I keep several toys in my consulting room. By far the most popular is the box of Duplo Lego. In terms of euro per play, it has probably given the best value of anything I’ve ever bought, ever.
Last year, during a follow-up consultation, I watched a 6-year-old boy assemble the Lego pieces to make buildings, placing them on either side of an imaginary street. He pushed some cars up and down the Lego street and made appropriate car noises. No big deal about that, you might say. Every kid does that!
Maybe it’s news to you that not every kid does that. Not every kid plays with toys.
As I observed Austin playing constructively with the Lego, I felt happy that he had made a developmental jump since the last time I saw him. I took it as evidence that the course of remedies I had given him 6 weeks earlier was suiting him well.
Austin and his parents first came to see me when he was just four years old and in the process of assessment for a diagnosis of autism. They were hoping homeopathy could help in the following areas:
Comprehension and Learning
Austin’s parents described how he was non-speaking and had a lot of difficulty with comprehension and communication. If he wanted something that he wasn’t allowed to have, he would get very angry because he couldn’t understand why he wasn’t allowed. If he woke at night crying, his parents wouldn’t know if he had had a bad dream or a pain; they had to guess what would help him.
Austin easily forgot things that he had learned. In the previous 6 months, he had learned to point when asked “Where’s Ma Ma? Where’s Da Da? Where’s Austin? Where are your eyes / nose / ears?” Since needing an antibiotic one month ago, Austin had forgotten all this. He was now just as likely to point to the wrong person or body part. Now he seemed disinterested or unable to learn. At his recent speech and language assessment, the speech therapist said he was not yet ready for PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System).
Austin was still wearing a nappy during the day and at night. He was not showing readiness for toilet training.
Austin’s mother told me that, while his recent antibiotic had caused him to regress, his worst regression had been between 12 and 18 months, when he had needed several antibiotics.
Fear and Anxiety
Austin was afraid of many things, especially anything new. When he saw other children, he would take his mother’s hand and wanted to run away. He was afraid of new toys and refused to venture into the toy aisle in the supermarket. He was especially afraid of toys with eyes.
When Austin’s mother tried to bring him out of their apartment during the day, he was terrified and lay on the pavement screaming and crying until his mother would be forced to give up and go home again.
Austin’s father said he was easy to mind so long as he was doing what he wanted and could have food.
If you tried to join him in his activity or engage him in a new one, he would get very upset. If he was told he couldn’t have any more snacks, or if he didn’t get what he wanted, he got very angry and would hit the doors and windows, his parents and himself.
Austin appeared very calm during his first consultation. He sat in one place for a long time looking at the patterns made by my light fittings on the ceiling and smiling to himself. He touched and scratched various surfaces in the room such as the fringe on the floor mat and the plastic floor protector under my computer chair. Every few minutes he had something to eat or drink from his snack bag.
First Homeopathic Remedy
The first remedy I prescribed for Austin was a “constitutional” or “totality” remedy to treat the whole person. In choosing this remedy, I placed importance on his symptoms of delayed development, that he had difficulty learning, was fearful in new situations and could be very stubborn.*
*It is important to say that, in classical homeopathy, we have potentially 3,000 different remedies to chose from. Although you might recognise some of Austin’s symptoms in your child, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your child will need the exact same remedy as Austin. A homeopath would have to take a full case before deciding on the best and most suitable remedy for any client. For this reason I’ve reluctantly decided not to name the remedy I gave Austin, although I think it is a mineral remedy that will be easily recognisable to most homeopaths.
First Follow-Up Consultation
Usually a second visit is shorter than the first. This one was actually longer because Austin’s mother had so much to tell me about all the progress he had made and all the new things he was doing.
Happier and Calmer
Austin’s mother described how it was much easier to calm him now if he got upset. You could say no to him now and he wouldn’t have a huge meltdown. He still hit his head when he was frustrated or didn’t understand, but without any force. He wasn’t biting himself anymore.
Improved Comprehension & Communication
Austin’s mother reported that his comprehension was much improved. In the last few weeks, he had been listening better and looking at his mother’s face more.
Now, he could point to certain items (apple, bread) when his mother said the word. His mother had been doing a lot of learning activities with him. If he was interested in the activity, he could now concentrate for half an hour or more.
Austin was making a lot of new sounds and was starting to repeat the first consonant of several words. His mother had tried him again with PECS and he had taken to it well.
No longer Afraid
The biggest change for Austin and his parents was that he was no longer afraid to leave the apartment.
Austin was no longer afraid of other children. In fact, he had started to run up to other children in the supermarket, wanting to hug them. It was a new problem, trying to teach him that this was not appropriate.
Recently they met up with friends who have two children and Austin didn’t cry at all. He was trying to play with the children.
“It’s as if we’re starting normal life”, his mother said. “We can go and visit friends for two or three hours. I can go and have a coffee outside my own kitchen and he’s not crying and we don’t have to come home early. People are telling me that I look different, because before, I was so stressed.”
Austin was still showing no readiness for toilet training. He still wanted his main meal puréed, still refused any new foods and he still wanted snacks regularly all day.
Now that he was taking more notice, Austin had become more rigid about certain things, such as everything being in its proper place in the home. Certain toys belonged in the living room and others had to stay in the bedroom. He wanted the clothes to stay in the washing machine and the vacuum cleaner to stay in the hall. The phone should not be out of its holder, even to make a phone call.
During this first follow-up consultation, Austin was happily and calmly busy with the toys. I noticed that he was much more aware of me and of objects in the room. He was making lovely happy crooning sounds as he lined up the cars around an activity block. He used his PECS to ask for food.
Continuing Homeopathic Treatment
In view of Austin’s marked awareness and engagement, his increasing comprehension, interest in communicating and the big reduction in his fearfulness, I decided to continue with the same constitutional remedy. In addition, I decided to include homeopathic detox as part of his next course of treatment.
Homeopathic Detox Therapy
When Austin’s timeline was set out, there were several potential items for detoxification. According to Ton Jansen’s HDT method, any hormonal medication in the timeline should be cleared before other detoxes. Otherwise, we see unnecessary aggravations, since the suppressive nature of the hormonal medication prevents the other layers from being detoxed.
Homeopathic Detox of Contraceptive Pill
The first detox I gave was for the contraceptive pill which Austin’s mother had taken in the early weeks of pregnancy, not realising she was pregnant.
Second Follow-Up Visit
During the early part of Austin’s contraceptive pill detox, he got a rash on his leg for half a day. As he moved to higher potencies, he was restless, easily angered and inclined to throw his toys around for part of the detox day. His behaviour would be back to normal the next day.
Progress in All Areas
Austin was doing very well. He had started with a home tutor and she was delighted with his ability to learn. He was making 3 word sentences with PECS; he enjoyed looking at a book of letters and pictures and was able to make the sound when he saw the letter. He was spontaneously copying his mother and pretend-feeding toy animals and making the appropriate animal noises.
Austin was showing a new independence, taking off his own shoes and clothes and wanting to do things on his own.
Recently he had put his mother’s hand on his nappy when he was urinating. This was the first time he had shown any awareness of this. He had begun to wake at night when his nappy was wet and leaking. Before, he didn’t notice if the bedclothes were wet but slept through.
Continuing with Constitutional Homeopathy and Homeopathic Detox Therapy
The purpose of this post is to show you how much difference even one detox can make to a little boy with autism.
Austin’s treatment continued with further LM potencies of his constitutional remedy and he completed his contraceptive pill detox.
Continued Progress on Contraceptive Pill Detox
During these months, Austin became fully toilet trained. He learned to dress himself. He started to make jig saw puzzles, began to colour in a colouring book, play with play dough and sand, build with blocks and lego. He learned to communicate well, using all of the pictures in his PECS book and making 6 picture sentences. He became very co-operative in learning new things, listening really well and responding to a question straight away. He began to spontaneously name objects and colours, using the first syllable of the word.
Later, during an antibiotic detox, his teacher commented that his language had come on hugely in the previous 6 weeks. He became more interested in learning new things during this time, such as understanding the concept of addition, first using blocks and later on paper.
Over the last two years, Austin has continued to thrive. His language has continued to develop: he can say the full word, his speech has become clearer and he is now able to have spontaneous and meaningful conversations. He is a very happy boy who is able to understand rules and be co-operative and focused in school. He is learning to read and write and do maths and he enjoys colouring and painting. He has learned to ride a bike.
Austin’s constitutional remedy has been changed from time to time to address different aspects of his case. His imaginative Lego play in my office occurred after he had started a new constitutional remedy. The change of constitutional remedy was made to address a phase when Austin had become especially bossy towards his parents. The remedy helped him to be less controlling, he began to eat new foods and he became interested in painting and drawing. At the end of his 3rd homeopathic detox, his teacher commented that usually children forget a lot of what they have learned during the summer holidays but Austin had actually come back to school having made big progress.
That this course of remedies sparked Austin’s interest in imaginative play is also rather nice!
My thanks to Austin’s parents for giving me permission to write about his progress. His name has been changed to protect his privacy and a stock photo has been used. All other details of the case are true.
Like to Know More about Homeopathic Detox Therapy?
CEASE Therapy, devised by Dutch Homeopath, Dr Tinus Smits and Homeopathic Detox Therapy, devised by Dutch Homeopath, Ton Jansen are both detoxification methods, using homeopathy. The classical constitutional remedy is an integral part of both approaches. I’m a registered practitioner of both methods and can pick and choose from either to suit my individual patient. Read more about these methods at: Homeopathic Detoxification at Leinster Homeopathy. To see my training in homeopathic detox, see about Carmel O’Keeffe.
Carmel, that is a beautiful case, thank you for sharing it. He is a very lucky boy for having found you,
Thanks very much, Ann, for taking the time to comment. I think it’s mutual luck because I learned a lot from treating this lovely boy.
Lovely case and very useful retelling.
Thanks for commenting, Sally. Me too, I like to read case studies and see what remedies were given!
Lovely case Carmel, thank you for sharing
Thank you for reading and commenting, Jackie.