Those of you with children on the Autistic Spectrum are all well aware of the concept of unravelling I am sure, but I wanted to tell you a little my daughter Lily who is 5, going on 15 (and soon to be 6)!
Lily was born, unassisted, in Peru in 2008, in a room overlooking the sea, in a tiny village called Los Organos. She was born in the early hours of Christmas Eve and therefore earned the affectionate nickname of Angel De Navidad...Christmas Angel.
It was a very fast, easy labour and delivery and because of the time difference, we were able to Skype with our family in England shortly after she was born so everyone could see her.
She was a lovely baby. Smiley, affectionate, easily humoured and friendly. She met all the milestones with ease, fed well and developed with no obvious 'disabilities'.
We lived in Peru until Lily was 15 months old when a family breakdown forced us to return to Bedford.
Upon our return we were homeless and income-less so we stayed with my mum. She lives in a three bedroom semi so the little ones and I shared a room! Dominik had his own, my mum had her own too and I shared with Lily and Hannon.
It was around January 2010 that I began to investigate Dominik's quirks and discovered that he had a myriad of differences.
I suppose being alerted to all the different neurological conditions opened my eyes to all the possibilities and I began seeing Lily in a different light.
She wasn't happy being dressed. She did not sleep well. She wasn't happy with any kind of change. She became fussy and obsessive. She was resistant to new people and places and she adored her nanny!
I suspected she had an Autistic Spectrum Disorder with the often found sensory integration diffculties to boot very similar to her oldest brother.
Fortunately, our life was structured in such a way that I was able to accommodate her differences with ease most of the time. The decision to home school was a blessing in disguise! It enabled us to find our own rhythm and it helped me to understand Lily (and Dominik and Hannon) better than I would have been able to had they been away from me for hours every day.
Lily's difficulties continued to expand. She was edgy, nervous, aggressive and took to running away whenever she was upset/angry/overwhelmed or unable to communicate properly.
Between the ages of 3 and 5 she was at her most challenging. We could not go shopping, to busy parks nor noisy play centres and we could not travel any distance in a car at all.
She would take hours over a meal, procrastinate about clothes and shoe choices and point blank refuse to do anything that was outside of her comfort zone.
Life was becoming more and more isolated with two little ones on the spectrum.
When Dominik was 9 and Lily was 5, I applied for Disability Living Allowance. I was successful for Dominik in the first instance but it took two tries to get Lily an award.
The first thing I did was find a local homoeopath with knowledge of Autism. I contacted Alison Jones who agreed to meet us all and see what she could offer.
Alison was a godsend. Her patience, tenacity and understanding made a refreshing change after the professionals I had met up until that time.
She put Dominik on a series of remedies and the difference was almost immediate.
I decided to ask Alison to treat Lily and Hannon too.
Lily began seeing Alison in early 2014. She was given several remedies to tackle her challenging behaviour from several angles. We dealt with language, maturity and tried to increase her sense of calm.
Lily has been a completely different child during this time. So different in fact, that I began to question whether or not I had imagined all the difficulties she was experiencing.
Things have now changed!
For those of you who do not know anything about homoeopathy, there are a couple of stages that the remedies go through. There is a 'proving' stage where you expect to see an escalation of the symptoms for a short time (this means they are having an effect) and then there is a settling period where the remedies 'find their mark' so to speak and the behaviours are diminished, or in Lily's case, eliminated completely.
Lily has been stable since early summer. Her remedies has varied slightly but have not 'tailed off' to any extent. She has matured, her language has flourished, she has not had any violent episodes nor has she had trouble sleeping. We have had a real life!
At the end of last week that all changed! The remedies seem to have finally run their course and the difference has indeed led to an unravelling the likes of which I have never seen before.
She is anxious, easily upset, extremely emotional and fragile. She is punching, kicking, running away, hiding, screaming and reverting to the behaviours of a toddler to make her point. She also seems to have forgotten how to use any words at all at times of high anxiety. It has been an eye-opening and depressing few days.
These kiddos have a tendency to lull us into a false sense of security I think. Many weeks can pass without incident and then, out of nowhere it seems, everything regresses. Sigh. It is so disheartening and so very distressing to watch it happen. To see Lily so traumatised by her own mood changes has been horrible. She is at an age now where she is very self-aware. She knows that she is behaving differently and this alone frightens her compounding the problems further.
Lily was given an emergency remedy this morning and has had a semi-aggressive reaction which was thankfully, short-lived!
I hope we are now back on track but only time will tell.
There are a couple of good things to come out of this experience and they are:
Firstly, I wasn't imagining her 'disability' in the first place. And secondly, the homoeopathy is having a huge impact on her behaviours in a positive direction.
If you have any questions, please do contact me. I would love to share our experience some more.
Here's wishing for a quiet day for us all!