Leo’s mom was given a diagnosis, but not much hope. Her 2-year old son had autism, plus a host of health challenges she was told he would have his entire life. Through an integrative treatment approach, she completely reversed her son's autism and other chronic health conditions. He is now a healthy, happy, thriving teenager.
Leo was diagnosed with autism at two years old by the physicians and researchers at the Yale University Child Study Center. Although it took two years for Leo to get a formal diagnosis, his mother knew very early on that something with her baby boy just wasn’t right.
After a healthy and normal pregnancy, Ashley delivered Leo via c-section. Leo was healthy at birth, with normal APGAR scores and all the signs of being a thriving baby.
Something Was “Off”
The first signs of something being “off” with Leo around two months of age; Leo would tremor slightly after nursing.
Leo's parents took him to see a neurologist at the prestigious Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City, where they were told that the tremors were probably nothing and not to be concerned.
Around four months of age, Leo developed severe separation anxiety. ”My instinct told me that this was not normal,” his mother recounts, ”it was so severe that it just seemed ‘off’ to me.”
Despite these early signs, Leo met all of his major development milestones during his first year of life. He rolled over, sat up, crawled and walked ”all on time,” so Leo’s pediatrician did not seem to be concerned that Leo had little to no real verbalization, no babbling or other signs of pre-language.
His mother began to suspect that Leo might have autism after he reached a plateau in development during his second year of life.
Between his first and second year, Leo began to show more signs of autism. He began “stimming” on the wheels of vehicles (obsessively fixating on wheels), he was not developing any speech, and he seemed to be in a “fog” all the time.
At 24 months old, Yale confirmed that, indeed, Leo had autism. He had many of the most common characteristics of autism: stimming behavior, social and communication impairments, sensory integration disorder, perseverance (obsessive behaviors), low frustration point, and he was physically unwell.
Healing work begins
With the new diagnosis in hand, Leo's mother followed the advice of other mothers of children with autism and began Leo on a gluten-free/casein free diet (GF/CF).
After only one week with no dairy or wheat, Leo began to talk. He went from no words to many two-word sentences, and his mother describes it as if a “fog lifted.” But there was still much healing work to be done.
Leo had many food and environmental allergies, chronic diarrhea, and asthma. Under the advice of his integrative doctors Leo started a more healthful diet emphasizing organic whole foods and removing allergenic foods that caused inflammation in his body.
”His eyes, his skin tone, his face looked great," Leo's mother recalled.
In addition to diet changes and support from an integrative physician, Leo did ABA, worked with a homotoxicologist and used an allergy elimination technique.
Autism recovery before kindergarten
Before Leo started kindergarten, he officially lost his autism diagnosis. He entered kindergarten without any services or support, and no one, not even his teachers, knew that he was once diagnosed with autism. He was re-evaluated by Yale researchers who determined that he no longer met any of the diagnostic criteria for autism.
Today, Leo is a completely “normal” and typical teenager. He is very social, friendly, and outgoing. He plays baseball, is a good student, and is popular in school.
To read more about Leo's journey, click here.
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Speech Delay
- 80 food allergies and sensitivities
- 15 environmental allergies and sensitivities
- Sensory integration disorder
What Leo Was Like:
At the time of his first appointment with the integrative physician, Leo was struggling with the following: phobias, anxiety, auditory and sensory processing problems, chronic diarrhea, no speech, did not play with other children, hand weakness, low muscle tone, sensitivity to sounds, smell, lights and clothing textures, stimming, poor coordination, fatigue, difficulty falling asleep, and tics.
Leo officially lost his autism diagnosis at 5 1/2. He entered kindergarten without any services or support, and no one, not even his teachers, knew that he was once diagnosed with autism. Yale specialists determined that he no longer met any of the diagnostic criteria for autism. Today he is a happy, healthy, typical teenager.