Dx Autism Spectrum: Dylan Success Story [Updated]
Dylan and His Family Choose a Pathway to Wellness: Mother tells the story
Dylan at 6 months old: He was developing normally and was a very smiley baby.
Dylan was born via natural delivery at 38 weeks. The baby developed normally reaching all of his milestones until the age of nine months. But then, Dylan did not crawl or creep like the others kids of his ages.
Dylan at 12-months-old: This is when we started seeing a decline in his development.
By the age of 16 months, Dylan just started walking, his speech was below average for his age. At 24-month, we started seeing him covering his ears every time he entered a place with a lot of loud noises, and also started making lines every time he played with his car-toys and he could not really have a conversation with us, he just repeated sentences that he heard on TV, over and over, and it was hard to tell if he was understanding when we spoke to him.
At the age of 3, he started speech therapy because his speech was well below his peers and at the age of 4, he was diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome, and the next year when he was 5-years-old, he was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism.
At age of 5 Dylan was diagnosed with high functioning Autism and his family began Dylan’s journey.
At age 5, after noticing that he did not make eye contact, his speech was behind, and his fine motor skills were not age level, we decided to get him evaluated. This is when he was diagnosed with high functioning autism.
Dylan started with ABA therapy, which lasted for a year, after meeting all of his goals he graduated. Dylan continued at school, at age 6, he was attending social therapy and regular school since the school considered that he did not need to be evaluated or to be placed in a special education program. Dylan was doing well at school both behaviorally and academically, but he did have to work a lot at home in order just to keep up with the school material, he would literally work on school material every weekend all day long, he had to cover all the topics over and over and he had a hard time understanding basic concepts, such as knowing when to add or subtract when doing word problems.
In second grade things started to get harder and harder, especially on reading comprehension and Dylan went from being one of the most advanced kids at reading to be behind his age level, while Dylan could read any word in the books for his age, he was not able to comprehend what he was reading. He also started to have a hard time socializing as he was not able to read the social cues from other kids or perhaps not understanding if he was welcomed to join them.
When he was 8, he was enrolled in a brain training therapy, during his initial evaluation they discovered that Dylan was about 4 years behind in some areas, the challenge continued at school. The hard work still at home, our poor kid had to spend all weekend revising school work with us so he could barely make it through. Fourth grade was a really hard one for him because his reading comprehension was not improving so we started researching to see what we could do to help him, at that point he had already gone through speech therapy, occupational therapy, ABA, and brain training. Dylan had graduated from each of these programs. Unfortunately as we learned after taking the “What to do” course, all those therapies were targeting the symptoms and not the root cause, so he was still having a hard time at school and the amount of work needed to be done at home was just increasing as time went by.
Dylan at age 8: He used most of his time doing school work to be able to survive, and his list of friends got shorter and shorter since they could not quite understand him and he did not really seem to understand them either.
His hearing was very sensitive and he covered his ears every time there was a loud noise. He did not like the sound of a vacuum cleaner, thunders, blenders, etc. and he could not get out the car if this was running and did not like the sound of cars on the street.
One day, checking the Instagram Mom found an article about The Institutes and decided to check on it.
There were many testimonials, but the one that caught our attention was from one about a 10-year-old who, as the testimonial described, had issues very similar to what Dylan was having.
We contacted The Institutes to sign up for the upcoming “What to Do About Your Brain-Injured Child” course.
Dad took the course on and Mom two months later, our initial diagnosis after taking the course was a moderate, relatively diffuse bilateral midbrain/cortex injury, with a chronological age of 10-yrs 2-months and a neurological age of 5-yrs 6-months, after that, we came up with a program for Dylan, the first thing we did was started with a crawling and creeping program, and also made some changes to his daily diet, and just with that we started to see some changes in him.
Working on his creeping
After a few months of doing the program, we started seeing improvements in his communication and he was also doing better in those subjects in school that he likes the most, such as math. When Dylan took the STAAR tests for writing, math and reading, he passed two out of the three tests; in math the test showed him to be a year ahead of his age, in writing he was at about his age level, and the one that he failed, reading, was still very challenging for him.
In Summer, as soon as school was over, we visited The Institute for his first evaluation, the minute we walked in, it felt kind of surreal seeing how they fully understood what Dylan was going through, almost as if they knew him from before. They made a really challenging program for him and Dylan decided that he would work as hard as possible, to make everyone at The Institutes proud of him.
Janet Doman, and Susan Aisen congratulate Dylan on his accomplishments
Back at home we changed everything, our main focus was Dylan’s home program; we made all the nutritional changes not just for Dylan but we did incorporate some of it for everyone in the family. Our main dining table was turned into a patterning table, the hallway upstairs was transformed into a crawling and creeping track, with foam tiles so he would not need to wear knee pads; we also built a horizontal ladder where he could do his brachiation, and started running every morning, very early to beat the heat of summer; we also started with his masking program, the most important thing for the family was Dylan’s neurological program. During the whole summer, Dylan worked tirelessly in his program, day after day, he has been so committed, that he even met his 6-months goals, set by The Institute, in about 6-weeks. This included, running non-stop for 2-miles in under 40 minutes, he actually does it in about 21 minutes, brachiation for 20 trips forward and 10 trips backwards, 600-m of crawling and 1800-m of creeping, reading 16 books and 150 new words per month, and writing for 15 minutes daily.
He loves his running program.
He enjoys doing his brachiation he always makes it look so easy.
After 3 months of working on the program, Dylan started school, in 5th grade, and from the beginning we were able to tell this school year was going to be different. Althoiugh he is yet not ready to be graduated from the program, his overall performance in school has been so much better, and this is not just talking about grades but about how he is actually understanding what he is being taught. As an example, in math, which in previous years we have had to spend numerous hours with him practicing to make sure he would be able to pass a test, we have not had to spend any time with him at home practicing, and with just the time and explanations he gets from his teacher at school he gets it and has been able to get good grades. The reading comprehension is still challenging for him, but we are seeing much better responses from him in that area.
As part of his Intelligence program, we have gone through hundreds of words and a number of homemade books, and he is now reading commercial books, as per Dylan’s request. For the daily words, we have worked with his teacher to make sure we incorporate the same vocabulary words they work with at school, and this has also helped tremendously as it helps with the consistency of the material Dylan gets to work with.
Because Dylan has not been diagnosed by the school district as a special education kid, he is attending regular mainstream school with the rest of the average kids. The support from the school has also been key in Dylan’s successes, as they have been very accommodating so he can continue doing his neurological program while still attending school, and though we would not really recommend to do the program as well as continuing in school, we have to say without their support this would not have been possible.
Dylan now reads more sophisticated books.
It has been now 6 months since our visit to The Institute, and the changes we have seen so far are significant, from the improvements in his communication skills to his school grades, the list continues to grow. Dylan is now able to spend time playing and having actual conversations with his little brother (Ethan 8-yrs), which is something he had never done before; he also tells us about his day at school, with a level of details that we can understand.
On the auditory sensitivity, from time to time he does try to cover his ears when there are loud noises, especially in environments he is not familiar with, and while he is still sensitive to loud noises, he is also showing signs of improvements in this area.
Dylan and his family.
Dylan loves baseball and enjoys going to watch his favorite team the Houston Astros as a reward for his hard work.
Dylan has now completed a full year of school in the 5th grade while working hard on his neurological treatment program at home. Last year, he was below his age level in reading, understanding, speech and writing. To complete his school assignments, his parents spent many hours with him after school.
Today, one year later, he is equal to his age level in reading, understanding, speech and writing, he is ahead of his class in mathematics, and works completely independently. On the most recent reading test, he was the only 5th grader in two classes to score 100%. He recently ran in a 5 km race and finished in the top 10 for his age. After school, he plays piano, he has earned his black belt in Tae Kwon Do and has been accepted on to a local baseball team. His health is great, he had only one illness this past year, lasting half a day.
The staff agree he is ready to graduate to life which is to say he will enter the 6th grade in September. Now he will have the chance to prove that he can excel, and claim is place in the world without doing a neurological program each day. We will check in with him in one year to confirm that he is doing well above average and making his goals easily.
What a pleasure it is for all of us to see this determined young man reach this moment with his wonderful family right by his side. This family never gave up. They join a legion of families all over the world who have proven that that their child has tremendous potential when given a fighting chance. They never gave up they believed in their boy and each other. We predict the next year is going to be great.
Learn More About the What To Do About Your Brain-Injured Child Course.