And then we discovered diet...
In all my internet insanity early on, I came across a lot of information about the medical causes of autism and what effect changing diet might have.
At that stage I dismissed it. It all seemed too hard and I was still subscribing to the idea that autism was a problem with the brain - a neurological problem.
Besides, I had heard that 'bio-meds' cost families a lot and people spent thousands on medical appointments and supplements.
However, after our RDI consultant met Bright Eyes, one of the first things she mentioned was looking into diet.
"I don't normally recommend this for the children I see, but in his case, I think he will benefit," she said.
One of his problems was a recurring rash around his mouth, which he licked continually all day and night. He also loved putting metal in his mouth. (My keys were always soggy... urgh).
"It might be a mineral deficiency," she said.
I didn't know what to do about this. It looked like a huge area to investigate. And how was I to find the right doctor after all my negative experiences with paediatricians and psychologists so far?
Thankfully, the friend I had made through the early intervention playgroup (with an autistic child same age as Bright Eyes) was already going down the same route. She had found a GP with a particular interest in autistic children. Even better - he bulk billed! No expense. Hooray!
We made the appointment. It was an interesting experience. His practice is in one of the most multicultural of Sydney's suburbs, and his grotty little waiting room was filled with people of all colours, speaking in multiple different languages, in different ethnic dress. His is not a practice that runs on time and we waited at least an hour to see him. Bright Eyes was at the end of his tether by the time we got in, but it was all worthwhile.
He talked at great length about essential mineral deplention, undermethylation, digestive enzyme support... and a LOT of other complicated terms that I could not remember or replicate for anyone else. But he did it with such gentle authority that I believed everything he said and decided to do everything he suggested.
He ordered a battery of tests (aah - that's where the costs come in!) and we set out to do them and see what resulted.