The Story of Cooper and His Autism
Written by Lauren Hunt, Cooper’s Mother
When our son, Cooper, was 22 months old, he was diagnosed with autism. The previous six months we had helplessly watched him as he slid away from us and the world. The day he was diagnosed, July 23, 1993, we embarked on an intellectual and spiritual crusade to save him which has raged in its intensity and continues to this day. It has completely defined us at times, and has forced us to renegotiate our system of beliefs. Ultimately, it has led us to an understanding that the more we let go of our fear, the more we find love. Love allows us the freedom to support our natural path, which leads us to health.
As we were groping our way beyond the initial shock of Cooper’s diagnosis, without the support of dynamic medicine, we began to formulate a plan of sorts. It was the plan of scientists and atheists. We intended to fight this thing and win. We would do whatever research was required to learn what had happened to Cooper and how we could fix it. I began reading anything I could get my hands on that would shed light on this thing autism, and people who had success with treating it. I approached this research with an eye on science. Interventions which had been subjected to rigorous “scientific” study, and had gained approval through the process of peer-review, were more palatable to both my husband and me. Our upbringing and education had, I thought, well prepared us for this obstacle. At this point in our crusade, our intuition was not even a close second to the influence of the “scientific community.”
Cooper’s decline coincided with a rash of ear infections and treatment with antibiotics, and followed vaccination with the MMR and Hib. This gave us a place to start in trying to determine what had happened to our son. Besides his complete lack of connection with the world, he manifested some physical symptoms which the medical community assured me revealed clues to the biochemical problems which were underlying Cooper’s autism. We found that he was intolerant of wheat and dairy, and anything with phenols - food colorings, flavorings and salicylates (most fruits). We discovered that of the four immunoglobulin G subclasses, he was deficient in two. We learned that certain fungal metabolites were so elevated in his blood, that he was surely fighting a huge systemic yeast overgrowth. We tested him for his body burden of toxins and found that he was laden with toxins - copper and zinc were elevated in his hair, and his chemical burden was very high.
For every test we ran, we found a matching therapy, often with a vested interest in the background. In the name of love, Cooper was put on a very restricted diet and subjected to bimonthly EPD shots (Enzyme Potentiated Desensitization), which required a diet of only lamb, rice and water for a day before and after. He was infused with IgG - which required a three hour IV every month - for a period of 14 months. His yeast overgrowth was treated first with Nystatin, and then with Diflucan, which necessitated a liver function test every two months. We took him to a visual therapist who fitted him with prism lenses, which we supported with daily visual therapy. His auditory processing problem was addressed by Auditory Integration Therapy and Fast Forward Computer Therapy. For a period of three and a half years, we battled every symptom which could be identified by the medical community as somehow linked to Cooper’s problem. I was meanwhile gaining a reputation as a Supermom who was very well versed in the therapeutics and the associated symptoms. My rainbow chasing days were drawing to a close, however, as I began to realize that in spite of our frantic efforts, my intuition told me that Cooper was not really improving. In the summer of 1994, I was asked to speak at the Autism Society of America’s National Autism Convention by a doctor studying fungal metabolites. At that point in time, Cooper was a poster child for many of the cutting edge drug therapies which promised to improve the symptoms associated with autism. I wrestled with whether to enter the public forum, and felt in my heart that I could not advocate my current path with Cooper since it was not yielding sustained results.
On the homefront, we were faring no better. After reviewing all of the various approaches to how to handle and attempt to educate a child like Cooper, we were most compelled, again, by science. Dr. Ivar Lovaas, at UCLA, had published a landmark study in 1984 which “proved” that intensive discrete-trial behavior modification could teach these kids to reach the developmental milestones they had missed. I read all of the literature on other methods of therapy and my husband and I opted to go with behavioral therapy. Dr. Lovaas’ therapy was the only modality of its kind which we felt would enable us to systematically move Cooper through the developmental milestones he had missed. Cooper was completely disconnected to the world, at this point, and my husband and I were gripped with fear. His behavior repertoire included perseverative bouncing in his crib for as long as three hours at a stretch (if we let him), teeth grinding and making guttural groaning sounds, and finger flapping in front of his eyes. Meanwhile, he had no eye contact, no appropriate toy play, no attachment behavior, and no pre-verbal gesturing like pointing. We felt completely out of control, and were desperate for a therapeutic modality which offered us the semblance of control. So, just after his second birthday, Cooper began a three-year long career in discrete-trial behavioral therapy. The amount of time he spent in therapy varied between 20 and 30 hours per week. In retrospect, I believe that some aspects of a behavioral approach are necessary to stimulate the brain to make neurological connections that were somehow missed when development went awry. However, the intensity of the program was completely counter to intuition and to Cooper’s nature. He was not progressing as the successful kids in Lovaas’ study had progressed. My intuition was beginning to nudge at me a bit louder as I knew in my heart that we were essentially fighting Cooper’s nature. In retrospect, knowing that Cooper’s constitutional type is sulfur, it is no wonder that he would not gladly acquiesce to our demands to learn what we imposed upon him.
Three years into our crusade, cracks were appearing in the wall which we had so fearfully erected between the world of “science” and the world beyond. If we were to make any sustained, sure progress with Cooper, it was clear we would have to leave the world of fear behind us and venture into the world of faith. With much trepidation, I took Cooper to a natural practitioner in Philadelphia who had a lot of success treating patients who had not had success in the world of allopathic medicine. He began to treat Cooper, and introduced me to a new health paradigm by suggesting I read George Vithoulkas’ A New Model for Health and Disease. This practitioner’s belief was that the toxic overload of these patients was largely the cause of their illnesses. He used dynamic polypharmacy to detoxify his patients, using a Voll machine to determine their course. Cooper went through the detox program with some remarkable initial success. He was able to reintroduce many of the foods to which he had previously been intolerant. His yeast overgrowth was eliminated. He became somewhat more aware of his environment. The process of detoxifying was very destabilizing for Cooper, however, in spite of the gains. As the fourth year of our journey came to a close, I began to trust my intuitive understanding of Cooper’s needs more, and I became increasingly unwilling to subject him to the destabilization of the continuing detox program with its diminishing marginal gains. In my heart, I felt that we had really stumbled onto something with dynamic medicine – an incredibly powerful force. However, I felt strongly that we were missing some important element necessary to Cooper’s natural path toward health.
Meanwhile, my approach to Cooper at home began to change. As I began to understand and accept a new, more holistic paradigm for health and disease, there came a natural shift in my relationship with my son. I no longer put much stock in the “experts” on my son’s condition as I began to support him in the direction of his own natural development. I could see that as we support the action of the vital force in striving for health, we must also support the instincts and needs he demonstrates in his natural quest toward healthy development. Instead of imposing my desires upon him, I began to follow his lead. Cooper’s development was still severely delayed and off track in almost every area. So I continued to push him to speak and make eye contact when he wanted something. But, as he started to see that I was not always going to demand from him when I interacted with him, he began to seek me out more. As I loved and supported him, his defenses came down, and he was allowed the freedom of access to his developmental potential. As my own fear began to slip away, I have learned to relax my need for control and have put Cooper’s future in his own hands, where it belongs.
We had begun to see an osteopath in an attempt to help Cooper release some of the stress that his body had taken on during the many years of his illness and our interventions. Every few weeks, our visits to the osteopath were followed by physical reactions, such as diarrhea, hyperactivity, and skin reactions, which were reminiscent of the reactions Cooper had gotten after the dynamic medicine detoxification solutions. The reactions after the osteopathic manipulations were not destabilizing to Cooper, however, and I resigned myself to the slow but steady progress we were making. It seemed to me that Cooper was “dumping” things in his own time, when he was ready. I still believed dynamic medicine was the correct tool to help Cooper more efficiently, but I felt that when it was not applied to Cooper’s own rhythm or sense of timing, it somehow missed its mark. I was learning to have faith that the answers we needed would be delivered to us if we would just keep our eyes and hearts open, and be patient.
Once again, my increasing faith and openness was rewarded, and a fellow truth seeking mom strongly recommended a book by Dr. Jean Elmiger entitled Rediscovering Real Medicine. It described Dr. Elmiger’s journey from allopathic medicine to the development of the therapeutic modality, Sequential Therapy. The basic premise of this therapy is that it follows the action of the patient’s vital force from the most recent trauma backwards in time through the patient’s history of traumas. Dynamic medicine is the tool Elmiger found most effective in assisting the vital force in its struggle to clear the effects of these traumas and, thereby, attain a greater level of health. When I read Dr. Elmiger’s book, I knew we had found an exciting possibility for Cooper. Within a week, I had learned of Rudi Verspoor and Patty Smith, who had initially studied the work of Dr. Elmiger, and had further developed and improved upon it.
Cooper has been treated by Rudi for over a year, and it has been a marvelous, wild ride. The first five months were difficult, because his regressions following the event remedies were completely devastating to his fledgling development. He sank as low as he has ever been in the first few months of treatment, with all of the associated behaviors - hand flapping, tantrumming, and perseveratively lining things up, to name a few. He lost all of his speech, save the absolutely necessary labeling to communicate needs. He left us over and over again as he headed into the abyss after barely touching base with us for a day or two. It was frightening to us, but faith and love had taken hold, and we were able to support him through his private hell. In the past, the behavioral school had drilled into us the need to keep him “on” and not let him regress. So we had been accustomed to pushing him harder when he was most needing a reprieve. Now we knew that maintaining our support and love was paramount, in spite of his behavior.
Cooper’s improvement in the past year has been remarkable. Six months after we started treatment, the veteran principal at the school that Cooper attends approached me and told me she had never seen such a dramatic change in a kid as she had witnessed in the past couple of months with Coop. Naturally, he headed back into the abyss two days after she said that, so she was probably later wondering what she had been thinking. In fact, his regressions have continued with varying degrees of intensity, but each time he heads south, he returns with more of himself intact. Cooper celebrated his eighth birthday last Saturday. For the first time ever, he knew it was his birthday, and he knew and could tell us how old he was turning. He had a party like any other kid and knew who was coming. He wrote his own birthday wish list, which was dominated by Pokemon paraphernalia which demonstrates an age-appropriateness and peer-awareness that is brand new for him. Just last night, Cooper and his nine-year-old brother, Gilby, were fighting in the living room over a Gameboy game, and I could hear them trying to work it out. “Gilby, give it back. Its mine!,” Coop yelled. “Its my turn now, Cooper,” said Gilby, “Why don’t you play this (other game) instead?” I held my breath waiting for Cooper’s answer - negotiation is a current frontier for him (probably always will be given his constitution). “Okay, Gilby” Coop said quietly. And I let out a long sigh and realized how far we have come in the past couple of years.
His courage through this process, and the strength of our love and support has inspired an understanding of the power of love in Cooper’s school community. He is a celebrity, of sorts; and when I walk down the halls of his elementary school, I am often stopped by kids who want to say hello, or ask with much curiosity, “Are you Cooper’s mom?” They all seem to be curious about us - I think kids are much more tuned-in to energy - and they all seem to be championing his cause. Last week, in the fourth week of second grade, he got 100% on the spelling pre-test, thereby allowing him to skip the real test on the following day. When the teacher read the names of the kids who got 100% on the pre-test and came to Coop’s name, the kids exploded with applause and hoots in support of Cooper. I am coming to believe that love, or supporting someone to follow their path, is wildly infectious because it is the truth in all of us. We only need to listen and we will find it. Its natural ally in the world of energetic healing is sequential therapy, because it follows our true nature, our vital force.
FOLLOW UP ARTICLE ON COOPER
It has been two years since I have sat down to write about Cooper’s case. In that time, his progress has been truly amazing. It is not for want of good news to report that I have not reported. It is that reporting has become a bit more complicated.
Let me start by simply logging my report. Since the fall of 1999, Cooper continued clearing his timeline. He continued to experience profound healing reactions followed by marked improvement. As before, his healing reactions took him back into autism to varying degrees. During this time, he was mainstreamed in public school with an aide. The ride was so wild that I viewed school as a way to get him out in the world and to give me much needed respite. He was definitely learning through the individual instruction he was receiving, but he was still incapable of attending to group direction.
This continued through the beginning of the first round of miasms. He had some huge regressions through Psorinum, Tuberculinum, and Medhorinum. As we approached Carcinosin, I could feel its pull on him, as I did with the others. But behind it, I could feel the vortex of Syphilinum beginning to have it’s way with him. We began to get the sense that the dust was settling around some of his other unresolved issuesall his energy seemed to be gathering itself for facing Syphilinum. As he cleared the 10M level of Carcinosin and was able to let that go, Syphilinum was free to step completely out of the shadows. Cooper began to display a repertoire of self-destructive and obsessive behaviors along with a profound disconnection. He hacked at his hair on numerous occasions, which resulted in a three to four month period in which his outward appearance seemed to be reflective of what he was experiencing in his soul. His skin had become pale and very unhealthy looking, and his eyes had a wild, disconnected quality to them. He also began obsessively licking around his mouth, producing a red, angry rash. Add to that a hairstyle that can best be described as appearing as if he had stuck his head in a blender, and you can get a sense of what he was looking like during his first battle with his nemesis. He looked positively possessed.
His obsessions included an obsession with washing. He washed his hands constantly, and would wash his feet in the tub every time we returned from any outing. Even when he had been out in socks and shoes, he would disrobe and climb into the bath to wash his feet. He returned to an obsession with collecting things. His room looked a bit like a store, with all his collections lined upDisney books, Kidsongs videos, even his stuffed Seven Dwarfs were always lined up in some very well defined order. This obsession with collecting and categorizing seemed to dominate his interest at the time. He had no interest in anything novel. If he were allowed a new book, he would choose a book that would complete a collection and would never display any interest in reading it. It was as if his young, developing, inquisitive mind had been invaded by an entity bent on control and rigidity.
During this same time, Cooper seemed to be engaged in an emotional war. He was disconnected from the joy he had previously found in his interactions with family members. He just didn’t seem to be available. His struggle with Syphilinum was revealing itself through Cooper’s emotional outbursts, which seemed to be unprovoked. He would suddenly rage for no reason, or would seem to be overcome with profound grief.
Over the years and through the many battles, I have become familiar with the first signs of retreat. It is first a supersensible whisper. With nothing concrete to hang my hat on, I somehow sense that we have crested the hill and we have seen the worst of it. It is like the first signs of spring, when you experience the first blush of expansion. Although the almost inevitable two steps backward may follow it, it has made its mark on you and you can celebrate what is to come as you weather the temporary regression.
And so it was with Syphilinum on three separate occasions. Each time Syphilinum seemed to relax it’s grip on him and he began to approach a relatively good place. But the first two times his stability did not last. Syphilinum was not done with Cooper yet in this round. He had to repeat the 10M both of those times to finally pull out of battle with the beast.
As Cooper recovered from the healing reaction after his third dose of Syphilinum 10M, we began to see some really big changes. He became much more aware of the people around him. He began to answer the telephone for the first time. One of the most profound memories for me from that time, less than a year ago, was while driving home from a meeting at Gilby’s school. I had left Cooper alone at the house to play on his computer. I decided to call the house on the way home to check my messages.
As the phone rang and I waited for my service to pick up, I was surprised by someone answering the phone with a shy, “Hello?” It was so off the map that Coop would answer the phone that I truly hadn’t a clue who it was.
“Who is this?” I asked.
“It’s Cooper,” he said quietly.
I was so stunned that I couldn’t really process what was going on. “Hi Coop. What are you doing?” I managed to whisper.
“I am playing on the computer,” he said.
“Are you okay?”
“Yes,” he said.
“I’ll see you soon, okay?”
“Okay. Bye Mommy.”
It was such a leap, so much at once, that I couldn’t really handle it. I managed to get my car to the side of the road through my tears and gave myself some time to process what had just happened.
For a period of about a month as Coop was recovering himself after his battle with Syphilinum, we were seeing changes on almost a daily basis. He was far more flexible in his behavior and in his language. He seemed to be capable of a lot more interaction and engagement with his family and friends at school. In fact, as he continued to improve, it became clear to me that he was changing far more rapidly than the diseased adults at his school were prepared to allow. He began to complain about going to school. After spending two days shadowing him at school, it became clear that he could no longer be there. I knew that I would have to be careful with his environment for some period of time. His newly developing understanding of the world would have to be shaped by an extreme flexibility and openness. He had to be surrounded by the expectation that he was recovering rapidly and capable of a lot of things that had been impossible until very recently. The fear-based teachers at school couldn’t help Cooper and so I decided it was time to begin home schooling him.
As spring approached, Cooper continued to make strides both in his academic work and socially. He experienced some mild fluctuations in the spring as he worked out the kinks of his new state.
As the summer progressed, Cooper became more and more stable. By the time school started, I had a strong sense that we were just left with a game of catch-up. He was far behind his same-aged peers in social skills, but he was closing the gap steadily. One of the benefits of home schooling a kid like Coop is that when you spend 2 to 3 hours per day sitting by his side working on cognitive skills, you always know exactly what his capabilities are. In the first week of home schooling, I was blown away by his new cognitive ability. It was as if, over the summer, new neurological pathways had developed. He was able to master skills that were unapproachable at the end of last academic year. His same-aged peers had entered fourth grade this year, and Cooper was rapidly working his way through the third grade curriculum. Even the previously precarious subject of expository writing which in third grade amounts to creating grammatically correct, creative sentences from spelling words and short paragraphs about what is best about a particular subject was approachable. Due to his biggest vulnerability of auditory processing, anything that had too much language around it was very difficult for him. I was always brainstorming ways to teach him things by bypassing the language problem. Now, suddenly, I was sitting with a boy who could simply understand what I was saying. It was a huge leap, which occurred over the course of a summer during which he had not been exposed to any formal education. He was displaying more normal behavior all the time, too. He and his brother had taken up riding a unicycle around the house (that’s not exactly normal, either, is it? Oh well). One morning as I was working on my computer, I called out to him that we would start working in about five minutes. He rode into my office on his unicycle and said, “Not today, Weenie,” with a goofy grin on his face. He had taken to calling me Weenie as a funny pet name and he was using that, along with a bit of sarcasm, to let me know in a very age-appropriate way that he didn’t want to work. It was vignettes like that that allowed me to relax and have faith in his direction.
I had a strong sense that we were just in a game of catch-up now and that there was an element of autopilot to the whole thing. Whereas before I felt pivotal to the process without my constant monitoring, pushing, adjusting he would not make it I started to get the feeling that he would be okay now, regardless of my intervention. I began to relax a lot and allow myself to imagine a time in the near future when Coop would be able to attend school like any other kid. I had spent the past eight years battling for him, and I relished the thought of a more normal existence. My plan was to finish the year home schooling him and working hard to get him caught up to his peers in as many areas as possible. He would work his way through the second round (50M) of miasms as well this year, so that he was in even better shape to face his return to a world outside our home. He would go to school next year and hit the ground running and I would be able to complete my studies and devote more time to practicing dynamic medicine.
It was a lovely plan. But it was a plan, and so the universe recognized that I was not healthy enough to release yet. Cooper began his second round of miasms on the autumnal equinox and within two weeks he began a slide that would last for a month and would take him back into the dark recesses of autism yet again. At first, as he began to slide, I tried to adjust what we were working on each morning. So he can’t really understand the reading passages that he had no trouble with a week ago? No problem. We’ll just read something a bit easier. I tried to be flexible about it, but as the days stretched into weeks and he continued to lose functioning, my flexibility was tested. I found myself without faith. I thought back to a mere month earlier and challenged my memory. Had there really been a time when I thought he was in the clear? It seemed impossible now. His autistic symptoms seemed more pronounced to me than ever and I found myself battling depression.
As I thrashed around trying to find some light, I realized that I was facing another big lesson. I was clearly far too attached to the outcome, to Cooper’s recovery. I had so much riding on his recovery following a proscribed path, that I wasn’t even present to help him through his battle. I was too engaged in all the emotions of disappointment, anger, self-pity to be present and feel any love or lightness. It was as if the universe was telling me that surely Cooper couldn’t be done yet, because I still had a ways to go myself.
Cooper has pulled out of Psora 50M and we have seen some improvement in some areas. As Psora released him and he began to gain some functioning, I started to see a very well defined picture. It was a state of mind that he had flirted with over the years, but it had been difficult to isolate due to all the other disease pictures in his portfolio. It seems that as we eliminate the miasmic diseases one-by-one, at least at the level of his current functioning, we are more able to delineate and annihilate the other underlying individual diseases that formed the cocktail of his autism. He is being treated for his Hyoscyamus state now and seems to be improving. Apparently, this underlying realm is the chthonic realm. It has not been well mapped yet, but I have a strong sense that it is as big a part of Cooper’s autism as the miasms were/are. In fact, after I presented Cooper’s state to Rudi and he began to question me more and then proceeded to describe the state of Hyoscyamus, I realized that it was a state that he had flirted with constantly for the past eight years. I also realized that if we could effectively banish it for good, Cooper would emerge a much freer individual.
As of yesterday, December 14, Cooper has decidedly managed to clear his current Hyos state. My sense is that Coop has only won round one. I think Hyos has retired to his corner to repair for his vengeful return. I have learned enough to know that a state we have been living with for the past eight years is not going to disappear completely on a 1M dropper. I would not be surprised if Hyos reared his ugly head between the miasms in this second round, like a thick, opportunistic primordial soup bubbling to the surface when given purchase. I have no idea when we’ll see Hyos again, but I will now know him when I see him. And I will be ready.
When I returned from the movies last night, Coop ran to the door to greet me and tell me with a big grin about the puzzles he had completed while I was out. For the moment, as I write this, Cooper is enjoying a glimpse of normalcy. I know it will not last. He woke up this morning sneezing and congested and I sense Tuberculinum approaching him. But we are enjoying where he is today, and I am hoping that I have made a bit of progress in my own healing so that I will be able to support him wherever he goes next.
I find that the healthier I get, the less inclined I am to share Cooper’s progress in terms of the way the diseased world thinks autism vs. normal, or recovered. It is far more complicated than that. And the lessons we are all learning along the way are more profound. As I get healthier and really begin to let go, I have less of a vested interest in whether he is done normal yet. None of us is ever done; it is all a process. That sort of thinking comes from a diseased state, which I know intimately. But for those of you who care, here’s the score: Cooper is whole now, but he is delayed. He is not normal yet, but I have a strong sense that he will end up somewhere in the middle of the bell curve. Will he attend normal school next year, unaided? It is possible. If he does not, however, and I find myself spending my days with him again next year, what a gorgeous lesson for me. I will have to put my plans for completing my studies and an expanded dynamic medicine practice aside yet again and spend my year toiling in a daily, primary lesson in love. What more could I ask for from the Universe?
A couple of weeks ago, I was nagging Cooper about something, some recent obsession. I told him that if he kept obsessing about this one subject, he would never be normal. He immediately yelled at me, “I AM normal now, mom!” He has been asserting himself more and more this way lately. It is amazing!
Lauren Hunt is a dynamic healer practicing in New Mexico.
Book: “Autism: The Journey Back, Recovering the Self Through Heilkunst” by Rudi Verspoor, Patty Smith A book explaining the use of dynamic medicine and Sequential Therapy for the treatment of autism.