The reason I've been so notably absent is that I have a new (unpaid) job, which is to fill in for the tutor we had working with Rosemary's Baby. I've been learning how to do his ABA therapy from the professionals and working with him on it every morning, which takes a chunk out of my day and leaves me feeling frazzled and stressed by the time the kids are in bed at night. But the good news is that, while I can't do this long-term and stay sane, for the time being I am learning some really important, really interesting stuff here. And it's made me realize that when we do get a new tutor (and there's one on the horizon now--woo hoo!) that this is something I can creatively implement during his downtime. So this whole sorry situation hasn't been a complete waste.
A few people have asked questions which I've been meaning to answer, so I'm going to switch gears for a minute and talk about the diet my boy's been on for about a year now. If this is simply not something that interests you, by all means stop reading, go grab another cup of coffee, and enjoy the rest of your weekend. I understand completely.
When I first realized that Rosemary's Baby was, in fact, not the seed of evil, but actually autistic, the lack of scientific knowledge of this disorder was deflating, to say the least. The idea that my baby had something that couldn't be cured by modern medicine, and that no one could guarantee me could be treated with any degree of success was pretty devastating. The most frustrating thing was that I had absolutely no control. And that's when I decided it was worth it to look into some of the alternative treatments that are out there. To be honest, I didn't really expect them to do any good. I just needed to feel that I was taking control of the situation.
The first thing I should say about the Gluten-Free Casein-Free (GFCF) diet is that it does not work for everyone and it is not a cure. And despite popular perception, for the record, Jenny McCarthy has never claimed that it is one. I am no autism expert and I cannot speak for anyone else. But what I think is happening with my own child is that yes, he has autism, but he also has some other medical issues (mainly of the gastrointestinal variety) that seem to be making the autism symptoms more severe. I believe that all of his medical conditions, including the autism, are ultimately the result of genetics. But that doesn't mean that environmental factors (like the Hep B shot he received unnecessarily at birth, the severe vaccine reaction he had at 18 months and the ever-increasing amount of junk that's put into our foods to make them last through to the next ice age) haven't helped his autoimmune problems along. And putting him on the GFCF diet and a probiotic, upping his vitamins (under the supervision of a pediatrician--VERY IMPORTANT!) and reducing the amount of sugar and processed food that goes into his body has made a tangible difference to his behaviour.
For my child, the big changes we saw were as follows: he started sleeping better (which affects absolutely everything else in life, no?!), his hyperactivity level changed drastically, his focus and attention improved, his language increased, and his skin and digestive problems improved. His stimming also slowed down. He is not cured of autism. He is not cured of digestive problems. But he has improved enough that I think it's made a difference to how receptive he is to the therapies that are proven to be most effective for kids with autism. So for me, the herculean effort (and horrendous cost, unfortunately) is well worth it.
Stepping down off the soapbox.
On Thursday night I was doing dishes when I was alarmed by the most almighty crash I have ever heard coming from the living room. I ran in to find Rosemary's Baby standing on the window sill, grinning at me, surrounded by yards of curtain fabric and a pile of debris fit for a scrap yard. Turns out that when a 45lb kid wants to swing Tarzan-style from the living room curtains, he'll bring down not only the curtains, but the curtain rod and 8 feet of crown moulding with it. Like I was saying, seed of evil...