Why do I care so much about Autism? When asked that question, it took me back, because I am always thinking of how I can help people with Autism, or people that love them, that I have never sat down and thought what is that reason.
After thinking about it for a few days, I realized there are many reasons I care. To start it was probably, when my Nephew Juris was a toddler. He was such a cutie and such a little smarty pants. There was the challenging side that perplexed my sister and our entire family, he had to have things a certain way, or he would have a complete meltdown. He was obsessive about things like toys or cartoons, or books etc. He would have out of the blue complete meltdowns and there was no calming him down. And did I mention he was so smart, we were always looking for way to keep him busy intellectually.
With everything going on, I mentioned the challenges to a trusted friend of mine, she mentioned a few books and I started reading about sensory disorders and autism and what different tools seemed to help. To my luck my sister was open to my discoveries. One of the best things I read was, be a detective and learn what triggers them. Be their best friend and fan. Learn how to give them tools to be confident and be ok in there human shell. We figured out he just viewed the world and felt the world different. So the best thing was to try and not add to the anxiety that the world could produce and make life as safe for him as possible, to be himself.
Some examples would be, he didn’t like change or at least last minute change, so he had to be warned a few times before leaving the playground or time for dinner. If he was upset, you had to be patient and listen, if you got upset the tantrum lasted longer. The other way was to redirect when possible away from triggers. Whether it was a certain toy or cartoon. My sister got so good at it.
Juris was never tested for any disabilities like Autism, but it appeared, Juris had different abilities than most children and we treated and taught him to see them as gifts. Juris has amazing hearing, like how a dog can hear. However, at times it almost hurts him, sounds the rest of us can’t even hear. But, we taught him he was special for it. He is also very fast runner, and very very flexible, he can do a lot of things most kids can’t with his flexibility, we encouraged him.
That even though he is different in some ways he has gifts of his own. Like he can dilate his eyes on cue and has a photographic memory. By the time he was in Kindergarten he was having very few tantrums and was very Confident. And was this kids a sweetie, he would always be there for the kids that couldn’t speak English, almost like he could relate to being a little different. He had compassion like no other 6 year old I knew. In Kindergarten he had to make a collage of his top 3 wishes. He wished for no one to go hungry, everyone to be happy and no one to hurt. My sister asked him what he wanted for him and he said that’s it “Mommy”.
Than 3 years later his brother came along and he was polar opposite of his brother. He was a toughie, always wanting to tackle and play. He never stopped moving, didn’t talk a lot, but did grunt a whole lot. Very funny kid, loved to make you laugh from a young age. He loved music, which Juris didn’t much as he got older. But, I found each of them had special gifts and were so unique and perfect.
As I watched these two grow up as a bystander. I found myself seeing myself in them, seeing my sister and kids I grew up with and realized that child innocence is in all of us. And each of us has special unique gifts. That as we grow up for some get squashed and others they are truly lucky to be allowed to use them.
So when these two were about 4 years old and 8 years old, I got laid off and had to find another career. I thought I can’t go back to school, I hadn’t been in years and I had a learning disability (dyslexia) and it would be too hard. I ended up getting tested and found out I actually had anxiety in relation to learning, as well as ADD, severe enough to be called a disability. But, was told you are really smart as far a IQ. And it was up to me to learn the tools to be able to work through school. So I took the challenge and went to massage school and it was a challenge, but with wonderful people supporting me I made it through. I also found out my ADD was a gift, I have lightening bolt thinking and creativity. Which have found using tools to stay calm and grounded, I can do many things.
Also because of the challenges I have been through, I have a gift for understanding and having compassion for others. I also found my passion with massage and energy work and using it to help others everyday. See I realized I was just like any kid that has challenges whether it be Autism, sensory disorders, ADD, ADHD, and other neurological disorders. We are special and have a challenge, but with the right direction and tools we can find our way.
Now fast forward 6 years, I find my self with my lovely Fiancé and his Three kids. When I met Scott his youngest son Reid was 4 years old and such a cutie. We knew Reid was special, he was always getting into things, not talking much at all, but always watching everyone and everything. Like he was taking in the world all the time. He would swing from not wanting to be touched to wanting to be massage and hugged all the time. And could be very very hyper. We started noticing food was a trigger, as well as over stimulation of any kind, whether other kids, playing video games etc. We on our own tried no sugar and low carbs, it seemed to really calm him down. We heard about a natural path/Medical doctor that might be able to help. She ran test and found out Reid had Sensitivities to many foods and was high in metals too. We started a detox and special diet. We were amazed it was like this little boy came out of his shell. He would have amazing conversations with us and his imagination came alive. He was able to do things like set the table, without direction. Like he had been watching and now was clear enough to think.
We still had challenges with over stimulation and being hyper at times. So it was an up and down battle. In School Reid struggled, he did not fit the mold of what teachers and school officials thought a child should act or be. We were getting calls weekly for all different behavioral and academic issues. We were recommended to get Reid tested at children’s autism center.
It took 2 years to get Reid into Children’s to be tested. Due to the amount of children needing testing. We finally got the diagnoses of Autism. He is low on the spectrum in many areas. Scott and I were relieved to know we would now have resources and help for Reid.
We have been working with Reid for a Year with Occupational therapy, cranio-sacral therapy, social therapy, counseling, special classes and chiropractic. We have also found another Doctor that diagnosed Reid with a genetic disorder that prevents his body from detoxing, it is called MTHFR. We have started supplements. Reid does much better when he is able to get them all the time.
So back to my nephew Juris, he is doing amazing in school at 14 years old, has many friends, and does not have tantrums. He is in the top 1% for Math and top 10% in Language arts in the country. Is a huge help with his siblings. He is in Track and played Soccer for 5 years. He is an amazing kid, he embraces his special gifts and has learned how to use them to be a better person. He is one of my inspirations and why I care.
Why I care in a nut shell is I look at Juris and I look at Reid and all the kids in my life and they are all perfect. They may need help with tools with how to handle the rest of the world wanting them to be perfect. They just need to be allowed to be themselves and we need to work on finding ways to meet them where they are at. NOT try to make them be the people we want, so everyone in society is more comfortable.
I care because I want to be loved and accepted for who I am too. And I want every child and adult to have that too. I want parents and families to learn like we have with Reid and Juris that there are ways to help them feel calm and relieve there anxiety or sleeplessness, or hyperactivity. We use many tools like, massage, energy work, diet, hugs, and essential oils, exercise etc., as well as outside help like occupational therapy and the other therapies.
We all deserve to be loved and accepted and shown our differences are gifts to us and the world. We all have things that bring us joy, I think if we all followed those feelings in work and life we would all be happier. Reid and Juris and all kids are blessings to us. I want to help as many children and families as possible, with Three Tree Wellness Center, I hope to reach as many as possible.