Brief Background: Our son (age 2) was non-verbal. Our pediatrician got us connected with Early Childhood Intervention (ECI), and we love our two ECI specialists, Priscilla Weathers and Mary Young. We then confirmed he could hear, and then went to Dr. Daniel Williamson, a developmental pediatrician, for an official diagnosis. If you are a parent in the spectrum, you know how overwhelming getting started can be. One day you have a happy ordinary little kiddo, and in the blink of an eye, you are in big trouble, drowning in fear and worry. So, we immediately started researching. (This is a desperately lonely and overwhelming time. If this is you now, hang in there. Soon, you will have a plan, a good plan, and you can start to breath again.)
My Reading List. Books I have read in Bold with (*):
- Kids Beyond Limits (Anat Baniel)
- Unraveling the Mystery of Autism & Pervasive Developmental Disorder (Karyn Seroussi) *
- The Late Talker (Agin, Geng & Nicholl) *
- Healing the New Childhood Epidemics (Bock & Stauth) *
- Children with Starving Brains (McCandless) *
- Changing the Course of Autism (Jepson, Johnson) *
- The Out-Of-Sync Child Has Fun (Kranowitz) *
- My Baby Can Dance (Gutstein) *
- Intelligence and How to Get It (Nisbett)
- Engaging Autism (Greenspan & Wieder)
- The UltraMind Solution (Hyman)
- Emergence (Temple Grandin)
- A Work in Progress (Leaf & McEachin)
- Movement: Move Into Life (Anat Baniel)
Too many books to read, frankly. Many books are authored by doctors/parents, and are my favorites.
Check out our Moms Guide, for our most effective interventions during the first year.
Schools: Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) -Priscilla Weathers helped us greatly the first year. Mary Young helped us as SLP. They were informative in many ways. In Texas, we get ECI services until our child turns 3.
Medical Doctors - We continue to see Dr. Kendal Stewart at NeuroSensory Centers. Knowing what I know now, I would go straight to Dr. Stewart for immune system healing, methylation support, nutritional mysteries, and anti-viral consulting. I am very thankful that we got connected to him so quickly, while our son was still 2. Listen to his AutismOne radio broadcasts. We have just started his protocols, and I am quite thrilled. I consider him a genius. We have also seen Dr. Jodie Caldwell and Dr. Sharon Holness-Lucas, both of the Sadler Clinic. They have helped us with special tests and priorities. Our allergist, Dr. Stephen Miles, led us to our dietician, Dr. Ron Grabowski, who loves to play nutritional detective who led us to Spectra-Cell blood testing for nutrients, and was the first one to prove our son does not produce glutathione or methylate. ABA School - Our son attended a local ABA school, The Learning Lane. He has recently completed a year at Early Learning Program (ELP), and love our Peacock class and amazing teachers, Ms. Donna and Ms. Lauren. It is a blended classroom, and is excellent prep for our coming years in Conroe ISD, first at Galatas Elementary, then on to middle school at Mitchell Intermediate. Occupational Therapy (OT) - We love our 3 OTs! Alma Liotta has gotten wonderful progress in working with our son in sensory, vestibular, balance, and feeding issues. Her knowledge and experience is invaluable to us. She works at Texas Childrens, The Woodlands. We also have a second, home-based OT, Rosemary Slade, who is helping us with auditory transduction therapy and many other sensory integration issues. Kathy Glaser, OT, also helps us with swimming lessons and biking skills. Speech Therapy - We have just resumed speech services, and have begun with SLP Britanie at Aspire Pediatrics. Previously, we had speech at Texas Childrens and with ECI. The initial evaluation was done at Texas Children's Hospital and we stayed with them for Speech and Occupational Therapy. Our Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) has advocated Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). We have done our best to conform to the "rules" of PECS. We also got the Signing Times DVDs (a fabulous series), and sign a little. We use gesture and verbal prompts the most. I went to a SCERTS seminar, and they certainly advocated PECS as a temporary communication tool. I highly recommend the DVDs from Spectrum Connections and the Baby Bumblebee DVD series, also. Our son transitions quite well with verbal prompts and gesture prompts. We never got very far with the signing and PECS.
Neurotransmitters - More important for us than any other factor! Here are some resources:
Food - I am now embracing the GAPS diet, and here is a friend's blog on her GAPS implementation. Once I decided to do this because I couldn's imagine not trying it after reading all Dr. Campbell-McBride's research and explanation. It all makes sense that this could be the missing link that has eluded us for 3 years now with our 24/7 interventions. This is a long-term commitment.
(We were mostly on the Gluten-Free, Casein-Free (GFCF) diet. We also did IgG and IgE food allergy testing. Because of our son's self-limiting food choices, we often drifted off the GFCF diet, and had some IgG food sensitivities.)
Home Environment - As soon as we learned what "stimming" was, we chucked all those toys off to the closet or out the door. We purged the house of the wrong things and brought in people-required everything. Now, we know that every minute is important, and must be spent in purposeful learning. We have changed how music is used in the house, to keep him engaged with us, not lost in the speakers. Our house looks like a Discovery Zone / Sensory Room / kindergarten classroom.
Movement Therapy - More on this soon; gotta finish Anat Daniel's book listed above. Our son has grown to love movement, and we regularly go to
FloorTime - We do Greenspan's FloorTime as often as possible, balancing it with ABA Instructional Control and homework from our ABA school.
Instructional Control / RDI - I do this balance with our son, with the advice and tutoring from our ABA school. If I have to home school our son, I want to be ready. Also, I use our home sessions to prepare him for things to come. Like how to play with Lego blocks. On days he doesn't have ABA training, I work with him also. Recent reports show a two-fer benefit with ABA & RDI are used with young learners in the spectrum.
Homeopathy - Husband and I could never agree on homeopathy, so we never really got any traction. I understand their methods and would have used homeopathy.
Aroma Therapy / Essential Oils - A friend of mine is helping me get started with this. I put this in the category of naturapathy - My version of "simple, healthy, natural". Still a work-in-progress.