Tag Archives: parental tips

Vaccine Caused My Son’s Autism But That’s Just Me

Vaccine Caused My Son’s Autism But That’s Just Me
Photo Credits: Your Presence Heals

Someone asked me if vaccines can cause autism and I said yes. But that’s just my personal observation as a mother to a child with autism. After John received his MMR shots, the once vivacious boy almost immediately became prone to tantrums. We could not call it a meltdown then, thinking that it could just be because he’s a toddler and prone to that. Then, the banging of the head began and the hair pulling and rocking back and forth. Until one day, all the light that used to shine in his eyes was gone, extinguished to oblivion— as well as all his verbal communications completely disappeared.

Having been gone through a string of difficulties with my eldest son’s Tourette’s, I really thought I could not make it through with John’s diagnosis. There came a time that amid all the signs, I would tell myself that perhaps, the vaccine will be flushed from his system and he will be back to being a precocious little lad who always sports a smile. But two, three weeks passed then, a month, two, and then, the head-banging, constant body rocking and aloofness set in.

That’s when I realized that something is terribly wrong. At that time, I felt that the vaccine triggered John’s autism, that he had a negative response, just like he was “rewired” by the vaccine. I strongly believe this still. As a Mom, it was the most painful thing to see our son being transformed into something he had no say in. I castigated myself for having him take that shot. But that was 15 years ago. Who would have thought that such a routine vaccination could change our lives, forever.

When John was diagnosed with autism, the doctor’s cannot answer what caused it. There were already a lot of speculations about the health risk of MMR to young kids years ago but, it was (as always) debunked by the medical community as a farce. Vaccine means safety. No vaccine can cause an outbreak, a breach in the economy, an imbalance.

Truly, there are a lot of findings, observations, researches, and what-have-you debunking the link on vaccines and autism—and I totally understand it. There are also countless autism families who also believe that vaccines DO NOT cause autism—and I totally understand it, too. But as a Mom to a son with autism, I am firmly resolved that that vaccine played a significant role in my son’s autism—and I know this may cause a lot of opposing reactions but..

I am not asking anyone to follow my convictions. Your life story, as it seems, is definitely not the same as mine, in the same way as every autism case is unique.

I am not asking anyone not to get a vaccine. You should know what is right for your child. My only obligation is to my own.

I am not asking anyone to believe me. I just felt that I needed to take a stand as I have grown tired hearing and reading this endless debate on the vaccine-autism link.

Again, I am firm in my resolve that my son’s autism is caused— triggered or what you may call it— by a vaccine but, that’s just me. I am not asking you to believe me nor am I fetching your opinion on my personal issues.

This is what I believed in so, I hope you can stop debunking my belief. I respect the expertise on both sides of this argument and I do hope you can also respect my belief as a mother who carried her child with all the love in the world.

Smells Like Christmas

John at his Culinary Tech Class
John at his Culinary Tech Class

A couple of months after we’ve finally settled down in our new home, an exciting development came our Johnny’s way.

Apart from adjusting easily to his new school and meeting new friends, he has developed (though, he loved cooking with me when he was young ) a penchant on culinary cooking. So, we enrolled him in a culinary tech class and yes, such a sweet sweet surprise!

John making awesome apple pies
John making awesome apple pies

All intent on his purpose of becoming a chef, John would pours his mind over how to prepare the meanest pies. From rolling and kneading of the dough for its crunchy crust to molding it into a perfect pie shell, the awesomely peeled and cored apples, the spices lined up like good platoon of soldiers waiting to be whisked into a gastronomic war of aroma and flavor—his focus is truly awe-inspiring—and yes, leading us to such an awesome home-made apple pie.

Aside from apple, he also loves working on pumpkin and meat pies (goodbye leftovers!), cottage and shepherd’s pie, and so on. Lately, he’s also has been creating fruit flans and now flakey pastries. He is eying a tarts section and a slew of ice cream concoctions he stumbled upon online.

We truly love the culinary school to bits. His chef Del Menchions is not only accommodating, he also nurtures his students encouraging them to give their full potential—and it is working as John seems to be always looking forward to his day in the kitchen no matter how tired he is.

John helping to make chocolate eclair
John helping to make chocolate eclair

While writing this right now, I can smell him cooking up something to perk my senses up. Amid his autism, my Johnny has always been caring and sensitive to the needs of those around him. Soon, he will join the “legally adult” league but I can now rest my head thinking that he will never go hungry with this new life skill.

Anyway, let me just refrain my thoughts on adult autism and its lack of services thereof. Today, I simply want to celebrate the thought of his newly acquired skills—and he truly aced it! He also got plans for Christmas dinner lined up and we are all dying in hopeless anticipation.

How about you, dear friends? How’s your loved one with autism doing? I fervently hope that amid the meltdowns and frustrations, something bigger and more forceful is coming up. It smells like Christmas once again and to some, this could be a challenge. Today, however, let me simply send you a HUGE HUG to keep the blues away.

Autism: 5 Tips to Your Child’s Healthy Diet

Going on a diet takes a lot of will power and determination. This is even more so when a child has autism. Picky-eating, digestive problems and allergies are just three of the most common problems faced by parents of kids with autism. Repetition is a common element in autism and kids who have it can certainly live off their whole lives eating potato wedges and chicken nuggets, or spaghetti and meatballs, and so on. It does not really matter if a child prefers a certain food that is jam-packed with nutritional value. What matters is when a child favors unhealthy food. It is entirely possible, however, to wean him or her from such unhealthy diet. To jumpstart your quest, here are some useful tips that I have done with my son, John, when he was but a tot. I had highlighted this on my book, Living Autism Day by Day.

1. As much as possible, always involve experts in your first foray to creating a healthy diet for your child who has autism. A registered dietician and an occupational therapist are good options for you to reach out to when trying to address a child’s food aversion or feeding disorder. This should be the first step to tackle as children with autism often suffer from serious gut issues. Having your child checked before undergoing any diet regimen will ensure his or her safety.

2. When introducing new food, do it gently and gradually. Autistic children have specific wants and they thrive on repetition. A carrot is a carrot not a carrot cake. Work around this dilemma by slowly introducing new food in small doses along with his favored food. Putting a colorful vegetable side dish on his favorite Salisbury steak can prove to be disastrous. Integrate small pieces of carrot and potato on the steak itself, in a small amount, will do the trick. The idea is to slowly make him get used to the taste and texture of the new food. This can be challenging but doable.

3. A gluten-free and casein-free diet has been growing in popularity. The premise of this diet is to eliminate certain food groups that aggravate the symptoms. Though proven effective, this can be taxing. The key here is not to abruptly alter your child’s diet regimen. Yes, it will take a lot of pain when it comes to this. Doable, yes but the perspective must be for long term use and not just for a week or two. There are stores and pastry shops nowadays that sell GF-CF food items and if you have one in your area, slowly introduce this to your child. If not, make sure you have plenty of time to work in your kitchen as this requires dedication and focus.

4. Infusing healthy liquids to your child’s diet will prove to be an amazing move. Try juicing apples, oranges, berries, pineapples or whatever fruit your child prefers. Instead of commercial juices, this one is packed with vitamins and minerals for your child’s growth. Invest in a good working juicer for this.

5. Most kids with autism are known to have gut issues. Adding yogurt or any probiotics to his diet will make his meal more enjoyable and his gut more stabilized. Most kids love this food item and infusing these to your child’s regimen will help compensate minerals and nutrients he loses out somewhere else.

Photo Credits: http://homeremedieslog.com/health-topics/mental-health/autism/diet-2/
Photo Credits: http://homeremedieslog.com/health-topics/mental-health/autism/diet-2/

To make a meal enjoyable, one might consider setting an example for a child with autism. These kids, whether high or low functioning, are very perceptive of their environment. Eating along with your child will prove to be the best course of action.

Photo Credits: http://sunfieldcenter.com/picky-eating-and-tummy-troubles-how-to-improve-mealtime-for-your-child/

AUptimism In The Midst of Adversity

Autism In The Midst of Adversity
Photo Credits: http://www.wecarechildren.org/afsp


Few things in the world are more powerful than a positive push. A smile. A world of optimism and hope. A ‘you can do it’ when things are tough. ~~ Helen Keller

There seems to be a lot going on in various autism communities and families around the globe. Some say it is due to reclassification, of late diagnoses, and of rising awareness to the disorder. In my humble opinion, however, the surrounding arguments are immaterial. The fact that there is shortage in autism services is a clear indication that this is growing and, up to this moment, has no known cure and no “absolute” therapy to manage it. Best of all, there is little, if not zero, services for adults on the spectrum.

My Johnny is going to be an adult pretty soon and, can no longer avail the free services allotted for him. He will no longer be on the list of “qualified” individuals but rather will be left in oblivion. He is well-protected because we, his family, are still here. What scares me most and, perhaps, many autism parents out there is what the future might bring. How will these kids fare when left alone in a world where acceptance is a long hurdle to achieve?

I have written before on how to prepare our children for a bleak adult future. I advocate on teaching them appropriate life skills and other needed abilities to ensure their future. But this is not easy hurdle to make especially for those who are in the lower end of the spectrum. This leaves many families in a quandary on what to do should their children will be left alone with no one to care for them—and I join them in this predicament.

Autism is a lifetime disorder. To some, it can be managed. To others, it takes all their strength and sanity just to get by each day. One thing, however, is for sure—it is here to stay and still has no known cure, or even an absolute cause. It is not a disease that one can simply operate upon. It cannot be removed like a tumor. It is what it is and, whether we, autism families, like it or not, it will continue to haunt our every waking moment. But this reality should not hinder our efforts to advocate for more autism awareness. Acceptance may sound like a long shot but, nothing could go wrong if we stay an optimist all throughout the ordeal.

Children With Autism Targeted By School Bullies

School is an extension of our home where our kids feel the same excitement. However, it can be difficult for them too— the scenery, the people, their responsibility as students, co-existing with others, and so on. Amongst other things is their safety. Recent studies says that school bullies preys on children with autism.

“At a meeting with school counselors, the teenager finally spoke up, confessing that he was being bullied by students in the cafeteria. Once, they had pulled his pants down to his knees in front of his class. ”

“Many parents of children with autism already are well aware that their children are taunted and tormented at school, but the new study suggests the problem is pervasive. Dr. Sterzing’s data, collected from a nationally representative sample of 920 middle- and high-school students with an autism disorder, shows that 46 percent have been bullied.  By comparison, in the general adolescent population, an estimated 10.6 percent of children have been bullied.” Read more >

Thus, us parents, should do our research and get to know the school first. It is important to find the best school for our children with autism.