Donovan is an 8 year old boy who was brought by his mother, with the chief complaints of Aspergers Syndrome, anxiety, temper tantrums, cerebral palsy and constipation.
On first meeting, Donovan appears bright, intelligent, extremely self-aware, well-spoken, articulate and warm. He is extremely restless, moving about the entire office, spinning in circles, lying on the floor, sprawling on the couch. Physically, he struggles to walk, wears braces on both feet and uses glasses to assist with vision.
Sensitivity to the Environment:
Donovan loves music; he is drawn to both the sound and the vibration. He is drawn to playing on the computer, or with complex toys, such as legos … he despises the heat and does not like to be outside. His mother notes that he is very sensitive to tastes, sounds and loud noises.
Insight and Emotional Intelligence:
At the age of 8, Donovan is very aware of his emotions. He indicates that “my family and I have a very dark view on my life, but it is slowly getting brighter and brighter.”
Donovan indicates that he has a major fear of needles, blood pricks and bee stings.
Emotions According to Donovan:
Donovan notes that “people at school don’t like me; they pick on me and they don’t think I’m a good person … they don’t think I can do anything [because of his leg braces] and most kids won’t play with me”. He notes a deep sadness about this treatment and indicates that “his sadness is a million feet deep”.
After days at school, Donovan says that he comes home with “a face full of shame” and “won’t tell my parents about the way kids treat me at school.”
Anxiety and Panic:
Donovan has developed severe panic and anxiety, specifically noted on trips to the hospital, wherein he receives regular injections in his calves to assist with mobility. His mother recounts numerous experiences of needing seven nurses to hold him down for injections (noted as a severe emotional trauma).
In daily life, Donovan’s mother notes that he is fearful … he cannot read about evil in children’s stories and doesn’t like not knowing what will happen next.
Donovan does not like loud noises; he startles easily and covers his ears with loud sounds. He prefers the light on at night and says he is scared of the dark. His mother said that he is afraid of children’s movies and cartoons; he will cover his eyes and run out of the room, at first sight of darkness or anger on television. He is unable to function at a movie theatre that has intense sound, light and stimulation.
Rigid and Obsessive Behaviors:
Donovan’s mother reports that their home is “like a battle zone” during homework time. Donovan displays extreme rigidity in his behaviors; cannot skip questions on homework … all homework questions must be answered in correct order … all binders must look and function the same, with the same three-hole mechanism for holding papers. Donovan’s mother reports extreme rigidity and stubbornness in her son.
Donovan’s mother indicates that he “is not flexible” … If he is introduced to a friend named “Susan” … he must call her Susan, and will not accept calling her “Susie” as this was not how he was introduced.
Donovan’s mother indicates that “he can recall every single country in Africa, but he cannot remember not to bite his friends.”
Donovan displays finger flicking, lip licking and nose picking and often holds his arms bent up like a bunny.
If plans change, homework is challenging, or situations do not go “his way”, he clenches his fists and pounds the table, yelling “I’m so frustrated” … His mother indicates that he “goes into a rage”, “disengages” and “becomes a different person.” At the age of 4 he put a pair of jeans in his mouth and pulled a tooth out of his mouth that was not loose, in the midst of a rage episode. At our initial visit, he presented with a self-inflicted scratch down the side of his face. His mother recounts recent conversations, wherein he is yelling that he would “rather starve and die” than get dressed for school in the morning.
Donovan’s mother notes severe constipation and gives him PEG (polyethylene glycol) daily.
Nutrition and Diet
Donovan craves meat and loves steak and sweets. His diet at the time of initial consultation included an abundance of meat, milk and dessert, though his parents are conscious of offering lots of flax and he eats primarily gluten-free.
Donovan was born pre-term at 34 weeks; he was not breathing and spent the first three weeks of his life in neonatal intensive care. After suffering from postpartum depression and a slipped disc in her back, Donovan’s mother was bed-ridden ( he was 12 months old.) For three years of his life, she could not carry him, although they would cuddle in bed.
Donovan was breast-fed for ten months and was then switched to a soy-based formula. At 15 months he developed a high-pitched scream and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
Main Objective in Case (as indicated by Donovan’s Mother):
- To decrease anxiety and panic in school and hospital visits
- To decrease rage, anger, temper tantrums and self-harming behavior
- Lac Humanum
- Lac Materna
Remedy Chosen (Murphy’s Materia Medica; Vermeulen’s Prisma and Farok Master’s Children’s Remedies):
Current Chronic Remedy: Stramonium:
- Indicated for mental and physical issues in children after mother experiences emotional or physical injuries during or after birth. Donovan’s mother experienced panic, anxiety, PPD and a slipped disc when Donovan was 12 months of age, leading to three years, where she could not carry him.
- Behavioural issues in children from fright or reproaches. Donovan notes that after interactions with children at school, his sadness is “a million feet deep”
- Stubborn, quarrelsome, disobedient children
- Children who bite in anger
- Foolish gestures: Finger flicking, lip licking
- Neurological and rheumatic issues and involuntary movement (Cerebral Palsy)
- Awkward children; missing steps while walking
- Children who are fearful at night and require light
- Shrieking in Children
Acute Remedy: Aconite
- Noted for instances of acute and sudden panic and anxiety
Dose and Potency:
- Stramonium 200 CH. Eight drops in 1oz of water, once per day
- Aim to take a dose after school; 30 minutes prior to homework
It should be noted that Donovan was also prescribed Aconite in a 30 CH potency for acute moments of panic. He was instructed to take two pellets each morning before school and to carry the vial with him and to take two pellets prior to hospital visits, and in moments where he could feel panic rising.
- Eliminate dairy, gluten and sugar
- Introduce Children’s probiotic powder, specifically containing Lactobacillus Rhamnosus (HMF Neuro Powder)
- L-Glutamine Powder
- Omega-3 Fish Oils
Follow Up #1: One Month Later
Donovan and his mother entered my office with huge smiles on their faces. Donovan’s mother indicated that four days after starting the Stramonium, Donovan was “easier to get along with; not as volatile, and was listening well”. Within two weeks, fights during homework had completely been eliminated. Donovan’s mother recounted a drive to school, wherein he was laughing and giggling with other children – she noted this to be a tremendous change as it had never happened before. Donovan’s mother noted one fight where he would not move off the stairs … he told his mother, this “was the worst day of his life” … Upon giving him a dose of Stramonium, he was calm and content within 20 minutes.” … She happily indicated that “this Stramonium is magic”.
Donovan was able to decrease his dose of PEG to once every four days, as his constipation decreased. Donovan himself was quite happy, verbalizing that “my anxiety went down to a zero” … He noted that he “felt great” and felt much less anxiety. He said however, that within the past three days, he felt his anxiety rising again.
Prescription: Increase Stramonium to 12 drops, once daily. Continue with Aconite 30 CH, two pellets each morning and as needed during acute panic.
Follow Up #2: Phone Consult. Two Months Later
Donovan’s Mother recounted a trip to the hospital, wherein Donovan took his Aconite pellets as he was entering the hospital. She noted it was the first time that he was calm, relaxed, and even asking to see the doctor. At this point, they had completely eliminated the use of the PEG for constipation.
She said she noticed “a remarkable” positive difference on days when he took his remedies consistently. She indicated a noticeable decline in functioning when Donovan did not take his remedies.
Prescription: Continue Stramonium at12 drops, once daily. Continue with Aconite 30 CH, two pellets each morning and as needed during acute panic.
Follow Up #3: Four Months Later
Donovan declined after a month-long Christmas holiday, when he did not take his remedies for three weeks. He was out of his regular school routine, and was home with his parents for four weeks. He was noted to be experiencing hour-long fights in the mornings, refusing to get dressed, and offering threats such as “I’m mad enough to just die”. It was decided that Donovan would benefit from a definite return to his routine and his remedies.
Prescription: Restart Stramonium; Increase dose to 14 drops, once daily. Continue with Aconite 30 CH, two pellets each morning and as needed during acute panic.
Follow Up #4: Phone Consult. Two weeks Later
After becoming immersed in his regular routine with homework and remedies, Donovan once again felt calmer and more at ease, stating, “We have definitely found the right medicines for me!”