Contributed by Debbie Ellwood-Mielewski
Ann Arbor, MI
My son was born September 11, 1998. He had a relatively difficult birth, but was released from the hospital within 48 hours, doing apparently fine. My husband and I hardly noticed the Hepatitis B vaccination form in the pile that we signed just before his release from the hospital at 10 p.m. on a Sunday night.
My son did not have a bowel movement after he left the hospital and we were sent to Mott Children's Hospital to check for a rare disease called Hershbrung's, which after a biopsy he was found not to have. Eventually, he achieved a bowel movement, but was constantly constipated throughout his infancy.
Problems Develop for Baby Tate
Tate was a sweet baby, always smiling, but we began to have some concerns because:
His motor milestones were always significantly late, but we were told that as long as he progressed, things were just fine.
Tate began flapping his arms when he saw spinning objects when he was about 4 to 5 months old.
He was also obsessed with spinning the wheels on toy cars, and would stare at them for hours if you let him.
He also had a very difficult time controlling the chewing and swallowing of food--choking very frequently. We kept him on pureed baby-like foods until age 3.
He did not walk until he was 21 months, and then it was very difficult for him, his legs looking like spaghetti noodles that wouldn't support him.
His motor skills were so poor that I took him to the pediatrician monthly, asking what was wrong. His doctors said that he was normal, just late on the normal distribution of motor accomplishments--like a lot of boys.
He couldn't manipulate a spoon at age three to feed himself, couldn't put on his socks, shirt or hold a pencil.
If you left him to play in one spot and returned 30 minutes later, he would still be there--never exploring his surroundings or "getting into everything" like most toddlers.
I felt very lucky to have this "low-maintenance" baby, who never challenged me. In addition, he slept 12 to 13 hours at night, and then another three- to four-hour nap in the afternoon. It felt like he was always sleeping.
His language, though had always been accelerated and exact--Tate knew most of his letters at 12 months. This caused pediatricians not to worry about his lack of motor skills. My son tripped over his own feet several times a day.
At age 3 he had very loose stools/diarrhea constantly. His performance varied greatly from day to day, something I tried desperately to understand. One day, he would continually forget where we were going when we were in the car--the next day was totally fine.
Preschool Reveals Even More Concerns
At age 3, we sent him to preschool three days a week for three hours at a time. Luckily, we sent him to a university-associated program, with a knowledgeable staff. I could also look through the one-way mirror of his classroom, which was used for research purposes.
Here, I observed what I thought I never would. My poor son stood in the classroom corner, holding a stuffed animal and a blanket, sometimes covering his ears, with a pacifier in his mouth. His teacher spent a lot of individual time with him, trying to get him to interact. She realized that he had a lot to offer--he wanted to interact with adults, but had no desire to interact with peers. The classroom was much too stimulating for him. His muscle tone was so weak that he had a hard time holding himself sitting upright during the 10-minute circle times during school.
He had frequent spells where dark circles appeared under his eyes, and this correlated with either increased confusion or uncontrolled behavior. His teacher suggested that we have Tate evaluated by the public school system, which we proceeded to do immediately.
He was found to have obvious large and fine motor skill deficits. He also had problems with short-term memory.
Tate is Diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)
We took Tate to a child psychiatrist who finally delivered a diagnosis--pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specific (PDD-NOS). The school system agreed with this diagnosis, although it is no more that a catch-all for kids with developmental delays in any area. Being a scientist myself, I proceeded to read voraciously about autism (and PDD) and when I saw research that connected this condition with childhood vaccines, I knew that this was what happened to Tate.
Tate's Autism-Like Symptoms Connected to Childhood Vaccines
I reviewed his medical records and confirmed that indeed he had crying spells and fevers lasting three to five days after a series of vaccines were delivered. His pediatricians called these "mild reactions" and said that these were expected and fine. I therefore continued to vaccinate. Tate's immune system was weak--he was sick at home more than he attended school, and each time he went, he got sick again.
Following an article I read in Mothering magazine December 1, 2002, I immediately implemented a gluten-free, casein-free diet. The first week was horrendous, as Tate's behavior was like a drug addict--begging me for milk and wheat products. But his behavior was so markedly different, I knew I was on to something. He must have associated these foods with the opiate-like effect that they had on him. After that week, though, there were startling improvements. Tate never tripped when walking and he had much more energy. He slept less and seemed less confused.
We saw a local doctor who was treating autistic kids in late December 2002. He put Tate on a number of supplements (approximately 25 that had to be delivered in his food daily). Within three days of giving him mineral supplements, Tate picked up a pencil (which he had never been able to do before) and drew a completely recognizable picture of a butterfly. We performed a series of tests, including DMSA administration and urine analysis, stool and hair analysis that all showed large quantities of heavy metals, poor mineral absorption and likely pathological yeast.
Great Improvements from nutritional typing
We went to see Dr. Mercola at the end of May 2003. I read a lot on his Web site and felt that he conducted his research carefully and methodically. Tate was 29 pounds and 4 1/2 years old. This was not even on the weight chart. Based on the nutritional typing test that I took with regard to Tate, Dr. Mercola put him on a diet for fast-oxidizing metabolisms (protein type).
Believe it or not, we were vegetarians, which was probably the worst diet possible for Tate! We:
Tate gained weight, strength and function quickly. His stools became solid. He became potty trained, something we had worked relentlessly at for years without much success, within a month of our visit to the Optimal Wellness Center. As of April 1, 2004, Tate weighs 39 pounds, which puts him at around the 18th percentile!
His teachers started to approach us on what we were doing that could be causing such large effects. Tate's social skills also improved rapidly. He became interested in interacting with peers, although maybe not always appropriately at first. He would seek out particular children and provoke a reaction from them by either bumping into them or even scratching them. Our preschool of talented teachers, however, saw this as actually positive that he had the desire to interact with peers, and assured us that they would work on teaching Tate proper initiation of interactions.
Chlorella Produces Amazing Results
Most recently (about 1.5 months ago) Dr. Mercola recommended chlorella be given to Tate daily. The results are again amazing. We have seen yet another big improvement in every type of function. He is successfully interacting with peers at school and looks forward to going! He is finally running (ok, it is still a rather uncoordinated trot) on the playground with the other kids.
His fine motor skills are appropriate for his age group--he now:
- Cuts with scissors
- Writes voraciously
- Loves art projects
- Is never confused
At our last meeting, the staff of teachers and therapists who have been working with my son since age 3 declared that they had never seen such improvement in the health and function of a child like Tate--some of these individuals have had 30 year careers working with PPD and autistic kids! All of the staff anticipate that Tate will not be in need of special services soon.
An additional page was added to his yearly review by his preschool teacher saying that there was a "marked difference in Tate's approach to peers" and "Tate is more focused on the reciprocal nature of play." She also felt that the past month had been incredible!
Tate finally has energy, desire and is a happy, healthy child. As you can imagine, I feel grateful that someone as talented as Dr. Mercola is my son's doctor. I can only imagine his condition if we hadn't made the trip to Chicago.