I am writing this update for those parents that wonder if it's possible for their child to live away from home and thrive in college. I am here to say YES. Recovery happens and our children can stay healthy and happy as they become young adults. Leo is now 20. Hard for me to believe!
Leo is now a sophomore in college. He's home for winter break as I write this. His high school friend group continues to thrive long distance, and when they are all home from school they hang out all of the time. It blows my mind to see how grounded he is and how he knows who he is.
He's making all As and Bs so far and loves being independent. He made great friends that lived in his dorm freshman year that he now lives with this year. We converted his child checking account into his own adult regular checking, and venmo him when he needs money. He's only asked for money once this year for dues, as he made a lot of walking around money from summer jobs.
Leo joined a fraternity this year. As a parent, I was worried about hazing and hell week and how it would affect his stamina with academics and his social well being. I am grateful to share that he made it out of the pledge process very tired but unscathed. It was a real testament to his health. Many of his friends got sick from the process and the cumulative burden of being back at school and fall cold and flu bugs.
I want to reflect back a little to when I wrote my advice book in 2011. I carefully omitted details about biomedical protocols. I did this because everyone is so different. I didn't want our success to become a template for someone else. Every child's make up of toxins and imbalances and dysfunction requires an individualized protocol. I shared only the foundations of healthy lifestyle and diet, GFCF, eating clean and living green to restore balance. When our journey began in 2000 and up to the publishing of my book in 2011, this foundation wasn't common knowledge. Many parents were applying the old paradigm of one-size-fits all to recovery. Many parents were doing just biomed or therapy, not both.
I am glad to see that today many parents understand that diet and environment matters. Addressing the symptoms and retraining the brain with ABA and other therapies also matters. Epigenetics has provided us with tools and knowledge that I did not have when my son was diagnosed in 2000. Today, we know that there's autoimmune markers and many other biological issues that help parents find the answers they need to restore health in their child. It's an exciting time to be on the planet right now. We have more tools and knowledge to reverse autism spectrum disorders more than ever before.
Leo knows what it feels like to have a clear mind and feel good and full of energy. Leo eats dorm food everyday. He makes healthy choices, usually asian, Mexican, and Indian food. He eats GF bread which is supplied and fresh fruit and vegetables at every meal. The colleges are great now. They label everything for food allergies and sensitivities and offer vegan and vegetarian options. Leo does party, but somehow finds a balance by eating well and exercising and using his supplement kit if he needs it (see below).
I send Instacart organic produce to his dorm every other week. My usual order is: blueberries, strawberries, pears, apples, bananas, parsley, cilantro, spinach, carrots, hummus, and fresh juices if they have them. I sometimes include organic tortilla chips, nuts, granola bars, and other snacks for his room. He's a bit of a prima donna when it comes to quality of food and the comparison to dining hall food doesn't go unnoticed. He misses home cooked meals and hopes to have a kitchen next year so that he can cook instead. I also send him organic laundry detergent.
When he's home, I make green juices and smoothies almost every day and sometimes give him Flor-Essence or other detox tinctures if he needs them. He takes enzymes when he eats a lot of processed food or gluten many days in a row. He loves to cook breakfast food and sauteed fresh veggies from our garden when he's home.
Leo has a supplement kit for his dorm room that's filled with immune boosting supplements, vitamins, drainers, and homeopathics for when he needs them. Last year, he texted me to say the virus was going around and that he dosed all of his friends and his roommate lol.
Vit C, occillococcinum, On Guard, Green capsules, Magnesium Glycinate, homeopathics, biocidin, drainage tone, liver tone, kidney tone, and hypothalmapath.
Leo exercises regularly too. This makes a huge difference in his well being. He has a terrible sleep schedule just like the rest of his friends but I can't fight that one. He gets naps in when he can to make up for it.
One of these days I'll update my book to include the biomedical side of things and resources and tools for all children with chronic conditions. In the meantime, I will be posting some excerpts from the original soon.
I hope you find this update helpful. In health and hope, Ashley