My daughter Vienna was vaccine injured, with distinct regressions and behavioral changes at 9 months and then again at 18 months of age. She suffered sensory processing disorder and high functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder that was not present before. Fortunately, our story has a happy ending, because she is 90% recovered from autism. At one time, I believed we fully recovered her off the spectrum; though as I’ll explain later, we made it about 90% in the past 7 years. Through biomedical treatments, almost all children will heal or improve to varying degrees. A few rare persons will recover “off the spectrum.” And that is quite the celebration. Though most will still maintain some “quirks.” Would they have had these quirks anyway? Maybe. Was it irreversible damage-done, like someone who has recovered from a stroke? Maybe. Either way, all children will see major improvements with the right treatments and/ or supplements.
Vienna was 3 years old when we saw what seemed to be a spontaneous recovery over a 6-week period. She began hitting milestones like pretend play, attaching to her stuffed animals, and talking back to characters on the TV. Her eczema and food intolerances disappeared, and she began to look me in the eye again. Empathy and consideration for others began to develop. The sensory processing disorder became more manageable, and meltdowns subsided (for the difference between a tantrum and a meltdown, click here). Our daughter was coming back to us.
Here’s what we did:
- Organic. By the age of 2 we switched Vienna to an organic diet, got her an organic mattress and began using homemade household cleaners instead of chemicals. We increased fruits and vegetables, especially “brain foods” like avocado (smoothies especially). And we ate curry weekly with spices like turmeric, cayenne, pepper, cilantro, and cumin (these spices have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties).
- Quality daily vitamins – we switched her from vitamins that had cheap forms of B12 and folic acid to those with quality methylcobalamin B12, and folate.
- Milk thistle, which supports the liver.
- Probiotics and probiotic-rich foods for the gut, in turn helping the immune system.
- Chelation (heavy metal removal). We used chlorella and spirulina, as well as fresh cilantro in our cooking.
- Cod Liver Oil, filtered. The adrenals use up extra DHA when the body is toxic. Additionally, Omega 3s decrease inflammation.
Here’s what I’d do differently now that I know more:
- I would have searched for an educated doctor to guide us and choose the right labwork.
- I would’ve taken detox supplements slower while increase liver support. When Vienna’s meltdowns got worse (in the two months prior to our major leap towards recovery), I probably should’ve slowed down the chlorella and spirulina, and added more essential detox vitamins/ minerals (A, B12, C, E, Folate, Magensium and Zinc, even B2 and Selenium). And we should’ve considered taking a break from anything that removes heavy metals during any periods of stress (like Christmas time!).
- I would’ve added a supplement for Adrenal support, as detoxing can take a toll on the adrenal glands.
- I would have had more testing done for Mitochondria, metabolic disorders, and vitamins. This would’ve saved us time with trial-and-error as it pertained to vitamins. For example, we were pushing B12 because so many kids with regressive autism require it. In our one daughter’s case, she didn’t need it – it just made her aggressive.
At 7 years old, Vienna has almost no trace of Autism Spectrum Disorder as we’d known it. However, like those still on the spectrum, she has Sensory Processing Disorder, which has been primarily maintained through supplements and coping strategies. In our case, these supplements were required daily to keep her happy and healthy. First, minerals. Low Zinc or Magnesium is common in children who are vaccine injured and/or autistic, which can contribute to sensory issues. Especially picky eating (zinc-copper balance). As an added bonus, since adding zinc, she gets sick far less frequently and fights off illness more quickly. Vienna also continues to have adrenal issues, common in those with heavy metal toxicity and autism. High cortisol can cause fight-or-flight response (commonly seen in ASD kiddos and those with PTSD). High cortisol means her body is eating up the DHA/ Omega 3s, so extra Omega 3’s are necessary in this case. If she goes 72 hours without omega 3’s we would notice aggression, a marked decrease in her ability to control her behavior when frustrated, and disappointment for hours. When she’s on her omegas and cortisol-lowering herbs, she is a well-behaved kid with a pretty impressive ability to control her frustration and bounce back from it in minutes (considering her age of course – all kids get angry and lose their cool sometimes). At the age of seven, she is a well-mannered and considerate kid that is an adrenaline junkie. 🙂 She makes friends easily, reads 3 or 4 chapter books every night before bed, and loves animals. In most situations, Vienna is indistinguishable from the other kids on the playground. Vienna still has social anxiety, SPD “quirks” and takes some extra time to prepare for changes, but it is all manageable now with a low-stress routine, and I am extremely grateful for the progress we have made.
When Vienna was 7 1/2, we got specialized labwork back showing that her liver was not functioning optimally, she had signs that her ATP and Glutathione were low, and that she may not be properly absorbing nutrients (NutrEval can show this and more). So on the advice of a Functional Medicine Doctor, we began Designs for Health VegeCleanse. While it was more pricey than I anticipated, as I compared buying the supplements separately, this was the best option. There was an almost immediate improvement in her moods and she told me she’d never been happier! We also went gluten, sugar, soy and dairy free. A few months later, we began Occupational Therapy, including exercises focused for for Retained Infant Reflexes.
After 3 more months, for the first time in her life Vienna’s sensory avoidance turned into sensory-seeking. She hated music and loud noises, and now she was having dance parties with her sister. She began asking for cuddles and hugs all the time. And, like a preschooler that has to learn boundaries, she was going through a phase she’d missed because her sensory issues stopped her from getting too close to people. Now, we are happy to report having to teach her boundaries like not poking people, and asking for affection instead of just smothering people. 🙂
This is progress. I share her story, and this website, in hopes that others can benefit from what I’ve learned.
Vienna is turning 10 now. She continues on the supplements she has always been on. We give her zinc when symptoms arise. For us, this means eye contact decreases and chewing on things increases. Based on labwork we added Vitamin D and Selenium. And CBD at times of high anxiety (such as holidays). Her labwork shows great improvement as it pertains to methylation (liver detox) and gut health. As she becomes more motivated to be independent, she has pushed through her social anxiety. She has the ability to pretend play with others. We actually find that artistic and pretend play result in better moods! I believe that OT, horseback riding and gymnastics has improved her motor coordination so well that she may not return to OT next year. She can also tolerate different clothes, like jeans for horseback riding. She recently told me: “I didn’t know how good a hug could feel because it was so uncomfortable before.” Her hugs have become more gentle and not so rigid. I believe the struggles as a toddler-preschooler caused brain imbalances; her mathematical and spatial reasoning intelligence reached extraordinarily high levels, while other areas such as social-emotional intelligence, suffered. This kind of brain imbalance is not uncommon with kids on the spectrum.
A few things we’ve learned recently, made us realize we were not completely recovered, and may never know what 100% would look like. We are still dealing with anxiety as well as some subtler signs of what was formerly called Aspbergers, in her social relationships. As a high functioning, gifted female she is borderline ASD. If evaluated, there is no black-and-white answer. She may, or may not, qualify as having autism depending entirely on who is evaluating.
The last 8 years of our biomedical journey towards recovery has been filled with many supplements that did or did not work; thousands of hours of reading; and many doctors and therapists appointments. We have experienced many wonderful small victories towards reaching our goal – ultimately, a daughter that is happy. We now have a ten year old that is is fully able to express herself verbally and academically. She is genuinely happy with her daily life, while also fully participating and enjoying her extra-curriculars and academic pursuits.
For more in-depth information, see the full article: Detoxing From Vaccines