Wyatt Ballard meets the challenges of Autism

Image: Wyatt and Kelly Ballard posing for their picture.

Wyatt and Kelly Ballard posing for their picture. (Cindy Sutherland)

Wyatt Ballard is just a cute kid, just by looking at him you would not know what challenges he faces. Wyatt is autistic. With lots of love, patience, hard work by his parents and teachers he is thriving. He is now ten years old and is going into the fourth grade.

Two years ago, he could not verbalize (communicate his needs), he could not relate to people and struggled socially but now this has all changed.

“Wyatt is making so much progress that they are going to put him in main stream classes when he returns to school this year,” explained Kelly. Kelly and Daniel Ballard (his parents) give lots of credit for his improvement to his teachers at school – Lynn Rudd and Beverly Cox (CBI teacher), and Dr.Todd Ellsner.

Dr.Todd Elsner of Mansfield is reversing autism. Kelly said, “He reverses autism through vitamins, gluten free diet, and sunlight for vitamin D. He did a test on a swatch of Wyatt’s hair and he showed me how much mercury was in his body – it was off the charts. He believes that baby shots may have caused Wyatts problems.”

She went on to say, “We followed Dr. Elsner’s therapy for six months and Wyatt’s verbalism shot up and his anxiety lowered. Wyatt took tons of vitamins, at least ten different vitamins everyday, had a gluten free diet and plenty of sunshine.”

When asked why they only did this for six months, Kelly said, “It is so expensive. The gluten free food, all the tests that were involved and the vitamins. We have a family of five and we just couldn’t afford to do any longer.”

‘But when we stopped everything, he has not regressed, his language is still there and getting better but his anxiety is back. I have learned to control his anxiety by talking softly and massaging Wyatt’s shoulders. This really seems to help."

When dealing with autistic children the teachers all have to go the extra mile. When Wyatt begins main stream classes one of his teachers will have to be with him in the classroom. Kelly explained, “Wyatt mocks the other kids, so if they are being good then he will do great. Sometimes he will get real antsy with all this energy he has and he has to release it. When this happens the teacher will take him back to the CBI room where they have a big tunnel that he goes through and gets rid of all his energy. They also have a big ball that he bounces on to releases all the feelings he has. Wyatt has to have one on one instruction or he will veer off his task and disrupt the class.”

Beverly Cox prepares social stories for Wyatt for use in school but she also prepares them to use at home. A social story consists of pictures with words next to them demonstrating a step by step lesson to help Wyatt perform a certain task. Such as taking a bath or going to Walmart, things we take for granted but things Wyatt struggles with.

At school Wyatt has a communication device that helps him verbally. You ask him a question and he has to push the button for the answer. When the button is pushed it says the word and then Wyatt repeats the word.

Wyatt is making straight A’s and passed his TAKS test. Kelly said, “Wyatt takes the TAKS test but it is not the standard one. He can’t sit and color in the circle for his answer. So he takes the TAKS ALT test which Mrs. Cox creates that is approved through the state. He can’t write the words without the pictures. The test is like a social story. It will have a sentence with pictures and pictures for his answers. Mrs.Cox had to sit down with him and give him the test verbally, help him read the questions but he had to answer the questions himself. He passed it and he is doing great.”

“The teachers are great. I give kudos to them for what they have to deal with everyday. They come up with ideas to help him learn and let me know if there is anything that I need to follow up with. It takes a lot a patience to deal with autistic children and Wyatt’s teachers definitely have what it takes to help him learn,” Kelly explained.