Thursday, December 8, 2011

Kai's Story

This story is from a "Virtual Tribal Mama" that a few of us have been in touch with as she journeys along the sometimes lonely road of healing her child using nutrition / diet. She has done a wonderful job and has been rewarded with a recent language explosion. Kai is lucky that she is his Mama!

On September 22nd of this year, my son Kai was given a diagnosis of “Suspected Childhood Apraxia of Speech” by Early Intervention. At the time, he had two words he could say with his mouth open (“Dada” and “Uh-Oh”). Much of his spontaneous speech was said through his teeth. At 23 months old, he had the speech of a one-year-old. He’d lost the ability to say “Mama,” and he would have meltdowns if we tried to make him speak. He knew letters, numbers, animals, and understood most of what we said to him, yet he couldn’t express himself through words. I was heartbroken.

At that time, I was already working him towards GAPS. I’d found out about it through my local Weston A. Price Foundation chapter. My son is also gluten intolerant, and after seeing studies and reading anecdotes showing that gluten intolerance is not uncommon with Apraxia (I already suspected Apraxia before Early Intervention did), and that these children are generally deficient in fatty acids and vitamin E, I began to search for a diet to heal my son, as it was so obviously a malabsorption problem causing his inability to express himself in words. I found WAPF while researching healthy, whole-foods diets for children, and I knew immediately that the nutrient dense food it advocated was what Kai needed to heal. I contacted our local chapter leader, poured my heart out to her regarding the situation my family was in, including my suspicions that my son was suffering from a neurological disorder, and asked her how to get started, and she pointed me towards GAPS. I owe so much to her for this, but that’s a story for another day.

I plunged myself into reading Gut and Psychology Syndrome and Breaking the Vicious Cycle, and I listened to Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride present her theories on YouTube. I read many a parental testimony where they would express their delight in the progress their child made on GAPS, including multiple references to an “explosion of expressive language.” Oh, how I dreamed and wanted that for my son! We started eliminating starchy vegetables, grains, and casein until eventually Kai was eating only soup and eggs. On October 5th, we started Kai on Intro.

We saw behavior issues disappear. Stims diminished within two weeks. He was happier, healthier, and he had a very big growth spurt. He loved the food. He devoured everything. Amidst regressions and difficult days, we saw any behavior he had that could have labeled him as “ASD” go away, with the exception of on die-off days. Small improvements were made in speech, and he was able to say “Mama” again, but I began to be discouraged because I couldn’t find testimony regarding GAPS helping specifically with an Apraxic child. My speech therapist was also discouraged because she was getting nowhere with him. She started giving me homework to just do things to get his mouth open, not even to try for words! I wanted that speech explosion so badly.

When I aired my concerns to the Tribe, suggestions for supplements to help speed the detoxification process were made. We started giving Kai Enhansa soon after it was suggested to us by multiple sources, including my mother-in-law. His father offered me continual comfort, support and a steadfast belief that Kai would heal on the diet, even when I was faltering in faith, so I pressed on and hoped his speech would improve more.

Kai progressed through Intro relatively quickly. When we got to the point where almond bread and carrot juicing is introduced, we noticed that Kai began to complain of pain in his diaper area. At first I was in denial and thought it was due to a diaper rash that he had, but he soon made it abundantly clear to me that the issue was most likely pain caused by the newly introduced high oxalate foods. We began to wean him off of them, and his pain immediately went away. That same week, Kai hit the maximum dosage of Enhansa. We’d been able to get him raw milk for his yogurt for two weeks. We’d been on 100% organic and/or grass fed meat for a week. He was about to hit his 2-month GAPS anniversary.

I started to notice that Kai was saying, “UP! UP! UP!” while sitting and playing by himself. I asked him, “Are you saying ‘Up?’” He would just look at me funny. I figured it was more ghost words, common to Apraxic children. A couple days later, he started saying “Up” when he wanted to be picked up. Then he started saying, “Apple” and “Egg” clearly, with all vowel and consonant sounds! Within one day of these three new words, many, many more started coming, including “Elmo,” “Hat,” “Hot,” “Hop,” and “All.” He even said, “X” and “A.” He tries to say “Avocado,” and other more complex words, but they are mispronounced. I’ve lost track of everything he can say, but I estimate he has around 20 words, letters, and animal sounds that he can now say clearly. Best of all, he’s imitating us and attempting spontaneous speech every day. He is also trying to build upon words he already says to say things like “Apple Sauce.”

Kai’s speech therapist came yesterday. She almost cried when I had Kai saying his new words for her. She was thrilled by his progress. They had a great session, and she was able to get new sounds out of him. He was very proud to show off what he could do for her. I am thrilled.

I think we found the magic formula for Kai: GAPS+LOD+Enhansa+Organics+Raw Milk. He has a long way to go, and he still has sounds that he cannot make, but I have faith that more surges and breakthroughs will come, especially with help from our DAN and the Tribe. GAPS isn’t easy, but, as my husband always reminds me, nothing worth doing ever really is. I am excited to find our next breakthrough intervention, all with the strong foundation of GAPS and good, Real Food.

Mothers of Apraxic children be heartened. There is hope.

2 comments:

  1. WOW!!!! I am a mom of an apraxic 12 year old boy! Boy cold I go on and on about our story. My son, ian, has come a long way over the years but is not where I wold like him to be and I know not at his potential! He is incredibly bright (I didn't need a test to tell me that, but he has an average IQ). He is still struggling with apraxia of speech. He is about 60-70% intelligible to an unfamiliar listener. He also has learning disabilities in reading, writing and math as well as ADHD. I was told about this diet years ago and I don't think I was in a place to "accept" it. Over the years I have become more aware if how foods affect us. I made little changes over time like cutting out sugars etc. About a year and a half ago I was introduced to "clean eating". I have done better at times then others with it because it too is a lot of prep to try new things, but nothing like what GAPS will be. I feel like I have been sort of "prepared" though that step for this next big one! I have a very busy, chaotic household that can't be helped right now. I often have unexpected extras and I often have to juggle a lot on my own with my two boys, whom are also very involved in sports etc.
    Your story is the first to give me hope that maybe this is worth a try! How long have you done GAPS? Do you plan to stay on it? My kids want to know how long they have to "eat that way"? lol This is not going to be easy b/c my children are not small...they are 12 and 14 year old boys! Any input or suggestions appreciated!
    Thanks for your story and I wish your family continued success!

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  2. I am very lucky to have found out about GAPS both when my son was very young and also at a time when I was very open to it based on my history and the health of my husband.

    We've been on GAPS for 6 months now. It took 6 weeks for Kai to start talking. Other symptoms left very soon after we started Intro. I'm unsure how long it would take for someone already speaking to improve. I know that there was another mom on the forum (Jeanne?) who had an 8?yo with Dyspraxia of Speech (AKA Apraxia) who was improving his speech noticably to others on just Full GAPS. They were planning on doing Intro this summer. I have no idea where they are now or if they've contacted you as with 2 little ones, things get pretty hectic around here so I tend to be unable to be on the forum as much as I'd like. Sometimes I sign in briefly, recognize no one who is posting, and don't even know where to begin to say hello again!

    We plan on staying on GAPS for a long time. Once all of our symptoms are gone for 6 months, we will probably introduce a small amount of traditionally prepared starch into our diet (if we tolerate it), but I doubt we will change anything else. The honest truth is that we love eating like this. It is delicious and satisfying. I don't miss the old way of eating at all. We feel like we are spoiled on this diet and eat like kings. I know it seems like this really weird, far out, crazy diet before you're doing it, and Intro is HARD!, but Full GAPS is pretty amazing and yummy. You also learn some tricks to make Full GAPS a little less time-consuming. Most of the food we eat are very recognizable, like Swedish Meatballs, except we have zucchini noodles (I have a veggie spiralizer now that makes them feel like "real" pasta) instead of pasta made with starch. Last night we had chinese food with cauliflower for rice. Mashed potatoes can be substituted with mashed cauliflower. I make biscuits and garlic bread using coconut flour. My son has cookies made with coconut flour and honey. You can have muffins and pancakes and meatloaf and roasted chicken... You'd be amazed at how normal it really is once you're there, with the exception that most people try to be lowfat nowadays, while you'll be eating it with a spoon! lol

    I think with a 12yo and a 14yo, you're going to need their consent and understanding to do it. If they're not on board, I imagine they'll cheat when they're not home. I mean, I remember eating an entire bag of cookies for lunch when I was 15 and not home with my parents... Perhaps start with transitioning to Full GAPS to show them where their diet will be going?

    Intro is very hard and time-consuming, but it doesn't last forever. Full GAPS is not much more work than clean eating is. I highly recommend trying it. There is a wealth of information out there on how to make it easier.

    I hope this helps a little. Feel free to ask me any other questions you have =D

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