It’s been a difficult summer in many ways. With Son’s behaviours undergoing a serious regression we basically hunkered down at home a lot of the time. The GFCF diet occupied a huge amount of my energy for a while, though now it has become pretty much second nature. I also had some difficult stuff going on in my personal life. To top it off, money was tight, which put a damper on a few things.
But things are starting to look up. The personal stuff seems to have been resolved, Husband has some new projects starting up next month so money will be flowing again soon, and I’m hoping to put aside enough savings to tackle some of the bigger farm projects either before winter sets in or maybe in early spring, like more fencing and perhaps another outbuilding (a woodshed or a small storage shed). And things are looking up for Son as well.
We’ve been on the GFCF diet for several weeks now, and it seems apparent that Son’s issues have greatly diminished over that time. It has been quite a while since he broke into a major rage. Both Husband and I feel quite certain that he has calmed down a lot (he still has his moments, but they are far less intense and more like his old self again). Of course, the scientist in me still wants more data. I did offer a challenge about 4 weeks into things: I took him to McDonalds followed by Dairy Queen – a gluten and dairy pigout. The next day he had a huge meltdown, but I’m unsure whether to count it because it was a big challenge for him (he’d been promised a visit to a certain place he had his heart set on, then plans had to change at the last minute – difficult for any child, but especially him). He went back on the diet again and a few weeks later we went on a camping trip with friends.
These are the same friends we visited 2 weeks into the diet (I mentioned it at the end of this post). Son definitely seemed to take more interest in joining his friends this time and the other mums agreed that this had changed noticeably since the last visit. One mum also told me that she noticed a difference just in the way she was able to interact with him, that he seemed more present and engaged when she spoke to him. It was good to hear that. Looking back now I can see that the major rages seem to be behind us. But they started up unexpectedly and it’s entirely possible that they have faded away just as they came, with no relation to diet. But there will always be another opportunity to experiment with a food challenge of gluten and dairy, so we can run that test over and over again until we are sure. Meanwhile, I’m sticking with the diet for him as it has become a lot easier and just part of my routine now.
Also, things have been moving ahead swiftly on the assessment front. Our homeschool program is going to pay for a private assessment, and so instead of a one-year wait list he’s going next week! There are three separate appointments, two for him and one with just the parents, and these will take place over a week and a half. We’ll get a detailed report from that before October, then in November when we go see the pediatrician he just needs to sign off on it and Son will be official (officially what, we have yet to see, but I’m betting on high functioning autistic rather than Aspie at this point). Then we’ll learn about all the resources that are available. We’re hoping to get him into the social skills group I mentioned before, as well as find some programs for him (a camp, sports, something like that with adults who can manage these kids) or perhaps an aid for when we are at the Learning Centre (more on that in a subsequent post), and some child care would be great too!
And, importantly, we’ll have all sorts of insights into Son’s abilities and challenges. We’ll hopefully learn how better to support him, and where to focus our efforts. I’m really excited about that part, because I think as parents we all want to know our children as intimately as possible – sometimes even though they are our offspring they can act in mysterious ways! I want to see more into how his mind works, how he views the world, so I can share that with him more fully.
In my next post I’m going to talk about my big plans for this upcoming homeschooling year. Well, big for me anyway!