Two Brothers – U.S.A

There was a time when going back through some of these memories was traumatic for me, but thankfully now I might even say I treasure them because they are a part of our story and how we got here.  A turning point for me was when a friend was listening to me describe some of the really hard times in the past and she said “well you know the boys aren’t hurting anymore” and it really struck me all of a sudden that in fact they were not.  Somehow in my mind the memories were so vivid and they just continued playing on in my mind for years after the fact so it still felt very present and real.  I feel really lucky that finally now it feels like it’s actually over and in the past, and that today we are ok.  🙂

Our son Henry was an extremely irritable baby and we spent many months attempting to console and comfort him.  He was terribly constipated and would typically go 10-12 days between bowel movements, but our pediatrician at the time told us this was normal for breastfed babies.  It was incredibly difficult to get him to fall asleep and he would awaken crying again, typically within minutes, and we would have to start the whole routine all over again.  

Around 10 months of age I started to notice that I was usually seeing Henry only from the back.  He was always crawling or cruising away from me, very rarely turning toward me or attempting to share a moment with me.  When I tried to make eye contact and talk with him or engage him in play he would usually turn away, uninterested.  He had developed an intense fixation with spoons and would grip them tightly, one in each hand.  In fact, he was unable to put them down if he needed to use his hands to pick up a toy or other item, and without the spoons he was absolutely inconsolable.  Everywhere we went people would comment on how “serious” he looked.  His expression was typically a somber stare although he would frequently fall into intense bouts of inconsolable crying.

About a week before his first birthday I finally googled “toddler object fixation” and suddenly came face to face with the list of early symptoms of autism.  Henry had them all.  He was not pointing and used no gestures, he seemed to have lost the two words he had gained around 10 months of age, he did not respond to his name and in fact we could not get him to respond to us at all.  His attention was entirely focused on objects and he had developed an intense aversion to electronic sounds. We had him evaluated through a local developmental clinic and he scored in the very high risk range on their autism assessment so we began some therapies and I started doing a lot of research to understand what treatments were available.

After reading, The Autism Book, by Dr. Bob Sears we became very interested in the biomedical approach.  We asked local parents which doctor they would recommend in the area and everyone had great things to say about Dr. Green so we scheduled our first appointment with him when Henry was about 15 months old.

Our first dramatic improvements came through diet. After removing dairy, Henry regained some eye contact and began using words again.  He was noticeably more present and we saw smiles again, and his constipation improved somewhat.  His daily bouts of inconsolable crying stopped within days after we removed wheat.  Based on some specific symptoms we had mentioned, Dr. Green also recommended we try the Feingold Diet. Implementing the diet brought huge gains in Henry’s physical coordination and behavior.

We continued to work closely with Dr. Green over the next few years — running labs and exploring various nutritional therapies.  Some treatments that we tried brought no noticeable improvements, but others were dramatic with immediate gains.  We kept detailed notes and over time we had developed an extremely effective treatment plan.  We saw huge, permanent gains from adding Methyl B12 and folinic acid injections.  Nutritional supports for the sulfation system and mitochondrial function were also crucial.  

By the time Henry was four years old he had no noticeable symptoms of autism remaining though he still struggled with some anxiety and learning difficulties.  By age five those remaining symptoms had vanished after starting on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and increasing his dosage of folinic acid.  He had a wonderful year in his Kindergarten classroom with no aide and was off to a great start in school.  

Henry is now 8 years old and his sunny disposition and zest for life are absolutely striking.  He has no difficulties or symptoms remaining and in fact no one at his school is aware of the learning and behavioral difficulties that he experienced in the past.  Henry has a variety of interests and he’s thoughtful, caring and responsible.  He loves school, has many friends and he’s excelling academically.  His teacher loves him and comments regularly about how much fun it is to have him in her class because he has such a great attitude and he always takes care to include everyone in the activities.  He loves to learn about the world and explore the outdoors.  

Our second son Emmett also experienced GI (gastrointestinal) problems and was extremely irritable as an infant.  He developed early symptoms of autism around 6 months of age when he suddenly lost eye contact and stopped responding to people coming and going around him.  Dr. Green was able to provide the right supports for him early on in order to get him back on track and today Emmett has no remaining GI symptoms or autism-associated symptoms — he is a cheerful, precocious and energetic five year old.

In order to stay symptom free, both of our boys must follow a special diet and keep up with their nutritional supplements.  In fact, if we stray off of their diets too far or miss any key supplements we will see their symptoms return.  Sometimes this can be frustrating but it’s also an ever-present reminder of how blessed we are that our boys are so healthy and happy now.  In the beginning, we were told that Henry’s developmental delays and difficulties were permanent and that his brain was just wired differently, but in fact this was never the case. The brain is downstream from the body, and when things are not quite right in the body it affects the way the brain functions.  Providing the right supports for our boys allowed them to recover and now they feel fantastic and they can truly live their life to the fullest. 

These days we feel like a normal, happy family except that we often feel that we treasure what we have so much more for having gone through this uniquely challenging experience.

I love working with John because he listens and truly believes in my observations. We work together as a team and he always lets me know that as their parent I have the ultimate say in what we will do for our boys.  He hears my concerns and uses the information I provide during our discussions to guide his choices in labs and the identification of treatment strategies that are most likely to work for our boys.  It’s been seven years now that we have been working closely together and he has earned my trust completely.  We have observed so many hugely impactful and lasting gains for our boys through his detailed and thoughtful individualized treatment.  My husband and I will be forever grateful for this miracle that Dr. Green has provided for our family.