Our journey through autism

Posts tagged ‘illness’

Autism and illness

Bilal is down with a flu like illness, called rhino-something virus, its like the flu in that he has a fever but no other cold symptoms such as stuffy or runny nose, cough and the like. His little brother Sulayman got it first but it was more like the flu with him, with Sulayman it lasted 5 days of fever (39 degrees C/103 degrees F)  on and off, he had the runny/stuffy nose, he vomited 3 times, and had diarrhea, he also had slight swelling from the injection site of the chicken pox vaccine. It was the worst illness he’s had since he was born and lasting 5 days was brutal, he barely ate anything other than his milk bottle and sometimes he would take Ritz crackers. The fever would go down with Tylenol but as soon as the 4 hours were over it would climb back up, and I didn’t feel that it went completely down, so the pediatrician said to use Advil, and within half an hour his fever went down and stayed down, and it works for 8 hours instead of the 4. So after the 5 days Sulayman was all better and all his symptoms were going away and we thought we’d start a new week, but come early Monday night Bilal wakes up in the middle of the night and vomits, and he wakes up in the morning with the start of a fever, and it goes on but with Bilal its difficult. Alhamdullah he didn’t get any other symptoms, other than vomiting a couple of times but as it has been since he was born its impossible to give him any type of medicine or vitamin and we’ve always had to put in milk or juice but with him being so ill he doesn’t even feel like drinking his juice, and the Advil made the juice really gross I don’t blame him, so he couldn’t take the medicine, we even held him down and forced him to take it, the strength he suddenly gets, tensing up his whole body, clamping his mouth shut, and when we forced that open and squeezed in the Advil he somehow clamped his throat shut and the medicine would just bubble back up, we tried this twice but it was really pointless. So I asked his doctor for a suppository, they only make Tylenol and not Advil in that form and that’s what we had to do. He also tenses up and screams but its easier to get it in and it stays in and it helps a little, we did a lot of cold compresses and he did drink a lot of cold water. As today is day 5 I think he’s finally getting better insha Allah but he’s lost so much weight and seems so weak and listless. He barely eats or drinks anything other than water and it will take awhile I’m sure for his appetite to return and for him to fatten up a bit again.  He’s missed a week of school and his speech and OT therapies as well. I really hope this is the end of any winter illnesses insha Allah we surely have gotten our share of it this year. Towards the end of Sulayman’s week of illness I got a fever for a couple of days and a bit of a sore throat, but my husband got it the worst, he got Strep throat, fever, and some kind of eye virus that we’re worried could spread as its really contagi0us.

Positive thoughts and prayers would be greatly appreciated.


Early Development

As most mothers with children on the spectrum you don’t suspect anything wrong or off until 12 months or later. I was happy with what I thought was a healthy baby after everything that went wrong during the pregnancy. Bilal’s only health issues the first year of life were the following:

  • umbilical hernia: after his umbilical stub fell off his belly button looked odd sticking out as if still another part of the stub should fall off, the pediatrician later told us it was an umbilical hernia and we should just leave it alone and the intestinal wall will close off on its own. The pediatrician I saw in Egypt told me that I should use an umbilical bandage to push it in and help speed up the closing on the intestinal wall, and that what we did, by 6 months the hernia was gone, and he now has an “outie”
  • reflux: within the first week we noticed that burping Bilal was a problem, he seemed very uncomfortable after a meal, lots of straining and grunting, the burp came out after a long time and lots of spit up and projectile vomiting. It was quickly diagnosed as reflux, and we were told to give him small frequent meals and feed him upright and keep him upright for as long as possible (30+ minutes) after a meal. He couldn’t fall asleep on his back and he spit up so much that at 6 weeks old I decided to have him sleep on his tummy, I was well aware of the risks of SIDS but I had him sleeping on a blanket on the carpeted fall, and he slept so much better that way. We went through so many bibs, burp clothes and clothing with the frequent vomiting. We were told they grow out of it between 6 – 12 months but with Bilal it lasted 18 months, it was worse when he started solids and feeding him in public caused a lot of anxiety cause I was afraid he’d vomit which has happened twice on a plane, several times at the doctor’s office, twice in restaurants, and countless times at home and at my parents. It no longer felt like reflux, he could vomit when he felt like it, food too hot, too cold, odd texture, crying too much, fear, bad or unexpected taste. It was the worst part of his childhood so far.
  • Occasional colds and ear infections: the same rate as any typically developing child
  • Teething: with each new tooth Bilal developed a slight fever and diarrhea, and of course the irritability
  • vaccine side effects: he would get a fever and the site of the injection would be warm to the touch but I was told this was typical.

The great thinker

Fav pic for Bilal at 7 months


  • He could support his head by 6 weeks.
  • First smile – 5 weeks
  • Slept 7 hours at night the night he turned 3 months
  • Sat unsupported at 5 months
  • crawled the day he turned 7 months
  • walked towards the end of 9 months
  • first word at 12 months – ota which is a cat in Arabic
  • He could climb out of his crib at 18 months, climb back in at 20 months

2nd Birthday

So other than a lack of a proper development of speech, Bilal developed like any typical child. I was unconcerned about the speech delay for a while as he was an only child, we didn’t go out much, a boy, early walker late talker saying, independent and stubborn. That should have been my early warning sign and I should have seeked help instead of waiting. Really feeling something was odd between 2.5 – 3 years of age, and I will discuss that in a later post.

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