A Families Autism Journey

Ten years ago, my husband and I were just getting started on our families Autism journey. At that point in time our son was three years old, our daughter was two, and we were just coming to terms with both of them being diagnosed with Autism. Of course, at that time we started all of the therapy services that we could. I thrust myself into an informational frenzy; reading every article and statistic I could find. I was so determined to help my children succeed to the best of their ability, yet at no point in time did I have any clue how this journey was actually going to go. 

If someone would have told me that in ten years, I would not only be using plant medicine and medical marijuana to treat my children, but that I would also become a vocal advocate for this type of treatment, I probably would have laughed them off. And it’s not that I didn’t believe in marijuana as medication, I just didn’t see it becoming a legal option in the future. I also, at that point, didn’t have my children on any medication and my goal was to keep it that way. However, the intensity of my son’s aggression and meltdowns wasn’t anything I could have expected or prepared for either. 

So, in July 2019, after three years of trying pharmaceutical medications that resulted in numerous side effects and very minimal benefits, my husband and I decided to get our son his medical marijuana patient card. This option had just become available in June 2018 with the passage of SQ 788, and even though there was very little information from other parents using this option and even less support from our medical professionals, we knew there had to be a better treatment for our son than what we had been doing.  

When we began our medical marijuana journey, I really had no education or understanding of this plant; I honestly just kind of dove in head first. I joined every Facebook group I could find and just started posting and asking questions. I searched every article and read every study I could find about cannabinoids, the endocannabinoid system, and using marijuana as medicine. I learned about the difference between isolate and full spectrum; I learned about 1:1 strains as well as incorporating CBD in his daily regimen. 

The most beneficial thing I did along this journey was keeping a medical journal. Any product I purchased, I would get the medical testing results for and I kept it all in a binder; writing down how my son reacted and what behavior changes we saw after consumption. This helped me tremendously, especially when we hit our first rough patch a year into treatment. 

Around June of 2020, my son began to increase his maladaptive behaviors and his meltdowns were becoming very intense with property destruction and self-harming. I believe a good majority of this behavior was from puberty, but we also had numerous routine changes, including a major reduction in his therapy hours, from the impact of COVID-19. 

It was during this time, that I came into contact with a local company named GnuPharma, which offered me an opportunity to try a new product they had been developing specifically for children like my son. I was beyond excited and jumped at this chance. 

With the feedback I provided, GnuPharma was able to fine tune their amazing product into a tincture that they called Focus by TrueMedX. TrueMedX is GnuPharma’s brand.  This tincture has absolutely been life changing for my son and it’s a product we currently use almost a year later because of the consistent benefits it provides. 

Upon starting this product, my son went 70 days without any property destruction or self-harming while he was at home; which up to this point in his life, had never happened before. We noticed he was able to attend tasks for longer periods of time without getting distracted or off track. His therapy center began to comment on how well his behavior was during his therapy sessions, especially his eye contact. We have even had several instances where my son was humming a song and attempting to say words, and not only that, but I began to notice that his pattern of regression in skills was beginning to improve. 

As time went on, we did have a few months of sleep disruption with this new medication. However, with a little trial and error, I was able to adjust his dosage to where we have very little sleep disturbance. So, as of today my son’s medicine regimen consists of 0.5mg Focus tincture given on the weekdays, Saturday is usually his off day from all medication (unless of course he’s having a bad day and needs a small dose of his THC tincture), and Sunday we use the TrueMedX Rest & Relax tincture that is also made by GnuPharma. 

We have followed this regimen for the last several months and it has allowed us to really cut back on my son’s THC intake to where we only use that as needed when my son is having an increase in agitation, because after all, everyone has a bad day here and there. 

After seeing the success my son has had with this product, I did start my youngest daughter on the Focus Plus version of the product line; she currently takes a half tablet daily. My daughter is considered to be in the moderate level of the Autism Spectrum, so she did not have as much disruptive behaviors as my son, but she has always struggled with her academics and being able to articulate her words in an appropriate manner. Once she started taking her Focus medication, we almost immediately noticed an improvement in her comprehension as well as her ability to hold a back and forth conversation. Now, 10 months into her treatment, we have seen major improvements with my daughter’s abilities and attention span. At her last therapy evaluation, she increased her age level equivalency by an entire year, which was more than exciting for me to hear because I felt like I had already been seeing this improvement in my child but I wasn’t sure if it was just me being too optimistic or if it really was something that was happening. 

But it was happening, for both of my children and it’s honestly hard to believe that in just a year’s time our entire household has changed so dramatically. The improvements with my son have carried over in every aspect of our lives. 

When you have a child that is physically harming themselves and has to be restrained in order to keep himself and those around him safe, it is absolutely heart breaking and affects the energy within the entire house. To finally have a sense of peace, knowing it’s because your children are doing better than they ever have before is priceless. That’s why I support this company and their products. It’s why I speak out publicly and recommend this product line to every parent in a similar situation. I found hope again for a brighter future and I want other parents to find this for their children too.  

Pictured: McKenzie (left), Mattie (center), Kayden (right)
Mattie Badgwell | OKanna Mom

Mattie Badgwell | OKanna Mom

OKanna Moms is a personal blog that is focused on helping children with disabilities and their families.

Focus for Autism
The focus product is designed to provide missing resources to the endocannabinoid system that might benefit autism and ASD patients.
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