Dear Family and Friends,
This year, our Holiday greetings are going out with the URL for the blog - instead of a printed letter updating, you get this virtual update on how Dominic is doing.
Dominic is 6 1/2, a bundle of little boy, and growing like a weed. He just lost his third tooth and seems to be perpetually eating (which you'd never know by looking at him... he still has to have the waists in his pants cinched in to keep them up.)
This is has been a roller coaster year for him in terms of therapies. We started 2011 finishing up an intense round of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in January. HBOT was a fabulous treatment for Dominic and he made great healing strides with it. In February for his 6th birthday, we took him to the Denver Aquarium and he LOVED it. In the spring we did quite a bit of tweaking Dominic's medical supplementation protocol, and started to really question what we were doing. It seemed that all we were doing was adding more and more - the DAN protocol is wonderful - don't get me wrong, but it seemed to be all about patching things and not about fixing thing. In early Summer, I read this article and bought the corresponding book. Best change, hands down, we've ever made to Dominic's regime. We've been able to wean him off 75-80% of the supplements he was taking, and not only has he not crashed, he's made huge leaps and gains in cognition and speech. We've had some interesting nuances pop up with yeast and bacteria in his gut, but we've had tools to get them under control. Over Thanksgiving, the family passed around a lower GI bug - and he only had it for 1 1/2 days. Remember, 2 years ago, he had a lower GI stomach bug for a full 6 months. The healing that he's gotten in his gut with this protocol is phenomenal and I cannot say enough good things about it. He is still at Alpine Autism Center for his ABA therapy. We were able to have him their for full days this summer, and when school started he went back to half days in the public school and half days at Alpine. Unfortunately our health insurance (which right now is paying ~ 1/4 of the cost of Alpine) stops covering ABA therapy entirely the day that Dominic turns 7 - this coming Feb. We believe that we will be able to fund Alpine through the end of the summer and at that point will need to be done. Is kind of scary to have drawn a line in the sand because they have been phenomenal for Dominic as well as the whole family. We are so grateful to our family and friends for helping us with the Alpine expense - we would NOT have been able to keep him there even this long without you.
In general, his speech and behaviors are MUCH improved over where we were last year. He's regularly using 3-5 word sentences, has backed off on many of his self stimulatory behaviors, is sleeping better (and off Melatonin entirely!), is playing with more imagination, can count to 10 (i actually think we may have FINALLY gotten the concept of quantity into his head), can label all his letters and is interacting with peers much better. We were given an iPad by a very generous friend in June and Dominic just loves it. He has SO far to go, but we're moving in the right direction.
On the down side, he's big enough now that child proofing is basically impossible, very curious, and requires constant supervision. He likes to play rough, and in fact sprained (per the vet, we actually think it was fractured) the dog's leg 2 weeks ago because he was too rough in his play. And he's got attitude and a strong will (I don't know where he might've gotten that ...)
Rod and I are doing well. Rod's still teaching yoga and other fitness classes for multiple different gyms and refereeing pro wrestling. I'm still working for Verizon Business doing implementation work. I've been very blessed to have job stability in a market that is very unstable. We "grew" our backyard by 8 feet this year after a dispute with neighbors over fence line location and as a result put in a large vegetable garden. We grew probably 75% of our summer vegetables which was fantastic. I hope to do it again next summer.
We hope this letter finds you all well and happy and wish you a fantastic 2012
Rod, Joy, and Dominic