Friday, January 30, 2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Life Moments With A Child On The Spectrum #9

Today Adam had a math worksheet on comparing numbers using percents.

One problem read:
If Jay has $20 and Mitchell has $80, what percent of Mitchell's money does Jay have?

Adam's answer:
Jay doesn't have any of Mitchell's money.

And this is a perfect example of how his literalness interferes with his education.
He had no problem with the other examples.
(What percent of a yard is a foot, If Carlos makes $480 a month and spends $120 a month for rent, what percent of his income does he spend on rent).

Had he put his answer to Jay's money on a test it surely would have been wrong. And his teacher may not have seen the humor in it either.

He can do the work. Heck, he had solved all the math problems in his head correctly before I had finished reading the problem. But only if they couldn't be taken literally.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Psst

I'm over here today, pondering New Years Resolutions.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Pre and Post 9/11

Tonight the Prez (per CNN), "He discussed the attacks of September 11, 2001, saying, "As the years passed, most Americans were able to return to life much as it had been before 9/11. But I never did."



I don't know about you, but as I was reading the headlines of a plane down in the Hudson River tonight, my first thoughts were 9/11 and was this the beginning of something similar happening again. I think he underestimates how much 9/11 changed more than him.

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Time

At bedtime last night:

Me: Adam, speed it up - put the toys away so you can get into bed.
Adam: Cleaning up takes some time. You can't speed up time Mom.

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Thursday, January 8, 2009

To Have Gluten Or Not, That Is The Question

A little more than 2 years ago we put Adam on the Gluten Free Casein Free (GFCF)diet. He was allowed no gluten (wheat, barely, rye) or dairy. None. Zip. Luckily we live in an area where finding alternative foods was easy. We soon found there really was nothing he couldn't have - just had to be a GFCF version.

We did this because in the Autism Community there is a lot of talk of improvement with this diet. My thought was hey - I'm not putting something in him, so it can't hurt. And it didn't. And we noticed improvements. Within 3 weeks. Small things - like he stopped chewing on his shirts. He sat when doing classwork. He reduced his random noises big time. He reduced his focus/preoccupation on nontraditional/developmental appropriate objects. He started asking for playdates. And he knew every one's name in his class for the first time. Little things that impeded his communication, social development and behavior faded away. His teacher noticed a difference too. There were a few days I'd give him something he shouldn't have had and not told his teacher. Sure enough those days she came by my room to let me know he had been 'off' that day.

As much as we believed the diet was leading to this significant and positive outcomes, I always questioned it. I mean really. You take out gluten and casein and autism 'symptoms' go away? And why?

The rational behind the diet is Leaky Gut Syndrome. Basically it means that your stomach has holes, and that because of the holes, nutrients - the protein from gluten and casein - leak into the bloodstream when they shouldn't. This then causes an opiate effect on the person. There are studies that show this with mice. Lots of folks think its the vaccinations that are tearing up the insides of these kids stomachs. I remembered that Adam had 2 of 3 shots of a Rotovirus vaccination that was recalled before he got the 3rd one due to stomach obtrusion in some kids. He also had Cdiff when he was 6 months and on his first round of antibiotics.

So it made sense that his stomach was torn up and needed healing. But I always thought, if gluten and casein proteins go through the holes, wouldn't other stuff and wouldn't that also have some kind of effect? Yet, on the other hand, he was doing well. Really, really well. And we hadn't changed anything else medication, educationally or behaviorally.

Every 6 months we'd let him cheat to see how he reacted. And within 45 min his ears were bright red, and he was acted more 'autistic' for the next day or so. But the last cheat, last spring, the ears were only red for 30 min and the behavior effects only lasted about 2 hours. Yea, I noticed something, but not much different than when a kid goes to a birthday party and has a lot of sugar.

Over the summer we decided to do some medical investigation. We took him to a Ped Gast who we liked immediately. He didn't dispute that kids on the spectrum often have stomach/bowel issues. But he didn't know why either. The scientific evidence just simply isn't there (yet). With the testing we found out he had the gene for Celiacs. But so do a lot of people. The only true way to find out if he had Celiacs would be to dump gluten in him, wait for a reaction and scope him. Something we really aren't willing to put him through.

But on the other hand, I really (and Adam) wanted to know if he would always have to be on this diet. So we let him having dairy - slowly at first. Maybe it was Celiacs and dairy would b fine. There were no negative reactions. He stayed the same behaviorally. So maybe it was just the gluten I thought. Maybe he really does have Celiacs, and because of the Aspergers, it exhibits a little different behaviorally than in others.

Before Christmas we were out of town at a holiday party. I forgot to pack breakfast for him. So he had regular cereal at our friends house. I didn't tell hubby because I knew I would be looking for a reaction, but he didn't know he was supposed to be. And there was no reaction. Neither of us noticed anything. (and yes I did tell him later that day).

So, we started letting him have gluten. Really slowly. Like cereals that only had a trace of it. Then a small portion of something gluten based. And we still haven't seen a reaction.

So. Now I'm wondering. Did he have Leaky Gut Syndrome and it has healed (websites report it takes about 2 years to heal). Did I fall victim to a fad diet? Am I wishfully thinking that all is fine now? Or, over the next few months as the gluten continues to pass through his stomach will we start seeing regression in his behavior and/or bowels.

I know that while he was on it he made significant progress in so many areas that were deficits due to Aspergers. I don't know if it was because of the diet. And I don't know what the future has in store for his eating.

Right now he is on a point system at school. He's been having problems focusing. I'm not attributing it to dairy. I'm attributing it to the fact that this year he is one of 32 in a trailer. His teacher has little experience with Aspergers. He was an organizational mess, not completing assignments and classwork, and a drop in his grades. He puzzled his teacher because when she asked him something he always knew the answer. His pretest scores on district tests aimed at the entire year of curriculum were a 97. On topics he hadn't been taught yet. So why did he have a few C's? So we put him on a point system more so I knew SHE was monitoring him more. She doesn't know that he is having gluten right now. We've been doing the point system for the 3 weeks before break. I'm really curious what this and next weeks points are going to look like.

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Saturday, January 3, 2009

Going Pink

One of my New Year's resolutions it to help others more. Whether it's holding a door for a stranger behind me, going greener to help us all live in our environment or helping a cause that is important to my friends and myself.

Yesterday we decided that the vacuum cleaner we had died. We could no longer be in denial. It was dead. It was time for a new one. So off to Target I went.

I'm not really picky about vacuum cleaners. This time I ended up with a Dyson. And it's pink. It's pink because Dyson is contributing a portion of the sales to help fight Breast Cancer. And you know what? I feel like I've already made a difference this year. A small difference, but a difference none the least.

And I chose to go pink because of my friend WhyMommy and all the great stuff she's doing to raise awareness. I don't like to vacuum. Who does really?!? But now when I am vacuuming with my pink vacuum I am hopeful that someone else is also able to vacuum because they too are a survivor thanks to awareness and research. And the fact that someone else IS vacuuming because they are survivor is something to be very thankful for. Because if they are vacuuming, they are also living.

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