Posts tagged "Respen-A"

A return to Respen-A

It’s been a couple months since we decided to take Ben off of Respen-A. He’d been on for 4-5 months and while the treatment definitely wasn’t hurting him, we weren’t seeing any dramatic improvements, and we also were eager to try some additional treatments/supplements that seemed to have brought about positive changes in other ASD kids (i.e. GABA, fish oil, DMG, etc.) So, we took Ben off Respen-A.

At first, we didn’t see any negative effects in stopping – maybe he was a bit excitable or “stimmy” in the days immediately following, but that seemed to level out. Fish oil and GABA/Inositol were introduced, with no big/pronounced improvements as a result (unfortunately.) As covered in recent blog posts, we started to notice that Ben’s OCD tendencies seemed to flare up, then settle down, but something that seemed to stay escalated was his propensity for being easily upset – i.e. 0-60 in the blink of an eye. If he was told “no” or told to do something he didn’t want to (or to stop doing something he wanted to), he’d fly off the handle. This was what we brought up to his neurologist, who recommended putting Ben on Prozac. And that Rx still sits on my kitchen counter, a cold reminder of how we’ve apparently reached the end of the road (for now) with regards to what traditional medicine can do for us. Our paths have diverged from what Ben’s specialist thinks is best for him, and I’m not interested in continuing down that road (at least not with him.)

So we tried DMG. Within 2 days, Ben was so hyper/overstimulated/easily upset that we decided to stop. Apparently DMG helps most ASD kids, but can have these type of negative side effects for a small minority of kids. Lucky Ben. Truthfully, it could’ve also been lousy timing – his school year had ended a few weeks back (and the summer always brings a painful loss of routine and schedule, which is a nightmare for any ASD kid and their parents), he’d just got back from a weeklong trip to Santa Cruz with his mother (a fun trip, but again: a break in the regular routine) AND he had just begun summer school (new school, new teachers, no chaos.) In hindsight, clearly a lousy time to try introducing a new supplement. Still, his behavior did seem to settle back down after stopping DMG… and at least the full-on meltdowns dissipated. No more screaming/kicking/crying in his room – I hadn’t seen those outbursts in months, if not years. It’s so easy to forget that this used to be the norm and was so scary when it came back on full-force like it did. I was shattered inside – took such a heavy toll on me… and I can’t imagine what it was like for Ben.

So I started to search for “what next” – B6/magnesium? Super NuThera? Then it dawned on me: instead of lucky Google searches and seeing what shows up as as being the most popular treatment from other parents, I should talk to a professional, someone who works with kids and gives professional opinion on what biomedical approaches we can try. So I’m going to look into that more this summer – it’s expensive (as DAN! doctors – “Defeat Autism Now”/biomedical practitioners – are not traditional doctors, so their fees are not covered by health plans), and it’s inconvenient (in that there are only 3 DAN! doctors in Sacramento, but I’m leaning towards going with one in southern California who seems to be at the top of this field)… but ultimately, if it gives us any help/advice/insight on different approaches we can take with Ben, then it’s all worth it. Even if it doesn’t, I’ll feel good knowing we went down that road and exhausted all avenues, and didn’t rely solely on my Google searches.

Which leads me to Respen-A, and it’s new blended chord formulation (different formula, apparently more effective.) In hindsight, it’s clear that a lot of Ben’s ‘setbacks’ as of late coincide with him going off Respen-A. At the time, we weren’t seeing any huge improvements, but obviously got used to the “normalcy” of Ben’s even-keeled behavior. Seeing how things have been the last few weeks (granted, with school ending, etc.), I think the Respen-A was really helping him maintain that steadiness that he’s now missing. I had read that some parents take a “Respen-A vacation” to see if their kids even notice or react when the Respen-A treatments stop for awhile, and I’d say it’s clear that Ben has been affected by going off. So now he’s going back on – shipment should arrive this Friday, and we’ll get those little patches back on his back and see how he takes to the new formula.

Obviously, I’m hopeful and optimistic, as that’s all a parent can be. It’s not a matter of trying to “fix” Ben, only to help him be as comfortable in his own skin as he can be, and lately he has not been. And that absolutely tears me up inside. So the journey continues, 2 steps forward and 1 step back… but always moving forward.

An update on my beautiful boy

Sadly, it’s becoming all too common that I begin my posts with a “it’s been quite awhile since my last update…” The reasons remain pretty much the same as in the past: on one hand, lots going on with Ben (and when I step away from the blog for a few weeks it’s somewhat overwhelming to think about trying to capture and document it all, which just becomes an endless loop the more time that passes), and also the realization that I don’t feel as compelled to share every single nuance and detail of what’s going on with Ben these days. There’s middle-ground, however, and that’s what I’ll try to focus on with this post. Where to begin…

In general
Bennie’s been doing great these past few weeks: happy happy happy, finished out his school year strong and with more awards for citizenship (which means others recognize just what a sweet, warm-hearted boy he truly is), and starting summer school starting next week. Usually that’s a recipe for disaster, as typically summer school is staffed by student teachers, with little organization and lots of chaos (recipe for disaster for ASD kids who need structure and routine in their days.) However, thankfully, Ben’s regular year teacher will be taking the reigns on Ben’s summer school class this year, which will be fantastic.

Ben also just “graduated” out of his ABA (applied behavior analysis) therapy. For the past few years – actually, pretty much since we moved to California – Ben’s been fortunate enough to receive in-home ABA therapy 4 days a week (provided by the excellent staff @ Learning Solutions and funded by ALTA.) Ben’s come so far over the years thanks to this intensive therapy – it’s amazing to think where they started (teaching him how to properly hold & use scissors and button his shirts) and now where he’s ended up (engaging in back-and-forth conversations, problem solving skills, reading and answering questions about what he just read, etc.) It’s also a bit scary, as not only has the therapy helped him every single day, but (frankly) it’s also been a regularly scheduled block of time 4 days a week that Ben could count on and we knew would fill his time. Now that it’s over, we’re going to have to fill the time and find new ways to engage Ben and keep his development moving forward. Thankfully, he will still continue his weekly “group play” group sessions @ Learning Solutions once a week.

OCD
While Ben’s overall mood continues to remain pretty much in check – i.e. he rarely gets upset and irate and flips out anymore (something that seems like a distant memory, but really was just a few months ago that he could absolutely fall to pieces and take up to an hour to regroup.) However, the OCD and perseverance remains – not too extreme, but noticeable, especially as his emotional outbursts subsided and these OCD tendencies (previously lurking more in the background, but overshadowed by the outbursts) were now able to come to the forefront.

Bennie had his quarterly doctor’s appointment with this ASD specialist/neurologist in late May, and we took these concerns to his doctor to get in his input. Almost immediately, he recommended putting Ben on Prozac. That was like a punch in the gut for me, as it seemed like a sledgehammer approach. I don’t doubt for a second that his doctor is knowledgeable and only has Ben’s best interests at heart, but given my concerns with the amount of pharmaceuticals already pumping through Ben’s body, and truthfully I went into this appointment thinking we could hopefully cut back the amount of meds he was taking… so adding a jackhammer like Prozac into the mix just knocked me back on my ass and sent my brain spinning. We talked it through with the doctor, took the time to understand his point of view and appreciated how he addressed the fact that any chances of negative side effects were dramatically outweighed by the likelihood of positive effects. Even still, I walked out of there in a daze… but confidently knowing that we were not going to get that prescription filled anytime soon.

New treatments
Instead, we decided to try some other treatments that I’d read had been effective in helping kids with OCD, ADHD and/or anxiety control their impulses (not to mention hearing from friends who had seen positive effects in their kids dealing with similar issues.) We finished up Ben’s last package of Respen-A, deciding to stop that treatment (as we hadn’t seen any dramatic positive results from it, unfortunately), take a week off, and then begin introducing GABA+Inositol capsules into his daily intake of horse pills (geez the kid takes a lot of pills, but does so like a champ.) Here’s a quick overview:

GABA is a neurotransmitter in the brain, thus it is an essential substance that supports proper brain function. GABA is naturally produced in the body from glutamic acid with the help of vitamin B6. Glutamic acid is an amino acid that helps decrease the activity of brain cells. GABA also works in synergy with other nutrients such as niacine and inositol to reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety. Some anti-anxiety drugs such as benzodiazepines stimulate GABA receptors, thus delivering the same relaxing and calming effect as a GABA supplement.

Basically, my thinking was it can’t hurt to try this first… see if Ben realizes any positive results… and if not, then consider going down the stronger (pharmaceutical) route. So we started him on a formulation called GABA Plus, which combines GABA with Inositol.

The first week, we didn’t really notice any big difference (and truthfully were wondering if we were perhaps seeing a slight regression due to taking him off Respen-A), but by the 2nd week (and slightly upping the dosage), the subtle-but-visible indicators started to appear. Yes, he still perseverated on toilets – going any place new in public immediately resulted/results in him asking if he can go to the restroom – but that’s kind of always been the case, and while it’s difficult to put a longer-term view on things (so hard to remember a month ago, let alone a year ago), summers are always tough for Ben, as school is out, routine is busted, and now ABA is done and his daily reality is changing… which is always when his toilet fixations ramp up. Anyway, the toilet fixation remains, but the stronger OCD tendencies we’d been seeing as of late – always hugging 3 times, aligning the kitchen chairs just so, getting upset if I didn’t throw a ball to him 8 times (and he caught it every time), etc. – appear to be vastly dissipated, if not gone entirely.

I can’t say for sure that these positive changes were solely the result of introducing GABA+Inositol into his body, but sure as hell it hasn’t hurt and the timing seems to suggest it’s helping. He’s still happy, he still sleeps like a rock, he’s more social and communicative than ever before, so it seems we may have a good mix of medicines, treatments and therapies on the go right now. The last thing I want to do is rock the boat, and that prescription for Prozac looms large in the background: a last resort, but also something I’m desperate to avoid if at all possible. I will say that if it/when it comes time to try, I will be positive about it – if it helps Ben, no one will be happier than me. Just right now, with other non-medical, non-pharmaceutical options available, I want to try those first before taking the big step into big meds. I also have purchased a literal library of books from Amazon over the past couple months, and now it’s long overdue that I dive in once more to absorb and learn all I can on new ways to help my beautiful boy.

So here’s to the summer – play dates with classmates, fun summer school, swimming in the backyard pool, trip up to visit Grandma, Auntie & cousin in Canada, and many more good things. Ben is still the happiest, most beautiful boy in the world and every day I look for ways to make his life that much better, easier, more rewarding for him. He makes me smile every single day. Every. Single. Day. I treasure him more than words can say.

A long-overdue update…

It’s been some time since I last posted to the blog, and not for lack of desire to do so. Truthfully, I found that I needed to pull back a bit from my immersion into all things Autism-related, as it was becoming all-encompassing for me, both mentally but also emotionally – i.e. I would get so excited about this article, or this possible treatment, or this something to try, and then would find myself getting worn down when I saw Ben was having a bad day, or the positive changes I’m so desperate to help him realize weren’t revealing themselves quickly enough (a relative term, I admit.)

That being said, my quest continues and my commitment is unwavering – I just need to learn to do a better job tempering my excitement, expectations, hopes and emotions as they relate to working with and for Bennie to improve all things in his life.

So, here’s what’s been going on (commence braindump):

Respen-A: Ben’s now been on Respen-A for several weeks and while he hasn’t experienced any negative side effects from the treatment, admittedly we’re also not seeing any dramatic improvements. In the first couple weeks, I could swear I noticed more complicated speech and questions from Ben (i.e. “Where did you buy it from?”), but (full disclosure) his ABA therapists had been focusing on “W” questions around the same time, so it’d be tough to credit that solely to Respen-A. Still – it hasn’t been hurting him any, and the FAQs associated with Respen-A do state that some kids can take several weeks for the positive improvements to surface… and other parents do a “vacation” from Respen-A for a few days (i.e. take a weekend off) to help gauge the positive effects of teh treatment (by removing it and seeing what, if any, repercussions there are as a result.) So we’ll likely try that soon, just to see.

Also worth noting is that the doctor who created Respen-A has come up with a new formula for it that they’re seeing some positive early results from:

We currently are working on a new formulation of the Respen-A to try and increase the effectiveness we have seen thus far. The new formulation is called 4X12C at this point (nothing of importance to you, but this is how you will hear it referred to during the trial). A few parents of long term Respen-A users have tried this new formulation and tested it in their children, and up to date, they are seeing much better results than with the original formulation of Respen-A.

So we’re likely to try that and see if we notice any positive improvements/results.

FOS: In all my reading online, I read about how it’s typical for some ASD kids to have “gut issues” – that is, build up of bad bacteria and/or yeast in their stomachs, which can leak into their bloodstream and affect their personalities/brains (“leaky gut syndrome.”) I’ve seen first-hand how Bennie can react within minutes to eating something and then get incredibly hyper and/or stimmy (giggling uncontrollably, hyper, bouncing around), so this seemed to resonate with him. As a result, we’ve put him on a daily dose of prebiotic FOS (fructooligosaccharides):

FOS: a Supernutrient Documented to Rebuild Intestinal Flora, improve mineral absorption, and more
• A naturally sweet, indigestible fiber derived from chicory roots, FOS (fructooligosaccharides) are one of the best-documented, natural nutrients for promoting the growth of Lactobacilli and bifidobacteria bacteria, a key to sound health
• Minimal impact on blood sugar levels
• Increases populations of beneficial bifidobacteria in the colon
• Reduces populations of harmful bacteria, such as Clostridium perfringens
• Improves calcium and magnesium absorption
• Improves liver function

Thus far, no negative side effects as a result, and it’s just 2 more (large) pills (poor) Ben has to wolf down in the morning (kid takes 10 pills every morning – wow.)

Strict GFCFSF diet: Probably the biggest, and most positive change, we’ve made when it comes to Ben these past few weeks is a much stricter adherence to a gluten/casein/soy-free diet (especially cutting out the soy.) Now that I’m reading the ingredients label of every single thing he eats (wow it’s amazing how many things you can find soy in), the frequent rashes and/or intolerance-triggered outbursts have basically been reduced to zero. There’s still so many yummy, healthy foods he can enjoy and, in fact, the menu choices have expanded dramatically now that I’m shopping at places like Gluten Free Specialty, Whole Foods and Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op – Ben’s now enjoying homemade pizza, tasty chicken or beef tacos, even friend chicken (and soon: perogies!) and he’s loving it. The kid can eat (I don’t know how he stays so skinny, but I’m envious, I’ll say that much.) Ultimately, it’s just great to see that we’ve managed to cut out the negative reactions associated with the food he’d previously been eating (SOY), and to see him enjoy so many tasty dishes.

Therapies: In the question to seek out whatever additional help there might be, we started to go with Ben to a therapist who supposedly specialized in kid and ASD/ADHD-related issues. She meant well, and I’ll definitely credit our (few) sessions with some eye-opening insights (mostly due to Ben’s mother & I talking about how we handle/do things differently at our respective houses so we could standardize to provide a more level norm for Bennie), but after just 3 or 4 sessions it became clear that this really wasn’t going to be all that helpful for us – and especially Ben – so we moved on.

We then visited with a child psychologist (also specializing in ASD/ADHS issues), but after he spent a 1/2 hour 1-on-1 with Ben, he regrettably informed us that due to Ben’s limited abilities to communicate (either expressing or understanding), he really couldn’t help “crack through” to Ben and help work through issues with him.

But the search continues – we’ll find someone.

Allergist: long (long) overdue, but Ben was finally tested for the full suite of allergies. (I would love to regale you all with how epically BAD the allergy testing went and how it took me + 3 other people to hold Ben down as he screamed while getting blood drawn, but truthfully I’d rather just forget about the whole awful experience.) Turns out Ben has a mild allergy to eggs. That’s it. Nothing else. On one hand, I wasn’t surprised, but on the other hand, what about gluten? Soy? Milk? The allergist explained that just because he doesn’t have a physical allergy to these things, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t have an intolerance to them (see “leaky gut” above) – so: we remain on the strict GFCFSF diet. But good to know he won’t be going into anaphylactic shock anytime soon.

Doctor: we had our quarterly session with Ben’s specialist (a neurologist focusing on ASD kids) a couple weeks back and he could see that Ben was doing “better” compared to our last visit. He suggested not changing anything (treatment or prescription-wise) for the next 3 months, to give his brain & body a chance to level out and process the recent changes in treatments. I realized then – and in light of the many things we’ve tried/changed in Ben’s treatments these past couple months – how much his initially being on Risperidone helped him overcome his stimmy and obsessive behaviors… but the side effects of up’ing those meds are just too damn scary to risk (in our minds)… so the hunt continues.

OCD: the one area that really hasn’t improved, and has stayed regrettably regressed, is Ben’s uncontrollable obsession with public restrooms (flushing toilets and running water in sinks) and the stimmy repetition of songs, tv show songs & dialogue, etc. These were all things that were really pulled into check when he first went onto Risperione, but now that his body has built up a tolerance to his current dosage, they’ve come back full force. And it’s really hard – formerly “safe” places like our weekend forays to Sky Zone or Target have now ended with me literally carrying a screaming, crying, kicking kid out while he wails for the bathroom and passerbys pass judgment with their searing glances (just say 1 thing to me, I dare you.)

We’ve talked about this with Ben’s ABA lead therapists, who’ve suggested going back to doing social stories every time we go out anywhere, even if it’s to normally “safe” places:

Social Stories are a tool for teaching social skills to children with autism and related disabilities. Social stories provide an individual with accurate information about those situations that he may find difficult or confusing. The situation is described in detail and focus is given to a few key points: the important social cues, the events and reactions the individual might expect to occur in the situation, the actions and reactions that might be expected of him, and why. The goal of the story is to increase the individual’s understanding of, make him more comfortable in, and possibly suggest some appropriate responses for the situation in question.

As well, I’ve noticed some (hopefully positive) responses in Ben when I tell him “no more bathroom talk” when he brings up restrooms in conversation – this seems to register with him, and while he may not stop entirely, he pauses for thought, acknowledging the request, so that’s something. I’ll take whatever little, tiny wins I can get.

Super Proud Daddy Day:
the most positive thing I have to share is March 10th, 2011 – on that day, Ben did me proud in 3 separate ways:

  1. He had to do a school project “all about Ben” and in the portion where he had to write down what he wanted to be when he grew up, he wrote “Daddy.” Wow.
  2. At his school assembly, Ben was presented with an award for “Citizenship & Character” (the only one in his class who received the award) – you should have seen the smile on his face when he stood in front of the assembly to receive his award!
  3. Unexpectedly, I received an IM from Ben’s mom mid-afternoon, which began with “Hi Daddy – it’s Ben.” I then proceeded to have an instant messaging conversation with Bennie with him doing the typing! (obviously with his mother’s help, but his answers & his typing!) I was astounded. And beaming.

So there’s an update over the past couple weeks – lots going on, lots of positives, but many miles yet to go. Still – it’s about the inches won, not the game, and step by step we’re getting there. He is, and remains, the happiest and most loving kid on the planet, and I am the luckiest father as a result.

My son the cheater

Tonight was an exceptionally great night with Bennie… With he & his brother having been at his mom’s since Friday, I was very excited to go pick them up after work and bring them back to my house. As is the norm, Ben was a bit angsty when I picked him up (transitioning is not so easy for him, plus I like to think the emotional excitement of seeing me and coming back to my place is a bit overwhelming for his senses) so he’s usually a bit loud on the drive back.

Once we got back to my house and the boys gave my fiance their big hugs and settled in for dinner, I was captivated by Bennie… He’s always a great eater, and loved the tasty GFCFSF beef veggie stew we made for the boys in the slow cooker, but the usual hyperactivity or giddiness that typically accompanies mealtime wasn’t present tonight. He wolfed his food down (per usual), but was quiet and happy while doing so. When he received his usual prompts to “eat slowly” (geez that kid can eat), he didn’t bark back as he normally does, but listened… and ate slower. He was also tickled pink to get to drink some new chocolate almond milk (2 glasses worth!)

Once dinner was done, I was so excited to surprise him with the special treat I had found for him: hemp vanilla ice cream! I’d tried every variety of non-milk ice cream I could find – rice, soy, tofu, coconut – but each would cause either physical reactions in him (rashes) or lead to emotional outbursts. I’d read about “Tempt,” a hemp-based ice cream, and knew that he had seemed to enjoy hemp milk in the past, but hadn’t been able to find this product at any of my usual shopping haunts. However, I was recently able to pick some up at Whole Foods and I was very excited to get to let Bennie try yet another type of his favorite snack food. (You wouldn’t believe how rough it is to not be able to let your kid eat ice cream – every kid should get to enjoy that simple pleasure…)

His eyes lit up, he raced over to the table with his bowl with eager anticipation, and he devoured it. Then the attentive wait began… Rash? Hyper? Screaming? I am so overjoyed to say that none of those typical symptoms appeared – the Holy Grail of GFCFSF had been found!!

Even better (icing on the proverbial cake): we also noticed that he was more communicative tonight than usual, asking questions and putting longer sentences together. For example, when I showed him the ice cream, he asked me where I got it from. Read that again: he asked me where I got it from. Could this be the (positive) effects of Respen-A (which he’s been on for 10 days now?) I hesitate to get too excited or read too much into it just yet, but it was a very positive observation nonetheless.

We then took the boys to play in the playroom, with Bennie and I playing “Headbands,” a fun thinking game I got him for Christmas in which the players put a plastic headband on their head and place a picture card in it (without looking at the image) and then ask for and respond to clues from the other players. It’s been fascinating to watch Ben’s mind work as we feed him clues and help him guess “who am I?” and then how he tries to do the same for other players. He was on fire tonight, banging out correct answers to his cards, but my proudest moment came when he wasn’t sure what card he had on his head, but had the presence of mind to lean back and look at his reflection in the glass cabinet door beside him. That amazing little bugger cheated! I cannot express how proud I was in that moment – he had the realization that he could see what the card was and then use that (cheating) edge to correctly say what card he had in his headband. I wish someone could have taken a picture of my face at that very moment – it was a mix of excitement, glee, pride and sheer exuberance.

We then went and tackled his homework – 1 sheet of simple math addition problems and 1 sheet of reading comprehension. He nailed both – more calm and focused than I think I’ve ever seen him while doing homework (no frustration or anxiety whatsoever.) I swear he was more thoughtful and engaged than usual, especially with the reading comprehension, which is never easy for him, as he can read pretty much anything, but doesn’t usually retain the knowledge of what he read… but tonight seemed different. Tonight he was able to correctly understand and assign different names under the categories of “people, pets or places.” I was proud, and amazed.

Finally, we finished the night by bouncing a plastic ball of the wall back and forth, with him knocking it out of the air and/or kicking it (usually straight at my head), and one time he even motioned for me to cover up and protect my face before he kicked the ball at about 100 miles an hour at me. Again: another indicator of Respen-A helping his brain be more cognitive? Perhaps, but another exciting observation either way.

What a fantastic, amazing evening on all levels. A happy, beautiful kid got to enjoy some tasty kid treats (chocolate milk & ice cream!), had fun (and cheated!) at a game, hit a homerun with homework, and did not display any of the too-typical outbursts of emotion we typically have to tip-toe around in an effort to avoid.

Tonight was great, truly great. Here’s to working towards a repeat tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that. I’m not so deluded to expect that this will be the norm every night, but tonight proved that his anxiety and irritability are not constants, but rather seem to be reactions… So continued attentiveness to both his diet and our interactions with him can only help to make tonight more the norm.

And that is ridiculously exciting.

Respen-A: a new treatment (and hope)

Medical, Treatments

January 29, 2011

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In my recent forays into scouring the web for information on new (or, really, any & all) approaches for ASD, I stumbled across a new treatment that’s been introduced in the last couple years: Respen-A. Here’s a solid overview pulled from the news release (click here to read the full text)

Respen-AA new, homeopathic treatment for autism, Respen-A, improves symptoms of autism associated with communication, speech, emotion and bonding, according to the researcher who created Respen-A, Elaine DeLack, RN. Unlike theories that center on negative reaction to vaccinations, DeLack considered data regarding exposure to a commonly used drug used during delivery in combination with brain enzymes that affect infants’ brain at birth, and again in early childhood.

DeLack’s hypothesis (which can be viewed in slide show format at www.Respen-A.com, connects children with autism to the mother’s use of epidurals during childbirth. Epidurals were introduced into this country in the 1960’s. By the mid-80’s, 22 percent of women received an epidural during delivery. In the mid-90’s, the number grew to 67%. Today, nearly 90% of women receive an epidural during pregnancy.

DeLack contends that the development of autism is not due to the actual epidural procedure, but rather the effect of a “cocktail” of drugs used throughout the procedure, including one drug commonly used in conjunction with the epidural to induce labor: Pitocin. In combination, the drugs have the potential of skewing the brain if the infant is unable genetically to process the drugs quickly through their system.

Pitocin crosses the placenta to the infant’s system during childbirth. The drug requires adequate production of an enzyme found in the liver (CYP 3A4) in order to rid it from the body. If the infant has a genetic inadequacy of the CYP 3A4 enzyme (found more often to be lacking statistically in boys than girls), the drug’s intensity elevates in the infant’s system, builds with another naturally occurring neurotransmitter that plays a key role in very early brain development: the hormone Ocytocin.

Ocytocin builds naturally in the brain during the first 7 – 10 days of life, ensuring that nerve patterning develops as it should in the brain. Once Oxytocin levels reach a naturally predetermined level, the development of the brain’s nerve system (HNS system) ceases.

DeLack theorizes that the addition of Pitocin and epidural-related drugs into the bloodstream of infants without adequate CYP 3A4 genetic enzymes, causes brain development to “shut off” early, stunting crucial neuro-development.

A second enzyme may explain why autism shows up in many children around the age of three or so. The enzyme MAO-A is essential in regulating serotonin levels in the brain. Unaffected by the drugs used in childbirth, MAO-A levels remain high in the first years of life, assisting brain function. The impact of MAO-A may, in fact, cover symptoms of brain impairment in infants and toddlers.

MAO-A levels diminish as the child ages – allowing serotonin levels to rise, impacting the areas of the brain associated with communication, speech, emotion and bonding. Many parents of autistic children don’t realize their child has been affected until their child shows issues with speech, communication, and bonding.

Respen-A curbs the level of serotonin in the autistic brain, allowing for more normalized function. Respen-A is being prescribed by physicians – and many parents are seeing dramatic improvement. If further study upholds the theory, birthing procedures could change. “We see promise in all of this,” DeLack says. “Further study will determine if simple modification during childbirth could be all that is needed to stem the surging tide of autism,” states DeLack. And for those who have autism?

“Respen-A could give them a quality of life that they – and their parents – deserve.” Respen-A is administered via a topical disk. A prescription is needed, and a daily calcium supplement is also required.

I was, and remain, very excited by the potential this new treatment offers, as DeLack’s theory really struck a chord with me. Ben’s birth was a difficult one, with his mother being induced (with heavy, heavy doses of Pitocin) and also received an eipdural as well. It’s not so much that I’m globbing onto this because I need to know the “how” or the “why” Ben ended up on the Autism spectrum, but more so the logic behind this theory just seems to resonate with me and (obviously) hits close to home.

The fact that Respen-A is (essentially) a homepathic treatment is also a plus – I’ve always struggled with the fact that Ben’s been prescribed a series of heavy pharmaceutical in our efforts to help him. I have never considered his ASD to be only an issue with his brain, not to mention the unknown long-term side effects of heavy meds on his still-developing brain) Respen-A offers a new approach that appears to address the key challenges Ben is facing right now: focus, socialization, and irritability.

Ben’s doctor had not heard about Respen-A before, but after reading through the materials I provided him, he agreed that this treatment will not harm Ben in anyway, so he is open to prescribing it so long as we keep him informed as to Ben’s progress, as well as having a plan for how much time we intend to “try” the Respen-A for (before deeming it helpful or not)… which is a totally reasonable request.

While Respen-A (by all accounts) is “safe,” there are some key things parents need to be aware of, the most notable being that kids taking the treatment must ensure they also take significant amounts of calcium carbonate to ensure they don’t become calcium depleted. (Thankfully, the pharmacy that is filling Ben’s prescription also includes a specially-compounded mixture specifically for Respen-A kids.) As well, the best success has been seen with kids who limit the amount of certain types of vitamins and supplements they’re taking, which is very good and timely to know as I embark on my immersion into all types of helpful approaches to dealing with ASD. All of this, and more, is explained in great detail in the Frequently Asked Questions section of the Respen-A web site.

So, with much hope and excitement, our first batch of Respen-A was delivered to us yesterday, and Ben will begin treatment within the hour. Again: I’m not looking for that one magical solution to Ben’s challenges, but I admit to being very hopeful that this exciting new treatment could bring some of the positive results so many other ASD kids have been fortunate enough to experience.

Also worth noting: Elaine DeLack, the creator of Respen-A, has been incredibly helpful and responsive with my many (many) questions about Respen-A and the potential conflicts with other medications, vitamins and supplements. She’s clearly someone who cares.