I know that is not a popular belief but I saw Nathan regress after age 2. I also saw that some of the best interventions have actually helped reverse some of the regression.
Nathan was born with a brain injury affecting his ability to control both his legs (cerebral palsy). However, despite severe delays in motor skills, Nathan did start to speak before the age of 2. He even managed to identify 2 sets of flashcards…more than 50 words. My toddler even sang beautiful nursery rhymes. At one point doctors even told us that we should not worry about “learning difficulty” since speech is a good sign of cognition.
However, we started to feel a slow regression after he was 2-years-old. The reason is debatable and will not be discussed here. But what I will discuss is how some of the regression has been reversed. Again, proof that Nathan was not born with autism.
Just to highlight how bad the regression was, we opted for intensive therapy during those early years. We enrolled Nathan and his twin, Amor, to all the therapies we could find: ABA, PT, OT, Speech Therapy, Listening Therapy, Sensory Therapy, Music Therapy, Aqua Therapy, etc…as long as it had the word “Therapy”, we grabbed it for the twins! But despite intensive therapy, Nathan’s regression continued.
By the time Nathan turned 4-years-old, he lost his eye contact, he lost all his words, he lost his ability to sing nursery rhymes.
The regression was slow. He sang fewer and fewer songs…and had more and more mumbled syllables in between songs. It was as if his brain fog was starting to build up. After a year…all his words were gone and all that was left of his beautiful nursery rhymes were rhythmless wordless chants.
Nathan continued to love music evident by how his eyes would glow and his body would groove to his favourite songs. But he could not sing again, not even his favourite songs. In the decade that followed, Nathan never sang.
Nathan also regressed physically and cognitively. As a toddler, he was able to grab crayons and fill paper with beautiful colourful scribbles. My cute toddler would grab his toy guitar, strum and sing Barney’s “I love you” song and many more nursery rhymes. As Nathan regressed, he lost interest in holding things. Instead, anything that ended up in his hands went straight to his mouth, like what babies do. It was as if he regressed from toddler age to baby age mouthing all objects. Even the guitar that he once loved to strum, went straight to his mouth. After losing interest in his favourite toy guitar, Nathan never played with toys appropriately.
Here we are, a decade after, still doing therapies but also adding more health and biomedical interventions. We are screening interventions based on:
- We do the intervention because that’s what everyone else does,
- It does not seem to have any benefit,
- Interventions that make things worse
- Interventions that are helpful, and
- Interventions that make a huge difference and is life-changing!
This is where I follow Pareto’s Principle, find and focus on the 20% of interventions that produce 80% of results. True enough, only a handful of what we do (or have done in the past) have significantly helped. In fact, I dare say some of the best interventions have even reversed some of the #autismregresion we experienced in the early years. I will write about my top list of interventions and health options in my next post.
As I was saying…a decade after Nathan stopped singing, he started to sing again! Today Nathan sings whole songs especially when Papa accompanies on guitar! It is music to my ears! It is amazing when he sings songs that he never sang during those “regression years”. My tears fall when he does this because I can envision brain nerve cells reconnecting to lost portions of memory cells. It gives me much hope that as we help Nathan improve his health, more amazing things will come!
On the physical and cognitive side, Nathan has also been improving radically, see my previous posts.
God is good. He restores what the enemy has tried to steal from us.