How to make and use visual schedules: part 2 Thursday, Sep 30 2010 


Our visual schedule book

Okay, so you have your pictures printed and you are wondering what to do. First, cut them out. Then cut out a 2″ to 3″ tall by 5″ to 8″ long piece of paper, any color will do. Then go to Fedex Kinkos, Staples or some other place that has a laminating machine. Put all the pictures and your strip on the laminator, carefully leaving space between so when you cut them out they’ll still be laminated. Then cut them out and apply a velcro tab to the back of each. On the strip you will need a long strip of velcro. This will be your schedule.   The only thing I’ll say about the velcro is you have to be consistent. For example, I use the “soft” side of the velcro on my pictures and the “hard” side on my schedules.

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How to make and use visual schedules: part 1 Thursday, Sep 16 2010 


The visual schedule is the single most important thing I can tell anyone about ever.

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Autism Parents: Do we care more than our kids about socialization? Tuesday, Sep 14 2010 


I often wonder if my son resents me meddling in his world. I mean, for the most part he is happy alone, playing with his trains, coloring or any myriad of other activities. Sometimes the socialization aspect seems somewhat forced.  I know that, as a parent, I have to help him get ready for life on his own, but how hard should I push?

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The mb12 conundrum and how the shots helped. Thursday, Sep 9 2010 


 

Okay, let me first say that the mb12 shot is nowhere near that big, but that pictures does a pretty good job of showing the daunting nature of giving your kid a shot.  Its scary, unless you are a medical professional. I am not a medical professional and I disliked taking my son’s rectal temperature, so that should give you a good idea of how I felt about jabbing him with a needle.

Let me backtrack a little. We believe, from our biomedical reading, that most kids with autism have impaired methylation and sulfation, two critical metabolic processes.  DNA methylation in particular affects brain development, which is the subject of ongoing autism research. We began to look for indications that Raymond had impaired methylation.

Our biggest clue came when we did some blood testing. We got Raymond’s vitamin b levels back and they were off the charts. At that point, our pediatrician had us remove any supplement that contained b vitamins, including his multivitamin.  She suggested a methylated b12, where the b12 is highly absorbable because it is pre-methylated. We tried a supplement and nothing happened.

On the plus side, when we took Raymond off the b vitamins he calmed down. The vitamin b overload had been contributing to his hyperactivity and removing them resulted in easier bedtimes and fewer tantrums. Still, we knew he needed vitamin b and he was not making them from his food. We knew we had to supplement.

Then we found Revitapops. I know I wrote about them sometime last year. They worked great! Revitapops are a mb12 (methyl b12) lollipop with organic ingredients and low glycemic sweetener.  The concept is that the mb12 will absorb through the mouth. However, our challenge was to get Raymond to stop chewing it up!  Once we overcame that, we noticed increased attention span, calmer demeanor and more language.

When I say more I don’t just mean he used more words. I mean he began moving into better and longer sentences and expressed himself with more complete thoughts. It really did help him calm down. I wish that the Revitapops  were the whole solution, but after several months we noticed that the language, while still good, was dropping off and the squealing and difficult bedtimes were back. For some reason it stopped working for him.

It was time to make a decision. We knew other families gave the mb12 injections so we began talking to them. Almost everyone reported increases in language and the ability to attend. Finally, after a lengthy discussion with our pediatrician, we decided to try the shots. She taught me how to give it, at an angle of 10-20 degrees in the fatty part of the buttock. That aids in the time release, because you only give the shots every 3 days.  Also, we decided to start with just mb12 and add folic acid later. The folic acid helps the metabolism but needs to be introduced slowly.

I remember how nervous I was when I gave the first shot. The needle itself is small. They use an insulin needle, so its the smallest available. Still, it felt gigantic in my hands. I gently pulled down his diaper after he was good and asleep, took a deep breath and jabbed it in. Luckily I depressed the plunger at almost the same moment because he jerked away. Still, he got the full dose and didn’t wake up. We were cautiously optimistic.

He slept great, and the next day we saw the beginnings of his awakening. I’m not going to tell you it was all sunshine and roses, but he did speak more. We went from 4-6 word sentences to 7-10 word sentences in about 2 weeks. We also started having success with “I” and “me,” which was huge. We had been working on it for years with little success. Finally, his squealing almost stopped and he was much more interested in interacting with other kids.

I could write about this all day, but what I would really recommend is that you read some other autism blogs on the subject. Again, as with any supplement, this is not the right answer for every kid, but if you know there is a methylation challenge and need to get b vitamins in your kid, the shots work great. Talk to your pediatrician and find out if its an option.

Update: Just so folks know, we did the shots for a little over a year and then hit a wall. As we discovered our son’s issues were not just with the methyl and transmethyl cycles but also with the folate cycle, we switched gears and started using a transmethylfolate to help reduce his B12 levels. It has worked well. We used a prescription vitamin called Deplin and just switched to a natural solution called 5MTHF.

Every day should be mothers day for moms of kids with autism. Tuesday, Sep 7 2010 


I’m dedicating this post to my wife, and all the autism moms out there who feel like they are not doing enough, not close enough or too weak to go on.  Sometimes I forget to say these things to my wife, so I want to put it in writing so she knows how I feel about her and what she does for Raymond, and what she does for me.  I find it difficult to reach out some days, when Raymond has had a particularly rough day or work has been a nightmare, but this is what I want to say to her every day.

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Art, autism and vision: seeing the world differently Thursday, Sep 2 2010 


I call that one “Stairway Picture on cellphone camera with random camera effect.” I’m not a photographer, but this stairway looks different through the lens of my camera than it does when I’m looking at it. Throw the effect on and its a totally different place. (Bonus points for whoever can tell me where this was taken. The points aren’t worth any money, only social media meets real time l33t/\/355. )

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