Evan Turns Three!

July 21, 2011

Believe it or not, the little man has turned three!  Its hard to believe this little guy…

Has grown into this little dude…

We love him so much and are celebrating his birthday today! 

When I see people at church or in the grocery store, they sometimes ask me ‘How is Evan doing?’  For a long time, it was a hard to spit out an answer.  ‘He still doesn’t talk…’ is not quite the best response, as you can imagine. 

Awhile ago, I determined that it might be good to just respond with the good things Evan had been up to.  In fact, I notice that more people take an interest in him now that I do this.  So, in an effort to keep those of you reading my blog up-to-date, I think I am going to start posting a progress report monthly. 

I hope you enjoy reading about the little miracles, as much as I enjoy seeing them!

July’s Miracles

  • Evan gave me a kiss!  I did not ask for one, nor was it bedtime (which is when we normally kiss).  Loved it!
  • Evan said ‘Apple’ on the Fourth of July!
  • He is still bringing us his sippy cup when he needs more to drink.
  • We prompt him to say ‘eat’ when he is hungry and he actually does it!
  • He has graduated from First Steps and will start full-time ABA therapy in September! 
  • When we ask for a hug, he comes and gives us one.
  • Evan understands the word ‘go’ in many different contexts now – pretty useful when we need to transition!
  • Evan can walk up and down 6-7 steps with a hand on the wall or railing.  When we hold his hand, he even alterntes feet!
  • Tessa spilled Evan’s bowl of crackers last week.  Evan picked them up himself without ANY prompting – even putting them in his bowl!
  • One of the skills we are emphasizing lately is getting dressed.  Evan can now pull up his pants all by himself (with prompting).  He also slips his shoes on (with visual prompting) and tugs on his shirt to get it over his head (no prompting). 

Changes Made in July

  • We have begun praying over Evan nightly, before bed.  We pray that God will super-charge his development.  And, most importantly, we tell Autism to go away in the name of Jesus!  He seems to really like this whole process, because he smiles and giggles at us (making lots of eye contact).  He is probably thinking, “What are you crazy people doing now?” 
  • We actually stopped the GFCFSF diet!  Our doctor wanted to see if Evan had changes in his behavior when he was taken off of the diet.  Things are looking good so far – its been about a week and a half!  And our budget has certainly benefited!

To wrap it up…

I read a book by Mother Teresa in high school.  In it, she wrote…

“We can do no great things. Only small things with great love.”

This quote speaks strongly to my ‘mother’s heart’.  Sometimes we can look over the small things in our day, like filling a sippy cup or playing with blocks.  Yet, these are the most important moments.  Evan learns in completely different ways than other children.  Words, actions – they mean nothing to him most of the time.  But the moment I take my hand, put it on his and help him do something – it becomes real.  Its ‘mothering’ to the extreme. 

When I first started this journey with Evan, I thought one thing would make the difference and help him turn the corner.  Now, I know it is the little things.  It is the daily prayers.  The hand-over-hand, the extra mile when I am tired – that he needs most. 

Pray for me.  Its hard to fill every action with love.

And I will pray for you – that every action is filled with love.

GFCFSF: Getting Started

February 15, 2011

Once you have decided to go with the GFCFSF diet, then your next questions are likely, “How do I do this?” and “When should I do this?”  There are tons of variables and no one can really tell you what will work best for your family.  However, I’d like to share, from one mom to another, what led me to my decisions regarding the diet.  Additionally, I will share things that I thought could have gone better, what worked (and what didn’t) and how my kids responded.

When should I begin?

The number one variable to consider here is economics, in my opinion.  I knew I would be replacing most everything in our cupboards and refrigerator.  However, I was not prepared for the cost of simple things like GFCFSF ranch (which is almost non-existant), ketchup and mustard.  Additionally, I was prepared that we would be spending more, but I had not realized that start-up would rock the boat so much.  Previously, I had been spending about $80/week on groceries.  My first grocery bill on GFCFSF was $150 and I think it lasted all of 3-4 days.  I know with time that I will make things more affordable for my family by making many things from scratch, but I can only try so many recipes in one week.  Additionally, purchasing new and replacement ingredients for our pantry (rice flour, xantham gum, baking soda in the aluminum free container) every week drives the bill up. 

The second thing I considered was whether I should see a DAN! practitioner first.  DAN! is the Autism Research Institute’s response to biomedical intervention to cure autism.   It stands for, my favorite phrase, defeat autism now.  I believe this year they are changing the name.  You can view more information here.  Biomedical intervention consists of things such as the GFCFSF diet, vaccination considerations, chelation, etc.  Many of these therapies and treatments are not widely accepted in the medical community, because there is a lack of proven research.  By proven, we mean controlled studies of thousands of people.  However, there are doctors out there who recognize the value of biomedical intervention and you probably want to get involved with one.  One of the things they can do is test your child for gluten, casein and tons of other allergies/sensitivities.  This test may mean that you will be eliminating more than just gluten, casein and soy.  If you are looking to do all of this at once or want more guidence in implementing the diet, then waiting to see a DAN! practitioner is best.   I decided initially to go this route.  However, when I called for the appointment there were no openings for four months.  When I heard this, I decided just to dive in.  I wanted to see change before then.

Evan’s Escapades

January 3, 2011

Today marked the 24 hour time mark for the GFCFSF diet.  Evan seems to like most of the food, except the rice milk.  I am thinking of taking the unopened cartons back to the store and purchasing some Coconut and Hemp milk.  There are some good recommendations for those in the GFCF Kids yahoo group.  This morning I noted increased eye contact and jargon.  He also had more purposeful play.  For instance, he strung three trains together and moved them along the rails.  He seemed to be really enjoying himself!  Then, when the occupational therapist arrived, he didn’t cry and seemed ‘ready’ for therapy.  Usually, there is a large transition between play and therapy  that consists of crying and hugging until Evan is soothed.  It has been very rocky!  This is, word-for-word, how the therapist described today’s session:

“Evan did not cry today!  Was able to begin therapy session without tears.  Seen in family living area.  Evan appropriately answered ‘no’ to therapists questions 2 times.  He said ‘yes’ to rolling on ball, being ‘squished’ by ball 2x near end of session.  He gave eye contact more frequently on lap/near therapist…”

I hope this was not some fluke and the GFCFSF diet is clearing the fog around Evan so he can enjoy life!