A few weeks ago a woman phoned me who found my contact information on Dr. Campbell-McBride’s website under “Find A GAPS Practitioner”. The urgent call was placed on the very day the information was first published, as she had been anxiously monitoring the site, awaiting the appearance of the list of newly trained GAPS practitioners in her area. She was calling for help with her son Ganesh, age 6.5, who had been diagnosed at the age of 18 months with autism.
This call qualified in mind as my first official GAPS patient. I follow the GAPS protocol myself to address my own health conditions, and have prescribed the protocol with good results to a handful of adults in my psychiatry practice who are suffering from depression and anxiety. These patients also see me for regular psychotherapy, which somewhat confounds the picture in terms of assessing treatment efficacy of GAPS. This referral was very different. It involved a severely autistic child, and the treatment would be the GAPS protocol, and no psychotherapy. (If you do not know what GAPS is, please read my post from October 8, 2011)
After I met with the family and the patient a few days ago, I felt great excitement about the possibility of providing desperately needed assistance to this child and his parents. They had sought every possible type of help for him from nationally known autism experts in the past, assiduously followed recommendations to the best of their ability, but Ganesh was still completely non-verbal, constantly self-stimulating and locked in his own world. His case was absolutely classic as far as I could tell.
In my child psychiatry training in the early 90’s I had been taught that Ganesh was exactly the sort of patient for whom there was no effective treatment available. His parents would need to face the fact, that there was no hope that their son would grow up to become a well functioning independent adult. Yet in the GAPS practitioner training in early October, Dr. Campbell-McBride promised, that with the GAPS healing protocol, as well as behavioral interventions, that there was indeed hope, and that an austistic child like this could heal and become healthy again. She had, in fact, developed this healing protocol to treat her own son’s autistic disorder, and he was now fully recovered.
It is to be noted that the younger a patient is when he/she is placed on the GAPS protocol, the better the potential outcome. The longer a child’s brain is bathed in toxic substances, and the longer he is deprived of normal cognitive and emotional development by the fog shrouding his brain, the less possibility there is of full recovery.
I thought that it would be interesting and potentially useful to many people, to chronicle my journey with this family, and to write a series of posts about Ganesh and his treatment. We will together explore the possibility of helping a child like this with GAPS, and to see how he responds to the protocol. I called Ganesh’s mother this morning, and she generously agreed to allow me to write about this, with the hope that it may be of help to others. I plan to write these posts intermittently, as the work with Ganesh unfolds, and as there are changes (or not) in his condition.
Ganesh’s parents are from India and have been in this country for many years. Both are extremely devoted, resourceful and loving parents. At the time of the first consultation Ganesh was completely non-verbal. His repetitive self stimulating behaviors, both verbal and physical stereotypies, were reportedly so engaging to him, that he paid little attention to anything else. He is described as a very affectionate, happy go lucky, “huggy” child.
Whenever Ganesh eats, his stomach bloats hugely. Endoscopy revealed that the entire span of his GI tract was inflamed and hyperplastic from top to bottom. He used to have terrible rashes on the inside of his elbow, back of his neck and behind his ears, but since prescription of Pentasa, an aspirin like anti-inflammatory drug, often used to treat inflammatory bowel disease, they have resolved. The rashes used to be so severe that the skin on his inner elbow would bleed. He also used to have terrible constipation, but since prescription of Oxy-Powder a magnesium, germanium citrate bowel cleansing preparation, he has more regular bowel movements. His mother described that Oxy-Powder made a huge difference. Previously when constipated, he suffered from terrible abdominal pain and severe agitation. After an Oxy-Powder facilitated bowel movement, he would become calm and like a different child. His parents describe that it is possible to assess Ganesh’s state by three measures, his bowel movements, his skin rashes and his behavior.
Ganesh is in an inclusion classroom in the first grade of a public school. His parents report that he is fully accepted at the school by the teachers and children. The kids wait for him at the bus stop and he is treated with warmth and kindness. There is a wonderful sense of belonging in his school community, though they describe that Ganesh has no idea what is going on. They contrasted this with what they might expect if he were in school in India. His parents believed that in India it is likely that he would be made fun of by other children. On the other hand, in India they would have an extensive extended family network, where as here they are just a nuclear family, with no other relatives locally. Father stated that in India most people have never seen an autistic child, and it is poorly understood. When they described what was going on with Ganesh, their families in India thought they were being “paranoid”. In India, there is an expectation that you bring a child into the world and they just grow and develop naturally and normally; no need for all of this concern and intervention.
Ganesh receives, physical, speech and occupational therapy at school. Home based services are also provided where the focus is on living skills. He can get dressed with adult prompts, can go to the bathroom independently but needs help wiping, and can eat independently. Food is one of his principle pleasures. Interestingly, his mother, receently having learned a bit about GAPS, decided that she should remove rice from his diet to decrease his carbohydrate load. Since that time he has been mouthing things, something he never did before. Previously his diet consisted of rice, vegetables, lentils, beans and chappatis. Recently Mother has begun to give him scrambled eggs and bread for breakfast.
Ganesh was the product of a normal pregnancy and delivery. Both of his parents were in good health, however mother suffered from constipation. At 7 days of age he developed a severe urinary tract infection, was hospitalized for four days and given a course of broad spectrum antibiotics, Gentamycin and Ampicillin. Antibiotic prescription imbalances the gut microflora and is a frequently found factor in the history of children with GAPS conditions. Ganesh recovered and was the fastest developing child in the neighborhood, He was breast fed for 6 months, and all the developmental milestones were on target and even advanced. He had a big vocabulary, called his parents by name, liked to watch the TV and recognized Elmo who he referred to as MO, pointed to the meditation corner and said OM, and even had some bilingual communication on the phone with family in India.
Ganesh has an older brother, Mir, who is now 8. He carries a diagnosis of PDD NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified). Before Ganesh regressed his father thought that when Ganesh grew up he would be able to take care of his brother. Today his brother is doing so well that the pediatrician is considering changing his diagnosis to Aspergers, (a diagnosis denoting higher functioning than PDD) and Ganesh is the one who is severely disabled.
At 15 months he received the MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine, and within 2 weeks he completely regressed. He lost all his speech and retreated into his own world. Father said, “We lost him.” He developed rashes and allergies to milk. This story from families of children with autism is all too familiar. Dr Campbell-McBride addressed it at the GAPS Practitioner training. She said its not that the vaccine “causes” autism, but that it tips a vulnerable child over the edge, its the final straw.
If you think about it physiologically, in nature a human being would never be simultaneously exposed to three different very powerful viruses at the same time. It is too much. She recommends that if there is any sign of immune compromise in the child, that vaccination be delayed, and that in any case, that they should be administered separately with three months interval between each of them. In our health care system there is no individual consideration in terms of vaccination schedule. It is done at prescribed ages, no matter what the health of the patient.
It is very sadly the case that large amounts of money is made by the pharmaceutical companies and the health care industry by prescribing vaccinations for everyone. I just saw a big colorful placard this morning in front of Walgreen’s featuring a woman flexing her bare bicep with a caption that exhorted “Arm Yourself Against the Flu”, advertising flu shots. There are increasing numbers and varieties of vaccinations recommended and mandated. These vaccines are created from genetically modified microorganisms, and the long term impact of these agents on the body is not known. If the organisms were used in their naturally occurring state and not genetically modified, they would not be able to be patented, and no profit could be made. The health policies regarding vaccination are generating wealth for the pharmaceutical companies and the medical industry at the expense of children’s health. That is a shocking and unconscionable reality.
At eighteen months Ganesh began to receive ABA twenty hours per week. (Applied Behavioral Analysis), which is an intensive behavioral treatment for autism. Dr. Campbell-McBride describes it as absolutely essential for rehabilitation of an autistic child. It unfortunately helped Ganesh very little. He was unable to retain the small gains he made. Mother implemented what she thought was a gluten-free casein free diet, though she did not realize that the flour she used to make chapatis contained gluten. As mentioned above, they consulted nationally known autism experts, but thus far the only success they have had is in treating the rash and improving his bowel function. Ganesh’s mother is a fan of osteopathic physician, Dr. Joseph Mercola, who recently featured Dr. Campbell-McBride’s work with GAPS on his website. When Mother heard about GAPS, she thought that it might be a treatment that could help Ganesh, which led to her contacting me.
Dr. Campbell-McBride recommends that a health history be obtained on every family member. It revealed that both Ganesh’s mother and brother suffer from constipation.
I met with Ganesh’s parents in order to obtain the history, while Ganesh and his brother played with their babysitter in the car. Ganesh then came in for a brief examination. He is an adorable handsome boy who looked distracted and was wiggling his fingers in front of his face. He could not follow any verbal directives only physical prompts. His parents monitored him closely so that he did not break anything in the office. His mother showed me the area on his arm where the skin was darkly discolored from previous episodes of rashes. His abdomen was not distended. He made some vocalizations and was able to wave goodbye.
Next week I will write a formulation of my understanding about factors which predisposed Ganesh to develop autism and which will apply to other individuals with GAPS conditions. I will also include treatment recommendations for Ganesh. Further posts will elaborate topics raised by the treatment recommendations such as detoxification measures such as juicing, enemas and baths.
Part of Real Food Wednesday blog carnival