Monday, August 11, 2014

Meet Emily: A Female Aspie Reconnect Testimony

My daughter has aspergers (autism). Often girls on the spectrum go undiagnosed until the teenage years. At that time they begin to manifest anxiety, depression and/or OCD. And this was true with our story too. 

(This is something dear to my heart.... and I will be posting more about this topic: Female Autism!! over the next several months!)

In elementary school Emily had missed a lot of school because of her social anxiety. She was isolated most of the time and we had a difficult time not only getting her to school, but outside into the neighborhood to play with her peers. She had obsessive repetitive behavior, some paranoia, unfocused, hyper social skills, and poor academic performance. She was doing 1st and 2nd grade work in the 4th grade. I begged the school system to help us with her and get her intervention... with no success. In fact, we were told it was a psychiatric issue and need to take her to get evaluated and put on meds. That is when we pulled her out of the school system to home school. We found YLEO during that 5th grade year when we home schooled her.

When we introduced Young Living essential oils in our home we had favorable results. We diffused peppermint and used brain power during “school time”. She was able to catch up during that acedemic year. We moved the following summer and put her into a new school district where she began to thrive.

That fall we tweaked her oil regimen (added a couple oils including rutavala and the NEW Ningxia Red), we had AMAZING results!!! Her anxiety and OCD symptoms reduced immensely within 10 days!! (She will even tell you, she doesn't like who she is without these essential oils.)

A year ago we started using a new blend with her under the guidance of Gary Young (founder & Ceo of Young Living Essential Oils) and we noticed she started developing authentic friendships, advocating for herself, and she developed even more effective coping skills. Her executive functioning started to improve as well. And her eye contact became impeccable. One morning she asked me to look at her. She told me that it was no longer painful to look me in the eye. She said she used to feel like people were looking through her right into her soul.

She no longer has to go through her morning 'ritual' to get out the door to school. In fact, for the first time in 15 years, I actually have to tell her to pick up her room.... epic!! Her Anxiety did increase when we took her off of the rutavala and exclusively to use the Reconnect blend. Gary told me to try to push through it, but we resorted to using it again along with this blend.

This seems to be the perfect combination for her. THANK YOU YOUNG LIVING for giving me a safe alternative for my child that allows her not only to function, but to flourish without harmful medications!!!
Susan Richardson

Happy Birthday Sahara

We witnessed yesterday the true meaning of YL's New RECONNECT Oil!! One of the most amazing things Jim and I noted about Sahara's 10th birthday is that typically.... on birthdays, holidays, family gatherings, and play dates... Sahara usually stays engaged for about 10 minutes, then retreats to her bedroom away from the commotion... happy to know they are here, but comfortable in her quiet space. She will pop back down for a couple minutes periodically, but she just can't handle more than that. Yesterday she remained ENGAGED without prompts the WHOLE time... not only that, but the party kept going and going.... for 4 hours!! After her friends left, she remained engaged with the teens for another 4 hours!! EPIC!! Thank You Gary Young for reaching out to my family and community... You are making a huge impact on #Autism and our daughter IS RECONNECTING!! #YLEO #YLReconnect #YLConvention
Happy 10th Birthday Princess Sahara!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Meet Sahara - YL Reconnect Testimony

Sahara is 10 years old. She was 4 years old when she was diagnosed with classic infantile autism. She was non-verbal and catatonic 80-90% of the time. We were told to go home and prepare for institutionalization because of the severity of her autism. The diagnosing psychologist told us she would she would never talk, have meaningful relationships, live independently, attend a public school, have gainful employment, etc. No mother should hear that about her 4 year old!!

Over the next 2 years we started addressing dietary needs – removed artificial colorings & dyes, high fructose corn syrup, & most preservatives.. and played with the gluten free casein free diet. We also removed common household chemicals from our home and integrated non-conventional means to address the autism like reiki (energy work) and focused mediation. Within 5 months life the 'fog' was lifting. She gained about 10 functional words. She successfully began using pictures to communicate. And was enrolled in mainstream kindergarten with a para-professional.
When Sahara was 6, we learned about a group of central Ohio moms who were using Young Living Essential Oils with their kids on the autism spectrum. Although we were skeptical.... we decided to give it a try. Within 5 days of trying Brain Power we saw amazing 'shifts' … an increase in attention span, more cognitively present, fleeting eye contact, a couple new expressive words and improved receptive communication. Not only that, BUT the professionals working with her noticed too (OT, PT and Intervention Specialist). We decided to give it 90 days....
Well, it has been 3 ½ years and Sahara's life is already forever changed!! Over time, we integrated many young living essential oils and oil combinations in addition to these. We were positive this was the cornerstone of her sudden progress. She started talking more and more. Her Sensory issues were lessening. Her socialization was blooming. Every aspect of her autism changed for the good.
However, this past year, we began using YL Reconnect. It has been the year of milestones. She went from talking in 2-3 word fragments to holding 20 minute plus functional, expressive conversations. Scripting is gone. She used to make this constant high pitched humming oral stim noise.. soon after starting this new oil blend, she asked me to listen. And it was deafening quiet. I said, “What happened?” She replied, “It just stopped. No more (and she demonstrated the noise).” About 3 months into the new oil she was walking down the side walk and told me that everyone could talk and their mouths worked. Then she said, “My mouth works now too. It's not broken. I am a genius, Mom. I am a genius!” She thought her mouth was broken because she was nonverbal!! She had the thoughts, the words... all the time, but just couldn't get them out!! That is profound. And the communication this demonstrates awareness is even more profound.
Her memory recall improved within weeks of beginning the new oil. She started asking us if we remembered things we did and experiences we had when she was catatonic.
We updated her IEP (individual education plan) in May 2013. The education team expressed their concerns about the goals and objectives I was advocating for. We finally compromised, however they still felt I was setting her up for failure. We started the new blends in July 2013. School resumed in August. The previous summer break she had marked regression in her academics. This time she had retained the information and made improvements from Spring. Not only that, but we had to update the IEP with an addendum because of the goals (that were supposed to be too high) were met by Christmas break.
Her sensory issues are 90% resolved. Her clothes and the rain.. used to hurt her skin... in fact, I couldn't go in the rain because she thought it hurt me too and a meltdown would ensue. She used to be naked all the time because of her sensory issues. NOW, she wears her clothes everyday and loves to play in the rain. 
Her obsessive compulsive behavior has improved too. You know that autistic kids need routines. When we go the store.. we have to walk in the same pattern of the store each and every time. One day soon after starting the new blend she went to the store with me and not only didn't have to walk the same path of the store, but it was self initiated!!
Since starting Reconnect oil her appetite has increased a lot. And she is making better food selections. (this is a child who only ate 6-10 consistent foods her whole life). So to start eating new foods is epic.
The morning I started Reconnect I put 12 drops in the home diffuser and ran it before she woke up, then I put another 12 drops in and ran it while she played in her room. By that evening my husband and I were discussing how differently her cognition, attention, and speech was that day. It was as if it went to a new level over the course of the day.
Today, Sahara is not institutionalized as recommended.. she is thriving in public school with an aide, and doing many things we were told she would not... YLEO is the cornerstone of her intervention at this time!!! 
We were told she would never talk, and today she can hold functional expressive conversations!!! When you hear & see your previously catatonic and nonverbal child talking and thriving in every area of autism that effected her from sensory issues to cognition, you can't help but get excited about how YLEO has forever changed your lives – her life!! I want that for other kids and families!!!!
I know we still have a long way to go, but I am no longer hopeless about her future. I think about the strides we have made in just 3 ½ years and just know that our long term goal of our daughter will achieving an outstanding, meaningful, productive life is a reality!!!
Thank you Young Living and Gary Young for all you do.
Susan Richardson

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Reconnect Testimony: Meghan's Story

Have you ever had that moment when you realized that you have been holding your breath…and you finally take that breath but you feel like you can't really trust yourself to remember to breathe, which of course is an involuntary function, but you still just can't trust it? So, you obsess over every inhale and exhale? Well, that is our story. Meghan's story.

In the summer of 2001 we welcomed our second child Caden into our lives. His big sister Madelyn was over the moon excited to meet him and so were we. Our family seemed complete. A little girl and a little boy just over a year apart. Caden was just six weeks old when I began feeling overtired and sluggish. Of course, I am the mother of a young family and that's what happens. When it didn't go away I decided to go to the doctor for a check up and routine blood work thinking that maybe my iron levels were low. Later that day I received a call from the lab congratulating me, I was pregnant ~ Again!

Not only were we surprised and in shock, but so was my body. It didn't seem quite ready to be pregnant again. While my husband and I were trying to wrap our heads around this, I was dragging through my days and I have to say that I had very few good days with this pregnancy. At almost 26 weeks my water broke, we were terrified and 50 miles away from my doctor and hospital. We made it to the hospital on that Saturday afternoon and they were able to hold off her delivery until Monday. After nearly three days, she couldn't wait any longer and at 1:35 pm on February 11, 2002 we met our baby, Meghan Gabrielle. She was born 1 pound 15 ounces but she was very fragile as the cord had been wrapped around her neck four times and with minimal amniotic fluid to cushion the force of the contractions she was in trouble. By the time she made it to the NICU she was under 1 pound.

For the next two and a half months we held our breath.

With all of the complications that she had due to her prematurity, miraculously, she had no signs of permanent damage and she seemed to be thriving. The NICU doctor had informed us that developmentally she may be behind by a few months but would eventually catch up and by age two she did. Although she was and is still small for her age she continues to prove to us how strong she is and there isn't anything that she can't do if she puts her mind to it. We always tell her that she may be mini but she's mighty. This mindset proves to be important for her ability to face the multitude of adversity that lay ahead for her.

The specialist at the hospital also had spoken to us about the possibilities of her showing signs of ADD, ADHD, Cerebral Palsy, Learning Disabilities, and Mental or Emotional Disorders.

She was almost three and she was perfect. No worries, we had beaten the odds.


Then she turned four and we enrolled her in preschool. Every mommy knows the anxiety that we experience sending our babies off without us and we know that it can be equally as hard on our children. At first we chalked it up to the fact that Meghan had never really been away from me because I own a daycare and I have been blessed to be home with her up until now. The separation anxiety that she seemed to be experiencing was overwhelming to say the least. It was heartbreaking.

Slowly we worked through it but everyday was a struggle and everyday we had to start over. Instead of progressing and working through the anxiety it only seemed to get worse. Any event that she would look forward to such as dressing up for Halloween or going to the zoo or a trip to see her grandparents in Cincinnati would cause a meltdown. When it would come time to get ready it would start. Her clothes seemed to be made of fire and she would scream and pull them off. If a brush touched her hair she would almost convulse and all the while punching and yelling with this guttural, blood curdling, throat burning scream. Who was she? Her face would change and I didn't recognize her. There was no calming her down or rationalizing. Once the episode started no one had control over when it would stop, not even her. It became so emotionally paralyzing that she would barely leave the house.

Fast forward to age seven. It came to the point that when she was having an episode it was becoming increasingly violent towards me, my husband and especially her older sister. She would break or try to destroy anything in her path and when it was over she was physically exhausted and sometimes she couldn't remember what had happened. She would become almost giddy afterwards and be almost in a manic, euphoric state. We would talk to her teachers and try to give them some insight on her behavior patterns at home in an effort to gain some perspective, but always their response is that they have never seen that side of her and can't believe we are speaking about the same child. She is a straight A+ student (not just an A student) and it seems to be effortless for her. Seems to be is the operative phrase here. Because you see, she also suffers from extreme OCD and is an unrelenting perfectionist. Unless you are talking about her brushing her hair or changing her clothes. I know, it makes no sense to me either. We finally decided to take her to see a pediatric psychologist and then a psychiatrist. Of course, their mainstream form of treatment consists of drugs first, a little therapy, a little higher dose of more drugs, a five minute session with the doctor every month and "Let's just stop this medicine and start her on this new and different drug." UGH!!

So, for the next two and a half years we held our breath.

When she was ten and the doctor had changed her medication again she was becoming depressed and acting out in ways that we hadn't seen before. What did we expect? She had been on seven different medications by this point. This time she tried to cut herself. Her daddy grabbed the knife from her and we all collapsed to the floor together and held each other and sobbed for what seemed like forever. I was crying for the daughter that I thought I was losing and I knew that we were not equipped to handle any episodes of this magnitude. The next day we had to admit her to the Children's Hospital in the psychiatric ward. That was the hardest thing I have ever done as a parent. I was determined to make changes, whatever it took. We ended up changing doctors and he has been a God sent. We changed her medications but with the end goal in mind to get her off of the synthetic drugs and on to natural supplements instead but it is a process.

Meghan is twelve and she is still struggling. She seems so full of anger, like a powder keg waiting for a spark. I have tried to explain her outbursts to friends but it isn't quite the same as witnessing it, as my friend Carrie would find out. One morning before school Meghan and I were battling as usual because I asked her to brush her hair and I was trying to pull it into a pony tail. She was screaming and hollering obscenities at me and Carrie had come in and heard her. I didn't know until later how much that had effected my friend. Just weeks before I had attended a special event that Carrie had organized where the keynote speaker was Susan Richardson. I was so touched by her story and I sat with tears in my eyes as she spoke because I knew ~ she gets it. Little did I know how much that event would touch our lives. I had recently been introduced to Young Living Oils by Carrie and was using them at home with my family. I had the chance to meet and speak with Susan and briefly explain my daughter's issues. It was then that I first heard about the "mommy driveby". She gave me some valuable information about the oil that worked for her ~ Vetiver. I put it on my list right away and couldn't wait for it to be back in stock. In the meantime I was using Peace and Calming and Valor and Joy on a regular basis with my family and especially Meghan. (When she would let me.) After Carrie witnessed Meghan's episode up close and personal she called to ask if she could stop by that evening to talk to me. I can't even tell you how I felt when she revealed the reason for her visit. She had spoken to Susan and wanted to offer the Reconnect Blend for us to use in the trial. God works in mysterious ways for sure. For as much as I wanted to keep Meghan's meltdowns behind closed doors, it was because Carrie witnessed it that our guardian angels were revealed.

We began using it right away along with Valor. I won't lie…sometimes she still refuses to put it on when she is in the height of an outburst but when she applies it regularly, dare I say, it works!

If I wasn't sure before, I can tell you this. It was the last week of school and my little OCD perfectionist had no less than five big assignments due. I made sure that she applied her oils every morning and after school that week and she got through those projects like a pro. I don't think I could have done it. The one time that we had a huge, full-blown episode I was completely discouraged and deflated until I realized that she hadn't applied the oils for the past two days (I had left it up to her to do on her own). That was it. We got back on track and we have been steady ever since. She is completely off all medications and only taking natural supplements and using the oils regularly. Her life, our life, is changing for the better and I feel that Young Living has had a significant impact on that. Now, I'm not saying that things are perfect. She is definitely still a work in progress, but aren't we all?
But now, we can breathe…

Thank you Young Living ~ Kelly & Meghan

Monday, July 28, 2014

#1 Reconnect Autism Testimony

Reconnect Testimony (This is from a mom who was not previously using essential oils prior to our field study!)

I am the mother of a 12 year old boy named Logan that we adopted as an infant. When we adopted him at 7 weeks old we knew he had some medical issues. Over the years new diagnosis' would occur. His first was a traumatic brain injury, then cerebral palsy and on to sensory processing disorder. As a toddler we add anxiety disorder. In kindergarten comes the ADHD diagnosis and that is also when we learn he has short term memory loss. Then OCD. At 11 finally autism, which we suspected from a neatly age.

Over the years Logan has needed speech, physical, occupational and phycological therapy. This spring we started him on antidepressants to help him with his anxiety. All Logan's symptoms amplified. He now became very afraid, thought everyone was out to get him and his OCD went through the roof. Logan wasn't able to make it to lunch time at school without having a meltdown. He was having multiple meltdowns in a day. The day he told me in his 11 year old voice that he wanted to kill himself is the day I knew changes needed to be made. We immediately took him off his antidepressants. We talked to other people to get advice on how to help Logan.

It was during this time that a caring teacher of Logan's heard about Young Living and the work they were doing with autism and kids. She approached the distributor and shared about Logan. The distributor requested a meeting with me for May 29th. Now, if I didn't have so much respect for this teacher I would have never gone to hear this hokey pokey stuff. But I did go. I listened to the distributor talk about Mr Young's personal story, about the company and how the oils got there start. She shared about another mothers struggle to help her daughter with autism. She told me she had one sample bottle from the company. It was intended for another family and the same day my sons teacher approached her the other family decided not to give it a try. I decided it was worth trying and was sent home with Valor and (Reconnect Oil Blend) and instructions on how to use them.

Now my real challenge began. If you know anything about autistic kids, they don't like change. I had to convince my son to give it a try. I was instructed to use Valor in the evening and both oils in the morning. So I went home with some doubt. That night I convinced my son (actually threatened to ground him from his electronics) and put the oil on. He went from protesting and yelling at me to protesting in a normal voice in just a few minutes. I told him the oils must be working already and he asked me how I knew. I told him he stopped yelling and calmed down. He realized he did and went to sleep without another word. The next morning he pulled those little feet out from the covers and request me to "put on my oils". That day he had a really great day at school. The first time in a long time. After school he had speech therapy for an hour. I asked the therapist how he did. She said "he did good, no, he did better than good". I was happy. But could this have just been a good day for Logan? I just didn't know. My husband and I kept hashing this out saying it couldn't be just the oils. He had a great day Saturday. It happened again, a great day Sunday too. Even when he got switched to a new Sunday school class he did great. This continued into the next school week and we were amazed. I'm not saying he was "perfect" but a whole lot better. We went from 7-10 big meltdowns in a week to only one. That meltdown happened at school when another child was picking on him.

Logan only had the oils for the last week of school but it was the best week in the entire school year. Autistic kids do not like change but change is what Logan experienced that last week. From class trips to assemblies and field fun day. It was amazing to hear my son interacting with typical kids on field day. Logan typically would have avoided this activity at all costs. That day he participated in every event. Something unheard of in Logan's world. That last day of school, Logan did have a melt down after school. It took a while but Logan was finally able to express his feelings. After school it had dawned on him that he would not longer be attending the same school and would not see his old teachers again. This hit him hard emotionally.

The day after school was out Logan had an occupational therapy appointment. When that appointment was over the therapist came to me with a big smile on her face. She said Logan had the best session ever. He wanted to start right away, kept focus, did not get upset when he did work wrong and behaved like a champ. It was then I told her about the oils and she was amazed.

I have noticed a relationship change between Logan and his older sister. They are playing together more and a lot of laughing is going on. I asked his big sis what she thought and in her teenager words she said "Logan's not a jerk anymore and he is more fun to be with. Those oils are helping him a lot". She has become a Valor user herself as she suffers from scoliosis and wears a back brace to bed every night. The first night she she used it she was amazed how quickly she fell asleep and did not wake till morning.

I know my husband likes the new Logan. That next weekend he took Logan to stay at the cottage. On the way home he realized he forgot the oils there but it was already late. The next day after work he made the hour drive right back to the lake to get Logan's oils.

The best part is Logan knows the oils are helping. When he feels more stressed he will ask for an extra dose of Valor. This is where we have adjusted the oils for him. On days that the air pressure drops, Logan suffers more. This happens with kids who have traumatic brain injuries. We just increase the oils from twice a day to 3 times a day.

In 2 weeks time I've gone from not believing in this hokey pokey stuff to becoming a distributor. As a family we look forward to trying other products. I feel much better giving my children something natural than drugs with such harsh side effects.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Splash!! Zoombezibay Autism Style

10 things about our Zoombezibay (water park attached to our local zoo) trip that were notable today!!

1. Sahara can wait in line without prompting or support !! When did this self control and awareness happen?

2. Self advocacy Rocks.. she verbally asked the life guards the rules and corresponded with many of the lifeguards about how she was feeling and what she was doing.

3. Sahara' gross motor skills improved... as demonstrated by her deliberate moves on the rope course.

4. Okay.... Nuerotypcial kids sometimes push my buttons... where are the manners of children today!?! Cutting lines. Staring. Pushing. Yes, My Mama Bear flared a bit.

5. Can a water park be too wet? Holy splashing and spraying and squirting in the new kids area... which tells us that sensory issues are resolved. TY Young Living!!

6. EPIC -- Sahara went down the big water slides in the double raft with me.... HOLY COW!! I have put this off for 3 years bc of communication barriers and core strength issues. She screamed, "We are going to dieeeee!!" The whole way!! When we got to the end she said, "Emily, that was so cool!!" 

7. When you see a child have a meltdown, staring does not help. Nor does reporting the parent to security.... apparently we need more awareness in our community. Bc someone apparently thinks me standing near my child, talking softly, making sure there is no self injurious behavior or danger near by... is questionable behavior. After I explained to the security gal that she was having an autistic meltdown, she smiled and walked away... but the woman who reported me stood there glaring at me.. really!?!?! Because a screaming and crying child is so novel?

8. Said meltdown was precipitated by a mock drowning in the wave pool.... training lifeguards, which freaked her out... writing them a letter to better make the public with impressionable children and concrete thinking children can be removed from that scene!!

9. Thank God for YL Lavender Essential Oil.... used on Emily's bruises she acquired while chasing Sahara during the meltdown. And again used in the car... to which she stopped screaming within 2 minutes of Emily wafting it to the back seat.

10. Finally, I have the patience of a saint.... taking an autie and an aspie who are over tired to the water park.

Monday, July 7, 2014

I am Back ... Autism and YL Essential Oils Journey!!

I have taken a long time off from blogging.... that happens in the world of Autism. Life is busy. Lack of Sleep Exhausts you. IEP Meetings Consumes you. Therapy. Advocacy. And, Oh, the list goes on...... But some amazing things have happened I want to share and I am feeling a huge pull to start writing again. So I am back!! 

I want more than anything to help inspire other families on the autism spectrum to know there is hope!! That was why I started this blog in the first place. (Aside it was free therapy in those early years....)

I have been all about Natural Approaches to health and wellness... and of course AUTISM. And One of the things I have been really embraced over the years is the integration of Young Living Essential Oils into my home and with my daughters on the Autism Spectrum (classic infantile autism and aspergers)... what an amazing journey this has been!!

It has been 1 week since I came home from the Young Living Convention in Utah... and I am still on a high!!! For those of you who don't follow me on facebook... Over the past year I have been collaborating with the founder of Young Living, Gary Young, about autism!! (Amazing, huh!?!?) 

Last year he heard about our story through the YL grapevine and called ME (wow) and asked what I needed... I told him to help to me help Sahara and we would take the information to the masses and help other kids on the spectrum!! And he said OKAY.

So, Over the year I have gained so much respect for Gary and his team.. their brilliance, compassion and dedication not just to Essential Oils... but to the Autism Community... My Community... My Daughters' Community!! And that means more than anything!!!

This past year has been the year of milestones for autism in our home... we were on essential oil blends that Gary specifically blended for Sahara ... they were not yet available to the public. I kept it quiet partly because I felt bad we had something others couldn't access.. but now you can!!

I swear I want to go on roof tops and tell everyone what these oils have done for us.... and other kiddos who were able to also try these oils over the past year!!! 

Last week, I told 9,000 people at the YL International Convention our Autism and YL story... I guess that is a good start!!! I cannot wait until Sahara is old enough to understand how she has impacted this community and how that is going to ripple out to the masses!!

I am so excited that the RECONNECT COLLECTION was released at convention and now everyone can have access to the oils we are using!! God is so Good and has definitely had a hand in this journey... I am so full of gratitude. I know we have a long way to go... but we are on the right path!!! xxoo

It feels good to be back!!

Next Post... What is this Reconnect Collection and How can it Help your Family too!!