My son was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), an autism spectrum at age 4. He had speech and developmental delay. At the advice of the public-school system, I enrolled him in their special preschool program. It was supposed to help with his speech and language development, but by kindergarten, his symptoms were worse. He showed behavioral problems that were not there before. I knew something was wrong and that the Speech-Language program the school provided for him was not helping. I didn’t know what to do.
I met Ms. Cheri Moore in 2012. She was the substitute teacher for my son’s class for a few months. I met her later after she was no longer his teacher when I signed up my girls whom I homeschooled for their yearly achievement testing. I became hopeful when she told me, “I know what’s wrong with your son.” She came and assessed him and suggested a consult with an ENT and Audiologist. The doctor discovered that he had enlarged tonsils and adenoids, which were surgically removed in June 2012. No wonder he snored so loudly and hung his head at the side of the bed when sleeping; he couldn’t breathe from the adenoids blocking his airway. The initial visit with the audiologist confirmed Ms. Moore’s assessment. My son was diagnosed with Auditory Hypersensitive Disorder. Not only did he have painful hearing (sound intolerance), but the adenoids were causing a mild hearing loss.
With encouragement from Ms. Moore, I decided to homeschool him. The sounds at school were too much for him to handle. No wonder he had so much rage when he got home from school; the noise from the bus, the school bell, the kids talking, etc. was too loud for him. He was overwhelmed by it all! He thought others were hurting him on purpose.
He received his first AIT program the summer of 2012, with subsequent treatments until July of 2013. Slowly, his behavior started changing. No longer did he need to be put in “time out” due to tantrums or rage. He showed appropriate social behaviors during large gatherings. By the summer of 2013, he finally enjoyed watching fireworks without clutching to me with wide eyes from fear or crying from the sound of explosion. The sounds didn’t hurt him anymore. It was an unforgettable moment.
By first grade, I noticed that he skipped lines or words while reading. He would rub his eyes and yawn early in the morning despite having a good nights’ sleep. Ms. Moore suggested he see a Behavioral Optometrist. The doctor found four problems with his vision: Fixation Dysfunction, Saccadic Dysfunction, Binocular Dysfunction and Refractive Amblyopia. Vision Therapy was recommended, but due to financial difficulties and my background in O.T., I completed vision exercises with him at home. He was prescribed corrective glasses which he didn’t like at first. After a few months, he showed improvements with his eye-hand coordination and balance. No longer was he falling and tripping on flat surfaces. He now enjoyed playing ball with his friends. With the demands of homeschooling three children, I was unable to continue with the vision exercises we were doing. After a year of wearing his prism glasses, his behavioral optometrist discontinued its’ use. Yeah! I thought we would not have to worry about the cost of in-office vision therapy.
Concerned about my son’s continuing stuttering, I asked for help again from Mrs. Moore. She noted eczema like rashes on the inside of both his elbows. She asked about his diet and recommended that he be seen by a specialist to check on allergies and nutritional health. I was so dismayed at the test results. My son, who looked healthy and was on the chubby side, was malnourished, even though I was giving him vitamins daily. He had leaky-gut syndrome and so was not absorbing nutrients from food. He had so many food allergies including eggs, milk, gluten, and nuts. It took months for the doctor to clean yeast/fungal overgrowth of the gastrointestinal tract. They found low levels of neurotransmitter that was much needed by his growing brain. I would never have known these underlying problems had it not been from the expertise of Ms. Moore. Surprisingly, his speech became more fluent after we changed his diet.
By fourth grade, he continued to exhibit difficulty with reading comprehension and higher cognitive tasks. Mrs. Moore shared additional information helping me better understand that his speech fluency difficulties may be related to his continuing visual processing difficulties. I had him evaluated again by a behavioral optometrist recommended by Ms. Moore. He was prescribed with prism glasses and received in-office vision therapy for more than a year to lift his visual suppression and teach his eyes to work together. I had no idea that the in-home program fails to lift visual suppression. What a bummer. Thankfully, his speech became even more fluent.
Today, my son is a thriving 7th grader who loves Latin and Drama. He continues to be homeschooled and is an A/B student. He takes piano and clarinet lessons. He is a member of the intermediate band at the home school coop and recently participated in District Chorus Concert. He loves to play basketball and is now learning tennis. He is no longer falls apart when in loud, social events. Sometimes he struggles to say the right word. Cheri is recommending one more AIT program, at no charge, now that his eyes are working together. Wow! His last program was six years ago.
I was a mom who knew something was wrong with my son but did not know where to go. Ms. Moore was the guiding hand that directed us to find out the underlying reason for my son’s problems. Because of AIT, my son’s behavior is not dictated by his reaction to sounds. With Ms. Moore, we found professionals who helped him recover not only from auditory deficits but visual deficits as well. Ms. Moore is compassionate and kindhearted. Her dedication to her clients is unmatched. My son is getting the chance to live to his full potential, because of her expertise and tenacity. I thank the Lord for bringing her into our lives.
God Answers Prayers, Virginia (2011-2019)