March 9, 2016
Today my son, who was diagnosed with autism at age two, turned eighteen years old. It’s often at these milestones I reflect on my life.
I never wanted to raise my children and look back with regrets. I hate the word “regret.” It’s a soul-sucking distraction and perseverance on what cannot be changed, only learned from.
So today, as I look back on raising my son . . . the struggles . . . the highs . . . the lows . . . I’ve decided to rename some of those thoughts as “wishes” instead. Because a wish, to me, is a fleeting thought that, once spoken, I can let float away to the universe.
Hindsight being 20/20, here is what I WISH I had done differently while raising my ASD son:
- Continued the gluten-free/casein-free (GF/CF) diet when he was three years old. At the time, I heard about it from a friend. I had no research and there were no real guidelines to follow. My friend took her son off of wheat and dairy for one year, and he was reading books and high functioning at three years of age. Even though all his favorites would need to be substituted, I didn’t think it could hurt him to change his diet a bit. After a year and many improvements, including speech, we went back to the old way of eating because it didn’t seem to cause any adverse reactions. (Now I know, we used soy and oats and things we didn’t realize were off limits.)
- Trusted my mommy gut and stood my ground when I questioned the hepatitis B shot at birth. I wish I had stopped vaccinating after the vaccine injury, even though doctors told me it was safe.
- I wish I hadn’t given him the constant cycle of antibiotics, Tylenol, and Motrin.
- I wish I hadn’t had Tristen’s tonsils removed. Now I know tonsils are where the antibodies to polio are made. With Tristen’s immune deficiency, the shots he took didn’t work and he doesn’t have immunity. What a risk, for nothing! (Anesthesia can have nasty side effects as well that can affect you the rest of your life.)
- I wish I hadn’t kept him in public school so long. It was a difficult time, where I needed to work to pay for medical care for Tristen. Not long after, my husband became unemployed. As time went on, my students were more like my own children and I developed schedules and routines and helped them learn in a way no one had seen before. One of the hardest things I had to do was leave my job to homeschool when I did.
- I wish I hadn’t spent $900 a month on supplements for so long. Now I know better from reading, attending conferences and watching webinars. I feel now that I threw a lot of money away putting band-aids on a malfunctioning body, instead of trying to heal it so the mechanisms would work properly.
- I wish I had started chiropractic at birth. Oh, how much true spine alignment can alleviate a plethora of ailments! I know my little baby would not have been so sick, had his days and nights backwards for years, and had tummy troubles!
- Before working in the public schools special education program, I wish I had understood more at IEP meetings. I wish I had pushed more to get the services I knew my son deserved.
- I wish I had reached out for help and support before 2013. Why did I think I was alone in this? I guess I was so busy trying to be super mom, I didn’t stop to look for other people, the seasoned veterans who could give helpful advice. My nose was stuck to the grindstone, and I missed out on starting biomedical treatment and using homeopathy when he was young.
- I wish I had been more concerned about clean water. Not until moving to Texas, and finding the quality of water appalling, did I start to research the area and what could possibly be causing it. Now that the country is in a national water crisis, I wonder how long we drank contaminated water.
All those listed above? It’s time to let go. I can’t change the past as it is set in stone, but I can use my experiences to help others.
I really want to celebrate all the good that happened in his childhood: the laughter, the games, the silliness, the hugs, the giggles, the stories, the quiet time.
Here are the 10 things I’m glad I did for my ASD son while he was growing up:
- The schedule. This was a huge learning tool for Tristen at age two. That boy had a one-track mind, and it was all about his trains (no pun intended). Putting him on a picture schedule was the best thing I ever did to get him to understand that he couldn’t just do whatever he wanted all day! I was a military wife, living across the country from my family, and he and his brother had to go with me everywhere. There was no choice in the matter, so he had to learn to accept leaving the house and behave when he did. Was it easy? Ha! This post is not long enough for the stories I have enforcing this! But we did it – HE did it – and it made everything so much easier.
- I am so grateful I took advantage of grants, studies, discounts, trials and new programs. We were able to heal Tristen bit by bit because of these generous offers.
- I’m glad I had my son Tanner two years after Tristen.Tanner was a teaching tool for Tristen. He had to learn about being gentle and having compassion – oh, and that thing called SHARING! For many years, the boys were learning things at the same level. When Tristen became too big for me to take into the women’s restroom, I was able to trust Tanner to take him and help him. Tanner has been a huge blessing to our family in many ways!
- I am so happy I could homeschool my boys! What a dream come true, to be able to learn with them and see them grow into young men! Definitely one of the best decisions I ever made!
- Hyperbaric oxygen therapy. This promoted so much brain healing, that his speech took off! We were able to hear about his past for the first time. After many years of silence on this subject, he confessed to us he had been spanked in kindergarten. This therapy healed my son physically and emotionally.
- I’m going to mention Chiropractic again because it is Just. That. Important.Getting weekly adjustments changed Tristen’s whole posture and demeanor. He no longer held his head back, resting it on his neck and looking down his nose. His gait became more even and coordinated. I couldn’t believe how his physical appearance changed!
- EmPowerplus. After taking dozens of supplements a day that seemed helpful at the time, it is such a relief to have a multivitamin that makes a visible difference in my child. I know he feels better taking it because there is a spring in his step and a smile on his face. You never feel like you’re wasting your money when your child is healing!
- The IonCleanse by AMD. This machine helps your body to relax, and creates a pathway to release toxins. It’s so much safer and milder than chelation. Tristen’s ATEC started at a 67 and dropped to a 16 over the course of 4 months!
- BrainGain. This supplement has the “pow” that we’d been looking for. Allergies plague our family as well as thyroid dysfunction. The Selenium puts this product over the top, and I love how my son is at the top of his game when on this product!
- Restore. This is another product where I can see the difference immediately. I wasted too much time and money wondering if all the vitamins and supplements were making any kind of impact on my son’s autism, learning disability, anxiety and health. I know Restore heals, because I can tell in my son’s increased speech and understanding.
It’s tough to sum up almost two decades in a few paragraphs, because Tristen’s life to me is so much more. Sharing his journey, is just another way he can help others to triumph over the obstacles they face with a real hope of peace when looking back.
~ Green Bean Girl
For more by Green Bean Girl, click here.