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What Regression Really Looks Like

February 8, 2013



When I first began reading about autism signs before we ever had an official diagnosis, one of the scariest aspects that kept coming up is ‘regression’.  The little lists were full of ‘did your child wave’ ‘did your child smile’ ‘did your child lose words or skills?’  And I knew.  I knew that was regression.


I read a lot of other people’s stories. About their journey with their kid.  The early signs and symptoms.  And I’ll tell yah, some people out there have some SCARY regression stories.  Children that were fine, or at least seemingly fine, that just lost it all.  Stopped speaking.  Stopped pointing.  Stopped being plugged into the world.  And I really feel for those parents.  I’m not sure what’s worse, the child who has been on a pretty steady uphill climb, albeit behind or the child that you saw before autism took over and having to lose them.  Either way its very difficult.


Rett never had any huge regressions like that.  He continued pretty normally until he slowed down and lagged behind.  A lot of his issues were things that all kids do.  Except other kids stopped.  And Rett continued.   So our regressions really opened my eyes to what regressions can be.


Rett has currently been in regression for about 2-4 weeks now.  They creep up on you.  Its not like your kid wakes up with a black eye that slowly fades.  One day you think ‘wow he seems a bit off’.  Then the next day it hasn’t gone away.  And when its about to become the new normal, you jerk awake and REMEMBER the child you had before the regression and realize.. its back. Another regression.  This isn’t who he is.


We’ve had a few regressions.  After siblings were born or a new mother’s day out term began or a big move.  We had a slight one after all the Halloween stuff started.  As the world got more and more exciting and changing for the mass chaos of the holidays, Rett retreated and left behind a shell of the boy we’re used to.   We have noticed that this also happens sometimes before skill bursts.


For this regression, I’m not sure what is going on. Which is almost more frustrating.  We started supplementing with vitamin B12 on January 18th.  I researched if that could have caused it. Most parents that supplement with vitamin b12 do injections but I did read about some slight regression before skill surge.   I also read some articles about how when the weather starts going from cold to warm back to cold, the pollen surge can create yeast increases in the digestive system.  I already figure that Rett has yeast issues since he’s had chronic constipation since he was 6 months old.  This brought me to the entire gluten free diet with probiotics and a whole overwhelming life change.  Not ready to go there yet.


For us, regression is movie talk.  Is almost complete script speech.  Its difficult getting and maintaining attention. Its a lot of ‘Look, Rett, do you want milk or juice, buddy?’ because if he doesn’t look at you first, he’ll never answer.  Its a lot of crashing and jumping and chewing on his clothes.  Its inappropriate laughter.  Its goofy grins in the mirror.  Its missing him. Because this little guy that lives in our house right now, he isn’t really Rett.


Regression isn’t always complete loss of skills.  Sometimes its just that the kid you know and love is gone for awhile, lost somewhere in his mind.  But he’ll be back soon.  We can’t wait.

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