World Autism Day is Wednesday April 2nd, 2008 and a family in Edgar is sharing their story hoping to inspire others not to lose hope.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders, three to six children out of every one thousand will have Autism. Autism is described as a spectrum disorder, meaning the symptoms range from mild to severe.
There is no cure for Autism but the Graveen Family of Edgar say there is something you can do. Michael and Tracy Graveen's 4 year old son Jaxon was diagnosed with Autism in December of 2007. Jaxon's mom says she knew something was wrong when he suddenly stopped talking at 16 months old. She says he is somewhere in the middle of Autism Spectrum. They say they talked to several doctors and were assured he would "grow out of it." When he didn't they talked to a D.A.N. Practitioner. D.A.N. stands for defeat autism now. It's a specialist that deals with Autism. The Graveen's specialist works for Ministry Health Care in Plover.
Tracy says Jaxon eats hamburgers with out bread and peas. She reads the labels very carefully and buys organic everything including seasoning. Jaxon doesn't eat sugar or any fruit. "He may have some of these allergies forever but our goal is for him to have a normal life." Says Graveen. She says her doctor is treating his condition like a person with toxins in their blood-- removing foods from their diet to see how the body responds.
She says she was speechless when he spoke to her for the first time in over a year. "When he walked into the kitchen and looked at me and said can you get me some water please Mama... he tilted his head and looked at me and said do you understand me?" Says Graveen.
Graveen says she didn't see any results from changing his diet until about two weeks later. "The few weeks were rough but two weeks later we were actually able to see him talk to us and say sentences... things we never imagined would happen for years" says Graveen.
Jaxon goes to occupational therapy four days a week, school three days a week and even play time is a time to help him develop. He takes a number of vitamin and mineral supplements and an activated charcoal tablet. She goes through specific companies and uses products recommend by Jaxon's doctor. She says the doctor also recommend they change Jaxon's bath products and the detergent they wash his clothes with.
She says to find out what he could eat was trial and error. "We have good days and bad days, but we learn something everyday and tomorrow I'll know more than I know today." Says Graveen. She says he had about five bad days in a row after eating a half of a cracker.
The Graveen's say you have to be an advocate for your child and suggest you do research and seek out a specialist. She says they have more than $15,000 worth of unpaid medical bills from January-- just on extra tests, and therapy. For more information on Autism click on the website below.