Many parents consider autism, ADD, and ADHD to be painful, devastating diagnoses, but Mavis Horner has taken a positive approach to raising a son on the autism spectrum.
If you have a child with autism, some will tell you it's impossible, that life will never be "normal."
In fact, most parents are riddled with confusion, sadness and yes, even guilt, over a diagnosis of autism, Asperger's, ADD or ADHD. But Mavis Horner, mom of 12-year old John, has found a new perspective AND treatment for autism that is bringing hope and inspiration to others.
Four years ago, Mavis was looking for anything that might facilitate better digestive health for John.
She attended DAN (Defeat Autism Now) conferences and tried new diets…until she finally found the Body Ecology diet. Trusting that there were answers for John, Mavis took the Certified Body Ecology Coach training
Her family life hasn't been the same since.
First of all, their eating habits underwent a dramatic metamorphosis: "We have made A LOT of cultured vegetables," says Mavis, "and we've seen huge improvements in John. You need to be mindful of what you eat in order to win."
Mavis also found that other Body Ecology principles were important, especially the principle of cleansing.
"I thank Donna for teaching me the whole cleansing side of things. I didn't think additional cleansing was necessary, but I learned that it was HUGE. When we were treating John for viral and bacterial infections, it was a key piece to sorting it out."
Mavis said the changes in John have been dramatic: his chronic rigidity is gone and he has become more flexible in his clothing choices, food and behavior.
In fact, his progress has been so good that the Horners say John is the happiest kid at his school.
Attitude IS Everything
Certainly their adherence to the Body Ecology program gives John a leg up in allowing his body to detoxify and heal from autism, but Mavis has something else to add that she thinks is equally important.
While Body Ecology principles and healing foods like probiotic-rich fermented foods and drinks heal your body and mind, Mavis realized that attitude truly IS everything.
Mavis credits Donna Gates, Body Ecology founder, for introducing her to the emotional and spiritual side of healing autism. "Donna is the first person who held these children in such incredible light. They are gems, beautiful souls leading the way to teach us."
Since Mavis attended Certified Body Ecology coach training, the Horners have revamped the way they see autism and how they interact with John. This change alone had profound benefits for the whole family.
Of how she felt before her Body Ecology training, Mavis says, "So often you think, until my child is completely healed, I can't move on with our life."
In viewing what she knows now, Mavis feels that, "mothers are in this survival state with the world of autism but we have to stop ourselves from being there all the time. When you start to take it in as something to learn from, to enjoy, to challenge you to help, to make a difference...suddenly it isn't the ugly hell associated with autism. Life isn't about survival. It's about enjoying."
Indeed, if you were to peek into the lives of the Horner family, you'd see John with his family at the dinner table, on vacations, and hanging out with his teenage sisters and their friends...just like any other 12-year old.
"As John's mother, I had to put on a different pair of glasses. We enjoy our son. We enjoy him AND his autism and every piece that comes with it."
What Mavis sees when she looks at John today is a happy and "functioning" child, who also happens to have autism. This new perspective places no limits on John or the family, which is a big change from how she felt before.
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When Mavis says, "I love his autism," people stop and take notice. And they wonder what drugs she is on!
But her positive perspective has been a critical part of her family's success story.
"We still have autism of sorts, but you know, at this house, we don't really see autism anymore. This label gets ingrained in their forehead and everything is channeled through that label. And I just find that the most painful thing."
Mavis says that, "sometimes parents talk about the kids [diagnosed with autism] as if they're not there," but she emphatically believes that these kids are especially perceptive...they take in everything, even if they don't show it.
In fact, it was John who called her attention to this once, when Mavis was recounting some of their past experiences to a friend.
John himself didn't appreciate dwelling on the past and quickly pointed out, "Mom, we've moved on!"
Mavis says, "Now I never work from a list of his deficits. How do you ever set a platform to move forward when you start with the deficits? It makes sense to start from the positives and see how we can manifest more good things!"
When she presented at Grand Rounds at the Children's Hospital of Alberta, Mavis brought her family onto the stage, and the response from the physicians was overwhelming.
She told the doctors in the audience that, "we did alternative stuff, and there is a change in our son. He's not recovered, but he's not a burden; we enjoy him as a part of our family."
For clinicians, this kind of peace and enjoyment around autism were unheard of, and they wanted to know how the Horners got there.
Mavis believes that, "as individual families and as a culture, we need to 'digest' autism better, from both a nutritional and an emotional standpoint. You have to be a person who's evolved yourself. You have to be willing to learn whatever it is."
Mavis adds, "You need to love the situation you're in. You move forward and it just happens. My son is an example of that."
Now people are asking the Horners to hold family workshops to help others address autism in this new light, and they're more than happy to do it.
"We need to take the view of learning. We all make mistakes, but if we turn it into a learning thing, we haven't lost. If one family has love for a child, including his diagnosis, then all of society rises."
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