It’s been a little over a year since we received Nathan’s diagnosis. I don’t cringe every time I say “My son has autism”. In fact, it has become a pretty easy phrase. That has its positives and negatives. The positive is that I see past a label & simply celebrate him for who he is. The negative is that not everyone can do that. Autism still equals head-banging, mental retardation, non-verbal, low functioning to many people.
It is actually a bit of a thrill now to have someone meet Nathan and at some point have them say “he doesn’t seem autistic”. That’s the whole point folks. Autism is a Spectrum. Or, as I prefer, a Rainbow. I like rainbow because it is the simpler, immediately recognizable term. And you know what? Last year, Nathan had a lot more “autistic” traits – hand flapping, late to talk, perseverations, sensory problems – but through the combination of diet, supplements, Kindergarten and his drive to keep up with Eric, he is looking more and more “neurotypical” all the time.
Let me say, right now, my goal is not and never has been to remove his label. I strongly believe that being Autistic (or on the Spectrum) is simply a different way of looking at and processing the world. My goal is to help him function fully as an adult. It is to get his GI system back to normal instead of the mess it was in. It is to clear out all the other things that are standing in the way of him being successful.
We’re doing it. He’s been gluten free and casein free for a year now. I started my other blog because truthfully, I didn’t think it was going to make a difference. I figured if I start spouting that “nonsense” on here I would alienate some of my readers who have tried the GFCF diet and found it not to work. I also didn’t want to clutter up a relatively upbeat blog with information that might end up sad.
Here’s the thing though. It IS working. We saw it immediately and we know when he cheats. Within 2 weeks of being GFCF, Nathan looked into my eyes. Right. At. Me. This was a complete first. He started talking in more sentences and more complex ideas began to form. You could actually see his eyes brighten up as he became more social and engaged with the world. Pretty cool stuff.
And, I got to hear “I love you Mommy” for the first time. So many of you know how incredibly precious that is & my heart aches for those who have yet to hear it. He has friends & is even invited to a birthday party on Saturday. These are two things I never thought I’d get to say. I am so proud of him and all the hard work he’s done this past year. I wish that things weren’t so hard for Nathan but he is a real trouper and happily embraces every challenge.