One of the interventions I mentions in my previous post that we were about to start was subcutaneous Methyl B12 injections. If you would like some background into the theory behind Methyl B12's effectiveness, I recommend reading Talk About Curing Autism's (TACA's) page on the subject and Dr. Neubrander's page discussing "Methyl B12: Myth, Masterpiece or Miracle." (Dr. Neubrander is one of the foremost proponents of Methyl B12 injections, and his recommended protocol is included at the end of the article.)
Bottom line: subcutaneous (as opposed to intnavaneous or intramuscular) injections of Methyl B12 have a pretty impressive track record of increasing language skills in children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) diagnoses (and possibly in others; I just haven't done research outside of this realm).
Due to a series of errors (I would say a "comedy of errors," but there wasn't much funny about it), in spite of the fact that we first got a prescription for Methyl B12 injections last June, we started them in January. I won't go into the myriad of things that went wrong.
As of our last appointment with our biomedical doctor, Zachariah had had exactly two shots. The doctor asked whether we had seen any improvements. At that point, we really hadn't seen anything that could be pinpointed as the Methyl B12. We had seen progress, but we had been seeing steady progress before we started the shots, so we couldn't be sure of a correlation.
At some point after that appointment, though, Zachariah brought me a calendar of classic cars and turned to the back where all 12 featured car pictures were shown. He asked me, "Mom, which one would you choose?"
You could have knocked me over with a feather.
He has never asked such a complex question before, not to mention that he was asking my opinion about something. Quite a higher level of communication than we'd seen. And we've heard a couple of other similar leaps since then. I am beginning to become a believer in the Methyl B12.
Oh, yeah, the injection part. Yes, we give our child injections. And by "we," I mean ML. I hold my phone (on the flashlight app, of course) in the general direction of where ML is working. And look the other way. And pray.
Why the flashlight? Did I not mention that we give him in injections in his sleep? And that he never wakes up?
Yeah, I'm a wimp. He barely feels it, and not enough to wake up. Really. (Dr. Neubrander has some videos on his site, if you're skeptical.)
Suffice it to say, we will be continuing the B12 shots for the foreseeable future. Especially if we can find a pharmacy that can file with our insurance. Successfully, that is.
My apologies to anyone who comes across duplicate posts in the next couple of days. I'm trying out some different methods of posting, so I am putting up and taking down multiples of each post to see which formats the best (and actually posts pictures).
I thought I'd list out some different things we've tried in our journey towards seeing Zachariah healed. At some point, I may try to list out the research behind these different approaches, but for now, I will link a blog which spells it out for you: http://moosemoms.blogspot.com/
I have heard about the writer of Moose Moms for years (through a friend who has been a guide to me through this process after her son was healed of autism several years ago), but I finally got to meet her and hear her speak this fall. She has a medical/scientific background, and I am so grateful for the hours upon hours of research she's poured through and summarized. For now, I will leave it at a basic link to her blog. Later, I hope to link specific posts that have been helpful to me.
*So, what are some things we have done with Z over the past year?
Gluten Free-Casein Free diet:
Gluten seems to act as an opiate in the systems of some autistic children, which means that A. they essentially become addicted to it, and B. it dulls their interaction with the world. Casein can cause allergic reactions that have negative effects on kids, as well.
We went GFCF as well as we could (for Z only) for about 8 months. And, can I say, if you think GFCF is expensive in the States, try paying those prices plus import fees for any specialized food. :-/
I say "as well as we could," because foods are not labeled in nearly as detailed a way where we live, so there was no way of knowing whether the catsup had gluten or not, for example. But I estimate we were 95-98% GFCF, which our biomedical doctor in the US (more about that later) said was adequate to see the result.
And that result was: while Z made significant progress during those months, he did not stop progressing when we reintroduced gluten and casein.
And I can't say that I was disappointed. Doing GFCF was torture, especially towards the end as Z became more and more aware of his surroundings and what he was missing out on (remind me to tell you sometime about baking a regular cake and a GFCF cake for his birthday and trying to do the bait and switch; or not). Would I have continued with GFCF if it had helped Zachariah? Absolutely. But I admit to being relieved that it didn't.
Now, I will say, if you're looking for an intervention that will potentially help your child, this one is one that I've heard over and over and over again makes a huge difference. For a lot of children. And if you're going to try it, you have to really throw yourself into it and totally clear out their diet, or it will still be in their system, and you won't see the actual results. It's worth it. Please don't let its lack of affect on Z dissuade you from trying this option.
Okay, so I think I bit off more than I can chew. The natives are restless, and I only touched on one intervention we'd tried. I'll list some more here as a reminder to come back and write about those. If you're reading along and want to hear about a specific one, let me know.
- cod liver oil
- quality multi-vitamin
- ABA parenting
- play therapy
- ABA therapy
- inclusion Pre-K classroom
- public school speech therapy
Interventions that we're in the process of starting:
- university speech department speech therapy
- methyl B12 injections
Ones that we'd like to/hope to try:
- hyperbolic oxygen chamber
*Caveat: I have neither a medical nor a scientific background. I am not promising that I'm going to explain all of this correctly. I will try, though. For a more specific explanation (and the research behind it), please see the Moose Moms blog.
I've been encouraged by a friend to blog more about our journey with Z. That is, after all, why I created this blog in the first place. And I want to. So I'm going to try again. To that end, I set up an account withposterous.com, which allows you to email content to your blog, including pictures. Now, I haven't explored what blogger itself lets you do these days, so maybe you can do that that way, too. I'm just experimenting with whatever will help me post more often. I have several *incredible* pictures of Z that a friend took this summer, so I thought I'd post them as I embark again on this blogging journey.
When you're living with a child with developmental delays and dealing daily with his challenges, it is difficult sometimes to step back and see the big picture of his progress. We have been trying to take time along the way to marvel at how far Zachariah has come in the past year.
- This time last year, he was speaking in one-word phrases. He now has many sentences that he has memorized and is regularly constructing new ones of his own!
- This time last year, we were just figuring out that he knew his siblings' names by watching to see whether he looked at them when we spoke about them. He now calls them by name and speaks to them!
- This time last year, we did not have much hope at all for potty training. He now has more successes than failures!
- Just four months ago, we told a speech/language assessor that he had asked his first question. He now asks questions of us daily!
Please continue to pray for Zachariah, as there are still plenty of hurdles to clear: his speech patterns, in general are still very typical of the autism spectrum ("You all done?" rather than "I'm done," for example); he still has a ways to go with potty training; he needs to progress in the back-and-forth nature of conversation; etc. But please, also, rejoice with us, praise the L0rd with us, thank Him with us for Zachariah's progress!