Today I want to reflect on something: my beautiful child, Zoe. I want to share with you the joy I’ve had at seeing my daughter, consistently and frequently, displaying an emotion she simply did not – or barely – had as a child:
These last few weeks we have bonded: she and I, and she and her whole family, in a spirit of fun, happiness and play, every night, as she requested certain “games” that bring squeals of delight and giggle. But it wasn’t always this easy.
Over the years, we’ve taken steps toward healing that has come has gone a long way in making the little girl who spent hours crying, banging her heard or tantrumming a joyful, happy child.
And then, 9 years later, you have a nightly routine that involves few words, yes, but so much laughter, giggling and smiling that your heart is soaring above the heavens with the gratitude for this healing.
So, what did we do that, after many years, resulted in a child who went from predominantly crying and screaming to being happy, content and joyful most of the time? It has been a long term program but I believe every parent can take these steps to help their child. Here are our solutions:
- Solve the Sleep Issues.
We got into this journey because Zoe could not sleep at night. Removing dairy proteins (casein) from her diet absolutely healed that issue, true, but think about: are you happy when you suffer bouts of insomnia? How about all those sleepless nights with a new baby? It makes you irritable and fussy. Same goes for kids with autism – and her family. Those crossed signals mess up a child’s sleep patterns, with an outcome of that lack of sleep is more sensitivity, exhaustion and less ability to cope with stress. Learn how you can help your family go dairy-free without losing your mind.
- Help Them Communicate.
Many kids with autism cannot speak (at all or barely), can’t speak properly or do not speak on time. When a baby has sensory issues, the only way they can communicate their pain is with crying or tantrumming. As soon as you are able, give that child tools to work with! You can do a lot to help them improve speech. Here are 9 ways that can improve child’s ability to communicate.
Our experience with homeopathy is that it has helped Zoe’s autism behaviors, especially her gut issues. Many children with autism have either constipation, constant diarrhea, leaky stools, undigested poop or some combo of these. That can’t feel good-think of how miserable a stomach virus makes you feel. How can you get to joy when a very basic daily function is all screwed up? Homeopathy has completely improved this issue for my kids and has helped them overcome negative behaviors.
- Create a More Joyful Home Environment.
One amazing thing about kids is they PICK UP on even the slightest detection of trouble or sorrow in the home. If your home is broken or breaking, if your marriage is struggling, if someone is waging war with mental illness or other psychological issues, addictions, financial woes, etc etc etc…you have to start to fix this. I can tell you that once that situation breaks and the healing starts, even when you are miles away from a full resolution, your kids will notice and it will change them – for the better. Kids are not equipped yet to live joyfully in a house of pain. It takes a whole lot of mature faith to do that and most adults can’t – and shouldn’t – either. Seek help to heal and begin creating joy in your home.
- Heal Their Pain.
This is critical but it’s not going to be easy. Just last week I heard an autism mama proclaim her son thanked her, because he’d been in pain HIS WHOLE LIFE. He didn’t know it was even there, until it was gone, but even then, he felt better. I don’t think you can function properly in constant pain, even if you don’t know anything else, and I don’t think don’t believe this is what God intended for any of our children. You must take steps to heal your child’s medical issues, even if your doctor tells you there “aren’t any,” because this how you heal the pain they don’t even know they feel.
- Toxin Removal.
Toxins do damage. Aluminum and MSG, for example, are known to harm neurons. Leaky gut causes pain. Out of balance brain chemistry blocks nutrient absorption. A child cannot be content, joyful or happy when their body is full of poisons that are doing damage. It’s up to you to find ways to clear out those toxins by changing your cooking habits, your health, beauty, lawn care products, by eating organic, etc., as well as the treatments that work for you, like how homeopathy has worked for us.
I know this sounds like a ton of work. It is. And I know people who simply blow me away in how well they do this stuff for their kids but I’m not them. I’ve just got do my best for that day. This life is hard and the shortcuts are tempting, but they are not the best choice for me and my children. Yes, I fail…I’ve had failures on the GAPS diet we are doing. The good news is that this is polishing my dirt-covered heart into a precious stone. A friend – who has 4 kids – told me he couldn’t believe my patience. If you’d have told me at age 30 that anyone would accuse me of having patience, I’d have laughed! Today, I look at the baby steps of progress my girls make and take the long view of how far we’ve come in all these years. It’s been worth every struggle, especially when I see children their age who are as sad and as in pain as Zoe once was.
Right now, I’m trying to teach my children about joy. This last week, that included Bible studies on why all good gifts come from God and how to be grateful. I honestly believe, too, that you can be joyful in every circumstance – Christianity has taught me that. But there’s the other kind of faith too – the faith that your child can be healed. Keep working. Keep praying. Keep hoping. Don’t give up until your child has cracked a smile, has regularly had fun or has laughed in a way you never ever thought possible.
I believe this is possible for every child too. Years ago, I’d cry myself to sleep over how much Zoe suffered. I had 2 children, one that smiled the minute she could figure out how to flex those lip muscles in an upward curve, and one who had to go through years and years of frustration, pain and tears. They stood in sharp contrast to each other and it broke my heart. Amelia was such a content and happy baby that she helped heal my postpartum depression. Was there hope for my sad child?
Absolutely! And there is for your child too. Healing the mind, body and spirit of a child with autism is doable with food intervention, homeopathy, home stability, patience and an avalanche of prayer, faith and hope. Your child, too, can be happy and joyful!
So what are you waiting for? The sooner you start, the sooner you can help your child have the life you’ve always dreamed they would have.