Success Story: Recovery from Autism (and then some)

I spent two days crying, for once happy tears. I keep a blog and the topics are on many things but this one is about my daughter whom I was told to institutionalize.

Don't give up hope, keep up the good fight. I hope someone can gain from knowing that sometimes the fight is worth it.
  • Julie H, I absolutely loved your blog post!!!!! What do you think was the turning point for your daughter? I think so many of us are still in that horrible place of hearing more and more bad news and not knowing which end is up. I'd love to hear if you think it was an age/maturity issue. What was special about her new school that made such a difference? A fresh start??? I cried tears of joy for you, too, though I also cried tears of pain as I read the first part of your journey. Thank you SO much for sharing this with us!!!!
    I'm sure you know of (or maybe have even met) Eustacia Cutler. I wrote about her in my blog and though you'd like to read it, too. Please read all the way to the end and watch the short video from YouTube. Truly beautiful, inspirational and uplifting!
  • Some people may be put off by the Recovery from Autism thing but I would still reccomend reading this blog. Julie's daughter is still on the spectrum but is now a mostly happy teen who is doing very well which, in spite of her past difficulties which are... well i'm overwhelmed just thinking of the many problems and how severe they were, not to mention Julies courage in getting through and not giving in to suggestions of institutionalizing her beautiful daughter who was supposedly a hopeless case.
    It would be interesting to know just how the wonderful changes came about at the school that made the great difference to her life so that she could realise her potential.
  • I echo what Heather said. This is not your stereotypical "recovery" story. It's actually a story of a breakthrough success. Definitely worth reading!
  • DC, I actually already subscribed to your blog ;) Thanks for posting it though.

    Now to address the "recovery" angle. We all know once they are diagnosed that there are lifelong issues. She has those but when you're dealing with school services (FAPE in LRE) they can only do so much.

    In third grade, when she threw her desk at the classroom of students, they finally started listening to me. Considering she was a kid on an IEP they couldn't expel her. So they stuck her into a kindergarten class temporarily until the emergency IEP could take place. The move her dad forced upon us was the worst thing that could have ever happened to her. Just thinking of her sitting in fetal position in the corner of the "Juvie" class can bring fresh tears as I type. Ultimately, by fifth grade she was labeled as "ED" (emotionally disturbed), and as devastating as that label felt, it was the best thing to get her into the "ED class" - this classroom had one teacher, one psychologist, and three to four aides with no more than a dozen children; usually 8 or 10, mostly boys. This is when she began to blossom and this is the class that ultimately helped her succeed with strict rules, appropriate and immediate discipline for inappropriate behaviors and constant, throughout the day, checkins. This class, this teacher, this placement is what saved her.

    Now, at almost 14, she is fairly immature. She has a difficult time following conversations, is fairly hyperactive, has major sleep issues and still plays with toys (which we promise to keep inside the walls of our home). The only comparison I have is her twin brother (who is HFA) but he stopped playing with toys a few years ago (around 10) and has matured drastically; his autism manifests more as OCD and anxiety and he's never been in a special ed class.

    My littlest one, I'll save for another blog. His "recovery" is even more profound and he now works as a professional model (successfully) which is part of the reason I am cautious about sharing his story. He had the most severe diagnosis and most miraculous recovery.

    Thanks for commenting. It feels nice to be heard.
  • autism is a gift NOT A BAD thing understand
  • I have three children whom no longer "suffer" from autism. This is a matter of semantics maybe? They all have autism, always will. I spent thousands of hours (and $$) for early intervention. They have "recovered" from the painful symptoms and socially crippling effects of it.

    I apologize for using the wrong word, i.e. recovery. And this prompts a good question? What do I say about my kids then? Survived? Endured? Lived-through? Succeeded over? Conquered?

    When my twins were 8 and my littlest was 4, no one could have convinced me I'd be sitting in the vantage point I am today. My son had a shadowing aide until the 3rd grade who had to brush his skin and do compressions just so he could cope with his dad; that child didn't speak til almost five - all the years prior he spent screaming, crying and pointing (and biting). Now he's an A student, mainstreamed and has made the allstar basketball team three years in a row. No need to retell his twin sister's story (it was the reason for this post). My youngest? He developed at an advanced rate until about 19 months - then stopped and regressed. I could not leave the house with this one - he stabbed his brother four times by the time he was four, started a fire in my home and smeared his own *** until he was six. Refused to wear clothing, then one day, after 40 hours a week of early intervention for three years the SCHOOL DISTRICT labeled him "recovered from autism".
    That child is now a top booking model - why? Cause he can make very good eye contact with a camera and has learned to manage his behavior. He still struggles to make eye contact with other people and has some stimming behaviors (we call it "movie talking").

    My kids no longer "suffer" from autism. I apologize for a poor choice of words in my blog title.
  • Keep the good energy coming ladies! I seriously need them tonight after a huge set back with my little one. I would love it if I could see a play-by-play to-do listy sort of post :) so that I feel like I know where to begin. My own OCD is severe enough that not killing me
  • It is fine Julie H. I like your blog anyway. People, don't be ithyphallic and imagine there's quote marks on the words inherent to RECOVERY.

    Let me exemplify: "Recovery", "Annihilate Dysphoria", "Cure" and more...
  • PenelopesMommy - your daughter sounds SO similar to mine. I wish I had a step-by-step approach to hand over to someone. Many of the early years were a blur with three children on the spectrum. You'd think after having THREE diagnoses that you'd have this mastered - nope. All three of my children had different symptoms and struggles.

    What I will offer since your daughter sounds quite a bit like mine (especially adding in the colic) is the elimination of milk from my daughter's diet provided the most significant impact (for us). We tried the GFCF diet, but my children's father is/was a culinary expert and he never fully supported that. We didn't stick with the gluten free program long nor strict enough to see if made a difference. My boys don't seem to be nearly as affected by milk products, but my daughter, it's very noticeable.

    If you haven't given the GFCF diet a go yet, look into that as a place to start.

    I'm so pleased to hear you caught her so early. My youngest was 19 months as well when we had him assessed. You can't change history but I wish I had caught my twins that young; they were five when they were diagnosed missing many years of early intervention.

    And Beautiful Techno - thanks ;)
  • i think you all are so inspiring. it amazing to read all your stories, struggles, triumph and victories. you give me hope. A must read book which will change your opinion and convince you to alter your childs diet is "the gut and psychology syndrom' by dr Natasha Campbell. my son has been on the diet for almost 4 months and we are so happy with the results so far.