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These days………

background beautiful blossom calm waters

These days are busy, crazy, filled with emotion, sadness, happiness and uncertainty.

We have two children (teens now) on the spectrum now and the both present their own unique set of challenges, especially during this time.

Our daughter is in Grade 12 but she only goes into the actual school once every 4 days because she has a spare with one other class during this quad. Our son has 2 courses and goes into his school Tuesdays, Thursdays, and some Fridays. They are both on-line every afternoon as well.

I feel like I’m a parent, a teacher, an advocate, a chef, a housekeeper – all of it. But it’s okay because all anyone can do in these times it to take it literally one day at a time and enjoy the moments that being at home offers all of us.

I have daily moments of gratitude for the good things that my children do and I try to focus on that. No one knows where this pandemic will take us. Will the schools eventually close? Will they learn the course material? How will they mental health continue to be? I cannot see the future. We can only live in the now.

Honestly 3 years ago I never would have predicted that our son would be able to adjust to so many transitions and differences in his schedule that is happening now. One day on, one off and online at different times.

It’s so amazing to me how far he has come and honestly I don’t know how or when this happened, it just kind of evolved over time.

It’s like for one whole year I had to tell him to close the door of the bathroom ten times a day. I had signs on the inside in bold saying please shut the door and miraculously one day he just got it. Sounds silly? To some, but not to those of you who live with someone on the spectrum.

No matter what challenges this pandemic presents to you, just live in today and be strong and find those peaceful moments, even if it’s just a brief moment.

Until next time…………..

Biomedical – diet

vegetables and tomatoes on cutting board

So we have been on the SCD diet for about 6 weeks now. This is in addition to the Gluten Free, Cassein free, sugar free, soy free, and corn free.

The SCD or “The Specific Carbohydrate” diet was highly recommended to us by our Functional Medicine doctor who has been treating our son for close to 3 years.

If you don’t know this, kids/teens on the autism spectrum have extremely sensitive guts. Their guts don’t allow them to process food in the same way that someone not on the spectrum would be able to do. Since your gut is basically your second brain, you can see how it is so important to pay attention to the diet.

Now diet is not just important for people on the spectrum, it is hugely important for everyone. Diet can help heal and repair. Food is very healing to the body so you need to be conscious about what you put into your body at any age.

We struggle with high candida levels all the time. In fact, our son is on a protocol where he takes an antifungal prescription medication as well as herbals. He goes in waves where his body would be able to get rid of the candida, but then it can keep coming back. This is not a battle that is simple and easy to fix. In fact, it’s a lifelong thing that will continue to happen unless intervention is done.

Some kids with autism will be on certain medications their entire life because that’s what they need for their system to work properly. Sounds overwhelming? daunting? too much work?

Just to try to explain this in easy terms, anytime our son would eat carbs (ie potatoes, rice) these would turn into sugar in his body and sugar feeds the candida, hence his messed up gut, otherwise known as “leaky gut.” With Leaky gut you can have large cracks or holes in the gut lining, allowing partially digested food, toxins and bugs to penetrate the tissues beneath it. This can trigger inflammation and change the gut flora, which is the normal bacteria that can lead to problems with your digestive track. In people with autism, especially, this affects brain function. Imagine if this is happening in your gut how foggy your brain would be.

Even though the food was gluten free, a carb is still a carb is still a carb – get what I mean?

So, you may wonder how do you heal the gut? Well it can be done a lot with food and supplementation and prescription medication.

For us, we had success with medication (both prescription and herbal) but the candida kept flaring up at times.

Hence, starting the SCD diet. It is a little overwhelming, but it is doable. I have seen much progress in the last 6 weeks. Our son is eating more variety of foods, which is huge because his diet was extremely limited. I am finding new ways to make foods that I never tried before. For example, there is this recipe called Squash buttons. This is taking some cooked squash, eggs, cinnamon and honey and blending them all together and baking them in mini muffin tins. Voila, a vegetable a different way and very tasty. I love them too.

So there are many different recipes I am trying and I am still learning. I am hoping one day to put all of my favorites in some kind of book. Right now I just have the ones I like together. He doesn’t like every single one but for the most part, he at least tries them.

The downside is each night I have to go over recipes to decide what I am going to make for the next day so that takes a lot of planning.

I cook all the time. I cook a lot of squash, almond bread, cashew bread, nut butter brownies just to name a few of our favorites. The food is delicious and honestly doesn’t seem like you are missing anything in terms of taste or satisfaction. I just finished baking a loaf of almond bread and its 10:30 pm! Unfortunately, you can’t buy most of the products you have to make them.

Anyway, it’s worth it because we just went to see his doctor last week and his cells are much better. The candida has almost gone. This has happened before but I’m super-excited this time as I know that the changes we are making with diet are working because its only been 6 weeks since we saw him!

Gut repair can take a very long time so there’s a journey ahead for us but I am excited for what’s to come! With every stone I continue to uncover, more healing happens and it is truly amazing to watch!

The Beach

jakelake

As I sit here at the beach today I feel peace. I also love to watch my son in the water.  There is something about it that transforms him to a different place, a peaceful tranquil place, a place with no judgement or worries.

I love to watch and observe him when I get the change.  I try to figure out what moves him, what makes him happy, how he perceives the world.

As I watch him in the waves all I see is total contentment, smiling and laughing as the waves roll by. It’s so amazing to me that this totally relaxes and calms him.  He is in the zone when he is At the beach or in any type of water.  He could literally stay here for hours.

I wonder how I can transfer this feeling and contentment to his every day life?  I don’t know but wouldn’t it be amazing if I could?

The summer even though it’s different this year is just a time to take it easy, to bond to take advantage of the weather and the connections that we share.

I love the summer. It is my favourite season. I look forward to more happy times this year!

 

 

 

Autism 2.0

women s purple and yellow lips with yellow liquid

So, it has been challenging, to say the least, trying to deal with another autism diagnosis in our home. It’s like, where do you begin? Our daughter is 17 years old so it’s not like we can go back to childhood and have a “do over.” We have to start from where we are today.

Also, her autism is completely different than our son’s so it’s been crazy trying to scramble to help, find information and deal with it, almost like time is running out. But is it? I don’t know really.

As a parent, I try to understand how I missed all the signs. How did we not see? Did we have blinders on?

The part for me that is really hard to accept, is not the diagnosis, but what to do to help. Also, it’s a lot harder because there is a lot of resistance, resentment, contempt. I would like to say that I don’t know why, but I do.

It’s almost, like she’s saying, “You guys forgot about me.” “You guys ignored me and look now what happened.” Also, she does not want interference because of her age. She wants other people to help her figure things out, not her parents and this is hurtful and frustrating.

I feel that she doesn’t trust us anymore. That’s just a feeling because she’s not so great at expressing how she feels about things.

I almost feel like we let her down in a way. We missed all of the signs that we should have seen. Can we even help now?

Can we make a difference in her life? I would like to think that we can, but she is very resistant to our help, so I really don’t know.

All I do know now is that we will try to do whatever we can to make her life easier, to help her, and to be there for her with whatever supports she requires.

We will see what happens. Right now, I am just trying to take it moment by moment to figure out what comes next.

Any suggestions?

On-line classes

person writing on notebook

So we have done school at home and now we are into summer on-line classes. To be honest, I didn’t know how much we would get out of these classes, even the ones that were supposed to be fun and engaging.

It’s hard to think about connecting with people you have never met to do an activity.

Our son is involved in some pretty cool classes. This week, he is doing a minecraft coding class for beginners. It is really interesting and we have both learned a great deal since I didn’t know anything about this either.

He also does a science class once a week, where they get to do different types of experiments together. This is really cool as well. He also does an art class, where each class they learn about a different technique and they get to practice it together.

It’s a lot of fun some of these classes, especially learning new skills and getting to connect with others in this new crazy way.

I am grateful for the places that provide these classes to try to keep kids engaged in some learning and making it fun in the process. The only thing is when you are doing a messy experiment and trying not to get the stuff all over your laptop!

Our son is also doing an on-line peers program that is provided through the school board where they work on certain skills and are able to practice them as well. This is a good class for the most part but I also find in situations like this when you have to connect with peers and you have never met them before that this is more difficult to manage because you don’t have a relationship with them.

I am grateful to keep some learning going during these times we are facing but also doing fun things as well.

Are your kids doing any on-line classes and if so, how is that working for you?