Yesterday our son had one diagnosis, one label; today because of updated expanded tests, he has 5 with some subdivisions! Five categories to classify and describe my son. Amazing how a 23 page document can instantly leave one feeling so deflated. I feel deflated. This document I hold classifying, describing, and supporting multiple labels for my son. You autism moms…you know the deal. That moment after listening for hours attentively to every detail the doctor utters about your child…it all crashes in. The fact that you are actually holding a document of “scientific data” on your child, painful enough!! But then what it says….what it means for now, for the future.
As I describe in the Our Story section of the Air Diet www.theairdiet.com/store …the rug has once again been pulled out from under me and I sit here alone in my ache and worries. How one sweet boy could rank so low compared to others his age is hard to soak in ...because he’s our boy.
As I sat in the car processing all this (actually just frozen really in my oozing weeping) I was reminded of “The Voice of Truth”, of course I then quickly YouTube the song and find myself in a state of crying more with strong tugs on my soul. But what is the truth…
The truth is autism is hard. The truth is that autism exposes all your child’s and your own insecurities, mental and physical deficits, fears, genetic weaknesses, emotional flaws, and doubts to the world. But the truth is it also reveals your strengths and pulls out of you, as a parent, qualities you may never have shown otherwise. It also demands that you live in the moment and treasure what is good, what is right, what is real, what is important. You have to find that silver lining!
Logan may not have measured up highly compared to the majority of the population on some standardized tests; however, our Logan, our autistic Logan is sweet to everyone; works hard and wants to do his best; he plays on a basketball team with typical teammates his own age; is learning to play the piano; does his own laundry; helps with household chores; loves babies and is gentle with them; helps me cook and bake; understands the importance of a healthy organic diet; enjoys shopping for and learning about fruits and vegetables; cares for his pet bunny; plays with and looks out for his younger brothers; and is the first to say to me “I love you” each morning. That’s the truth.
Perhaps these are not standard, measureable gains…but I am choosing to listen to “The Voice of Truth”.
So yesterday was better than today. In fact, I was all pumped ready to blog about my wonderful shopping experience with my kiddos, and now, deflated I just have to. I have to for me, to hold onto what is true and good. I have to for Logan. I have to for you, for hope.
Breathe… go back…
Yesterday, Super Bowl Sunday!
I headed out with my crew of three after church to do our weekly shopping with the additional extras for our Super Bowl Super Feast! Now, any mom can relate…shopping with a long list and three energetic, hungry boys is not a task taken lightly. I was prepared. Like any good mom of an autistic child, I had my kiddos’ reward charts ready for that positive reinforcement ensuring a successful outing...in addition, I made sure the quiet threats whispered about losing their lunch out and much desired treat at Native Sun were clearly understood! – sorry ABA therapists, but got to balance things out!
As the glass doors of the health food store slide open, it feels like walking into a potential war zone. I brace myself, take a deep breath, pop a couple chewable L-theanine to prevent unavoidable stress overload, and enter.
Logan quickly goes into his excited search for every possible organic fruit or vegetable he can find…we are in a completely organic food market…you get the picture! Feeling the sudden surge of adrenaline, I remind myself to stay cool and calmly redirect my Logan and rally in my wandering other two sons. The L-theanine must have kicked in because I had that moment of pure sweet pleasure in which I felt so proud of my son as he began to describe all the organic vegetables and explain to me how bad and gross GMOs were for people. The health educator in me was beaming with pride from her valued student’s intelligence and passion.
Certainly it was not like we were floating peacefully and effortlessly through the store….there was redirecting, lifting up arguing kids from under the cart, running over my child with the cart, and periodically removing foreign foods from the cart, but four times…,..FOUR times I was complemented on how well behaved my children were in the store, and praised by how aware they were about healthy food choices.
Towards the end of our shopping adventure, a woman with a big, friendly smile approached me (of course as I was reaching in the freezer for an organic, gluten free pizza … busted!). She said to the boys, ”You are so lucky to have such a smart mommy. She is filling you with such wonderful, nutritious food. This is why you are so good. This is why you are so smart. Remember this, your mommy is doing something really right!”
Arm in the freezer, I was humbled, caught off guard. Then I felt a tug to seize the moment to advertise “thank you so much, I actually have a book I wrote full of nutritious recipes right over there on the counter,” but instead, I paused, let the compliment sink in. And it FELT GOOD. I was doing something right. I was doing and have been doing something right for my kids and it shows. Not just to me, my husband, friends, and family. It is visible to everyone. All I could say with a proud, affirmed smile was, “Thank you”.
Yesterday was a good day.
There were quite a few times during the beginning of our journey of healing autism that comments made from others had left me in tears not smiles as they pointed out my son’s differences, difficulties, or my failed attempts at parenting. Those kind people, especially the lovely woman taking the time to say something nice, just because she noticed... a moment I will remember. Remember and feel affirmed that I am doing something right even though there are still often many things that leave me feeling otherwise.
Today doesn’t change yesterday and tomorrow can be better! And that there is the truth.
I know that is the truth. As we continue to fuel our son(s) with nutritious, organic foods, and reduce their exposure to environmental toxins and food allergens/sensitivities, their health improves. Symptoms of autism are reduced. It has been 8 years of adherence to the Air Diet and over that time we have experienced unforeseen progress in social, mental, emotional, and physical development within our son. As our son’s diet has improved by eliminating gluten, casein, soy, dyes, and other food allergens and replacing all that was disrupting his body and mind with allergen-free, organic foods, and supplements, his gut is slowly healing from pathogens, the inflammatory responses to foods are reduced, and toxins are being cleared from his body. He is healing.
There is no cure for autism. I am aware! There is no magic pill. However, providing your children (and yourself!) with healthy foods and reducing environmental toxins…it makes a world of difference. It’s the difference between your autistic child being in “their” world or “yours”. Using food for healing creates a foundation for social, emotional, mental, and physical growth. Maybe it doesn’t present itself on every standardized test, but it shows up in ways that count.
Start your healing journey. Start the Air Diet.