Anke Zimmermann, BSc, FCAH
A Case of Emerging Autism
A 15-months old boy was seen in my office for an intial visit on Feb 1, 2014. He had received his 12-months shots of MMR, varicella, meningococcal and pneumococcal conjugate vaccines about nine weeks earlier on November 19, 2013.
(Note: The parents supplied the images and allowed me to publish them in the hopes of helping other children.)
Head-banging, hitting, black and green diarrhea, loss of speech
He also started hitting everyone and everything and needed to be carried constantly. He began grinding his teeth and developed blackish-green diarrhea.
He had been eating a great variety of food but now wanted only milk and meat. He also started to perspire heavily.
He stopped babbling altogether.
During the office visit he was very irritable, did not interact with me, needed to be held the whole time and kept banging his head against his parents.
Reaction from the Chickenpox Vaccine?
This child appeared to be developing autism symptoms. This is what the parents were thinking and I had to concur. In this case the eruptions around the injection sites were a suspicious trail to the origin of the problem. It is noteworthy that it took about three months from the time of the vaccination to the development of classic autism symptoms.
There is research to show that vaccines may not only trigger a local allergic or inflammatory reaction at the injection site but that the reaction can become systemic and affect many parts of the body, including the brain.
We immediately started Freddie on a few supplements, including vitamin C, 500 mg/day, ascorbyl palmitate, 500 mg/day, zinc, 10-15 mg/day, a good probiotic (Natren LifeStart) 1/4 tsp once a day, evening primrose oil, 2000 mg/day and a children’s chewable multi-vitamin twice a day.
Then he got Tuberculinum, 30CH, one dose to be administered the same day and repeated on Saturdays for the next month as a constitutional remedy and Saccharum officinalis, 6D, 2 pellets a day to support his digestive system. The parents were sent home with Varicella 30 C (a homeopathic remedy prepared from the varicella vaccine) to give 2 pellets on Mondays and Thursdays for two weeks, followed by Varicella 200 CH in the same manner for the following two weeks as his reaction appeared to be linked to the varicella shot.
Two days after our initial consult his mother wrote: “Yesterday we noticed that Freddie was happier and more interested in playing. He bumped his head only 3 times. His stool was still loose but he ate all his meals without any problems.” That was the Tuberculinum starting to work quickly and beautifully.
I chose this remedy because children who benefit from Tuberculinum often crave meat and milk, engage in head-banging and grind their teeth. It seemed like a good constitutional remedy to try for him.
On February 7 I received another update: "Yesterday we gave Freddie the first doses of Saccharum and Varicella 30 CH. After that he could not sleep well that night and was very itchy, arching his body and screaming a lot. Is it possible that only one dose of the remedy created such a change?"
As homeopaths we can all see an aggravation here, normally a positive sign. I advised to give Freddie Epsom salt and clay baths and to increase his ascorbyl palmitate to 1000 mg a day.
On February 24 another note: "Freddie is doing very well. We can see a huge change in his behaviour and he is eating without any problems. His stool is still loose, but the colour has changed back to a normal brown from the greenish-black colour before."
BCG Vaccine Twist
At the next office visit on March 1, a month after the initial consult, Freddie was like a different child. He smiled at me, laughed and was very engaging. The parents said: "It's like a miracle to us. Such a big change. We are very impressed. Now he is repeating words again and learning new words."
He had stopped grinding his teeth the day after his first dose of Tuberculinum and stopped banging his head until a couple of days ago. The eczema was also getting better.
Then, interestingly, his mother reported discovering that both her younger brother and herself were vaccinated with the BCG vaccine (a vaccine against tuberculosis) in Europe when they were only one month old.
Her brother started crying a lot after this vaccination and broke out in eruptions on his face. He was subsequently treated by a homeopath and recovered!
Tuberculinum and Autism
I have noticed in my practice that many children who developed adverse events after vaccinations have what we call a tubercular constitution in homeopathy.
This means that they likely had ancestors that were particularly badly affected by tuberculosis, which may have created some epigenetic changes making them more prone to adverse vaccine reactions.
Or perhaps they were more affected by TB because of some genetic predispositions, I'm not sure. In any case, Tuberculinum seems to be a particularly useful remedy for many of my little charges.
Return of Eye Contact, Clearing of Eczema
We gradually took Freddie through the next higher potencies of the Varicella vaccine remedy and he continued to improve until he had an aggravation with a fever on the 1M potency. Hi program was adjusted and he made even more progress after this healing crisis.
I saw Freddie again on April 12, ten weeks into homeopathic care and it was an amazing visit. His eye contact had developed into a steady gaze of great depth and intimacy, he smiled his glorious smile a lot, laughed and played joyfully throughout the appointment and was highly interactive.
His skin was about 80% cleared and if I had not known about his history I would not have suspected any autism issues at all.
His eating, digestion and perspiration were normal and the parents' only concern was that he seemed to lag a bit behind with his language, although it seemed age-appropriate for me. Freddie is the youngest child I have treated with symptoms of autism so far.
Other Substances Involved in this Case
After some time Freddie's progress stalled on the chickenpox vaccine remedy and I started him on a homeopathic version of the MMR vaccine, which improved him again. He originally had eruptions around both the Varicella and MMR injection sites, so there was another easy clue to the next vaccine to clear.
He continued to be make progress on the MMR vaccine remedy for several weeks and then the same thing happened with the Meningococcal and Pneumococcal shots and later we also cleared the Infanrix Hexa vaccines he had received at 2, 4 and 6 months. Whenever a remedy stopped working he would start toe-walking again and his sleep would deteriorate. He would also become more clingy and selective about his food.
Delayed Onset of Autism after Vaccination
What I learned from this case is that autism symptoms can develop weeks to months after vaccination, in this case it was three months. This is about right in regards to parent's common reports that their child started to regress at 15-18 months.
I think this kind of delayed onset is much more common if not the rule with autism and the main reason the connection with vaccines or other substances is so often missed. Rarely, a reaction occurs immediately after a vaccination with a high fever and quick regression but in my estimate that may only be the case in 3-5 % of children who develop autism. I think the rest undergo a slow auto-immune reaction which takes time to become fully apparent.
By the time Freddie was 2.5 he had essentially fully recovered. If anything he was doing better than other toddlers his age as he could already count to 12, knew all of his colours and even some letters.
At the time of this writing Freddie is now five years old and no longer needs to be under my care, although I recently spoke to his mother for an update. I am happy to report that he is very well, happy and healthy.
He is very social and exceptionally intelligent and just a great little boy. We were all extremely relieved to see him recover. My experience has been that the younger the child when I can see them, the faster they recover. Freddie was the youngest child with 'autism' I had seen up to that time. Older children can also improve and even recover but more slowly and not always as completely. I cannot urge parents strongly enough to start interventions as soon as possible. Don't wait for an assessment to do something, anything, or else pay for a private assessment if necessary. This child would have had to wait 6-12 months for a formal assessment, but that time it would have been much harder to recover him.
Fortunately all went well with Freddie.
"We snatched him away from the devil just in time," were his father's words the last time I saw the family.
Update: It is now September 2023 and Freddie has continued to be a happy, healthy, highly intelligent and in all respects totally normal and neurotypical child who is enjoying his life and is a joy to his family.
Anke Zimmermann, BSc, FCAH, Classical and Modern Homeopathy
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Anke Zimmermann, BSc, FCAH is a professional homeopath with a special interest in children with developmental and behavioural concerns. Cases are all from her practice. Names have been changed to protect privacy. The cases were published with permission and are intended for education only. They are not intended as medical advise or solicitation. Homeopathy treats the person, not the condition.
Anke Zimmermann, BSc, FCAH
Classical and Modern Homeopathy
Sooke, BC, Canada
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