Baxter was diagnosed with PDD(NOS) at 2 ½. He had a very stressful birth due to the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck twice and once around his ankle. Consequently, I had to have a C-section when my labor could not progress past 5 cm dilation. He was a very alert baby and breastfed for nine months until my breast milk dried up due to becoming pregnant with Isaac (his brother) when Baxter was only seven months old. Baxter received all his vaccinations on time and was developing normally until around nine months of age. He had a very high fever from his second DTp shot and I brought him into the pediatrician because I was so worried. Around nine months to one year, Baxter stopped saying “Mama” and “Daddy”. His language regressed and he slowly slipped away. His play became very repetitive and he was very inflexible. He was constantly on the move and very hyperactive. He wanted to spin all the time or he wanted to watch things spin, like fans. It was extremely difficult to engage him in any play or games. He would always want us to watch him and be in the room and would show us toys, but he would not want to share the emotional enjoyment or connection fully with us. I was very scared and would call my husband crying many times during the day saying I could not emotionally connect with my own child. I was profoundly sad!
Shortly after he was diagnosed, I started reading about RDI and had Baxter evaluated close to his third birthday. He had not mastered any of the normal developmental stages for a nearly three year old. Our RDI consultant helped me to learn to slow down and help Baxter to master basic stages of development such as emotion sharing and social referencing that he had missed the first time around. We developed a very trusting relationship for the first time ever and we established our guide/apprenticeship relationship. It was so powerful and rewarding as I finally felt an emotional connection to my son. We did RDI for nine months and then I found Dr Amy Yasko as I was searching for biomedical approaches to autism on the web. I was very concerned about his gut health at this point as his stools looked very unhealthy.
Baxter had lots of sensory issues. He was very tactile defensive, he did not like light touch or hugging. His auditory processing was very slow, he had poor attention, had poor fine motor skills, poor motor coordination especially bilaterally, he was extremely frustrated with himself, and he had very poor emotional regulation. His language was very repetitive and sometimes he would repeat words, like a broken record, when becoming angry or stressed out. He was echoliac and very rigid in his play. He was not open to my ideas of how to do things in different ways.
After three months on the Yasko program, we started doing regular UTM’s and Baxter had a monster lead excretion. Two weeks after, he learned to ride a tricycle in one day and was racing around at lightning speed. His motor coordination started to return and climbing became so much easier and fluid. His language slowly improved and the echolia went away. His language became more a reflection of his thoughts and it became much more connected and reciprocal. He became more aware of his environment and started to get to know himself in relation to other people. He was more willing to try new things and became much more creative and flexible in his own play. I was able to play all kinds of games and build things with him. He was able to co-regulate much better and he became much more imitative. His anxiety really lessened around going to new places or doing new things.
We continued to do RDI at the same time we were doing Yasko. He was able to go through development stages with less work, although I had to be very selective on when to work on RDI objectives due to detox. We have been doing Yasko for nearly four years and he attended a Waldorf preschool for the first time last year with all neuro-typical children. Last year cleaning up in a chaotic environment was really tough and he had to leave the classroom during this time to take a break. This year, after doing metals 3 and integrating some primitive reflexes better, he can clean up very easily and handles all transitions at school with ease. He has been very successful in kindergarten this year and has been independent in all parts of the day since January of 2010. He has some children he likes to play with and he looks forward to going to school. He has better listening skills during story time and has better attention and organization to tasks that are more challenging in general. He is taking regular swim lessons and is doing a great job listening, cooperating, and following along with the group.
Today, Baxter can build beautiful imaginative things and he has an incredible imagination. He likes to hug, tackle, play hide and seek, and play tag. He loves the water and washes himself in the shower. He can calm himself down better and much faster when he gets angry. He is naturally curious about people and life. He processes much faster and answers people’s questions appropriately. He is learning how to compromise and become a good friend. Baxter is making new friends this year and his play has become much more cooperative and flexible with other children. He is getting much better at working out conflicts on his own. I know my son will completely catch up to his peer’s social emotional development thanks to our RDI consultant, Lauren Weeks, primitive reflex work(Masgutova neuro-muscular reflex integration) and Dr Amy Yasko to whom I am eternally grateful. It has been a hard journey but out of our suffering has come immense joy and happiness.
Baxter and Isaac’s mom