I am a happy wife and mother to four children, the youngest of whom has regressive autism. In the spring of 2001, a combination of excessive vaccination and mercury exposure caused our happy, bright, social baby to become very ill. He lost his ability to talk and his sensory motor system was so damaged that he lived in a helpless and overwhelmed state. He had extreme GI issues that resulted in almost constant nausea and chronic pain. We spent the first few years after diagnosis doing what the mainstream medical professionals suggested–lots of OT and Speech. He just became sicker and sicker. We realized when he was about five years old that autism is not a psychological disorder but a whole body disease which involves problems with the immune system, mitochondrial and GI dysfunction, high levels of oxidative stress and inflammation as well as problems with methylation.
In the years since this realization we have ceaselessly used biomedical treatments and homeopathy to help heal the underlying medical issues. We have seen so much progress with James and the best thing is that he feels so much better. But through all of this his speech has been a big struggle. With all our prayers for healing and efforts at detoxifying him from the heavy metals that injured him, I wondered if his brain was damaged beyond repair. I knew he had perfect cognition before he regressed but if he still only had functional language (simple comments and ability to express needs and desires) was it possible his brain was damaged for good?
Well we found out in April of 2013 that the answer to that is NO! Through the miracle work of Soma Mukhopadhyay and her RPM method of communication our prayers are being answered everyday. James through RPM is telling us all the things he thinks and feels and is showing us his incredible intellect and pretty much blowing us away with the things he says. His actual speech is still limited to basic things but his language expressed through spelling words on a letter board is exploding.
This blog is a record of the many things James is saying to us and is named in honor of the Gospel story in Luke chapter 7 where Jesus sees a widow whose son has just died. He says to the widow, “don’t cry” (He raises her son from the dead) and “the young man sat up and talked and Jesus returned him to his mother”.
We feel that James is being returned to our family and we give all thanks to God for this and to Soma and our amazing Speech Pathologist and homeschool teacher who are making it happen each day. My hope is that this blog will be an encouragement to any families whose children with autism still have no or limited speech. It is my wholehearted opinion that all of them have a lot to say and all of them are intelligent they just need to be given a means to communicate.
I have recently heard about RPM from the mother of another child that I taught to swim. Last week I met with another mom whose child learned to ride in our iCan Bike program. She told me about James and shared your blog with me. I am beyond excited for both you and your family, and especially for James. What a remarkable gift for a lovely boy! I just wanted to touch base and send my love to you and James. Congratulations!
Until our paths cross again,
So great to hear from you! I am so glad you got to see what is going on with James. He told a group of mom’s last night who came over to the house to hear about RPM, “the letter board saved my life”.
Can’t say it any more clearly than that! Hope ICAN SHINE is going well!
All the best,
That truly makes my heart sing Brooke! Lisa
I am weeping with joy for you, your family and for James!!! You have poured out your life for your son and now look what God has done!!! My next step is to learn more about RPM — let’s talk more —soon!
Thanks Kate! I am so glad you had a chance to read what James is saying. Would love
to talk soon!
I am so glad we got to catch up this week. James’ breakthrough is amazing! We are very happy for you and James. All the best, Joan
Hi Brooke! I am a PhD Candidate in psychology and the mother of eight children, the 5th having autism. His experience was much the same as James, with the exception that I was in studies in his toddler years when I discovered he could pick up language if I played the videos he loved with subtitles turned on. (He is almost 14 and still watches everything with subtitles on.) This lead me down the path to the RPM method so we gave our son a computer to use. He hasn’t made as much progress as James, but he is getting there.
I also teach a special needs sacrament preparation class (the only one in our diocese) which is visually based. I use Brother Francis videos (available at http://www.brotherfrancisonline.com) and animated bible stories for teaching. This is my 4th year doing it and we have already taken kids through the sacraments of Eucharist, Reconciliation and Confirmation.
The joy I have experienced in teaching my child as well as others is the amazing ability these kids have for understanding profound concepts of the Faith. Last night, as I taught the Confirmation program (Matthew Kelly at Dynamic Catholic has created a free program that is all visual!) one of the kids (who has learned to speak) came and told me he couldn’t wait for class. (He brought his non-Catholic father and made him do the prayers with us!) These kids have a strong connection to God, and we totally underestimate how much they can minister to us! My students, through the sacrament of Reconciliation, have put an entire congregation to tears when the priest related his experiences of giving the sacrament to these kids at Mass one day. It was during Lent and Father was astounded at their honesty, genuine desire for forgiveness and joy upon completion of the Sacrament.
Our kids have a very special job in the Church, and God has prepared them well for it. He gives them the grace to endure in order to help us learn. Their living sacrifice teaches so many people daily!
James is one of God’s special servants!