Best of AofA: Autism Road To Recovery (Paved with A Father's Love)
Posted Jun 01 2011 12:00am
Managing Editor's Note: I saw Cody at Autism One last month. We're running a series of "Best of" posts and this one came to mind from last August.
By Cody Jordan
October 20, 2004 was the day my son came into my life. Holding him in the parkade of the hospital, I vowed to give him the life he deserves and to teach him what he needs to know to make this happen. Little did I know at the time, he would teach me more about life, love, and compassion than I could ever have hoped to teach him. All this in the five short years he’s been in my life.
His development was normal at first; he met all his markers. The only thing was that he often got low-grade fevers that intensified and grew longer in duration as he got older. He was at the end of another cold and feverish spell when I took him in for his 12-month well visit. His pediatrician assured us that despite his illness, it was still okay to give him his MMR, Hib, Varicella, and his first flu shot. A few weeks later, he got his flu shot booster. A few weeks after this (Christmas Eve) his fever spiked to over 103, but the on-call pediatrician told us to monitor his temperature for at least another 24 hours. On Christmas Day, he was so sick, flushed, and hot that we rushed him to the emergency room, where his temperature was between 105 and 106. A chest x-ray revealed a very severe case of pneumonia. The ER doctor said that if we would have waited much longer, his chances to make it would not have been so good.
After his pneumonia is what I call “the big switch.” His development came to a screeching halt, and he lost most of the vocabulary he once had. At one year of age, he had about 10 words, and when he was evaluated at age two, he had regressed to two words, used infrequently at best. He quit showing interest in his peers and, more importantly, me and my wife. Looking back on video footage, this was when he started toe walking, hand flapping, and he became increasingly repetitive in everything he did.
This is when I came across Defeat Autism Now! and their list of physicians who use a biomedical protocol. It would forever change my son’s life. The long drives didn’t matter; the money didn’t matter. It was something I had to do for my son’s sake. I loved him far too much to give him any less. What happened over the next 2 ½ years is nothing short of a miracle.
As any parent treating an autistic child with a biomedical protocol knows, it’s a never-ending line of supplements, medicines, and homeopathics given in every imaginable way, and my son was no different. The amazing thing about him is that he hasn’t complained about any of it; he takes it as though he somehow knows it is helping him recover. There was one homeopathic in particular he was taking for a gut issue. Right after he took it for the first time, he immediately went to the bathroom and threw it up. The next night, he was at the kitchen counter, asking for it again. He took it again and almost threw it up, but he fought to keep it down. This is just one example about how he’s never complained about the supplements, medicines, or countless hours in various therapies. This is almost as exciting and amazing of the recovery that started to take place.
At my son’s initial speech therapy evaluation, he scored in the 5th percentile for expressive and the 1st (as low as one can get) percentile for receptive speech. After all his determination, fortitude, and never give up attitude, his expressive speech is less than eight months behind, and his receptive speech came back as “age appropriate.”
During his very first IEP meeting (before we started biomedically treating him), I asked for his long-term goal to be by the time he was six, he would be in a regular kindergarten class. He still wasn’t very verbal at the time, and his interests were extremely restricted. His teacher looked at him with skepticism while I looked at him with hope. She looked back at me and said that with any luck, he would make it into an alternative kindergarten class with full-time adult support. She was also skeptical about the biomedical we were talking about starting. She said there was a lot of false hope out there and that she didn’t want us to get our hopes up. She also added that there was no cure for autism. What she didn’t know was that my hopes couldn’t get any higher, and I demanded to keep my version of the long-term goal.
At his IEP meeting to phase him out of the early childhood program, we all came to the conclusion that he would be going into a regular kindergarten class. The question we all asked wasn’t how much adult support he would need; it was whether or not he would need any adult support at all on most days. This came from the same teacher who showed such skepticism when she first met him. But he made a believer out of her; he made a believer out of me; he is making a believer out of a world that has so much against autistic children who want not much more than just to be accepted among their peers.
I feel so lucky and blessed to be his father and to witness such a miracle. Seeing him recovering from autism is a blessing I never had thought possible, but he has opened my eyes to something more beautiful than I have ever seen. I am supposed to be the one who teaches my son everything he needs to know, but it’s quite the opposite. In the five short years he’s been in my life, he has shown me everything I need to know to be a loving and compassionate person, and he did it with a so-called “disability.”
My name is Cody Jordan, and I am the father of a 5 ½ year old autistic boy named Harrison. We live in the Midwest with his younger brother (Isaac) and mother (Jolene). If there are a few word that Harrison exemplifies, they are strength, determination, fortitude, sheer will to overcome, and most importantly, love. Harrison truly is a “Child Warrior.”