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Monday, 01 March 2021
The Last Piece of the Puzzle Print
Written by Heidi   
For almost three years we did everything we could to help our son heal. We sought guidance and support from everyone we believed could help our son or teach us what to do to meet his very complex needs. We faced attachment-strain, post-traumatic stress disorder, autism spectrum disorder, sensory integration dysfunction, chronic constipation, acid reflux, chronic stomachaches, food allergies/intolerances, and feeding issues. It was all so overwhelming. Little by little, with many coaches assisting “our team”, we put all the pieces of the puzzle together.

Our team included:
  • Attachment therapists
  • Feeding therapists
  • Speech therapists
  • Occupational therapists
  • A floortime therapist
  • A special instructor
  • Music therapists
  • An international adoption pediatric specialist
  • Gastro-intestinal doctors
  • Allergists
  • A neurologist
  • A developmental pediatrician
  • Child psychologists
  • A theraplay therapist
  • A neuro-biofeedback provider

With support from the team, our son made a great deal of progress. He was worlds away from where we started, but in the end there were some issues we just could not shake; the members of our team were unable to fully address the digestive, neurological, and emotional issues.

During this time I heard about bio-medical intervention and did some reading. We even tried a GF/CF (gluten-free/casein-free) diet. I didn’t further pursue bio-medicine because no one on our team--not one of those professionals--mentioned it at all aside from the neurologist who told me, “It is unfounded and they will steal your money.”

One year after our neurologist made that comment a very trusted member of our team felt we were missing something and she encouraged us to look into bio-medicine. Though this team member admitted she did not know much about it, she felt it just might be our missing link. She mentioned this at the same time our gastro-intestinal doctor claimed our son was perfectly healthy…perfectly healthy despite the constipation that still plagued him…perfectly healthy despite the countless times a day our son cried about his hurting belly…how could he be “perfectly healthy?”

I spent the next couple weeks reading as much as I could and talking to other mothers who sought and found healing through bio-medical interventions. One book I read that really spoke to me about my son’s residual issues was Gut and Psychology Syndrome, written by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. (Go to this page for book information.) It was after reading this book that I was convinced we needed to go from a GF/CF diet to a more selective one. We immediately started the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) outlined by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride in her book.

I will admit the first two weeks of the SCD diet were beyond difficult. Our son went through withdraw that was so intense that part of me just wanted to give in and give him back the foods his body craved, and the other part was reassured that this diet must be something he needed to heal. The reaction to not having the complex carbohydrates his body craved was not normal. It caused him to rage all day despite the fact that he had plenty to eat, including favorite foods from the past.

After about two weeks of the diet, our son calmed significantly. He was calmer and more regulated than any other time in his life, but that was not all. He was happy. It’s sad when a mother can look back and come to the conclusion that her child was never happy. He was not a happy baby. He was not a happy toddler. He had happy moments…minutes, days, even weeks. But overall he was never truly happy until we made dramatic changes to his diet that eased the stress of his digestive system; a system in need of major repair.

After we had our son stable on the diet we looked for more answers. We began consulting with a Clinical Nutritionist who ran tests that no one on our team had. It was through her findings that we received confirmation that our son’s digestive system was very toxic, and we finally had specific information that showed how his digestive system was impacting his neurological function and mood. The results were daunting, but at that point we were relieved to finally have real answers that we knew could be used to find more healing for our son.

Our Clinical Nutritionist prescribed a protocol of digestive enzymes and supplements. We immediately saw dramatic improvement in our son’s health, behavior, mood, and development. He ate better, he felt better, and he acted better. The child whose glass was always half empty was positive and excited about everything. The child whose mood could swing rapidly for little to no obvious reason let things fall right off his back. The child who could argue his way around and out of everything would smile and say, “Okay, if you say so!” The child who struggled with interaction and engagement with people quickly found ease in both. The child who obsessed over topics to avoid his thoughts and feelings began to use his favorite topics to share and interact with others. The child who struggled in situations that involved a great deal of sensory input ran right into a children’s gym and found friends to play with! The child who spoke mainly to have his needs and wants met began to have real conversations. His language exploded.

The changes were dramatic! The changes were easily noticeable to family and friends we saw often as well as family and friends we saw occasionally. They all wanted to know just where this child came from. The truth is he was not different…he was healing. He was finally healing! The issue we’d not been able to shake was the way his digestion affected his neurological function. We continue to add more professionals to our team in an effort to find more answers for our son through bio-medical interventions. We have so much hope that we have finally found the missing link to full healing.

I’ve been asked after sharing our story if our son ever really did have attachment-strain. Without a doubt, YES! However, in our situation recovery and healing involved many different approaches. The attachment professionals on our team were all helpful and necessary, but alone they would not have been enough for our son. I’ve always considered our son a complex puzzle. It would not be honest for me to say we did not struggle to navigate the very long and ever-changing road to healing. But it was through bio-medicine that we found the final missing link for our son to fully heal. We are grateful to all those who have helped us on this journey.

GF/CF Another Option
Written by Cynthia on 2007-04-06 17:38:45
Just wanted to add that some children benefit from the less restrictive GF/CF diet. We hope to add some of those stories soon. But for some kids GF/CF is not enough and the SCD diet is a better answer.
Written by MeDenne on 2007-04-17 01:06:26
I also see this. We have to have a team approach to heal these kids. No one person has all the answers, and no one approach is going to take care of all the issues.
another mom
Written by Guest on 2008-04-29 15:03:54
We have spent a lot of money, and tried some very unusual things to help our son, with little result. Now he is 14. Is it too late to help him? 
If you know of a doctor who works with Dr. Campbell-McBride's theory, please share this person's name. 
Written by Guest on 2008-05-01 13:43:14
I would contact Maile Pouls (see another blog on her) or a DAN! doc such as Dr. DeMio.  
If you send us a contact email, we can talk more specifics.

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