With only a matter of days before the Stephney family embark on a well-earned holiday to the sun, mum Coralie explains why they will be packing plenty of Vegepa, and how a TV programme may just have offered up a long-awaited solution for their autistic son.
Born via an elective caesarean 12 years ago, Michael was a healthy baby and a very precious gift to Coralie and her husband Collin. Coralie explains, “I am an older mum, and having tried for a baby for a while, Michael was a really special little boy and we felt very blessed to have him.”
By the time Michael was 10 months old, it became clear that his development had veered off course, as he was unable to crawl like other children his age. He was taken under the care of a local doctor and having been diagnosed with weak muscle tone, doctors then tested for Muscular Dystrophy – for which he was [thankfully] given the all-clear.
“I suspected that there may be more to Michael’s condition, but we accepted the doctors’ diagnosis and persevered with our efforts to bring his development up to speed.”
Through sheer determination and an investment of both parents’ time and energy, Michael finally mastered walking at the age of 18 months, but never showed much evidence of being particularly coordinated or steady on his feet, something which has continued throughout his life. It wasn’t long before he was diagnosed with dyspraxia and global co-ordination delay, which at least gave mum and dad a label to work with to ensure the best support for their son as he entered mainstream primary education. At the age of 5, Michael was then diagnosed with autism.
With specific needs and a gentle, passive nature, Michael was unfortunately the victim of bullying at primary school, and consequently received much 1:1 support from the teaching staff. “He excelled at maths and has an excellent memory, but has always struggled with English. Now diagnosed with ‘Expressive and Receptive Language Disorder’, it is clear where he needs support the most. It didn’t help Michael that his language teacher was foreign with a very strong accent however!”
After watching a TV programme looking at the positive effect fish oil supplements have on children with developmental issues, Coralie invested in some high street supplements to see whether they would make a difference to Michael. It wasn’t until he stopped taking them that she noticed the positive impact even these lower grade oils made on her son’s ability to concentrate and remain calm. Further research led her to Dr Robin Pauc, and his book ‘Is that my child’ which talks about diet in greater detail in relation to children on the autistic spectrum. After initial consultations with Dr Pauc, Michael was put on a low starch, low sugar and gluten free diet and a course of the Vegepa supplements. Prior to working with Dr Pauc, Michael was on the verge of being diagnosed with ADHD, but his concentration improved to the point where it was felt that it wasn’t something Michael suffered with.
“The Vegepa capsules were easy for Michael to take and he really took ownership over his own treatment. He has always known that these are tablets for his brain, just like his antihistamines are for his hay fever!” says Coralie.
“Michael has been on the Vegepa supplements for just over 12 months now and we have seen a significant improvement from where he was. He is a lot calmer, has better concentration, improved hand-eye co-ordination and we really notice a difference in him if he forgets to take them. Even his psoriasis has improved through taking it!”
Michael recently started his secondary education at a special school that is better able to provide for his condition. He is learning to touch type to help his English and is now taking Vegepa in the evenings to help him to ‘wind down’ after busy days at his new school.
Michael’s journey is far from over as he is now undergoing tests for cerebral palsy, following from his life-long issues with gait and muscle weakness, but at 12 years old and already finding benefit from Vegepa alongside a new diet, the future for Michael looks more positive.