Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Cool Excursion for the Week

Okay, so Kiki and I had to go for his fourth RDA today with our RDI Consultant, who happens to live in Peterborough which is an hour drive from our house. So, Lucky Duck that he is, he got to skip school. I was going to take him to school later on when we got home, but he looked at me with such a pleading look on his face, "Please, can we just go home, Mom?" So, being the Total Hardass Parent that I am, I told him "Sure" and we ended up at home after our meeting.

Well, lo and behold, it was actually a stunning day here in Southern Ontario, a little on the cool side in the mid sixties, but I'll take it!!! So, after a quick lunch, I decided we needed to do something fun.

Well, when we first moved her two years ago, I bought a book about fun things to do in Toronto with your kids. I bought a couple of them, actually, but the book I have used the most was this one. It had many cool and different, off-the-beaten-path suggestions to take your kids for a good time, but one that really caught my eye was the Pearson Airport trip.

So we went over to Pearson International Airport to watch the planes land and take off.

Out on Airport Road, in a Wendy's parking lot, there were several "airplane watchers", some of whom had brought their own seating with them. And for the 40 minutes that we were there, more and more arrived. I did a little research after we got home and apparently, all the big jets (747s and up) start to land around 3pm, until 7pm. They just kept coming, these big jets, about one every 5 minutes or so.

They were so close, like a couple hundred feet in the air, and were landing literally across the street from us. It wasn't as loud as I imagined it would be, either, although you tended to feel them before you saw them.

There was a part of me that wondered if this would be even possible at any airports that I have known in the US. Dave assures me that it is, but I must do more research on this when we get back to Philly. And I have to take Blythie.

Next time, with just a little more research, we can have a list of what flights are landing when. Maybe even bring our own seating...

Too, too cool.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

My Thoughts on Biomedical Treatment for Autism

When you first learn that your child has autism, you head out to the library, or over to and you search for books about autism. Nowadays, that Go-To Book may very well be Jenny McCarthy's book. She gets enough press, doesn't she? I've met so many people who absolutely hate her, but I myself am rather ambivalent. She's just trying to help guide us parents out there who are rolling with the punches and don't know which way to go. But, I digress...

Back in 2004, when autism really began to seem a real possibility in my mind as a cause for my son's delays in speaking, the Go-To book was Facing Autism by Lynn M. Hamilton. It was a memoir of one family's struggle with their child's diagnosis with autism and it had lots of steps to take and try to help with the common problems of childhood autism.

I read it very carefully and with much interest. The main problem I had with it was that symptoms and problems she described of a child with autism didn't really fit Kiki.

Kieran was the World's Most Easygoing Baby, and that isn't an exaggeration. He slept like a fiend from the day he came home. I'm talking 13 hours a night, and two power naps of one to two hours a day. He ate well. He was extremely affectionate and loved to be held, cuddled, kissed and rocked. He looked deeply into my eyes and looked and studied everything and everyone around him (at least us in his family). And he never really regressed in any skills. Now, he didn't speak until well after his 2nd birthday, but he never had that regression of acquired skills that you often read about from other parent's accounts of their autistic child's developmental path.

So, the more I learned about the GFCF Diet and Chelation, the more I thought that it wasn't for us.

Then, Cameron was born. And although he was similar enough to Kiki that I knew he was autistic by the time he was 10 months old, he was still very different. He did not eat baby food. Ever. The texture was intolerable to him. He toe walked and was an okay-sleeper (because after Blythe, just about every child seems an Okay-Sleeper, with a very few notable exceptions). He definitely seemed to have more sensory based issues. He has always been a much more stimmy child than Kiki, which is really saying something.

So, Biomedical seemed more and more like it was something I wanted to try for Cam. But, as anyone who has ever tried it will tell you, the GFCF Diet is a BITCH to implement and even more difficult to stick to for any length of time. And it's pretty much the centerpiece of all Biomedical Treatment. You start with GFCF and then take it from there. Because it's all about Inflammation, and the Inflammation in the brain, almost always, begins and ends in the gut. That's the Big Message with Biomedical--Heal the gut and you begin to heal the brain.

But I still wasn't completely on board that it was really for us--that it was really worth my time and energy to implement and commit to. Because it's hard to follow a strict biomedical regime, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Then, this past December, Cam caught some sort of intestinal parasite, Dientamoeba fragilis. I'll spare you the gory details, but it was beyond gross, poor guy. It's a fairly common parasite and not supposed to be a big deal. But what really scared me, was the pattern of regression I saw in Cam while he had this parasite. He became Super Stimmy, and even more echolalic than ever. He stopped responding to his name. I'm not going to sugar coat it--it scared the shit out of me. And since he seemed to come back to normal after a round of oral antibiotics, I decided that Biomedical Treatment was worth more than a second look.

I found a DAN doctor here in Toronto and made an appointment. We started the GFCF Diet. We began extensive testing, of both boys blood and stool and urine. Very, horribly expensive, since most insurances will pay only partly for them, and ours didn't pay any, since our DAN doctor is a Naturopathic Doctor and not an MD. Based on those tests, we started different supplements. We've been adding a new supplement every few weeks. We consult with the doc every six weeks (more often if needed) and tweak stuff here and there.

It's been an eye opening experience.

We've seen differences in both boys, but the most profound changes have been with Cam. He's talking now. Now, to be fair, he was talking before we started biomedical, but it has exploded since January. His speech is so much clearer, and it has so much more intention behind it. His speech is still a far cry from that of a neurotypical 4 and a half year old. I would put it at about that of your average 16 month old. But it's a big change and a welcome one.

Now, I couldn't, and I wouldn't, tell you that his dietary changes have been the soul reason for these changes. Cam gets well over 30 hours of pretty intensive ABA a week, in addition to lots of one and one interaction at home. But I feel confident that Biomedical Intervention has helped. It's been more than worth the effort.

So, if you are at all interested in going that Biomedical Path, but have been too scared or worried that you are slipping off the deep end into the Abyss of The Crazies (which for some reason these loving and caring doctors and parents have been demonized as in the Court of Public Opinion), don't let that stop you.

Educate yourself, find a good and reputable doctor that you have a good rapport with, and give it a shot. I don't think you have anything to lose.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Tastes Like Love, Without the Heartache!

So, in between carting vanloads of unwanted clothes and toys from our house during the day, I also been traveling downtown to the St. Lawrence Market to Crepe It Up in order to enjoy my favorite item off their menu, The Monster!

I wish that I could, through the magic of The Internet, send this fabulous creation to you so you could enjoy it. The secret is these round crepe-making hot flat surfaces, in which they carefully swirl the batter.

Then they crack an egg and carefully swirl it around to cover the surface of the batter.

And then they add slices of ham, spices, fresh spinich, mushrooms, onion, red pepper and God Knows what else. Oh, CHEESE! Did I forget to mention cheese?! It's just so Darn GOOD!!

If I lived closer than a twenty minute drive, I swear I would eat one of these every day.

And then after folding over once in half and again into quarters, they even have the generosity of spirit to add a SALAD next to it.

Truly, thing of beauty, and that's just one of their extensive menu of sweet and savory crepes!!!

I will miss them when we leave...hmmmm, must search Philly area for Crepe Restaurant. Note to self....

But if you ever find yourself in Toronto, do yourself a big favor, and catch a streetcar over to St. Lawrence Market. Down in the Lower Level, you will find Crepe It Up...only Love here! Only love...

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Three weeks & counting...

I can't believe that it's coming to an end. In less than 21 days, we will be on our way back to the US of A. Time sure does fly.

Now it's all about purging stuff that we don't need to move, organizing stuff that we do need to move, and (most important of all) keeping us all happy and sane while we prepare for our move. Oh, and I'm also trying to do a little bit of exploration and have a bit of a long goodbye of all the things that I will miss about Toronto, Canada, when we are gone. And for those naysayers and cynics among you, YES, there are quite a few things that I have come to like, and even love, about Canada since we've been here, and that I will miss very much.

True, the weather is NOT one of them.

I will, however, miss every single one of the teachers at the Boys school. They have been, quite simply, everything I could have hoped for our time here in Canada. They have been dedicated, loving, sympathetic, etc. I couldn't have sat down to create them in my wildest fantasies and come up with any better. They have given the boys so much of themselves, and boys have responded in kind.

True, Cam has been a bit of a pill for the past couple of weeks, but that's for another post.

It's been a great two years for the boys, and my hope is that we will be able to launch our new lives for them in school, and us as a family, with a great deal of clarity of purpose and direction. We know what Kiki and Cam are now capable of. We now need to keep raising that bar for them, so that they can continue to develop and grow from adorable little boys to young men.

I have loved both of my babysitters very much here in Canada and I will miss them both very much.

I have loved having a selection of amazing scrapbooking stores within an half hours' drive from my house.

I have loved having the St. Lawerence Market so close, with such an excellent selection of meat, seafood and this place, where you can enjoy the best crepes I have ever had the pleasure to eat!

I have loved having a heated swimming pool, although we haven't been able to use it as much as we would have (reference the aforementioned weather). We probably won't have an inground swimming pool in our backyard again, at least not at our next house. But I have a lot of fond memories of this one to keep me happy and scrapbooking for a while.

There's been a lot to love about our stay here in Canada. I can honestly say that just about every single person I've met has been courteous and helpful, espcially with the boys. And so proud to be Canadian. They love their country, do these Canadians, as well they should.

Now, if only they could do something about the weather...