As with most autistic children, Jenny says she noticed that Evan's personality seemed to be locked inside him—and she was determined to get him out. She began scouring the Internet, where she read recovery stories and discovered treatment options.
One treatment Jenny decided to try was a change in eating habits. She immediately started eliminating gluten and casein, found in wheat and dairy products, from Evan's diet. "In two weeks to three weeks—and this isn't for everyone, to get a reaction like this—Evan doubled his language," she says. "[There was] eye contact, smiling, more affection."
To help Evan learn to play with toys as other children do, Jenny tried another approach—video modeling and play therapy. Because Evan didn't know how to play catch, Jenny showed him a video of her catching a ball. From that day on, Jenny says he was into the game. She used play therapy to help him learn in other ways. "A lot of kids on the [autism] spectrum, including Evan, would take [a toy] car and just line them up or turn them upside down and just [spin the wheels]," she says. "So play therapy literally is teaching him that the car can go on an adventure."
With the help of these treatments, Jenny says 5-year-old Evan is making great strides. "I consider him in recovery. There's still things we need to work on—seizures, stuff with abstract understanding, but for the most part he's a typical child in normal school," she says. While these therapies worked for Evan, Jenny emphasizes that it might not work for every child with autism. "I'm just a mom telling a story of other moms. We want to share it and say our kids do get better," she says. "[It's like] chemotherapy. It doesn't work for every cancer victim, but you know what? You're going to give it a try."