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My seven-year-old son was actively regressing. After being told there was "no medical reason" for his worsening autistic symptoms, I went searching for answers. After scouring the internet, I finally came across something that made sense – something that could explain how my son's autism and my tendency toward autoimmunity might be linked. It was logical, scientific and actionable. It was a series of podcasts by Dr. Kendal Stewart, otolaryngologist, neurotologist, skull-base surgeon and neuroimmune specialist. This man was putting together more pieces of this puzzle than anything else I could find. Soon, I understood autism and many other common conditions as neuroimmune syndromes.

My seven-year-old son was actively regressing. After being told there was "no medical reason" for his worsening autistic symptoms, I went searching for answers. After scouring the internet, I finally came across something that made sense – something that could explain how my son's autism and my tendency toward autoimmunity might be linked. It was logical, scientific and actionable. It was a series of podcasts by Dr. Kendal Stewart, otolaryngologist, neurotologist, skull-base surgeon and neuroimmune specialist. This man was putting together more pieces of this puzzle than anything else I could find. Soon, I understood autism and many other common conditions as neuroimmune syndromes.

Neuroimmune Syndromes

Dr. Stewart treats what he calls neuroimmune syndromes, conditions in which the underlying problem involves both the nervous and immune systems, typically in a combined state. These conditions are often described for their symptoms. Since the cause is not fully understood, treatment for these conditions is typically aimed at managing symptoms. Dr. Stewart takes it a step further by attempting to address the body's underlying weaknesses and deficiencies in order to restore function. ...continue reading "Autism is a Neuroimmune Syndrome"

In my search for answers, I kept coming across more and more information about an immune system involvement. . . I became convinced that autism must be a disorder involving the immune system and, obviously, the nervous system. This seemed to be a big piece of the puzzle. . . This is it, ya'll. From someone who's been to the end of the internet and back, this is what's making the most sense out there. . .

Finding Real Help for my Son

My previous post was the hardest thing I've ever had to write. I wrote about how my son had an autistic regression at the age of seven.

And now I needed answers. I was losing my little boy. At the age of seven, my baby was losing skills. He was quickly becoming disconnected from the world around him and the people who loved him. He was becoming aggressive. He was sick, body, mind and soul. And he was slipping away as we watched, feeling powerless to do anything about it. ...continue reading "Piecing Together the Autism Puzzle"

What happened to my baby? He was not born this way. He became this way. What remained of my son was just a shell of the little boy we knew and loved so dearly. He was gone. Stolen. We watched in horror as our precious child was snatched away from us, while feeling absolutely powerless to do anything about it.

A New Little Wonder

Last June, our family was blessed once again with a new addition. Little Wondergirl arrived one week after Boy Wonder turned seven. She was the daughter I had always hoped for. I felt so lucky. I am so lucky.

If you recall the last time we welcomed a new family member, it was a highly stressful time for Boy Wonder. This time it was different. He was excited about having a baby sister. I don't think he would have been quite so excited if it had been another boy. Boys tend to see other boys as competition. Plus, he was older and had been through the new sibling thing before, so it was familiar territory.

When she arrived, he liked her just fine. But he was kind of indifferent, really. At the time, he was super into playing Minecraft. He wanted to be on his tablet all the time, playing Minecraft or watching Minecraft videos. I had just had a baby and it was summertime, so I just let it go. I figured it would help us get through the new baby craziness. It was just for a season, I thought.

...continue reading "My Son Had an Autistic Regression at the Age of Seven"

When Boy Wonder was 2 1/2, Mr. Wonderful and I sat down with him and told him that Mommy had a little baby brother or sister for him growing in her belly. His first question was "What hole is the baby going to come out of?" Once we answered that to his satisfaction, he had a lot more questions. Most of them went something like this: "What if the baby goes into my room, climbs up onto my dresser, breaks my CD player and steals my CDs?" Clearly the little dude was coming to ruin his stuff, and quite possibly his life.

This is Part 4 of "Early Life," where I give detailed background information to explain how we ended up on our life-changing healing journey. Click here to read Part 3.

big brotherQuestions

When Boy Wonder was 2 1/2, Mr. Wonderful and I sat down with him and told him that Mommy had a little baby brother or sister for him growing in her belly. His first question was "What hole is the baby going to come out of?" Once we answered that to his satisfaction, he had a lot more questions. Most of them went something like this: "What if the baby goes into my room, climbs up onto my dresser, breaks my CD player and steals my CDs?" Clearly the little dude was coming to ruin his stuff, and quite possibly his life. ...continue reading "Big Brother"

In my heart, I knew something was not quite right with Boy Wonder. But what? He certainly had sensory issues, so Sensory Processing Disorder was on our radar screen. He had some of the characteristics of Asperger's, especially the advanced verbal skills. But he was socially advanced and had a sophisticated sense of humor. He was highly sensitive, perceptive, empathic and gentle. He didn't speak in monotone. He was very expressive, interactive and funny. He had great eye contact and he loved to show people things and share experiences with them. He never lined up toys or stacked objects or participated in any unusual repetitive behavior. These were not characteristics of a child on the spectrum. Aspies do tend to have obsessive interests and often become very knowledgeable about specific subjects. Boy Wonder was obsessed with all things mechanical, but we just figured he might grow up to be an engineer someday.

This is Part 3 of "Early Life," where I give detailed background information to explain how we ended up on our life-changing healing journey. Click here to read Part 2.

boy wonder looking out his bedroom window
Nine months old, watching cars from his bedroom window

On the Spectrum?

In my heart, I knew something was not quite right with Boy Wonder. But what? He certainly had sensory issues, so sensory processing disorder was on our radar screen. He had some of the characteristics of Asperger's, especially the advanced verbal skills. But he was socially advanced and had a sophisticated sense of humor. He was highly sensitive, perceptive, empathic and gentle. He didn't speak in monotone. He was very expressive, interactive and funny. He had great eye contact and he loved to show people things and share experiences with them. He never lined up toys or stacked objects or participated in any unusual repetitive behavior. These were not characteristics of a child on the spectrum. Aspies do tend to have obsessive interests and often become very knowledgeable about specific subjects. Boy Wonder was obsessed with all things mechanical, but we just figured he might grow up to be an engineer someday. ...continue reading "My Biggest Little Puzzle"

Sure, he was smart, but he had so many issues. I couldn't help but wonder if I was doing something wrong. A child who felt secure ought to feel comfortable in his own skin and not be clingy and anxious. I was far from a perfect mom, but I was trying so hard.

This is Part 2 of "Early Life," where I give detailed background information to explain how we ended up on our life-changing healing journey. Click here to read Part 1. Click here to read Part 3.

climbing the steps of the Lincoln Memorial
Three-year-old Boy Wonder climbing the steps of the Lincoln Memorial

Big Changes, Big Challenges

Our family went through some big changes over the next few years. We moved from Texas to Virginia and back again. Then we moved again locally, to our current home, while Mr. Wonderful was on a military deployment. Amid all these big transitions, we welcomed a sibling for Boy Wonder, a sweet little child that I call Wonderboy. 

Transitions, even small ones, are hard for Boy Wonder. The big ones, as you might imagine, are even harder. His hardest times surrounded these transitions. ...continue reading "Early Life Part 2: More Trouble In Paradise"

He's so amazing, yet so troubled. I've spent countless hours doing what we mothers do best: worrying. I've asked so many questions. Does he have a diagnosable condition? Will he always be so anxious and sensitive? What will his future hold? Will he live up to his potential? Will he be happy?

This is Part 1 of "Early Life," where I give detailed background information to explain how we ended up on our life-changing healing journey. Click here to read Part 2.

Boy Wonder's newborn feetThe Birth of a Mommy

I will never forget the glorious moment when my slimy, screaming, eight pound perfect baby boy was placed on my bare chest. There is absolutely nothing that compares to the moment when you are handed your first-born child for the first time. I've since been handed two more slimy, screaming babies, and, although equally wonderful, it's never quite the same as the first time. It's a familiar, anticipated feeling when it's happened to you before. But that first baby . . . wow. It's surreal. As cliché as it may sound, it really was a moment that I had been waiting for my whole life. Along with the physical sensation of holding, actually holding, this tiny little person that came out of my body came a flood of powerful emotions. Love. Oh my God, love. Seeing him for the first time was like beholding the most overwhelmingly beautiful piece of artwork, multiplied a thousand times over. It also felt like I was locking the door for the very last time and turning in the keys to a home that I had lived in for a long time. I would never set foot in that very familiar place again. From then on, I'd be calling a new, unfamiliar place my home. There was plenty of uncertainty, even a little panic. Had I really been entrusted to care for such a beautiful, fragile little gift? ...continue reading "Boy Wonder’s Early Life"

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We wonder about his potential and whether he will live up to it. We wonder what ails him that might keep him from reaching it. We wonder if he can be healed and to what extent. Above all, we think he's wonderful. For these reasons, I call him Boy Wonder.
Boy Wonder looking at a grasshopper
So full of wonder about the world and everything in it

Introducing Boy Wonder

I have a story to tell. It's about a boy, a wonderful boy, who changed my world completely when he came into my life almost eight years ago. He is my first-born child. He made me a mother. He has taught me far more than I will ever teach him. His story is unique because, as you will see, he's quite a kid. He's brilliant and so full of wonder about the world and everything in it. He's also a bit of a puzzle and we wonder about him quite a bit. We wonder about his potential and whether he will live up to it. We wonder what ails him that might keep him from reaching it. We wonder if he can be healed and to what extent. Above all, we think he's wonderful. For these reasons, I call him Boy Wonder. ...continue reading "The Journey Begins"