my name is Fay Hawkins and I am writing to update you on my daughter Lauren
Hawkins, who was featured in the last issue of The Autism File. Since
flying out to America in July to see Dr Goldberg who is looking into the
viral and neuro-immune issues of autism, Lauren has started to make some
good progress. She was put on an anti-viral called Valtrex after her results
showed that she had Human Herpes Virus 6 and a weak immune system. Within
a couple of weeks we noticed that Lauren was staring more and seemed to
be a little bit more tuned in. Lauren was also very upset but we were
informed that this was a good sign that the virus was being disturbed.
After a month of being on Valtrex, Lauren was put on Famvir which is another
anti-viral drug. We found that Lauren seemed very upset most of the time
being on Famvir and we didnt really notice any change so after a
few weeks she was taken off it. Dr Goldberg then wanted to see whether
or not Lauren had any side effects when coming off the Famvir so he didnt
prescribe any drugs for the next two weeks. Dr Goldberg then introduced
an SSRI called Paxal, which is an anti-depressant drug. When Lauren had
her brain scan in America it showed that she had decreased blood flow
in the front temporal lobes so by giving her the Paxal it would help to
boost the blood flow to those areas affected. This drug has helped Lauren
the most so far. She is a lot more alert and aware of her surroundings.
Her ears have become a lot more sensitive as well. She is starting to
take notice of different people around her as well. Lauren had only spoken
once in three years up until the past few weeks but after taking Paxal
she has come out with look quite a few times. Also last week
she picked up her drink beaker and as she came to walk into the kitchen
she said, I want a drink to herself. We believe it is because
of the medication that she is on. We know that it is going to take time
to fine-tune the medication for Lauren. Dr Goldberg is planning on introducing
Kutapressin injections, which are specifically for breaking down and suppressing
the HHV6 Virus and also to boost the immune system. It hasnt been
easy but we firmly believe in Dr Goldberg. If by any chance what we are
doing does not work out, we will keep trying until our daughter has the
quality of life she deserves. Fay
children with autism, PDD, AD(H)D, and learning disabilities have an overgrowth
of intestinal yeast, also known as candida. This situation is caused by
two major factors: the overuse of antibiotics and the large amount of
sugar in the diet. In the US, one of the main uses of antibiotics is for
ear infections. I agree with Canadian researchers who have found a high
correlation between the prevalence of ear infections and the incidence
Heres what happens: In a healthy intestinal tract, beneficial bacteria,
yeasts and fungi coexist. Their shared job is to digest food. When a child
takes an antibiotic, the drug disrupts the population of normal digestive
flora. In the gut, antibiotics kill off both harmful and beneficial bacteria.
Antibiotics, do not, however, destroy yeasts and other fungi, but, in
fact, may stimulate them to proliferate. The result is that the growing
yeast have no competition, so they are able to get the lions share
of all the food that the child eats.Yeasts produce toxic chemical by-products,
such as arabinose and tartaric acid, that are normally present only in
very low concentrations. As the yeast colonies grow, these chemicals become
excessive and are absorbed from the intestinal tract into the bloodstream,
and finally excreted in the urine (where they can be tested). This entire
process can disrupt the functioning of the brain.
I have developed a urine test that identifies these yeast-related abnormalities.
Treatment with low sugar diet and antifungal compounds has been very effective
in reducing symptoms of autism. Some of the improvements are increased
focus and concentration, improved academic performance, better sleep patterns,
reduced aggressive and self-destructive behaviour, and better eye contact.
My research is summarised in the book, Biological Treatments for Autism
and PDD. Additional testing for food allergies and immunodeficiency is
also recommended. More information, the book, and test kits can be obtained
by contacting The Great Plains Laboratory at 9335 W. 75th Street, Overland
Park, KS 66204, phone: 913-341-8949 or fax: 913-341-6207, www.greatplainslaboratory.com,
was so difficult for me when it was first hinted that there might be other
problems with my son Jack than just his continual running nose. I experienced
very little bonding with Jack as he remained distant and in his own world.
I just got on with the practical side of looking after him. He was three
years old. We were both very lonely and didnt know how to talk to
each other. Speech and language therapy began. Jack and I still hadnt
connected at all.
Jack started school. We had all the back up going, a new thing called
Teach Speech with a satellite link to the speech therapist once a week.
Jack was very happy at this lovely gentle school that cushioned him. We
still hadnt bonded!
Jack was now seven. In September he had to leave this lovely school and
face the reality of 35 children in a class, more than one new teacher,
a new ESA, a new speech and language therapist and a lot more expectation
placed upon him.
I was worried that he would end up having behavioural problems, so we
looked into private education and rallied around the family for sponsorship.
The private school, one I had attended had an average class size of 15.
I went for the interview and explained the situation, they said fine,
they would have him in for an assessment day. I was a bit worried about
this because of his difficulties and said so but was reassured this assessment
was only to determine which class he would be best suited.
On the assessment day I sat in the class for ten minutes to make sure
he was happy. They started off with a spelling test Jack hadnt
learnt any of the words but he tried. When I later went to to find out
how he had done, his precious work that he had tried so hard to do, was
limply put in front of me. I was told, Well, really, I dont
think we can have him, I mean, look, he reverses some of his numbers.
While all these professionals were saying the good the bad and the ugly
about Jack, I still had no idea how to love him or to feel and receive
the love he was giving me. I was trying to work and had the demands of
my family and a part time job. I attended support groups and sometimes
we would have the LEA representative in to discuss the lack of funding
and hear how hard their job was.
Eventually I withdrew Jack from school. The wall I came up against was
immense. I just didnt expect the amount of put downs I received.
Yet these professionals knew little about me, my son or autism
beyond what they had read. When the experts cant cure
your child, or he has a relapse, the disappointment that is felt is huge
and depressing. The feeling of helplessness can be overwhelming. Its
so personal, its so invasive, its your life thats taken
over, and not one professional agrees with the other.
Well, since we took Jack out of school he and I have bonded and we love
each other very much. He shouts at me and I shout at him. Sometimes we
get things done, and sometimes we dont. Sometimes we just recognise
the fact that we like the same things and sometimes we go out and play
football. Often we sit and watch videos. Our favourite is the Simpsons
and we quote catch phrases to each other.
Jack is experiencing something he never got from the professionals
unconditional love. When the doors of childhood close the one thing, God
willing, I will have done is spent time with my kids.
upon learning that our little boy, Caleb, was autistic, my husband and
I did the usual parent thing and ordered from the NAS a truckload of all
the books ever published that might be useful. Three months later, still
ploughing our way through them, we happened to read a great book called
Love, Hope & Autism by Joanna Edgar (try it; well worth a look at
). One of the therapy aids that the author had tried, with huge
success, was the AZ Method video. After reading about it, we sent off
for the instruction video straightaway.
The AZ Method was devised by Fahri and Fern Zihini, the parents of an
autistic child. They noted how their son, Adam, loved to watch television
and videos (as do most autistic children) but decided to make their own
video images of words and phrases they wanted him to learn. Within six
months their son learned 250 words.
The Zihinis then made their own instructional video of their technique
to aid other parents in the same way, and they called it the AZ Method.
While it may not work for every autistic child, we decided to give it
a go and, like the author above, had amazing results.
We borrowed, then bought, a video camcorder and, carefully following the
instruction video, got down to work.
Any concerns about whether Caleb would actually want to watch the finished
version were quickly swept aside - he loved it just as much as Postman
Pat, Thomas and the rest - and within a few days he was imitating many
of the words we wanted him to learn and had learnt the names of colours.
We estimate that in approximately one month Caleb has learnt 50 new words
through watching our own video once a day. And of course we are feverishly
adding new words and phrases as often as we can! Overall, we have found
it an outstanding success.
This is such a brilliantly simple, yet effective means of helping autistic
children to learn not only speech and receptive understanding, but how
the world works. With a bit of practice, you quickly realise that manners,
stories, social skills, toy play and so much more can be taught
at your pace and your childs pace.
For further information and for prices of the instruction video please
contact Mr & Mrs Zihini, 28 Grove Lane, Bayston Hill, Shrewsbury,
Shropshire SY3 0NH. Victoria
WORLD OF DIFFERENCE
am a speech and language therapist who has been seeing Child A on a regular
basis since January 1999. He initially presented me with some typical
autistic tendencies, no real spoken language, poor attention, intolerance
of strangers and of direction, poor social skills and weak
symbolic play. Child A was in another world. He could imitate
his own name but didnt do so meaningfully. He did not appear to
have any need for communication with others, or to realise that speech
was of any use to him.
We worked out a series of achievable aims and areas to work on and then
presented graded goals to him, building on each success. For example,
gaining and holding his attention was of paramount importance. A simple
activity such as getting him to sit still and make eye contact was vital.
We did this through using things such as using letters, numbers, certain
books and singing activities. Repetition, starting with more,
encouraged him to see that his vocalisation could result in his being
given something that he enjoyed. He began to understand what verbal labelling
meant and how, through a tactile hands-on approach, verbs
interacted with objects. We used gestures alongside this so that he could
indicate his needs and lessen his frustration. Gradually, Child A learnt
to accept me and now he asks for my intervention to guide him. A multi-sensorial
approach (touch, vision and hearing) has worked well with him and he enjoys
participating in almost all of our activities. For example, when working
on verbs and prepositions we had a large box and
Child A was encouraged to get in, on and under the box.
Child A responds best to simple, clear and direct language. As early language
is helped by symbolic (pretend) play we have also worked hard in
this area (tea parties, building tents, play trains etc). As play has
improved, so has his language.
He has shown me a great sense of humour and delights in laughing at me
if he thinks Im being amusing. He has developed good eye contact
and smiles at those he recognises. He is tolerant of strangers and enjoys
interaction with people, especially in the work setting. His
ritual behaviour has all but vanished and he is contented with verbal
praise and responds well to it. His response to adults and other children
is wonderful too and he takes your hand to show what he wants. He uses
his language to label objects and is linking them to verbs in simple sentences.
His attention span has increased markedly and hell wait patiently
for verbal instructions. He can be very focused and enjoys his letters,
sounds and numbers and he will now be directed up to the degree of his
understanding. I am very proud of his achievements. As with any learning
child, Child A will have periods when he appears to regress or remain
stationary for a while and then hell be off again, surprising me
with the amount of information hes absorbed. I dont know whether
these thoughts of mine have offered any insight, though I know that I
am fortunate to be able to help make a difference.
James MRCSLT Speech and Language Therapist