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As I sat and watched two year old Adam and a psychologist play on the floor of our living room, I never expected what came next, a diagnosis of autism and possible cognitive delays was issued in a sympathetic, but dry, clinical manner. I didn't believe her. I took him to our pediatrician, than another psychologist, then another. I made an appointment with a prominent developmental pediatrician, feeling lucky to have only six months to wait to see her. Autism. No one had answers.

Meanwhile, Adam was not talking, made barely any eye contact, had a tantrum every time we changed activities, spent hours opening and closing doors and rocking his brother's empty baby swing. I felt depressed and scared. I signed him up for all the recommended therapies and he started attending a special needs preschool. I didn't see much progress. The diagnosis felt like a life sentence. It seemed impossible that there was little anyone could do. I felt like we fell into a dark hole. There was no one to talk to, no one to help. I was desperate.

I started reading everything - books, articles, websites. I attended dozens of lectures given by various specialists. I tried to learn as much as I could. It took me a couple of months of hardcore research before I first heard about the gluten- and casein-free diet. Not much information was available on the subject in 2004. I called our pediatrician to see what he thought. He told me not to waste my time; I was only setting myself up for more heartache. But what's a little more heartache when you're already in such a dark place with no way out? I took all dairy out of Adam's diet. My parents, horrified, expected his bones to crumble imminently.

We didn't expect what happened next. A month after we started the diet, my husband was on the phone with my mother-in-law, talking about Adam's lack of progress. Just at that moment, Adam walked into the room and said "Daddy, who is on the phone?" Chills ran down my spine. Adam was just days shy of three.

Immediately, I began the process of transitioning him off gluten. For sure, it is no easy task. But before long, the tantrums became much less frequent and much, much shorter in duration. Adam's expressive language and eye contact drastically improved, and his self-stimming behaviors decreased. By three and a half he had lost his diagnosis (per his developmental pediatrician), but to my eye, he still was far from neuro-typical.

The next step was homotoxicology. Here is where we really dug in and did the hard work. I found Mary Coyle online, purely by accident. Her gentle, natural and very effective approach to detox made sense. She supported Adam's organs, added all the nutrients he had been missing, made sure that he was eliminating toxins properly and virtually washed the autism out of his system.

Each month we saw an improvement. His wandering eye finally straightened out. His language became more fluid and natural. He started to express himself purely from his own thoughts. Once we got the heavy metals out of his system, he became agreeable, willing to follow suggestions, no longer rigid and controlling. It was a slow rebirth of the child I always knew him to be, the one he could be.

Adam mainstreamed into Pre-K and has never looked back. He is well-liked and sociable. He has a great sense of humor. He is empathic and considerate. But the thing that makes me happiest is the way he now looks directly at me with those beautiful brown eyes.

When Adam was first diagnosed, I had no one to turn to. It took me months to find the answers to start helping Adam recover. Every day that went by, was a day lost forever in a race for my child's healthy future.

Once Adam lost his diagnosis, I found that I had a passion and a duty to give to others families the gift that was given to me… a healthy child. I contacted Columbia University and applied to their Health Counseling program facilitated by the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. After becoming certified, I continued in the health counseling immersion graduate program and additionally studied at the International Institute of Homotoxicology and with Mary Coyle.

The ASD recovery program that I subsequently developed encompasses the basics of the foundation of health—a healing diet, nutritional and organ support and an effective form of detoxification. Helping families feel supported and informed is my way of paying back for the gift that was given to me all those years ago.