I have a 19 year old autistic son, Ethan. His autism is severe. He is mostly non-verbal, though does understand some language. His presence in our lives has presented a variety of challenges over the years. The aspect of this I want to share today has to do with his self-injurous behaviors, and some things we have done over the past year that may be helping. Perhaps it will help someone else going through this.

Periodically, over the years, Ethan would throw very bad tantrums, including pounding his head with his fists, and/or scratching himself bloody. We never knew what brought these episodes on, nor how to alleviate them. As he has gotten bigger and stronger, this behavior became more serious, as he could obviously hurt himself more severely.

Towards the end of the school year last year, he freaked out at school, and seriously scratched both sides of his head. He was bleeding quite a bit from his temples. Following this episode, we started giving him a combination of supplements based on research that I did.

Each day, at lunchtime, Ethan began taking:
Vitamin B complex
Vitamin C
Broccoli extract
Dimethylglycine (DMG)

From this point on, until very recently, the self injurious behavior stopped. I was thinking that we were onto something. Then, recently, he began displaying signs of agitation, though not the same degree of self injury we had seen previously.

We noted that this was around the same time as last year that his behavior was poor, and began to wonder if there was something seasonal, like an allergy, that was causing him discomfort. We also noticed that his right hand was a bit swollen and he kept wanting to put lotion or vaseline on it. It’s impossible to know if he injured his hand, or if the swelling was some sort of reaction to something.

In any case, we began giving him Allegra 24, and a regimen of Advil to help with any pain and swelling. This has helped. His hand is almost back to normal, and he has stopped acting out. We will phase out the Allegra and Advil gradually over the next few days and see how he fares.

It’s very difficult, because Ethan is unable to tell us when something is bothering him, and so everything we do is based on making our best guess and taking action.


6 thoughts on “Autism”

  1. Bruce, very interested to learn about you and your music. Wondering if you ever do any shows in Pa. I’m in Lancaster, where I work at Schreiber Pediatric Rehab Center, where we work with thousands of special-needs kids each year. Check us out. We’re doing a fundraising event in September called Schreiberpalooza, and we’re still filling out the bill. If you’re not booked Saturday, Sept. 12, shoot me a note and I can tell you more. — Dan

  2. seems like a good treatment regiment. We tried Sulforophane with Joey, but didn’t see much difference (was suppose to help with speech). We may try your regiment as he gets older. Thanks for posting.

    1. Hey Tim, since originally posting this, we have mostly rolled back on this as it seems to have to stopped being effective. Currently, we still give the probiotics, as Ethan has digestive issues. The main issues we’ve been faced with are his behavior issues (sporadic and unpredictable), and awful-nonexistent sleep patterns. We have gotten onto what has been an effective combination of meds for these. Clonazapam at around 5pm, which seems to help control the behaviors, and mirtazapine at around 9pm for sleep. Best of luck with Joey.

      1. Thanks for the update Bruce. We are lucky not to have too many sleep problems and he also has some language development. Glad you have found something that works.

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