Yesterday, I saw a glimpse of FULL recovery! As I write this blog, tears of joy are flowing!
A little background before I describe what happened:
Five and a half years ago my son, Eli, emerged from autism when we started the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). His life and our family’s life was transformed forever. Within a year, I considered him “mostly recovered.” At that time, I was certain he would reach “full recovery” soon.
It’s been 4 ½ years, and the “full recovery” I thought was just around the corner has not happened. I have never lost faith. However, I must admit that I have been weary of working so hard with only a few new improvements in recent years. It’s like losing a lot of weight but struggling to lose that last 10 pounds.
Since we started the The Son-Rise Program® with Eli 15 months ago, we have started to see those “last 10 pounds” melt away slowly but surely. But in the past few weeks things have moved more rapidly. Yesterday blew my mind and brought tears of joy to my eyes.
Here’s What Happened
Yesterday, I had a meeting scheduled to meet with an NC senator with my friend, Laura, and her son, Colson. Laura, Colson and I make frequent trips to the NC legislature. Eli has never chosen to join us. Though Eli loves Colson, an extremely accomplished neurotypical 14 year old, he never chooses to join us for meetings with lawmakers. In fact, until recently, Eli has refused to do much outside of his comfort zone which consists of our house and our neighborhood.
Yesterday morning, I was giving him the scoop on my plans to be gone to the legislature for a couple of hours – not even dreaming he would ever consider coming. Then, he asked if Colson was going to be there. I said yes, then he asked, “If I come would you give me a square of chocolate?” (It was unsweetened baking chocolate btw.)
I explained that I’d love for him to come, but Colson and his mom have an appointment afterward, so we won’t be able to hang out with them afterward AND he would have to dress up AND he would have to let me talk about his vaccine injury and his autism with the senator AND he would have to make eye contact and shake the senator’s hand. Normally these terms would have shut him down completely.
Instead, he said he’d agree to my terms IF I would also take him out to lunch afterward at our favorite restaurant. We had a deal! (He has only willingly eaten out at a restaurant a hand-full of times in the past year and a half.)
I was wondering if this is all too good to be true when he returned to the room in dressy clothes he usually refuses to wear. OMG! He was doing it! He even let me help him comb his hair, and he washed the chocolate (he’d already started eating) off of his face.
It was really happening!
When we arrived at the legislature, I was still pinching myself. The cavernous halls were extra full with the noise and commotion of a group of elementary school kids and a group of high schoolers.
When we met up with our friends to await our turn with the senator, Eli was relaxed and chatted freely with perfect eye contact. Laura said that she’d never seen him use such eye contact – even in the comfort of our home.
Then the senator came to get us. Eli was prepared for a hand shake which he let me coach him on before we left the house, but the senator gave the boys a fist bump instead. Eli went with the flow and fist bumped him.
After the meeting, Eli shook the senator’s hand and we retreated to a conference table in the hall. This picture of Eli (right) and Colson was taken right after the meeting with a not-very-friendly senator. As you can see, Eli was relaxed and not stressed by the meeting or all of the commotion going on in the hall.
We headed over to our restaurant and had a wonderful, relaxed lunch. Eli told me, “I could tell you were a little nervous in the meeting, but don’t worry. I could tell only because I’m your son, and I know you well. You did a great job.” My heart swelled with pride – not because of the compliment itself, but because he freely gave me such heart-felt, encouraging feedback totally unprompted.
Just a few months ago, the simple act of eating out in a restaurant with me was considered great progress! Yesterday was so much more than that!
When I got home and received this picture of the boys and saw just how relaxed Eli was in the picture, tears poured down my face. I had spent the day with a high functioning, neurotypical child. And to add icing to the cake, last night at bedtime, Eli said to me, “Mom, we had a great day today!”
I know there are still ups and downs on the road ahead, but now I know for a fact that he is capable of a completely neurotypical life.
Want to know more about what’s been helping us move from “mostly recovered” toward “fully recovered”?
We have continued with the SCD diet for 5 ½ years. We have allowed in unsweetened chocolate and stevia, but otherwise, Eli and I continue to eat only those SCD foods that make us feel good. The diet is our cornerstone for every other intervention we use.
We started The Son-Rise Program® from the Autism Treatment Center of America in January of 2016 and brought a Son-Rise teacher, Susan Humphries, to our home for 2 days in November of 2016. Son-Rise was helping, but having Susan spend 2 days really getting to know Eli and helping us set goals and develop strategies was a turning point for us.
We have 4 wonderful volunteers who I have trained in the Son-Rise method. They spend cumulatively 16 hours a week playing with Eli using the Son-Rise method. They go with Eli into his autistic world and with their love, enthusiasm and joy, show him how awesome life can be in the neurotypical world too.
I am forever grateful to Raun K. Kaufman, the original recovered Son-Rise child who is now a recovered adult, for encouraging me to give Son-Rise a try. Son-Rise and SCD are two of the most effective interventions we’ve tried.
P.S. The Son-Rise Program® has a friend’s referral program, so if you call them to inquire, give them my name, and you’ll get $350 off of their program.