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You are here: Home | Autism Portraits | Oliver - intelligent, caring, handsome...

Oliver - intelligent, caring, handsome...

Oliver developed moderate to severe autism with accompanying bowel problems around 18 months of age after receiving the MMR vaccination. He had been fully vaccinated up to this point in his life. He wasn’t so severely autistic that he would self-harm, but he did lose all speech, tantrums were frequent and sometimes even in his sleep at night. There was minimal eye contact or recognition of his name, and routines weren’t to be disrupted or the ensuing tantrum would be monumental.

As Oliver was unable to communicate with me, most of the time I had no idea what his tantrums were about. I was aware though that his tantrums were not about a naughty child trying to get his own way but mostly frustration or fear based. He needed to see that everything was ordered and following a certain pattern and if there were a deviation from what was expected then a tantrum would be the result. He was hard to understand and hard to live with. Social occasions were limited to immediate family and very close friends.

Plenty of research has been done on the link between vaccinations, in particular MMR and autism over the past decade or so. (1*) I now know that the condition my son developed was ‘autistic enterocolitis’ which was originally labeled as ‘ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia’ by researchers in 1998. (2*) The symptoms of which exactly described what my son experienced. He suffered from severe gut pain, mucousy or crumbly, pale loose stools, diarrhea, as well as loss of speech, minimal eye contact, monumental tantrums, irritability and obsessions with routines. We endured 3 years of autistic behaviour. Oliver suffered incredibly with stomach pain, which was often accompanied by fever and several hours of bed rest. My son at two, three and four years of age would sit, sometimes for hours, screaming on the toilet and most often would only manage to do a small amount of loose, mucousy (slimy egg white appearance) pale stools.

Before the diagnosis of autism I had taken my son for a hearing test around 2 years of age mainly because he would not respond to his name when called. I was told he had perfect hearing. After numerous tantrums at around 2am where he would semi awaken and thrash about in his cot in anger not in fright I took him for an EEG scan of his brain. The pediatrician suspected he might have been having mini epileptic fits I think. That test also came back negative. Eventually around 4 years of age Oliver was diagnosed as having ‘Pervasive Developmental Disorder’ (just another term which fits under the autistic umbrella). As with everything in life there comes a crisis point. Mine was the day that we were playing outside and my 4 yr. old ‘newly diagnosed’ autistic son picked up a large rock, and in frustration, attempted to hit his baby sister on the head. I was just slightly too far away to intervene, but for some reason, maybe the weight of the rock, Oliver just missed and my little girl was saved from certain brain damage or even death. During a teary visit to my pediatrician the next week he informed me that there was nothing he could do to help me as there was no drug for autism! I was actually hoping that he would suggest respite care for Oliver several days a week to give me a break, but he did not even offer to help with that. I left his office determined that I would find a solution for myself.

The only lead I had at that point was a book that my mother had given me 12 months earlier entitled ‘Fed Up’ by Sue Dengate. My mother had given me this book as she had heard that it might help with ADHD of which my eldest child suffered. My eldest son did not have the hyperactive from of ADHD but the inattentive form only. I knew that the book suggested modifying the diet of these children so that is why I had not read it. I was so overwhelmed coping daily, sometimes hourly with my eldest and his ADD, Oliver with his autism, a toddler, renovating our large federation home and managing my husband’s plumbing business, that I could not even begin to think of altering their diet. But that visit to the pediatrician’s office was the turning point. I went home and had read that book by the end of the day and began the diet the following morning.

In the book it suggested removing all additives/preservatives from the diet plus dairy and possibly gluten, which is in wheat, rye, oats, barley and triticale. The focus of the book was more on additives in food than the removing of gluten and suggested an ‘elimination diet’. She gave you the option of removing wheat but only if several weeks on the diet had produced no significant improvement in behaviour. I decided I was not going to muck around and would remove everything including all types of gluten. The following day I began the elimination diet on my eldest and Oliver for the next 3 months. After only one week on the diet Oliver’s bowel motions improved dramatically. He sat for less than a minute on the toilet with no screaming whatsoever and yelled out “I’m finished”. I was amazed and went in to find him with a big smile on his face and a healthy, large, brown perfectly formed bowel motion. After three years of suppositories and fevers and screaming this was a momentous event!! That was all the encouragement I needed to know that I was on the right track. It has been 10 years now since that day and bowel motions have not been an issue from that day to this!!!

After three weeks on the diet I chastised Oliver and, instead of ignoring me, as he usually would have, he looked up at me and realised that I was annoyed with him. He became concerned because he had done something to upset me. He was actually understanding that I had feelings too! He was four years old. This moment and the moment on the toilet are permanently etched into my brain as turning points in Oliver’s life and mine. Oliver’s tantrums decreased and his behaviour and speech continued to improve greatly over the next few months and years on the diet which I modified to include dairy but not just any milk, A2 milk!

Oliver is now a happy, confident 14 year old. He is content with his own company but can socialises well with family and friends and most pleasing is that he will even initiate conversation with strangers. He shows concern for others and is a well mannered, tolerant teenager. Oliver's autism isn't obvious today to anyone who meets him for the first time. I have great hopes that Oliver is now going to reach his full potential and live a full and well balanced life.

I hope my story inspires you to do what is necessary to help your autistic child recover and reach their full potential.

A Mum making a Difference

reversing-AutismDonna is a single mother of three living on an island off the coast of Brisbane. Donna has successfully reversed her son Oliver's autism with diet and other therapies. During 2011 she wrote ‘A Parent’s Guide for Reversing Autism’.
A 7-step plan to help your child heal and recover from autism. Step one covers the gluten free/casein free diet, includes easy meal ideas, grocery lists and much more. The diet forms the foundation from which your child's healing can begin. The remaining steps detail other important therapies required to help your child recover from autism.

More info on Donna's Book Here

Last modified on Thursday, 12 July 2012 15:44

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