Testimony Of Blake McIntyre
Blake was born on 11 March 1991, our third child and only son. The pregnancy was normal aside from some stress, everything went well. His arrival into the world was 2 weeks late, induced labour which was not the case with our other children.
We didn’t think anything was wrong with Blake until a routine visit to the baby clinic with his baby sister who was born on 1st May 1993. The nurse suggested that he may have some challenges and so we began to seek some medical diagnosis.
We started on the roller coaster of visits to various specialists and tests.
It was not until we visited a paediatrician, Dr Michael Freelander in August 1994 that we were told he was Autistic, he was 3½ years old. Blake could not put two words together and he was showing major delay in his development
With the diagnosis in hand, we began to be plugged into resources like speech therapy and early intervention classes. He played on his own mostly, had no eye contact with others, his hands would shake and he would line his toy cars up throughout the house. If we were to change them around he would know and move them back to their original position.
He was in the habit of coming into our bed in the middle of the night and that was something that took months to change and then he would only go to sleep in his own bunk if his older sister held his hand until he was asleep. If he did wander into our bedroom we would not allow him to come into bed, sometimes we would wake with the sensation that there was someone else in the room only to realise that he was standing next to the bed watching us.
We gave his two older sisters instructions and as a family our goal was to encourage speech. The biscuits were moved to a high cupboard above the stove where we knew Blake could not reach and he was not allowed a biscuit until he asked. I remember one day phoning Rob excitedly to tell him that Blake had said “Blake bickie please”. That was a time of celebration. He was nearly 4 when that happened.
Shortly before his diagnosis we were introduced to Neways International. This is a company whose philosophy is to address the harmful chemicals in our bathroom and cleaning products and challenges of lack of nutrition in our diet by providing supplements.
This was the time that Blake’s eczema that he had had from birth miraculously cleared up and we introduced an antioxidant and mineral supplement into Blake’s routine. In order for us to get him to swallow a pill we used the bribe method which worked. Eventually the bribe was phased out and he then took the pills happily. The mineral supplement was a liquid that we hid in his wheat bix.
After we introduced the anti oxidant it was only a couple of days later that we noticed a significant improvement in Blake. His tantrums, of which were many, seemed to occur less often and he would watch television. Before this he would watch a 30 minute video of Play School but insisted on watching it on fast forward. Now he was happy to watch it at normal speed. His sleep improved and his hand shaking became less frequent.
We also severely cut down his consumption of milk and wheat!
Shortly before his 6th birthday during a visit to Dr Freelander, the diagnosis was changed to Aspergers. This is still Autism however Aspergers Syndrome is classified as high functioning autism. We are convinced that the early intervention and the supplements were the combination that helped achieve this diagnosis.
Blake was integrated into a normal school and the government allocated some hours to the school so that they could bring an aide in to help him with his work. For many of these hours, the school had to use them for someone to supervise him in the playground as his social skills were still very bad and he had challenges interacting with other children. We would be called into the office to be told that he was hitting, once there was a couple of parents up in arms because he was kissing the girls and so at the age of 8 we had to sit Blake down and explain that it was not a good thing to do at school.
By the time he reached grade 4 we were beginning to realise that he would not cope with a normal high school and so began the search for a school that could handle Blake educationally and socially. The school would have to be small and caring to give our son the best education and help he required. For us a private school stood above the others and so he started in year 5.
During his primary years, we would introduce and change his supplements and not tell the school. This gave us an independent assessment of how the supplements were working and which ones were best. The teachers would give us feedback each week as to how he was going and when we introduced a Noni drink, the comments from the teacher was that he was calmer and seemed able to concentrate better.
Over the years we have had large stresses within the family because of Blake’s challenges and it has meant that we have had to make many sacrifices and monitor him a lot more than a normal child. There have been the tantrums in the supermarket or the car and we have had to withstand the stares or laughs from strangers who thought this is simply a misbehaving child. Blake went through stages where everything had to be locked and closed and so we kept a spare set of car keys in the house. The hallway was always dark because Blake would close the bedroom doors and he went through a stage where he would change his clothes simply because there was a spot of dirt on it. Times when he would poo himself and not tell anyone, he was nearly 5. He had to be first into the car and first out which caused some challenges, especially with his older siblings. He went through a violent stage and I remember there were times when I would hide from him.
His sisters questioned whether he was just spoilt or actually challenged until our daughter, Brooke, was the mentor in year 6 for a boy with similar challenges. This program they called Peer Support and for us it helped both his older sisters understand Blake better.
Over the years things would improve only to be replaced by another obsessive compulsive tendency and so as a family we learnt to roll with each new phase.
Every couple of years we would have him assessed to see where he was both socially and academically. It was encouraging to see after each assessment that the gap between his biological and mental age was closing.
When Blake turned 16 in 2007 we were very fortunate to know that he was up at the same abilities as boys his own age in many areas although some were still 1 to 2 years behind. His social skills were still challenging at times and he still needed to be monitored but the prognosis is excellent.
Blake left school after year 11 and began a lawn mowing business which, to this day, has escalated into a thriving concern. He is now considering employing someone to help him with the load.
We are blessed often when his customers, people that we don’t know, would call us out of the blue to comment on Blake’s politeness, thoroughness and gentle nature.
Right now, August 2010, he is a leader in his church group, a mentor for younger teens and is highly respected by all of the over 400 members of the youth group. How good is that?
He takes many supplements and is a tall, strong strapping young man!
Over the years we have changed his range and below is a list of what has worked for us.
Noni Fruit Drink
Multi vitamin with chelating properties.
Essential Fatty Acids
Liquid Mineral Supplement
When Blake was between 8 years and 12 years, we would sit him down to play Nintendo and put aromatherapy on to calm him. We found the combination of diversion and aromatherapy helped immensely.
We are committed to telling our story so as to help others survive what we can only describe as a very challenging, rough ride but well worth the sacrifices to see Blake as he is today, running a successful business and holding down a casual job at Hungry Jacks making hamburgers, playing drums, working the lights and camera at youth on a Saturday night and a girl friend.
Had we not been able to devote a lot of time to Blake we know that he would not be as ahead as he is today. Because of this we have been very careful who we let speak into Blake’s life and often spent time with him to explain things that people have said so that Blake can understand. Many children with Aspergers end up in jail because of the inability to function in society.
One of our concerns upon hearing other families receive a similar diagnosis for their child is the stress it puts upon the parents. Many marriages are destroyed because of the stress it puts on the parents and other siblings, my advice, the end result is well worth the effort. I would love to see a program put in place where couples can have respite to reconnect with each other.
The cause of Blake’s challenges? Well, we have our suspicions and all I can say is that we are very vocal about telling new parents to learn everything about the pros and cons of immunisation. Our children have all been fully immunised, that was before we knew the truth, but once we found out, there has been no more needles for them nor for us!
The results? We have not had antibiotics in our home for any of us or our children for over 15 years and we can only assume that by getting rid of the harmful chemicals in our bathroom and household cleaning products AND using supplements have meant that our bodies have strong immune systems and able to fight off any challenges that come along.
Now Blake seems perfectly normal however we still occasionally experience the typical Aspergers symptoms like:
· He takes everything literally.
· He stresses when routine is changed.
· Doesn’t like anyone going into his bedroom (is this normal for a teenage boy?)
· Is very conscious of keeping his possessions safe.
· Washes his hands often.
· Moving house is difficult, he insists on boxing all his possessions himself and moving them himself.
There are positives about Blake that I feel I should mention.
· He is an excellent speller.
· Addition and subtraction is great.
· He is very good with money.
· He is caring.
· Well mannered.
We love him and absolutely know that we are stronger as a family as the result of having persevered the challenges.
You may find more information on this subject in the DVD entitled "To Autism And Back".