After healing his leaky gut, somewhat, and balancing out his sytem, it took only six months to raise his brain function to (above) age level.
Jacob had most of the tell-tale signs of High-Functioning Autism. His sensory issues and physical delays improved a little with Occupational and Physical Therapy. His intestines and leaky gut also improved through supplemental therapy. Then after going through Hemispheric Integration Therapy with the Brain Balance Achievement Center, he improved tremendously. He is almost fully recovered AND still improving, as of September 2011, even though he is finished with the program.
As of October, 2010, here’s a list of some of the changes I can think of at the moment, since he began the program. By the way, he did have some improvements from other therapies. But here I’ll cover things that improved after we started the Brain Balance program. Jacob is awake and not empty, like he often was. His little sister is no longer a shadow to him, she’s a playmate. They get along for such long periods of time. He’s displaying tremendous self-control much of the time. And most of the time there is not a horrible melt-down during an argument. Before Brain Balance Jacob was always in a fight or flight mode, meaning he was physiologically in a constant state of stress. Yet, when he was tested after being in the program for only three months, that issue was gone. And we could see the results of it in his behavior. He’s doing well in every academic subject, except for writing. He’s making friends and not only talking with adults like he used to. He’s more physically confident and sturdy. He doesn’t usually lose his place when he’s reading. His motor skill planning has improved, so that he’s capable of doing more physical activities. When he falls, he toughens up and rarely cries about it, and it doesn’t seem to hurt him as much as it used to. He’s learning compassion, consideration, and empathy and loving it. His world is more exciting than ever to him. His occasional depression has vanished, which is also a developmental thing. Amazing! The only sensory stimming that seems to be hanging on is tactile stuff, so he still has a slight need to touch……and sometimes still spins in a circle, but that’s rare. He still does look out the sides of his eyes, but that’s not very often either. His balance is okay now. He seems more mature; He acts more like a six year old and not actually younger than his little sister. He rarely reveals his high pitch voice for long. He usually uses his “big boy voice”, which is so much more pleasant. He is fully right handed, right foot, right eye and right ear dominant now. He was quite mixed when he started the program, which proved there were brain issues. He’s physically stronger. He now likes to be tickled. He sings, rather than just reciting the words to songs. He has a great memory! His short-term memory issue is almost gone. He doesn’t really perseverate like he used to. He cannot only dress himself, but he can pick out his own clothes too. He has complete control of his facial muscles and makes some great faces. I say that because he had virtually no facial expressions, until he was four years old. Even then the expressions were limited. Then balancing his brain changed all that. He tells us what he wants and expects or did expect, rather than not saying anything, then having a meltdown when things didn’t happen the way he imagined them. His imagination of how things will play out is also age appropriate. He’s more aware that there is a world going on around him and not just within his bubble, so he includes his little sister when they play in crowds and he protects her. He can wash his own hands now, although like several activities, his focus makes it take forever. He’s getting better at mirroring a physical task, which is helping him socially and in various classes he’s in. He now has a sense of smell, but it’s very weak. He has to get up close to something to smell it, even when everyone else can smell it from across the room. He didn’t score 100% on his smelling test at Brain Balance when he completed the program, however. But he didn’t have a sense of smell at all before he started, which also affected his social skills. When we’re playing, he can interact with us for long periods of time, without having to step away and either lay on the floor and stare at a piece of carpet lint or pretend he’s a dragon or something coming to attack us because he couldn’t stick to the conversation. He participates in most, if not all, group activities, rather than standing off to the side because he either didn’t understand the teacher’s directions or because he couldn’t focus on them. Yet, his new teachers have quickly figured out that he still needs them to get him to focus and that he still needs one on one direction at times. We’re still waiting for the ADD to disappear. He has great reading comprehension now and reads well. He’s good at math. And he’s good at multiple choice questions because he has the ability to reason. He had a great ability to reason before, but it’s improved and has expanded to more of life’s situations and shows in his school work. He’s displaying some ability to know what someone else is feeling. His hyperkinesis is gone and his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is almost completely gone.
I want to explain more about what I meant when I said, “he is awake and not empty, like he often was”. Before Jacob entered the Brain Balance program, he usually couldn’t recognize the faces of his teachers and classmates, so there were quite a few instances that called for concern. When he was four he had a classmate for nine months once a week. This is when Jacob would hardly talk with other children, only adults. Then this little boy happened to be on his T-ball team for the summer. Then a year later that same boy was again in his once a week class. Jacob came home excited that he had made another friend, which turned out to be this boy he’s known for two years. When I reminded Jacob of who this boy was and how he’s not a new face, he had no recollection of knowing him previously (back when he still had autism).
Jacob now tends to gaze in the eyes of other children longer, which has helped with recognizing his friends and to cause them to stick around longer for a conversation with him.
Even though his eyesight was good, there was still question as to whether or not he actually had peripheral vision. He didn’t seem to have an understanding of how to use it or something. We kept testing him at home, yet it wasn’t until he was almost finished with the program that he could now see things happening in his peripheral vision.
From my understanding the issues that we still see remaining are most likely directly related to the four reflexes that are still hanging on. These are frontal lobe issues, which is the last part of the brain to develop. And the way I think it was explained to me is that Autism is more severe than Asperger’s, and Asperger’s is more severe than ADD. When you start therapy having Autism, then as your brain develops, it’s kind of like sliding down a slide. You can’t skip over any of the stages as you slide out. You must go through them before full development is reached where you exit the slide.
It is our prayer that reading about Jacob’s improvements will encourage you that your child is not doomed to never improve and can possibly completely recover.
To God be the glory!
Jacob hardly has any behavioral issues remaining that would suggest he ever had a brain imbalance. He still has some slight fine motor issues. And tends to walk all over the place, rather than in a straight line. And his focus is a minor issue, yet is still more of an issue than the average boy. And he still has a small issue with OCDs. These things still get exaggerated when he’s over stimulated. That’s all I can think of at the moment, and they aren’t a big deal in comparison to what he had to deal with in the past. We haven’t even seen him look out the sides of his eyes (side glancing) in a month or two. So we’re very encouraged and excited these days. God is good!
Jacob continues to do well in all aspects. He’s doing well in his Christian Taekwondo class and other two classes he’s in. He’s making and keeping friends. He does well in school. We homeschool, and he still has focus issues and cannot sit still, however.
Even though it’s been about eight months, since he graduated from the Brain Balanced program, we still see a jump in cognitive development from time to time. Very exciting!
I had forgotten to mention that four months after Jacob graduated from the program, he had regressed, which was expected. But it lasted a month, so we were concerned. We asked Brain Balance to retest him, which is what they do six and twelve months after graduation anyway. His test results showed that not only was his brain function fine, he had improved even more in that four months. Brain Balance made some recommendations, so we made some changes to his diet, cut back a little on his exercises and a couple other minor changes. He then got out of his regression.