When he began the sensory stimulation patterning
exercises, at 6 months of age, Sterling was had little tactile feelings, was
unable to hold his head up, roll over, sit up, crawl, play with toys, he was
completely blind. He was sleeping all the time and had a hard time breastfeeding
because of spasticity and poor sucking reflexes. (I still managed to breastfeed
him for 3 years.)
One month after we started the Patterning Program, Sterling
recovered his vision. We continued the Patterning program for 12 more months
in which time Sterling learned to hold his head, sit up, finger feed on crackers
and play with toys. Sterling is far from being a vegetable. He is very active
in his own right, having learned to move his body across the floor by rolling
on himself. He is a happy boy and he is a God-sent to us, a most precious blessing
in our lives.
Life With Sterling: Living And Learning With A Very Special Child
© Shirley Robinson
Presentation at the Lanterman Regional Center in Los Angeles, November 1996
I am pleased to have this opportunity to share with you the story about my
son Sterling. At last month's meeting, Dr. Yetenekian had an interesting discussion
on how to cope with children with developmental disabilities. He told us about
children who had achieved a certain level of development and who may be displaying
behavior problems. Sterling's situation is different from these children in
that for a long time I had a child who could not achieve even the lowest level
of normal development. His neurological damage had left him blind and unable
to function at any level, other than breathing, eating, and sleeping. In addition
to this, he also suffered from severe health problems. Therefore, our main goal
and focus with regard to Sterling has always been to find ways to bring life
into him, to stimulate him, to sharpen his senses and his awareness and to try
to improve his health (when I say "our" or "we", I'm always referring
to my husband and I.)
During this presentation, I will tell you a little about Sterling's birth,
and I will explain to you the nature of his disabilities and health problems.
You will learn about the dramatic improvement that he experienced over the years
despite ongoing negative medical prognosis. I will also describe to you how
we have adapted our lives and our home to meet Sterling's very special needs.
Our lives with Sterling has been a most incredible experience of mutual growth
and learning on the job. Therefore, I have titled this presentation "Life with
Sterling: living and learning with a very special child"
Sterling was born in 1979, a full term 7 1/2 lb. baby. He is our only child.
My pregnancy was uncomplicated and I had planned to give birth to my baby at
home, unfortunately due to complications, it just didn't work out as we had
planned. When I arrived in the hospital, I insisted to have a
natural, drugless delivery
and as soon as our baby was born, the doctor laid him on my stomach and
gave my husband the scissors to cut the umbilical cord.
We would not allow the nurses to take our baby away to the nursery room as
is routinely done in hospitals, because we felt that a baby's place after birth
belonged in his mother's arms, at the warmth of its mother's bosom, and not
alone in lifeless crib. We felt it was important to preserve an uninterrupted
closeness between mother and baby which is necessary in establishing vital bonding.
So I kept my baby on my stomach or at my side all the time, until we were discharged
from the hospital 24 hours later. We also didn't allow our baby to be circumcised
as it is routinely done in the US hospitals because we believe that it is a
barbaric act against an innocent and helpless newborn. Studies have demonstrated
that the "hygienic" aspect of a circumcised penis is a myth. (
learn more about the torture of unanaesthetized
infant undergoing circumcision in modern hospitals )
None of the doctors or nurses at the hospital had noticed anything wrong
with Sterling, even though there were already signs that something was not quite
right. The first clue that something was wrong with our baby was that I could
not wake him up to get him to feed. He appeared to be sleeping deeply, in actuality
I think that he was in a state of semi-unconsciousness. As I was desperate to
get him some nourishment, I turned for help to the
La Leche League organization which
is a support group for nursing mothers. They advised me to manually extract
some of my milk (colostrum
) and to feed my baby with an eye dropper. I followed their advice and for 2
days I was able to feed him a little of my milk with an eye dropper. Eventually
Sterling began to nurse on his own. But there was something wrong in the way
he was nursing. He was unable to suck properly and had difficulty holding on
to the nipple. It would have probably been easier for Sterling to nurse at a
bottle, but I was reluctant to extract my milk or to give him formula. We believed
that while cow milk is fine for calves, my milk would be best for my baby. Despite
the problems I persevered with a lot of patience and special nursing positions
and continued to breastfeed my baby for 3 years. It wasn't until a few months
later that we learned that Sterling's difficulties with nursing was caused by
the fact that he was spastic
and had poor coordination reflexes.
When Sterling was 6 weeks old, we began to wonder why he wasn't showing an
interest in making eye contact with us or looking at objects. Our pediatrician
and specialists at children's hospital ran a number of tests on him. They informed
us that Sterling was
and that he would most likely be blind for the rest of his life. They also told
us that our son would also be a vegetable and recommended to us that we would
be better off to place our baby in an institution, and get on with our lives.
At first, we were shocked and devastated by their prognosis, but we never gave
in or gave up. We decided to get opinions from other experts and to do our own
research on cortical blindness and brain-injury. None of the medical experts
could determine the cause of his condition. There was speculation that he may
have suffered a massive brain hemorrhage or a stroke at birth, and/or that he
may have suffered from congenital brain malformation during the gestation period.
At 3 months, Sterling began to experience seizures and
severe constipation . He was placed
on an anti-convulsive medication, Phenobarbital. This was extremely frustrating
to me because I didn't like drugs and I was very concerned about its side- effects.
We were desperate and determined to find help for our son and for the next few
months, we took our baby from one medical specialist to another and he was subjected
to endless medical tests. Unfortunately no medical answers or solutions were
offered to help him and the prognosis about his condition remained very negative.
Medical experts patiently explained to us that damaged or injured brain cells
do not regenerate or heal. We were told time after time that Sterling would
remain blind and a vegetable the rest of his life. But we just wouldn't give
up hope, and we continued to search for more help.
When Sterling was about 5 months old, we learned about a controversial therapy
program which claimed to produce good results with brain injured children. This
sensory stimulation program (the patterning)
which was to be done at home by parents and volunteers consisted of simple,
yet extensive series of repeated exercises. The purpose of this therapy was
to simply stimulate the brain and to train healthy brain cells to take over
the function of the damaged cells. At first we were skeptical about this program,
but after reading '
To Do About Your Brain-Injured Child ' we decided to go ahead and try it
on Sterling. We felt that we had nothing to lose and everything to gain. (The
author of that book, Glen Doman, is also the founder of The
Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential in Philadelphia)
We took Sterling to the institute's sister organization '
Help For Brain Injured Children' (HBIC) in La
Habra, CA for a consultation with Dr. Bob Doman (Glen Doman's brother) and Dr.
Spitz, the neurologist from the Institute in Philadelphia. We were relieved
that Dr. Spits and Dr. Doman did not recommend surgery for Sterling and they
offered us a hopeful prognosis.
When Sterling started the program he was 6 months old. He was blind,
he was unable to hold his head up or to sit, he had no muscle tone and no coordination,
and he continued to experience difficulty nursing. In addition, we also found
out that he had very poor tactile feelings, meaning that his skin sensitivity
to touch was very low. At 6 months Sterling was still functioning at the level
of a newborn, in other words, he was doing nothing more than sleeping
or nursing all the time.
don't think that I have time today to discuss the details of this therapy program,
and this is not really the focus of this presentation anyway. So I'm going to
move along and just tell you about the results.
One month after I started Sterling on this program I noticed something unusual
about him. He seemed to be smiling directly at me. At first I thought I was
imagining things. I couldn't believe that he was able to see after only one
month on this program. This was like a miracle! But it was true, those big,
beautiful eyes were focusing on me, and he was actually making eye contact with
me! He also began to play with his hands by flipping his fingers repeatedly
in front of his eyes.
Sterling at 8 or 9 months old
To see Sterling recover his vision so quickly gave me the encouragement to
hope for more miracles. So for the next 18 months I diligently continued to
do the therapy with him. I have to admit that the long hours spent in doing
the program with Sterling was very hard work, both for me and for him. But it
paid off because Sterling made tremendous progress in the development of his
muscle tone and motor control. Of course, Sterling is not walking or talking
and he is still obviously very delayed in his overall development, but he his
certainly far from being a vegetable as some doctors had predicted he would
be. In fact, Sterling learned many important skills on this program.
Abby was a girl who had meningitis as a baby and suffered brain-damage. She
was blind, could not sit up or crawl, and could not feed herself.
Her parents read "What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child", by Glenn Doman.
They began patterning, and after a few months, Abby began crawling. After six
months, she began creeping. Then she began to walk.
She is no longer blind, can read at a second grade level,
and can feed herself. She walks a mile a day, is funny and smart. Abby is like
thousands of other brain injured children who have been helped by
The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential,
the non-profit organization founded by Glenn Doman. He has acquired
the ability to sit on his own and he can pull himself onto his knees. He has
also learned to use his hands to grasp objects and play with them, and he can
finger feed on rice cakes. But I think that his biggest achievement on this
program, other than the recovery of his vision, is that he has gained mobility
skills. However, Sterling does not move his body as most children do.
Instead of learning to crawl or creep like a regular toddler, which Sterling
is unable to do because of weakness in his arms and legs, he has learned to
move his body in a most peculiar way: he simply rolls on himself. In this fashion,
he has gained precious independence and enjoys traveling all over the
apartment as he pleases. Its amazing to me to witness how a child can
learn to compensate for his disabilities and overcome his weakness.
is hypotonic, meaning that he has floppy muscle tone. Developmentally, he still
performs at the level of about a 9 month old baby and he requires the same care
and attention as an infant. Like a toddler, he expresses his joy by squealing
and screaming and for those who are not familiar with him, these sounds may
appear as though he was crying or having a tamper tantrum. But just one good
look at his face will show only a big shining smile or an expression of happiness.
The patterning slide board was used to teach 12 month old Sterling to crawl
Despite the fact that Sterling is a teenager now, there are no more discipline
issues with him than there are for a 9 month old infant. What Sterling needs
more than anything, is plenty of tender loving care, and a safe and stimulating
environment. Sterling has a very sweet and happy disposition. I have never seen
him being angry or having a tamper tantrum. At home he is always babbling and
smiling. Sterling is like a living doll. In the process of helping Sterling
on this therapy program, I learned that no matter how serious an injury
or a health situation may be, we all have tremendous recuperative power
. We should never give up hope, no matter how desperate a situation
in life may be or how negative a medical prognosis is. I also learned to not
succumb to despair or stay victim of any given circumstances! With a positive
attitude and determination and with lots of love and patience miracles do occur.
Kyle, a brain injured boy, was blind until 8 months of age. He did
not move for the first year and a half of life. After only a week on the program of the Institutes for the Achievement of
Human Potential, a non-profit organization founded by Glenn Doman,
Kyle began to scoot on his stomach. After a year on the program, Kyle is
not only crawling, but, pulling up to a standing position, and cruising furniture.
He is now very funny and social, as well as smart. Kyle is like thousands of
other brain injured children who have been helped by
The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential
, the non-profit organization founded by Glenn Doman.
The Family Bed
Now I'd like to tell you a little about our Family Bed. But before I do so,
I need to explain to you about how life was for me when I was a baby. I was
in the late forties and at that time, in the Western world mothers followed
unnatural and rigid standards in the care of their infants. For example, as
a baby, I was left to sleep in a crib in a room by myself. When I cried no one
was allowed to pick me up or attend to me for fear of "spoiling" me. The feeding
and care of babies in those days, ran similar to a strict military schedule,
with the same lack of human warmth. As a young child, I also sadly witnessed
my younger siblings being subjected to the same tragic treatment. We were raised
by the rod and the whip at the hand of our mother. When Sterling was born, I
was determined to care for my child with warmth and love in the most natural
setting as possible. I have always admired how babies are cared for and loved
in the 3rd world. The Family Bed concept
is a lifestyle that promotes closeness and emotional warmth between parents
and children and children are welcomed to sleep with their parents at night.
I learned about this concept at the breastfeeding support group and by reading
a book titled "The Family Bed".
(photo taken in Nov '93 - 14 year old Sterling in the family bed with Shirley,
looking at himself in the mirror.)
The family bed played a very, very important role in the care of
Sterling, and continues to be an integral part of his life to this day. In addition
of promoting bonding between us and Sterling, this lifestyle also significantly
reduced stress in our lives.
For several years, when Sterling was still unable to move his body, the most
comfortable place to keep him day or night was at my side in our bed. This arrangement
was very comforting and relaxing to both me and Sterling. He felt very secure
and contented to be next to his mommy all the time, and I was able to watch
TV in bed, or to study, or to simply rest as much as I needed to. The other
reason we choose to have Sterling sleep with us was because he was prone to
violent, life threatening seizures which occurred mostly during
Note: If I had known about this Immune Modulator Nutritional at the time, I think it
may have helped Sterling's seizures. - Testimonial
from Nanci Mikels about her son who suffered from seizures: " At the
age of 2 yrs. I had a healthy boy. When he turned 29 month old, Josh had a seizure
which put him in the hospital and we found out he had
Hydrocephalus and so
they put a shunt
in his head at that time. From then on, Josh was in the hospital a lot. He had
seizures, and he always threw up and suffered with pain of
migraine headaches. The vomiting was possibly also from the mal-functioning
of the shunt. The shunt was revised at age 7. When he turned 9 when we heard
about this Immune Modulator Nutritional. We gave him the recommended dosage, which is 3 per day. Within 2 months his seizures
had reduced and vomiting had stopped and he only had to go to the hospital once
within those two months. He had gone to the hospital in a ambulance every month
from age 29 months until he started taking this Immune Modulator Nutritional but between that
time and now, age 12, he has not been in the hospital and does not throw up.
It has amazed us how this has changed his life. The
product became available when he was 9 and we
gave him 2 in the a.m. and 2 in the p.m., working up to 6 a day. He is now 12
and he takes: 3 TF Advanced in the a.m. and 3 in the p.m. He also takes the
RioVida juice on some days. He sleeps well at night now. His disposition
is good, he is definitely a happy kid."
Have a question or need assistance?
Email Shirley or call 323-522-4521
We had to be close to Sterling at all times to immediately help him breathe
and give him assistance during the seizure attack. I have always been very protective
of my baby and I never felt safe unless he was close to me all the time. Our
family bed is large and very comfortable. It is made simply of 2 double mattresses
placed side by side and it stands low to the floor without a frame. When Sterling
gained mobility and wanted to move about in the apartment, he learned to roll
off the bed onto the thick carpeted floor without hurting himself. And to this
day, Sterling continues to spend a lot of time relaxing or napping in bed with
me while I work on my laptop computer or watch TV. This past year Sterling has
become much more active and independent and he no longer sleeps with us at night.
He has comfortably graduated from the family bed to his own little bed next
to our bedroom. His seizure activities have diminished and he requires less
attention. Occasionally, I still have to get up in the middle of the night to
help him through a seizure or discomfort. However, during daytime, he and I
continue to spend a lot of quiet time together in the family bed.
Because of his health condition and other issues, we choose to homeschool
Sterling. Everyday at home, we implemented a sensory stimulation program (devised
by Help For Brain Injured Children (HBIC) ) and
we spent hours patiently teaching Sterling various skills.
Using food as a motivational tool
When Sterling was just a couple of years old, and still unable to hold his head
up or move his body in any fashion, I used food as part of his sensory stimulation
program to motivate and stimulate his developmental skills. For example, I stopped
feeding him in a high chair and instead, I put him on his stomach on the floor
to feed him. When he wanted to eat, he had to lift his head up long enough to
allow me to slip a spoon of
food into his mouth. With time, his neck muscle tone improved and he learned
to hold his head up. In the same fashion food was used to motivate and to teach
him to roll over and eventually to crawl as he learned to move his body on the
floor inch by inch toward his food. Finally in the same manner he also learned
to sit up on his own.
Feeding Time - Finger Feeding
Sterling is too big now to sit in a high chair and he doesn't sit at a table
to eat. Instead, he eats his meal seated in a corner of the kitchen floor, or
sometimes he prefers to lay flat on his back on the floor to eat. I let him
decide which way he likes best. Sterling suffers from digestive
problems and he eats a simple diet of vegetarian foods.
Sterling likes to finger feed on rice-cakes. I encourage him to finger feed
because it provides him with important small motor exercises and helps improve
his hand-eye coordination. However, Sterling has a problem with finger feeding,
because he does not understand how to hold on to his rice cake. As soon as he
takes a bite, he compulsively opens his fingers and drops the rice cake onto
the floor. Naturally, it is not possible for me to keep giving him the rice
cake back over and over again. The only way to resolve this problem in a way
that permits Sterling to eat all the rice cakes he wants any time he likes is
to maintain a good supply of rice-cakes on the kitchen floor at all times. It
isn't good enough to keep just one or two rice cakes on the floor for him because
he does not understand how to visually locate where the rice cakes have fallen,
although sometimes he tries to feel with his hand like a blind person, but he
often misses locating the rice cake. We found that the best answer to this problem
is to simply keep a bunch of rice cakes on the kitchen floor all the time. With
so many rice cakes all around him, Sterling can easily locate one and grab it.
Mirrors and Dolls
As I mentioned earlier, Sterling was born blind and he recovered his vision
at about 7 months of age, after receiving intensive special visual stimulation
therapy at home for one month. Eventually, Sterling obtained excellent vision
and he used his sight to play with objects, however, he rarely looked at people
or paid any attention to them. This made me believe that he might be autistic
but experts reassured me that he wasn't autistic, only that he was very shy.
1995 - 16 year old Sterling kneeling over the coffee table, looking at himself
in the mirror.)
To help Sterling overcome his extreme shyness and to improve his confidence
level I got the idea to hang a lot of mirrors and dolls on every walls in ourapartment,
including the kitchen and the bathroom. Wherever he goes Sterling always finds
himself surrounded by mirrors and dolls. At the beginning, he ignored the dolls
and his own image in the mirror but gradually he began to timidly make brief
eye contact and eventually began to smile and even babble with the dolls and
with his own reflection in the mirror. In time, he gradually developed a fascination
with his own image. He'll grab a mirror and bring it close to his face and press
his lips on it to kiss himself. Now I constantly hear him babbling and giggling
with his own little bad self and he also likes to watch himself eat rice cakes
in front of the mirror.
June 1999- 20 year old Sterling "chatting" with a neighbor
His interaction with the dolls and his own image have raised Sterling's awareness
and confidence level and helped improve his eye contact with people. He is still
shy, but he seems to have more self-assurance and when he feels well he will
respond and interact with someone who says hello to him. I have to mention that
despite his extreme shyness toward strangers, Sterling has always demonstrated
a great deal of interest and affection toward his father. For example, I remember
when he was just a few months old and still blind, he used to always turn his
head toward the sound of his daddy's voice and smile. Perhaps he remembered
the sweet little nothing chats that his daddy used to have with him through
my abdomen when I was pregnant.
The Living Room
Despite his disabilities, Sterling is a very active and independent child, and
he loves his freedom of mobility that he is accustomed to. We have always encouraged
Sterling to exercise his body as much as possible on the floor and he is always
free to travel anywhere he likes in the apartment. He has never been restricted
in a playpen or a crib. As I explained earlier, Sterling never learned to crawl
or creep because of weakness in his arms and legs, instead, he learned to move
his body by rolling on himself. To protect him from hurting himself, we have
cleared the center of our living room from most furniture items except for a
sofa and a coffee table. Sterling is using the coffee table as a "pull up" exercise
bench. We have even glued a toy and a mirror on top of the coffee table to encourage
him to lift his body up on his knee to reach for the toy and the mirror.
Nov '94 - 15 year old Sterling with Shirley) - July 1995, 16 y old Sterling
exercizing muscle tone over coffee table.
Sterling's Digestive problems
has suffered from poor digestive process his entire life. For years we consulted
with several medical specialists and Sterling was subjected to numerous medical
tests bu we never found the cause of his problems nor a cure. We suspect that
the vagus nerve may have been damaged during his brain injury which in turn
is affecting his entire digestive system. Special diets and feeding plans were
developed by dietitians at UCLA to help put weight on Sterling but that didn't
Putting weight on Sterling, and keeping it on has always been a major struggle
for me and for him. He likes to eat and is always willing to eat but the problem
is that the wrong kind of food or too much food triggers seizures or vomiting.
Early on, when I began introducing solids into his diet- when he was weaned
at the age of 3- I realized that Sterling did not tolerate animal proteins,
fruits or vegetables. The food he tolerates best consist primarily of grains
like millet, amaranth, quinoa, oats, rye and barley, organic butter, olive oil, flaxoil,
bee pollen ,Spirulina - kelp - Chlorella and sea salt. The grains
must be well cooked and processed into a puree in the blender for easier digestion.
* In Feb. 2003, I read an article from Patricia Kane Ph.D.,
The Neurobiology of Lipids In Autistic Spectrum Disorder, which said "Omega
6 essential fatty acids (in this case the precursor PG1 as evening prim rose
oil) must be repleted and stabilized before omega 3 supplementation commences".
I never gave Sterling evening primrose oil rich in Omega 6 or
Flaxseed oil which is rich in Omega 3.
I wish I had this information years ago.
To help put weight on him, I also add barley malt, rice syrup and glucose
(Polycose) in his food. Whenever Sterling gets sick with seizures or vomiting
and cannot eat, I resorted to use slippery elm in powder form
. When mixed with water (cold, warm or hot water) slippery elm powder takes
on the consistency of a pudding which is highly digestible and nourishing. To
help improve his digestion, I give him a capsule of
Enzymes with each meal and a capsule of friendly digestive bacterias. Lately,
I have also discovered the wonderful healing power of
Calcium Montmorillonite Clay which provide much needed trace minerals,
improves digestion and detoxifies
the system. Another wonderful nourishing and soothing product
is the raw Chia seed soaked in water,
broth, or juice . (Always consult with a physician before using herbs or other
products as they could interfere with anti seizure or other types of medication.)
NOTE: 2006: If I had known about the
marine phytoplankton nutrients , and
given these to Sterling, I think it would have made a huge difference in his
health and well being. These juices have been used in the treatment of atrophic
gastritis, weakened digestion due to reduced stomach activity.
SLIPPERY ELM In times of famine, early American settlers used slippery
elm as a survival food. A strengthening, soothing demulcent herb, slippery elm
is ideal for sore, inflamed, ulcerated mucous membranes and wasting disease.
The chia seed is
one of the richest source of omega-3 oil and other
essential nutrients easily digestable. They do wonders for constipation.
They were the power food of the ancient Aztecs. According to Spanish manuscripts,
the Aztecs ate the Chia seeds to improve their endurance - they called it their
"running food" because messengers could purportedly run all day on just a handful.
- Slippery elm can be used by weak or debilitated people as a mild
food to help build up the body. It is especially helpful when no other food
can be kept down. It is a highly nutritive, tonic herbal food and is further
helpful for conditions of tissue deficiency.
- As a key part of combinations for stomach, bowel and colon sores,
ulcers and inflammation. As a specific for stomach and lung cancer lesions;
as a throat coat and demulcent expectorant for dry sore throats and coughs.
- As the soothing part of a formula or indigestion and gastritis; a
soothing astringent for diarrhea.
- Slippery elm is useful in treating digestive conditions with inflamed
mucous membrane linings such as gastritis, gastric or duodenal ulcer, enteritis,
and colitis, where it has a soothing demulcent action.
ELM GRUEL, WEIGHT GAIN & SURVIVAL FOOD, INTERNAL & EXTERNAL HEALER
By Dr. Richard Schulze
- About slippery
Mom's Stress Issue
Our lifestyle with Sterling may seem strange perhaps to some people.
But we do what we feel is necessary to survive and to make life as comfortable
as possible for all of us. Together, we learned to adapt to a unique and exceptional
situation. Sterling has lived all his life at home with us and we want
him to spend the rest of his life with us. So again, it is important that we
organize our lives with him in a way as to make things as stress-less, and as
harmonious as possible for all of us. I would like to share with you some of
my experience with stress which I endured for several years after Sterling was
born. But most importantly, I'd like to tell you how I learned to overcome and
manage my stress. There were basically 3 main sources of stress in my life:
- I suffered from ongoing sleep deprivation because of Sterling's health
- My overall state of health was in very poor condition and I was sick
most of the time which made my life miserable.
- I was a victim of negative emotions and attitudes.
Sleep deprivation was a very big issue for me. The pains
and seizures that poor little Sterling experienced kept him, and us, awake late
into the night. When he finally did fall asleep, it was only to be jerked awake
by more pain or seizures at all hours of the night. Our sleep was constantly
interrupted. There came a point, when Sterling was about 5 years old, when I
became so tired that I could no longer function normally. Eventually, I suffered
a nervous exhaustion- breakdown.
We had to take immediate action and change our sleeping habits. We decided
that at this point, the priority in the family was for me to get some rest.
And so we resolved that I would sleep by myself, and that Chuck (my husband)
would stay up with Sterling all night. Fortunately Chuck was self employed and
had no problem to change his working schedule from daytime to nighttime so that
he could take care of Sterling at night. We kept this arrangement for a long
time until Sterling's condition and seizure activities improved. When he was
able to sleep better, we started to sleep together again.
As I mentioned earlier, Sterling is sleeping by himself now. He has grown
and matured and has become more active and independent. His seizures have improved
to the point that he no longer requires constant attention and care during the
night. So for me, sleep deprivation is the exception now, rather than the rule.
And I'm happy to say that over the hump in that regard.
Health Condition: My poor My poor state of health was another
tremendous source of stress for me. I had very little energy because my body
was unhealthy and overweight as a result of bad eating habits. I suffered from
a wide variety of chronic ailments such as allergies, repeated infections, horrendous
back aches which totally debilitated me, and I had recurring huge cysts in my
breast. I experienced only temporary relief from the cortisone and antibiotics
which I had been taking or a very long time, but which unfortunately caused
severe side effects. By the time that Sterling had turned two, my breast was
in such bad shape that the doctors recommended that I undergo a mastectomy (surgery
to remove the breast). I refused to go along with their program, because I just
didn't believe in surgery. Nevertheless, I was compelled to try to improve my
overall health for the sake of Sterling, because more than anything, I wanted
to be there for him for many more years to come. I was advised by Sterling's
pediatrician to consult with a Naturopath and a Homeopath (doctors of alternative
medicine.) I knew little about natural, holistic health and even less about
homeopathy but I trusted her and followed her advice.
Shirley with 2 year old Sterling - I was overweight (185 lbs), suffered from
chronic fatigue and depression, and my health was steadily going down the drain.
For years I had been a "junkie"--addicted to prescription and over the counter
drugs. Learn How I lost 60 pounds in 3 months
and recovered my health.
1983 with 4 year old Sterling. I lost 60 pounds effortlessly in 3 months and
fully recovered my physical and mental health entirely with natural means. Learn
How I Achieved Optimum Health After a Lifetime
of Suffering Holistic Health,
specifically homeopathic medicine natural diet, had a major
impact on my life and turned my health
around to 180 degrees!
First of all, my health improved in all areas. Breast surgery
was no longer required because the cysts in my breast went into remission and
never came back. As my immune system improved, I became naturally healthier
and the other symptoms I mentioned earlier eventually cleared up without any
further use of prescription drugs. My energy level increased and I noticed that
I was better able to function and to deal with stress. I was calmer and felt
happier with my life. I was thrilled with my looks too, because as a result
of my new natural diet I had dropped 60 pounds in 3 months effortlessly -
learn more about my health recovery.
Finally, the third source of stress in my life originated from emotional
factors. Anxiety and worry were big issues for me, especially during the first
few years of Sterling's life. I constantly worried and feared for my baby's
very survival. Each time I watched him experience one of those horribly violentseizures
which impeded his breathing, I feared that he might not make it through. It
is hard for a helpless mother to watch her baby in so much pain.
Fortunately, Sterling is doing much better now. The frequency and severity
of his seizure activity has diminished and he is able to eat, sleep and function
much better. The improvement of his seizure activity was the result of a carefully
monitored diet, as well a herbal and homeopathic treatments and the selection
of the right medication. During moments of discouragement my husband was always
a great source of support for me. He had little tolerance for negative attitude,
and he patiently taught me how to maintain a positive outlook and keep hope
alive no matter how desperate things appeared to be. He taught me that I have
the power within me to react to any situation with positive and constructive
thoughts rather than fear, worry or any other destructive thinking. I also learned
to go with the flow and take one day at the time. I tried to accept the things
that I could not change and continued to try to change the things that I could.
(photo taken in Nov '93 - 14 year old Sterling with Shirley on a swing)
The love we have for Sterling carried us to the top of the mountain. We made
Sterling the center piece of our lives, because he was so innocent and helpless,
he had so many problems and he needed us more than anything in the world. Some
people think that we have given up, or sacrificed a lot from our lives for Sterling.
But what we have done for our child in all those years, we don't consider as
a sacrifice, rather we see it as an investment, in both him, and us as well.
Sterling is not and never has been a burden for us, quite to the contrary. He
is our precious little treasure.
Sterling has brought so many blessings into my life. If it hadn't been for
him, I would have probably stayed with my old ways of life and old belief system
and I would have missed out on challenging learning experiences and new opportunities.
Because you see, I feel that if it hadn't
been for Sterling, I would probably never have discovered
homeopathic medicine and
holistic healing, and I
would not have been motivated to change
my diet and improve my health. I was so impressed with the results I obtained
with my health that as a natural evolution, I decided to learn more about holistic
healing by reading a lot of books. The great thing about my home studies is
that it was done in a very relaxed manner, at my own pace, with Sterling by
my side in bed, most of the time.
When a member of my family becomes sick or injured, they seldom need to see
a doctor, because I have the know-how to treat them at home with effective,
safe and natural remedies. (And I would like to add at this point, that anyone
can have access to this information and can easily learn how to practice natural
medicine at home. There are also short homeopathic study courses available for
lay people or beginners. Courses info can be obtained from
Center for Homeopathy (phone # 703 548-7790)
Also, my fascination with the healing
power of natural foods ignited in me the desire to want to learn to grow
my own food, without the use of pesticides or chemicals. In 1987 my rooftop
garden won the New American Garden Contest Special Merit Award from the National
Gardening Association, and the
National Gardening Magazine
featured an 6 page article on my container garden. ('Up on The Roof' - April
1988 issue - and also in the Futurist Magazine- 'Gardens in the Sky' March-April
1993). For 8 years I grew a wide variety of fruits and vegetables such as grapes,
corn, apples, bananas, cabbages, blackberries and much much more. Everything
was grown entirely in containers on the rooftop of my Hollywood apartment building.
By the 5th year, my container garden produced over 1 1/2 ton (or 1500 pounds)
per year of organically grown fruits and vegetables.
But the best thing about my garden was that Sterling was never very far away
from me. If he was not in the garden with me, then he was just a few flight
of stairs away taking a nap in our apartment. My husband would call me from
our apartment window to let me know when Sterling had just awakened from his
nap and needed me back home.
1995 another great opportunity knocked at my door because of my commitment to
homeopathic medicine. A grateful retired school teacher and computer consultant
offered to teach me how to use a computer as a trade off for the successful
results she achieved with my homeopathic treatments. At first I hesitated to
accept her offer because computers intimidated me and even frightened me. Also
I didn't think I was smart enough to learn about those machines. But the opportunity
was too good to pass, so I went ahead and got myself a laptop. I was surprised
to discover how easy it is actually to learn to use a computer. The teacher
taught me the rudiment of using a computer and word processing. Unfortunately,
the teacher didn't have enough tech knowledge to teach me the internet and website
publishing business so I learned at home on my own, with the help of various
phone tech supports like AOL, Netscape. With the word processor I have learned
to truly enjoy writing. I write articles on homeopathy, on nutrition, on holistic
veterinary medicine, and of course I also write articles about Sterling. And
again, for me, the best thing about working with a laptop is that I can take
it in bed with me, and write to my heart's content or surf the web while Sterling
is happily playing, relaxing or napping right by my side. My life with Sterling
has been that of an extraordinary experience of love, mutual growth, and overcoming
challenges together. This is why I have titled this presentation "Life with
Sterling: living and learning with a very special child".
In concluding this presentation, I'd like to say again, that despite
his disabilities, we think that Sterling is the most precious gift that life
has ever given us. And despite the difficulties and the stress that we experienced
because of the circumstance of his neurological condition, Sterling has brought
more joy into our lives than we ever thought possible. He is our true little
Note: I can't remember a time in my life, prior to Sterling's
birth, when I wasn't struggling with failing health. I was overweight, suffered
from chronic fatigue and my health was steadily going down the drain. For years
I had been a "junkie"--addicted to prescription and over the counter drugs.
I used oral and topical corticosteroids for 9 years to suppress my eczema.
I grew up on antibiotics for recurring throat infections. I used nasal
decongestions for chronic sinus congestion, and various drugs for chronic backaches
and other health problems. Unfortunately, instead of generating a cure, the
medications merely temporarily suppressed my symptoms, weakened my immune system,
and in the long run made me sicker. I believe that the combination of a bad
diet (toxic foods) and the side effects of the drugs affected Sterling's brain
development in utero and contributed to his neurological problems. Through Sterling's
spiritual guidance I was led to the light at the end of the tunnel and fully
recovered my health and vitality. Here is the
story of my health recovery
Author of Holistic Health Care
for People and Animals
Copyright ©1996 - 2009 Shirley . All rights reserved
December 30, 2000 - Goodbye My Love
On this day, my adored little angel Sterling has departed from this earthly
plane of existance and returned "Home". ( Life After Life and miraculous healing
experience video ). He stopped breathing peacefully at home during his naptime
sleep. In his death, Sterling looked so beautiful and so peaceful. Needless
to tell you that losing Sterling was the worst pain that my husband and I experienced
in our entire lives. It was like losing part of our own body and soul. But in
our sorrow, we feel eternally grateful for having received this wonderful gift
from the Universe (Sterling) and having had the honor and joy to care for him
and to love him for 21 years. I'm so grateful for the riches and the wonders
he brought to our lives. Everyone says that it is a miracle that he lived that
long. Despite his many health problems, Sterling was a very happy little boy
in the loving environment we provided for him. Sterling has touched the lives
of almost everyone that came into contact with him.
(photo taken in Nov '98 - 19 year old Sterling )
Received from reverent Michael James, from the PERFECT PRAYER by St. Francis
Do no stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow;
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain;
I am the gentle autumn's rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft star that shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
There is Life After Life - wathc the
From: Jodi Abbinanti
Location: Ronkonkoma, NY, USA
Date: February 2005
Shirley- I wanted to thank you for sharing your story about Sterling. It
truly has touched my heart- and changed our lives. My Daughter Kyli
Margaret is 33 months old. She went through every test imaginable including
a skin/muscle biopsy. Nothing turned up. The good news is- we don't have a diagnosis
- and yet that is frustrating. Kyli was in the hospital at 11 weeks, 6 months,
9 months, 15 months, 16mos, and finally 18 mos. Around the 6th month mark I
came across your website and ordered Glenn Doman's book "What To Do About Your
Brain Injured Child." I read it - but it took a long time to finish b/c of all
we were going through. After starting the recommended patterning program and
building an incline plane as well as working w/ therapists etc., I finally attended
the course at The Institute for the Achievement of Human Potential (IAHP) in
Dec. 2004. It was amazing. By your story, I know you read the book but not clear
if you took the course.
Needless to say, Kyli is 33 months old and developmentally around 7 months.
Since beginning patterning in Aug. 2004, Kyli has increased her neurological
age by 3.7 months (Practically doubled her development in 4 months!) She too
is considered legally blind, and she now is seeing functionally in the outline
perception stage. I could go on forever about Kyli's story and recent accomplishments.
But what I really wanted you to know is that Sterling's life is a living miracle.
Because you have had the courage to share his story, we are experiencing tiny
miracles every day. I can tell by the way you expressed your love for Sterling
that you understand that I have no idea what tomorrow brings, but that each
day we celebrate the tiny miracles. Sterling's story is a miracle to us, b/c
it lead us to the wonderful resources IAHP has to offer and we are seeing joyful
improvements as a result. I know Kyli is being watched over by a legion of angels.
Often she bursts out in laughter while in her crib or high chair and I believe
the Angels are telling her jokes. Perhaps Sterling is one of the Angels she
has met along the way. Thank you so much for having the courage to share what
you have learned and to let Sterling's life touch ours. God Bless you and your family.
Micah Lee Rock's Story . When
Micah was born his heart stopped beating and he could not breathe on his own..
The doctors did an x-ray and found he had a collapsed lung. They removed the
free air from his chest cavity and brought him back to life after at least 30
minutes. Read Micah's story and watch the video.
The Boy Who Sees Without Eyes
Ben Underwood is blind. Both eyes were removed when he was just
three years old, leaving him with no vision at all. So how on earth does he
play basketball, roller blade and cycle his bike? Ben lost his eyes to retinal
cancer but, unbelievably, he's taught himself to see; with sound.
Seizure Recovery testimonial:
"My sons have been taking Marine Phytoplankton. My 11 year old has been in
a special needs school for the last 3 years, due to severe memory loss caused
from seizures. Since taking Marine Phytoplankton nutrients
my son no longer needs to take medication and his memory is as good as it ever
was. In September he will be able to go back to his regular community school.
I can't believe how he feels about himself. As a mother you don't know what
it is like to see the life come back in your child's eyes, and watch his self-esteem
get better. He tells numerous people about Marine Phytoplankton and its web-site
and the video they should watch. He loves what the product has done for himself
as well as the family. My other son, who is 8 years old has been diagnosed since
birth with epilepsy, autism, ADHD, tourettes, and more. He was using 5 different
medications a day and it was a struggle to get him to function. People were
scared of him. He would never get invited to birthday parties or sleepovers.
He had a very aggressive nature, he could only sleep 2 hours at a time, he was
wetting the bed and was 15 pounds underweight. After 6 weeks of taking Marine
Phytoplankton he is now medication free, which is amazing! He has been in a
special needs school since he was 3 years old. His teacher cannot believe the
difference in his behavior in such a short amount of time. The boy that always
struggled, just received 3 A's, 2 B's and 1 C on his final report card. He is
now sleeping through the night, no longer wets the bed and his weight is now
up to normal. Everybody is noticing the dramatic change and is asking what has
happened. All we can say is Marine Phytoplankton and hand them a brochure. I
had tears in my eyes when he got invited to a birthday party and his first sleepover
recently. Life cannot be better when you see your children live happy and peaceful
lives. Words cannot express the gratitude I have. Thank you Marine Phytoplankton
for giving us peace and well-being. Before Marine Phytoplankton the cost of
the medications for the 3 of us was $800 per month!" R. R .
Dr. Jerry Tennant, M.D . says that
marine phytoplankton nutrients contains almost
everything one needs to sustain life and to restore health by providing the
raw materials to make new cells that function normally. Marine phytoplankton
has been called "the most nutritionally dense foods on the planet". Containing
a wide range of trace elements, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll,
enzymes and cellular materials, marine phytoplankton promotes and maintains
optimum health by boosting and supporting all systems within the body. Its antioxidants
and unique polysaccharides can halt the genetic mutations that can lead to cancer.
Both high levels of saccharides and adaptogens increase energy and stamina by
improving our ability to consume and use oxygen. Adaptogens also improve cardiovascular
health by strengthening the heart and circulation.
NOTE: If I had known about the
marine phytoplankton 20 years ago,
and given these to Sterling, I think it would have made a huge difference in
his health and well being. Shirley
and Physical Degeneration
by Dr. Weby Dr. Weston A. Price D.D.S.
Generational Consequences of Nutritional Deficiency
There are many serious consequences of generation after generation having
diets deficient in an element essential for normal development of the nervous
system. In 1996, Laura J. Stevens, of the Department of Foods and Nutrition,
Purdue University, and co-investigators published an extremely important paper
in Physiology and Behavior. The researchers found that boys
with lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids
in their blood showed more problems with behavior, learning, and health than
those with higher levels of total omega-3 fatty acids. Dr. Weston Price - "If
a native abandoned his ancestral eating habits in favor of modern foods, ill
health and dental caries followed. If that same person switched back to the
original eating pattern, however, health returned and the progression of dental
decay stopped and reversed itself. This is perhaps the most uplifting aspect
of Price's work: one can always reverse the trend; there is always hope. "
A special thanks to Dr. Kathleen Power, doctor of Applied Kinesiology (neurology/internal
disorder) in Pasadena, California, for donating her time to treat Sterling.
June 2002: I received an email from
Viraj V Kulkarni , the father of a child
who sustained brain injury in a car accident in India. Viraj introduced me to
the G. Therapy
, a pioneering treatment for a variety of Neurodevelopmental disabilities like
Cerebral Palsy, Mental Subnormality, Autism, Down Syndrome, Global Delays, etc.,
invented by Dr. Gunvant Oswal. Had I known about the G Therapy a few years ago,
when Sterling was still alive, I would most certainly have flown to India and
seen Dr. Oswal with him.
Micah Lee Rock suffered from lack
of oxygen at birth. He is also on the patterning program. The video and Micah's
story are inspiring!
- Resources and support for families with special children in
- Our-Kids, Support and Information for Parents of Children with Disabilities.
Send E-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject line doesn't matter.
In the body of the message type: subscribe our-kids your_name
- CP Parents, Parents of Children with Cerebral Palsy. Send E-mail to:
email@example.com Subject line doesn't matter. In the body
of the message type: subscribe cpparent your_name
- Family Voices National Office
http://www.familyvoices.org Family Voices National Office 1-888-835-5669
(toll-free) E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Arc of the United States http://www.thearc.org/
With more than 1,100 affiliated chapters and 140,000 members across the
United States, The Arc (formerly Association for Retarded Citizens of the
United States) is the country's largest voluntary organization committed
to the welfare of all children and adults with mental retardation and their
families. The Arc, with its rich history in advocacy and services, is comprised
of individuals with mental retardation, family members, and professionals
in the field of disability and other concerned citizens. The Arc has adopted
various positions on issues that affect people with mental retardation and
their families, and the organization's mission statement forms the basis
for the organization's activities.
- CSHCN-L: The Children with Special Health Care Needs-ListServ CSHCN-L
is a discussion list individuals interested in the children with special
health care needs. CSHCN-L provides the opportunity to exchange ideas, identify
exemplary programs addressing the needs of children with special health
needs and their families, and initiate a dialogue of the critical issues
that need to be identified and articulated to inform the current debates.
To join send an e-mail message to: email@example.com In the body of the
message type: subscribe cshcn-l Your Name
Neurological and Immune Reactive Conditions Affecting Kids
The mercury connection to neurological pervasive developmental disorders(autism,
schizophrenia, dyslexia, ADD, childhood depression, learning disabilities, OCD,
etc.) and developmental immune conditions(eczema, asthma, and allergies)
The incidence of neurotoxic, allergic, and immune reactive conditions such
as autism, schizophrenia, ADD, dyslexia, allergies, asthma, eczema, psoriasis,
childhood diabetes, etc. have been increasing rapidly in recent years. A recent
report by the National Research Council found that 50% of all pregnancies in
the U.S. are now resulting in prenatal or postnatal mortality, significant birth
defects, developmental disabilities or otherwise chronically unhealthy babies.
There has been a similar sharp increase in developmental disabilities in Canadian
children over the last 2 decades, including learning disabilities and behavioral
problems, asthma and allergies, and childhood cancer. Exposure to toxic chemicals
or environmental factors appear to be a factor in as much as 28 percent of the
4 million U.S. children born each year , with 1 in 6 having one of the neurological
conditions previously listed. The U.S. Dept. Of Education indicates that over
5 million children attending school have neurological related disabilities reported
by state agencies, other than ADD. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics
between 4 to 12 % of all school age children are affected by ADHD and a similar
number have some degree of dyslexia.Studies indicate that
over 60,000 children are born each year with neurodevelopmental impairments
due to prenatal exposure to methyl mercury and two other sources of
mercury exposure appear more common and at higher levels than this,
mercury from vaccines and amalgam dental fillings.
( more on the toxic danger of amalgam dental fillings )
Do you have a question about Natural Health or need assistance?
Call 323-522-4521 or 323-989-3372