Autism was a word of uncertainty with a dark aura surrounding the word. Now autism means so much more to me. It means personal growth, strength, and experience. For everyone rocked by this diagnosis, autism places us in a new category. Autism represents passion, fight, and relentlessness to uncover the truth.
My son, Meki, was born as a healthy, strong 10-pound boy with an Apgar score of 9.5. Intuitively, I knew he was going to be a special child. I just did not know how special. Born on September 11, 2002, one year after the World Trade Center attacks, Meki was the first child born in Albany, New York, on that day. I remember lying on the recovery table graciously declining to be interviewed by a television station. That moment felt very significant.
Meki met all of his developmental milestones until 3 years old. He spoke, stacked blocks, crawled, stood up, and walked at 1 year old. Dad’s native country is Sudan, Africa, and Dad taught Meki his numbers through 10 in the Arabic language. Meki was able to fluently recite numbers through 40 in English and through 10 in Arabic by 2 years old. He was able to tell me he loved me, called me “Mommy,” and verbalized body parts, cartoon characters, and household members by name. Meki could identify, verbalize, and draw many shapes including even parallelograms by 3 years old. He was also able to identify, verbalize, and draw with appropriate colors. Meki could ride a tricycle around the driveway for a long time. He loved to sing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” and when he was about to recite “like a diamond in the sky,” he would look and point to his sister, Diamond. I am a chocolatier, and Meki would see the box of chocolates and immediately verbalize “carleek” at 18 months of age. He was a very affectionate child always seeking a hug and kiss; he both initiated and reciprocated affection. Meki enjoyed books, especially The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and had a stellar attention span. Meki was excelling in all areas of preschool, even potty training. His eating habits were wonderful. He loved fresh fruit and vegetables. His diet included the four main food groups with no particular preference to any one type of food. In summary, my child was developmentally normal until 3 years old.
Something changed right after Meki’s third birthday. He was given a round of vaccinations at his annual well visit including the DTP (diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus). Meki spiked a fever and produced a mild rash. His first ear infection occurred, and he was given a round of antibiotics. I brought him back to the pediatrician a few months later and, per the physician’s suggestion, I gave him the Fluzone influenza vaccination. The second ear infection came shortly after the flu vaccination, and another round of antibiotics was given. Then the third and fourth ear infections came, which were followed by antibiotics. It seemed like the child always had an ear infection, with diarrhea following the antibiotics. His bowel movements were not regular and chronic bouts of diarrhea started. At this point, Meki’s eating habits were not regular, and he seemed to only want cheeseburgers and pasta. I was led to believe the eating habits were associated with the ear infections. The pediatrician always suggested Tylenol for the fevers associated with the ear infections, and I complied to reduce the fevers. Then Meki’s belly started to look very bloated, and there were dark circles under his eyes. At this point, Meki’s language diminished to virtually nothing. He would try to speak, but a garbled mess of sounds would come out. Odd behaviors started to occur. He would run in a straight line and start humming … he would hit himself on his head . . . he would break anything, including the glass from the coffee table and eggs from the refrigerator. He was obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine and would line all the trains up in a row. He lost eye contact and slipped into his own world. I truly had a different child on my hands.
I brought him to the developmental pediatrician at 4 years old, and he was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS). The behaviors were getting worse, and Meki was regressing even further. He went from a developmentally normal 3-year-old to the level of an 18 month old cognitively and developmentally. This regression took about 1 year. My heart was broken and I was clueless as to how to help my son. He lost all language, his gross motor ability decreased, and he was back in diapers unable to toilet on his own. Meki was diagnosed with petit mal seizures, negating any meaningful ability to concentrate for more than 15 seconds. He was running out of the house and sent me on a mighty chase around the neighborhood repeatedly throughout the day. We were unable to go in public places anymore as the behaviors were too severe and the public was often unkind.
Meki started a pre-school program at 4 years old in an autism-specific, self-contained classroom. Not making any progress at all and still showing signs of further regression, I urged the pediatrician to help. When I described Meki’s eating habits, the pediatrician actually blamed me for not giving Meki the correct food groups! This was preposterous. All I could say to him was that, for goodness’ sake, I am a chef. The physician prescribed Risperdal, which I vehemently declined. While the physicians concentrated on behaviors and behavioral treatments, I kept asking, “What about his medical issues? Isn’t there anything you can do to help him?” They finally suggested tympanostomy tubes. That was all I was offered. Meki did go through the ear tube surgery and seemed to have a minute increase in his language, but he was covering his ears more with his hands. Up to this point, no dietary, biomedical, or homeopathic interventions had been used.
BRINGING MEKI BACK
Meki turned 5 years old. I was reading the newspaper about a local homeopathic physician. It piqued my interest. There was nothing related to autism in the article, so I called the office. The receptionist stated the doctor had treated patients diagnosed with autism. I researched homeopathy and autism and decided that this was something I wanted to try. This is how Meki began his homeopathic treatments with Dr. Larry Malerba.
Meki first visited Dr. Malerba in March 2008. He explained this was not a “quick fix” and patience was required. (Before I start talking to you, the reader, about anything we used, you must understand that every patient has their own unique combination of circumstances; what helped us may not be optimal for you, so talk to your child’s doctor who is providing oversight.) Meki’s initial treatment began with a remedy of carcinocen. I was particularly concerned with the petit mal seizures and the self-stimulatory behaviors (“stims”). In the first month of treatment, I noticed an improvement with language. Meki started to say words again, such as “Mom” and “I love you.” The stimming behaviors seemed less frequent, also. We were very far from “normal,” but slight gains were appearing. Each month Meki was displaying slight behavioral gains. By the eighth month of treatment, something amazing happened. The petit mal seizures were gone – totally gone! I was finally seeing a glimmer of sunshine in this world of darkness. The teacher at school also noted the improvement in Meki’s focus and attention. He was not staring into space for prolonged periods of time nor stimming during the times he was not having a petit mal seizure.
We had one minor setback with a croupy cough at around ten months of treatment. Meki became very ill with a chronic dry, barky, cough that had started a few days earlier. A single dose of homeopathic pertussis was given to him on the third day. That evening, an amazing episode took place: At 2:00 a.m., Meki woke out of his sleep with one extremely loud cough that sounded like it came from the depths of his soul. He fell immediately back to sleep; upon waking, the cough was gone! I firmly believe the first vaccination insult took place with the DTP causing an adverse reaction.
The next month brought more amazing changes. Out of nowhere, Meki began to count in Arabic through ten. I was reduced to tears. He never forgot the information he once recited on a daily basis until 3 years old! It was back shortly after his sixth birthday. This was a miracle. (I will share with you that Meki’s father was not around after Meki’s second birthday, and I never encouraged speaking Arabic numbers in our house because I was not fluent in Arabic.) I called Dr. Malerba and his wife, Mary, immediately shrieking with happiness: “It’s working! My child is coming back to me!”
Each month of treatment came with a minimal regression in behaviors for the first week with an emerging positive outcome. We have now had 20 months of treatment, and the improvements are steady and gradual. My son now is able to hold a conversation answering questions. For example, I ask, “What did you have for lunch today?” and “Did you swim today at school?” He is able to identify all of the shapes and colors again. He is starting to learn to read and type on the computer. He is able to speak to his grandmother on the telephone in a full conversation. He minimally interacts with his peers. Whereas Meki previously could have a few tantrums per day, now the meltdowns have decreased to about one every few months. He is able to count in English to 50, and he is still able to count to 10 in Arabic with a prompt.
The big question you are probably wondering about is whether Meki is fully recovered. Not yet. But at a time when I thought he would speak with PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) or a DynaVox for the rest of his life, he graduated to language! And I will tell you that no pharmaceutical medications have been used in the past twenty months – we’ve used only homeopathic remedies from flu to orchidis. I did not use gluten-free/casein-free diet, either – just homeopathy. Meki’s eating habits are not perfect, but his gastrointestinal issues and diarrhea have slowed down. Gross and fine motor skills have increased, as well. If it weren’t for homeopathy, I know my son would not be at the progressive and miraculous point he is at now. Even though Dr. Malerba never promised us a cure, he is my son’s angel who has helped Meki do more.
In the article that accompanies this one, Dr. Malerba wrote, “Someday Meki will come to appreciate what a fierce advocate his mother had become for him in his time of greatest need.” I will respond: I hope my son forgives me one day for not investigating in advance the toxins in the vaccines and pharmaceutical medications that caused him to embark upon a road of Disability. Going forward, my voice will never be silenced to the atrocity of vaccination damage. On a positive note, I am grateful that homeopathy is helping Meki regain his footing on the road of Ability.