Anthony: Autism and Apraxia

Anthony was 3 1/2 and he still had no words. That’s how this story always starts out… He had been in speech therapy since he was 18 months old, and he started occupational therapy when he was 2. He was diagnosed as having severe speech apraxia, sensory processing disorder, and low muscle tone. And even though he was receiving therapy, these issues continued to get worse with every month that passed by. He was 3 and completely non-verbal. He was 3 and drooling, toe walking, lining up toys, not looking at you, couldn’t jump, making really weird grunting noises… This was not normal! I took him to many different doctors. They said he wasn’t autistic because he was TOO social (yet he couldn’t speak a word) and they all just pushed therapy.

Therapy Wasn’t Helping

We were already doing therapy and it wasn’t helping.  I felt like I had no other options. I remember Anthony’s exit report with Regional Center. One of his therapists had handed it to me as we said our good byes. (he was to start up with the school district later that year). I got into my car and I opened the envelope and read the 3-page report. Tears started flowing. My son was a year behind in development! This was the worst gap I had ever seen. I was used to a few months behind … but a year!?!? And 1% for speech… what was happening to my son? The only thing I knew was whatever it was, it was getting worse. I was failing my son…. I was confused, depressed, at my lowest when it came to what to do to help Anthony. But then I had a conversation with a on-line friend I will never forget! Her son had been diagnosed with autism a year earlier and she had disappeared from the web. But when I saw her name come up on my Instant Messenger I said hello. After talking back and forth for awhile and telling her what had been going on with Anthony, I gave her a call. She told me how a lot of Anthony’s symptoms sounded like her son’s. And how a DAN! (Defeat Autism Now!) doctor had helped him and he had recovered.

What Is a DAN! Doctor?

I had NO idea what a DAN! doctor was. But the more she explained, the more sense all of this made. Yes, Anthony had always had gut issues. Yes, he had allergies… this list went on and on with the similarities. So as a test, I put Anthony on a probiotic. And like a miracle, he gained (and kept) 10 words the first week he was on it. This had never happened before! There had to be something to this whole gut theory. After that I was hooked! I found a DAN (biomed) doctor a few towns over and gave them a call. When I talked to the receptionist I told her about my biggest concern, which was my sons difficulty speaking. That his therapist said he was severely apraxic. The receptionist said the doctor had a lot of success with treating that symptom (symptom? Yep, its a symptom!). And so we waited till our appointment. Which was a few months later. Dr. Sletten, gave Anthony a physical/evaluation. He said he was on the Autism Spectrum (sensory processing disorder, speech apraxia, autistic behaviors), and there were some tests he wanted to run. He ran an organic acids test (OATS), a full allergy panel (IgG, IgE ELISA), and regular lab work up (vitamins levels, CBC, thyroid). The results came back screaming there was something wrong with Anthony. His thryoid levels were off, his gut was a mess, his yeast levels were through the roof, oxidative stress and neurotransmitter levels highly elevated, and he also had 30 food sensitivities and 4 food allergies. I was thrilled for answers, but so intimidated on how we were going to treat all this. We dove in with both feet and stuck to the diet/supplement plan our doctor suggested. Month after month, Anthony continued to improve.

Biomedical Autism Recovery

Three months into bio-med, Anthony no longer qualified for occupational therapy, because his sensory issues were gone. Four months in, Anthony started speaking in sentences. He went from having verbal skills of a 12 month old, to age appropriate in 9 months time! A year and a half after treatment started, my son is “typical”. He is now 100% therapy free!  He attends mainstream school and has made lots of friends. This all would not have been possible with out Dr. Sletten. He ran all the tests that needed to be run, got my son on the correct supplements, and diet, and released him from treatment because he was doing so well. We recently re-did his lab work that was done at the beginning of bio-medical intervention, and across the board everything has either completely corrected or vastly improved. We will always need to keep an eye on Anthony and do annual blood work. But as of today, Anthony has experienced autism recovery and has a very bright future ahead of him. You can read more of our story at – Kimberly Ruckman

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