feel like it was just yesterday I had to follow him around at the playground to remind him how to play, or ignore dirty looks in the grocery store check-out line, or make quesadillas and ketchup for lunch every day, or attend dozens of hours of various therapies every week.
Today, Nate is in 4th grade at a local public charter school, with no aids or services. He is a very smart boy. He loves video games, but since we limit screen time to weekends, he also loves reading, rainbow looming (creating rubber band bracelets), riding his bike and scooter, playing Legos with Levi (who is now almost six years old), and swimming. Socially, Nate is doing so well, when you consider that the things that come naturally to other kids (understanding joking/kidding behavior, just “getting” regular nine-year-old-boy behavior) are things he has to practice. Nate doesn’t play tough like other boys his age; he doesn’t make fun of other kids or understand when other kids make fun. A couple of months ago, we started him in a one-hour-a-week after-school social skills class to help him learn and practice some skills (sportsmanship, learning the difference between “laughing at” and “laughing with”, reining in tendencies toward bossiness). I’m hopeful he’ll take these lessons to heart, as sometimes those things are learned easier when coming from someone other than mom and dad (I think we must start sounding like Charlie Brown’s parents after a while).
I consider Nate a success story. Anyone who knew Nate only when he was two or three years old and met him again now for the first time in six-seven years would not believe he’s the same boy. Even people who are familiar with autism are surprised to learn he used to have a diagnosis!
So, what do we do to keep this success story moving in the right direction? Here is what our lifestyle looks like now:
- whole, healing, nourishing nutrition
- we still do not eat gluten, casein, soy, or sugar… but it’s more than that. We eat a whole foods diet with lots of good fats, properly prepared grains (soaking, sprouting), fermented foods, animal proteins, grass-fed butter (yes–butter!), fresh vegetables and some fruits, properly prepared nuts and seeds, and good-for-you treats (made with raw honey, grade B organic maple syrup, raw cacao powder, etc.). This is no longer the GAPS diet, but I credit the GAPS diet with revolutionizing how I look at food and nutrition for our kids.
- daily probiotics (HMF powder) and cod liver oil
- homeopathy and natural remedies
- UNDAs (through our naturopath)
- colloidal silver – we have completely healed pink eye and ear infections (also garlic oil)
- no antibiotics, no ibuprofen, no acetaminophen
- therapeutic-grade essential oils
- not only are essential oils fun to use, but also, combined with a healthy lifestyle of nutrition, good sleep, etc., they are extremely effective.
- contact me in the comments section if you’re interested in learning more about oils; I do sell them
- very few visits to the regular doctor
- we are empowered to take care of our own health and our kids’ health!
- no vaccinations
The picture of our lifestyle now is quite different from eight years ago. I can safely say I would have done nothing on this previous list eight years ago. But I also don’t want to think about what our lives might be like now if we hadn’t been on this journey full of positive changes. I believe Nate would not have made such strides; I believe we would all be getting sick much more often; I believe we would still struggle with behaviors–in all of our kids; I believe school–friendships, focus, stress–would be very difficult. I am glad for the road we have been on!