Posted by Alison
on September 21, 2000 at 15:51:56:
Let me start this out by saying we're attachment parents, and Evan is our only child. We share sleep with our son (yes, that means he's in the bed with us - but he does nap on his own, and we have a big house with lots of guest rooms), and we also practice extended nursing. I was planning on weaning at 2 years, and we were well on our way, when the train went off the tracks. Evan has always had some autistic markers, I just didn't realize that's what they were. Every time he's had an ear or bronchial infection, he's been treated with antibiotics, and fool that I am, I didn't put two and two together until now. I can't tell you how many times I took him back to the doctor *after* follow-up appointments because his behavior had deteriorated, and I was sure the infection was back. After the last treatment, diagnosed at his two year appointment, he lost his social functioning and stopped meeting my eyes. He began crying and laughing with no provocation. He started spinning in circles all the time and constantly jabbering senselessly, or repeating lines from his favorite videos. He lost words from his large vocabularly, and stopped saying, "Go sleep!" at bedtime. Even then, I STILL didn't get it for a few weeks. The only time he looked for me at all was when he wanted to nurse, and this went from at naptime and bedtime to every half an hour. He would come and find me and grab my finger in a painful grip, dragging me to the couch or up the stairs, so he could lie silently in my arms and stare off at nothing while I nursed him. I commented on his disturbing lack of attachment and heard, "Terrible twos! He's just getting independent!" Last week all the worry swirling in my head sent me to the computer, and without knowing why, I typed in "AUTISM". There was Evan. No longer outgoing, no longer social, no longer constantly talking, laughing and pointing. Grief and terror overwhelmed me, and I hid all night in the basement. I had to share with my husband in the morning, and once I told him my fears I took off running: Doctor's appointments, early intervention information, a low-sugar GF/CF diet (for both of us), supplementation (for both of us), and reading every book and website I can find. I have an appointment tomorrow to have a yeast culture taken from me, because I have recurring yeast infections, as does Evan. Once I have a diagnosis, I plan on treating both of us. His official evaluation hasn't even been scheduled yet, but I can see his behavior improving. Just since the beginning of the week he has: spontaneously kissed me on the lips, and brought my husband a book to read to him, which he read along with cheerfully, using all his words. He hasn't done either of these things since his last course of antibiotics. He's also stopped spinning and jabbering so much, and completely stopped grimacing and crying and laughing hysterically, and has started giving hugs again and making eye contact. Of course, we've been up his butt for the past week, playing social games with him and relating in every way we can. He meets my eyes now, while nursing, helped somewhat by my blowing air at him through a little straw, or singing to him. Last night he actually jumped up in bed, holding eye contact with me and laughing, because I was singing his favorite song, and he joined right in.
I hope with the help of a good intervention program, we can find our way to each other. There's so much out there I still don't know and I hope I'm going to learn a lot here. I'm committed to doing everything possible to help Evan; I know he needs me now more than he needed me when he was newborn, but I'm so scared. I'm going down the rabbit hole after him, and what will we be like when we come out? Will we ever come out at all?
Sorry this got so long.