By the fall of 2003 our beautiful vaccine-injured son, Colin, had made many gains though his home based learning program (The Son-Rise® Program, www.son-rise.org). We felt that he was really ready for a half day Montessori kindergarten.
Having never been to any school, to our delight Colin got off to a great start. Reportedly, he was the most attentive child during circle time! We were unprepared for what happened next.
By the third week of school Colin succumbed to a host of previously un-encountered childhood diseases: roseola, croup, diarrhea, strange viral rashes, and the first ear infection of his life. His happy demeanor changed, and he became irritable and withdrawn. By December we had to pull him out of school.
Despite being at home, where his immune system would have a fighting chance to defeat these invaders, Colin's diarrhea persisted month after month. It worsened, until I finally agreed in May of 2004 to put Colin on a strong course of Vancomycin. Although Colin's bowel symptoms improved while on the antibiotic, they came back triple strength when we finished the drug.
Although Colin was in great distress, I decided to attend the Autism One Conference in Chicago in May of 2004, hoping to find some help for him. There I attended a talk on The Body Ecology Diet, and learned that in July 2004, Donna Gates was having a retreat in Illinois for those who wanted to learn the principles taught in the book, The Body Ecology Diet (Recovering Your Health and Rebuilding Your Immunity), and how it can help recover children with Autism. Incredibly, not only was Donna Gates welcoming our children to the week-long retreat, she was agreeing to feed them a kid friendly version of the promising diet!
By the time we got to the retreat Colin was in great physical and emotional distress. Except for the brief time on the antibiotic, Colin had not had a formed stool in nine months! Every time this sweet child ate his little abdomen swelled up with gas, giving him a pregnant look. Soon after loud bowel sounds would emanate from his swollen belly. Desperate for relief Colin would lay down on the floor or ground and beg us to press our heads into his belly to distract himself from the pain. Anxious and pale, Colin at 6 years old, weighed only 46 pounds and had slipped from the 75th percentile to the 10th percentile on the growth charts.
While at the retreat, to our amazement, Colin soon began to eat the special food prepared for us. Although he didn't eat the cultured veggies, he quite willingly drank the Young Coconut Kefir (fermented young coconut water), followed the food combining rules, and even ate some sea veggies (dulse flakes and arame).
Within 48 hours at the retreat, Colin was out of pain and the loud bowel sounds, gas and bloating were gone! That night I literally cried tears of joy because Colin made an actual stool! His recovery at the retreat was a miracle!
Going to the Body Ecology Diet retreat was the turning point in Colin's life. In the two years prior to the retreat he had gained only one pound! In the seven months since the retreat Colin has gained 9 pounds, and is now at the 50th percentile and gaining on the growth charts! Because of this diet Colin is a very happy and energetic child, who enjoys gymnastics, karate, sledding and long nature walks. Although there have been a few bumps in the road with respect to his bowels, his symptoms predating the Body Ecology Diet have never returned!
Colin's progress didn't stop there. His Son-Rise Program® teacher recently viewed a video of Colin and me working together and enthusiastically stated that Colin is more grounded, more responsive, and there is a definite improvement in his spontaneous eye contact. My husband and I and the Son-Rise Program® volunteers that work with Colin in his playroom have tracked verbal improvements as well. Colin is spontaneously asking and answering more questions and is increasingly making appropriate commentary! Thank you Donna, for creating the Body Ecology Diet and for offering our son a chance at a full and happy life!
A Note from the Editor: We at Body Ecology are delighted to be able to share Colin and his parent's story with you. We fervently hope that you will pass our message of hope along to anyone you know with an Autistic family member. With a little time and energy together we can make a difference in the lives of the 24,000 children who will be diagnosed with Autism this year!