Today marks three years since my precious little boy, Filbert, was diagnosed with severe autism. Its been quite a journey so far. The initial shock that something may be wrong with the little person you love so profoundly, followed by fighting and using your intuition as to what is best for him environmentally, diet wise and therapeutically. Loosing all but our two sets of best friends as we buckle down, isolate, and weather the grief as we search for answers. Humbly asking for help from everyone we know to get involved in play therapy and being overwhelmed by the loving response we witnessed; it was as though our love buckets over flowed. Regaining a new sense of normal as we decided to love our son for exactly who he is in each moment with the full hope that he could accomplish anything.
The choice for us is HOPE.
We have implemented changes in therapy, diet and environment. We choice the Son-Rise Program, a child-centered play based therapy, to encourage Filbert’s growth in social interaction and language. We chose the GAPS diet to give him the opportunity to eat a nutrient dense diet allowing for maximum physical health. We changed our home environment getting rid of cleaning toxins, laundry detergent and dry sheet toxins, and removing anything that is not child friendly; as we want to have only positive interactions with him to really promote that social interaction is fun!
It has been pivotal over the last three years to partner with Greenville College in recruiting and training therapist to work with Filbert 30-35 hours a week. We have had the privilege of getting to know many amazing individuals with hearts so full of love and service they become a part of our family. We feel so supported and loved as we all believe in the impossible for Filbert, recovery from autism.
As we head into this third year I find myself feeling overwhelmingly blessed by all the growth in our family, Team Filbert and Filbert himself. Our prognosis was not favorable and we shattered it 18 months into implementing changes. We are now 18 months passed that and Filbert continues to flourish daily, full of joy, personality and connection.
Filbert, April 2011: no eye contact, would not stay in the same room as any family member, no initiation of interaction, no functional language, no sharing experiences, no humor, no facial expressions, no gestures, lots of insomnia, sensory issues (needed deep pressure, jumping 4-6 hours a day), no asking questions, rigid & ritualistic
Filbert, April 2014: typical eye contact, loves being in same space with family or friends, initiates interactions often, full verbal sentences, shares experiences, lots of humor (especially simple contradictions), lots of facial expressions, some gestures, often sleeps well, no more sensory issues, asks what, where & who questions, occasionally rigid
He has made immense gains in the last 3 years! I am excited about all that is to come as we continue to love him for who he is today, provide him every opportunity to grow, and enjoy the journey each day.
A HUGE thank you to all who are and have been a part of this journey with Filbert so far, we are beyond grateful for all you have done and all the love you have shared with both Filbert and our family. We could not feel more blessed!