Toddler Regresses Into Autism After Vaccination But Years Later Mom Recovers Him
Michelle Tourjie has ventured on a long journey of guiding her son through his recovery from his vaccine injury and autism diagnosis. She shares her story details from leading up to that 13 month doctor’s visit where her son received the injurious vaccines, through the recovery process, including the current state of her 15 year old son’s health and her other children. Her encouraging story is followed by a question and answer exchange with Michelle where she addresses the stark differences in her children’s health and her concerns about the issues we face regarding informed consent and freedom of speech.
Michelle: Our son was talking well for a one year old with a vocabulary of about 20 words. Mama, dada, uh oh, oh no, baba, cookie, please, hi, bye, yes, no, car, toy, boat, with his favorite game at the time to drop a toy or knock one down and go “uh oh, oooh no” all dramatically to get laughs.
When Dominic was 13 months old we went to the doctor’s office to get him vaccinated. Although he was already walking, he preferred to hold furniture and was playing at a Thomas the Train table in the office. Suddenly he stopped playing and walked all the way across the lobby unassisted to a little blonde girl. He reached up with his hands to hold her cheeks and pull her in for a kiss on the lips and said, “Hi.” The other parents, the nurses and receptionist all giggled and laughed and cheered at how cute it was. That was Dominic 100%: he played with the children at daycare, was very social, and waved at everyone. We had our visit where he aced his developmental test, got his shots – the MMR, Varicella, PCV, and Hib – and we went home.
He screamed and screamed and spiked a 105 fever. His pediatrician’s office said he will be fine – just give him Tylenol. Hours later it was no better, the fever barely budged then came right back. I called again and was told no need to come in just keep giving him Tylenol. He didn’t speak another word after that day. He wasn’t the same happy, smiling baby he was before, but having just been through a stressful couple of days I thought he would be ok and kept trying not to worry like the nurses were telling me.
When he returned to daycare after a few days, we were pulled aside and what I had been complaining to my husband about was validated. They reported he wasn’t talking, playing with the other children, laughing or giggling, or even responding to his name, and wanted to know what was going on. He wasn’t playing his game anymore or waving at anyone and wouldn’t even let us hold him. He was very affectionate before. His regression was immediate, but continued to get worse. The blowout diapers, then the eczema and ear infections. He started harming himself like biting his arms and slamming his head into the floor.
Those behaviors didn’t happen overnight, but over time as his symptoms got worse. I would attribute the constant antibiotics due to the ear infections as partly to blame for the symptoms getting worse. It’s like a domino effect one complication leading to another starting with the HepB at birth causing mitochondrial disorder being what set it all off.
At age three, he was still not talking and we brought him in to the pediatrician with a list of symptoms that started after his vaccinations at 13 months. He gave us the autism diagnosis and began to lecture that it wasn’t the vaccines pointing out he was aware that we were not vaccinating our new baby, but we are one of the only parents he’s allowed to stay that refused. I told him not to worry because he was fired and we never went back.
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We found a neurodevelopmental pediatrician who gave us the diagnosis of regressive autism ADHD combined type because he had the skills and lost them. In three months on her protocol of treating the whole body for toxicity, inflammation, and gut health, he was talking again. He had been nonverbal for years. I took him to the park the day after we completed his first round of chelation therapy to address the metal toxicity found in his testing. We got out of the car, walked to the playground, he stops and looks up at me a gives a complete sentence. “Mama, I love you.” Yes I dropped to my knees and cried like a baby.
We continued to work with nutrition and supplements and he continued to gain skills. He recovered to a case of high functioning autism. Legos are a favorite. He will be 15 in February. He graduated from speech therapy.
Q&A with Michelle:
Q: When did Dominic receive the MMR, Varicella, PCV, and Hib?
Michelle: March 22, 2006
Q: Curious why they would give him the MMR at 13 months and not at the standard 18 months?
Michelle: All we knew was that the daycare required he get his one year shots since his birthday was the month before. When I left my retail management job, I also lost my insurance so we were late getting him to his one year appointment. We paid out of pocket to have him seen and vaccinated at this appointment. We assumed the doctor knew what he was supposed to get and had been following the schedule. I believe the standard is at 12 months then a booster by age 5 before kindergarten, but we did not know this then or what any of the vaccines were to be honest. We just knew they were “required.” He never got another shot after his visit on 3/22/2006. I was so livid with what had happened that I stopped taking him to wellness checks entirely.
Q: Did you receive informed consent from his doctor? The full risks, and extensive list of adverse reactions, benefits, and risk of catching the diseases/illnesses if you didn’t vaccinate?
Michelle: Not vaccinating was never discussed. There was no mention of risks besides a fever and there was absolutely zero discussion of the mild illnesses we were vaccinating for. We were not afraid of chickenpox for example, but we just trusted them to do what was needed.
Q: Before he received the MMR and other vaccines, he was developmentally on track, correct? Sounds like it from the way you described his verbal and physical abilities. Was there any indication, signs, or symptoms that he had any health or developmental issues?
Michelle: He had zero developmental issues up to that day. He had just aced his developmental test including language and had quite the scene in the lobby before he went back to get his vaccinations. He walked all the way across the lobby to a little blonde girl, reached his hands up to her cheeks, gave her a kiss, and said “Hi”. He had an amazing vocabulary, used please and thank you with intention, was very playful with the other children, very affectionate, he was always happy and excited to start the day upon waking in the morning.
It all changed after that day. He didn’t speak another word. He stopped playing. He was not the same happy ready for the world baby he was before. He stopped playing his game. I have permanent hearing damage from the screaming. The blow out diapers were the first thing we noticed after the screaming and high fever. Next came the ear infections, then the eczema, and more gut issues. Then the self-harm started. He was biting his arms and slamming his head into the floor. The vaccines and antibiotics sent his body down a path of terror.
Q: The doctor’s office recommended Tylenol – did you give Dominic Tylenol and/or anything else for his fever, how much, and how often?
Michelle: We only gave Children’s Tylenol. We gave the initial dose, but the fever didn’t come down much before it shot back up again over 105 degrees. We gave him more as instructed, but I don’t remember how many doses he received after the first two. I know for certain I didn’t break the recommended limits on the box for maximum amount per day. I tried a tepid bath, but he was just screaming and crying inconsolably.
Q: How long after that doctor’s visit and after giving him Tylenol, did you notice a change in his behavior, physical, or mental abilities? Was it hours, days, weeks, etc.? You mentioned it was immediate, but I was curious how soon after?
Michelle: He slept so hard and long into the next morning that I had a false sense of relief that he would be get through this once he woke up and wasn’t crying. I knew he still didn’t feel good though, he was not very active, and still had a fever. Since I was still in panic mode with the fever, concern over his not using words wasn’t awakened yet.
By day three post vaccination, I did raise concern with my husband that he wasn’t looking at me, playing, trying to walk, or stand not even holding on to furniture, hadn’t asked for a “baba” or “cookie” which was odd, and hadn’t been playing like normal – just staring at the ceiling fan.
We just kept living life though and the fever broke, so we sent him to school the following Monday so I could return to work. That was day five post vaccination. I was in the middle of having carpet installed and walls built desperately trying to open the doors of my business by Easter. By the end of that week on March 31st, we were pulled aside by the teachers upon pickup for them to address their concerns.
He was not playing with the other children, responding to his name, he was staring off into space, not walking around or playing with toys, and not eating much at snack or lunch. They wanted to know what was going on. We explained his rough days after his shots and that got me thinking more deeply. I mentioned that at home we had been seeing the same thing that he was just laying on the living room floor staring at the ceiling fan.
When he was feeling better, the words did not return. He did, however, start sorting his fruit loops by color and lining up all his cars in a long row like a new ritual he started doing this daily. He was at least playing with his toys again, so we thought that was a good thing.
Q: You also mentioned he got progressively worse. Did you bring this up with the doctor or other healthcare professionals when you noticed his symptoms/behavior, etc. (before the 3 year old visit)? If not, was this brought up just at the 3 year old visit? (And good for you for firing that doctor and finding a new one that was able to help you!)
Michelle: The day the teachers pulled us aside to inquire what was going on expressing concern that he was acting so strangely compared to what they were used to, I went home, and got very angry and lost in thought about the possibility that these changes were our fault. I had immediate distrust and hesitation to take him back for vaccine appointments now, but did bring him in for the ear infections and to have the eczema checked out. Sample creams and antibiotics were all they were concerned about when they saw him. I spoke to my father, but not the pediatrician about concerns that he was talking but had stopped. Since he said not to worry and that children start talking at different times that it was okay, I didn’t think to bother asking the pediatrician about the language skills and honestly I thought everything would just go back to normal.
Going to the pediatrician was always so rushed, get to the point, and get you out that only the emergent issues were discussed. I was a first time mom and we had never heard the word “autism” before. The discussion with my dad certainly gave me a false sense of hope everything would be fine, so I kept focusing on my business I had opened. I just kept telling myself “get enough revenue to hire staff so I can spend more time at home” because until then I was working it by myself open to close daily.
After I closed the business and was spending all of my time with Dominic, months turned into a year, and still no words. He was plenty more active, so that was no longer an issue. In fact, he was pretty hyper most of the time constantly moving, running, and literally bouncing off the walls while playing. For those grammar police, I do mean literally. He would run, climb over the couch in the middle of the room, drop down, and run to the wall push off and do it again, over and over again day after day. It was getting too far with still no words though, so one day I made flash cards and even laminated them of words he had before like boat and car and decided to just focus on that.
That’s when the alarm bells went off for me. It seemed as if he couldn’t even hear me but his hearing was fine, he just didn’t even try to make a sound. I would try again and again with smiles and cheers and rewards ready to go and he wouldn’t engage with me. That night I explained what I had tried to my husband and was in tears, but he said it’ll be okay. I had had enough of believing it was okay. That belief had left that afternoon and did not return.
I took Dominic with me to the library and started researching about speech development. Loss of speech was not mentioned in any of the child development books I checked out, so I hit the internet and searched speech development and loss of speech. That was when I learned what autism was. That’s when I found a video about mercury showing neurons dissolving in a petri dish. That video is now burned into my memory. I was shocked and dug further. I learned who Barbara Fisher was and that there were so many stories like ours out there. I learned that this same thing happened to Jenny McCarthy’s son and she wrote a book, so I checked it out. Although my husband disagreed and said I was just researching too much, I knew we were facing autism. I also checked out “The A.D.D. Nutrition Solution a 30 Day Drug Free Plan”, so he had noticed I was now spending a lot of time reading obsessively on the subject.
When I was satisfied with the amount of research and had learned that he would qualify for services, but not until he was three years old, I decided to wait until his third birthday to address the issues with his pediatrician. I had a two page list of symptoms ready to bring him to see the pediatrician and get our diagnosis.
When his doctor came in and asked what was he being seen for today I told him I have a list of concerns and to please let me read them off. He watched Dominic climb around the room on everything he could while making noises with no fear of danger and I read my two pages. I then explained the chain of events as I saw it that had unfolded after his last round of vaccinations. He observed and listened. The second I was finished speaking, he asked us, “Does he always act like this?” We said “Yes. If he’s awake, he is constantly moving and climbing and running and making these noises.”
He agreed that our diagnosis was autism and then immediately defended the vaccines saying that they didn’t cause it. It just shows up at this age, he said. He then said he had noticed we were not vaccinating Sean and that we were the only parents in his practice at that time he had allowed to stay and that he could kick us out if we didn’t vaccinate him. That’s when I had enough and flat out told him he did not need to worry about that, he was fired, and we would not be back. I told him to just give us our diagnosis on our checkout sheet and we would be on our way. We never stepped foot in that office again.
I took my diagnosis sheet straight to the education system to apply for services and right after our first meeting one of the ladies wrote a name and phone number on top sheet of the stack of informational documents I received. It was the number of a neurodevelopmental pediatrician she said was doing amazing things for children in our community.
Q: Other than what you mentioned in your story submission, did Dominic experience any other symptoms, reactions, or health issues? (Did he have onset allergies?, etc.?)
Michelle: We didn’t know he had developed an egg allergy, but he did. That was diagnosed by the neurodevelopmental pediatrician in 2008. He luckily did not have any other allergies. The eczema cleared up once we did the work she recommended on gut health. We were using flavored cod liver oil to help feed the brain and heal the gut as she explained, for example.
Q: How did you know he had a mitochondrial disorder after the HepB vaccine at birth?
Michelle: The mitochondrial disorder was not diagnosed until 2008 by the neurodevelopmental pediatrician. Knowing what I know now about HepB and aluminum adjuvants after reading the scientific literature, Dr. Zimmerman’s affidavit, and details about the Hannah Poling case, I alone make the claim that it was the HepB at birth that started him down this path.
The other shots he received while on the schedule were likely also damaging mitochondrial function inside is body. I don’t say this because anyone told us it was the HepB at birth or any one specific vaccine. Interestingly enough, since making that statement I saw on Children’s Health Defense website that a FOIA lawsuit revealed the CDC had done a vaccinated versus unvaccinated study showing the increased rates of autism, sleep disorders, speech disorders, and neurodevelopmental disorders after HepB vaccine compared to unvaccinated children.
Q: Does Dominic have the MTHFR gene mutation?
Michelle: We did not have testing done for this, so we don’t know. We plan on having our whole family tested for this gene mutation. Our second child, Sean, was brought to the neurodevelopmental pediatrician to be tested for mitochondrial disorders though and Sean’s tests were clean, no disorder present.
Q: What do you want me to include about your work history? Or was that just for context that you ended up leaving your job to care for Dominic because after he got caught up on the vaccines he needed for daycare, that’s when he regressed and had all of those adverse reactions/problems?
Michelle: I have an Associate’s Degree in accounting and enrolled at DeVry to work towards my Bachelor’s in management two weeks before we found out that I was pregnant with Dominic. We had been married eight years before deciding to start our family. I graduated Summa Cum Laude from DeVry in June 2006 and closed my t-shirt and souvenir shop that fall. The business overhead was too high to keep the doors open which was also a contributing factor.
My shop was in the Foodlion shopping center between Pizza Hut and the UPS store. Pizza Hut is still there, but the UPS store closed also just a year or two later due to the rent being too high. It was the day after I had to stop him from slamming his head into the floor that I decided to give up rather than keep trying. Racking up debt wasn’t going to help our situation and I came to the realization that his symptoms were getting worse, not better, so ultimately all factors were considered before closing shop. I continued to print shirts from home for church groups and cub scouts from time to time as a hobby until my equipment died in 2011.
Q: How is Dominic doing now at 15? Other than legos, what hobbies does he enjoy? How is he doing in school emotionally, socially, academically, physically, and health wise? How would you describe his personality and how he functions in the world and with others?
Michelle: Dominic’s health improved dramatically once we found his neurodevelopmental pediatrician. She certainly pointed me in the right direction on what changes to make in diet and what supplements to work with. He never had another ear infection or any infection after that and his eczema cleared up and never came back. He has not had to go to the doctor for anything except physicals to attend Special Olympics each year. He towers over me at 6′ tall now and is fit with an athletic build.
Dominic enjoys many things with school being his favorite. His only complaint seems to be summer breaks missing his friends. He loves animals, nature, photography, listening to music, and making videos with a dream of being a YouTuber or video game developer. He has been deep into researching Ancient Egypt for a few years now as a favorite subject. He has completed too many video games to be honest, but he earns every moment of his game play.
He has graduated from need of speech therapy. He has an IEP with accommodations to help him succeed academically with half of his classes being in his homeroom special need’s class and the other half in a general education setting and is an A/B student.
Socially, he is well liked by his peers and has a best friend. Most people when they first meet him don’t realize he is autistic right away because he is very well spoken. Eye contact and rapid body movements/stemming when talking or excited are his most notable features that keep him in this diagnosis besides the fact that he’s behind in reading and comprehension skills for his age at almost a 3rd grade level, so that’s our current focus.
He is very independent, responsible, helps with chores, is learning to cook, and loves to use the grill to make burgers. He is empathetic towards others’ feelings in a huge way, so he’ll be the first to offer a hug if someone is upset. The only thing that brought me to tears after all these years of gains in skills and improvement of health was when he said recently he had doubts he will ever marry and have a family of his own.
Q: What therapies and detoxes did you initially do for Dominic under the care of the neurodevelopmental pediatrician besides chelation therapy? What health protocols, detoxes, or healing approaches are you doing now for him, if anything? Is he continuing to improve? And if so, what is helping him the most?
Michelle: She started with 30 days of Valtrex “to counter any remaining MMR wreaking havoc on his gut”, her words. Supplements suggested were, Glutothione, cod liver oil, GABA, and VitaSpectrum by Klaire Labs to start. We used Alpha Lipoic Acid to address inflammation. Then at the three month mark of seeing her, I asked for the chelation since his hair samples showed high levels of lead, cadmium, and other metals. She agreed and prescribed, but she did have hesitation and went into detail of the risks and benefits first. We kept retesting hair samples to check the vitamin deficiencies were getting back up to green and the toxins were going back down to green. He started talking again right after that first round of DMSA.
The only side effect we noticed during the medication was frequent urination, so he was also potty trained that weekend and never wore another diaper after that Sunday. He would even get up in the middle of the night to go by himself, so this was a really good thing in my opinion, and also how the medication works to get the toxins out of the body. We also did Epsom salts in the bath and took him to have an ionic foot bath at a spa.
Between the ages of 6 and 8, he was on Intuniv during the school year in a low dose to help him stay calm and focused for school. We were opposed to doing any kind of medication for so long. When he first began to get services in a preschool setting, they asked us to get him on ADHD medication, but we refused. By first grade however, we went back to the neurodevelopmental pediatrician to discuss options and she suggested doing the low dose Intuniv just for school. We didn’t give it to him on weekends or during the summer. Now, he does not take any medications.
The only supplement I have him take regularly is Vitamin C and the Plexus Xfactor multivitamin chewables. Occasionally, I give him Nerve by Plexus for mitochondrial support. Over the past two years he has made tremendous improvements in his academics and handwriting.
Q: Do you have any other children? And if so, did you vaccinate them? Why or why not?
Michelle: With our second child, Sean, we were diligent in making sure he was not vaccinated. He did receive the Vitamin K because we chose circumcision. If I knew then what I know now, I would not have allowed that either. Sean ended up severely jaundiced and had respiratory issues for the first several months. He received an antibiotic injection for the respiratory issue at a couple of months old and then we really started having health issues with Sean. He had so many ear infections that he was at risk of getting tubes in his ears. Growth was slow to the point that he did have a diagnosis of failure to thrive with no explanation as to why. His mitochondrial testing came back normal.
We then quit taking him to the pediatrician since we fired him and I worked closely with my WIC office for help instead. Sean developed speech at the same age as Dominic did with about 20 words by one year old and never lost any language skills, no autism, and no developmental delay with any other skills. By age two, he was where he needed to be on the growth charts to lose that diagnosis.
We had our daughter in 2011 and she had absolutely zero injections, no Vitamin K, no HepB. She has not received a single shot on the schedule. She’s eight years old now and has never had an ear infection, no allergies, and has thrown up twice her whole life – both times from a bad food product. Not one of our children have ever come down with a “vaccine preventable infection.”
Q: What is the biggest issue related to vaccines in today’s culture and societal climate?
Michelle: If I had to choose the “biggest issue” related to vaccines that’s a tough call between not getting informed consent with the full list of risks at the pediatrician’s offices and censorship of those that dare to speak up about the risks of vaccination. Freedom of speech is a defining part of what it means to be American. Informed consent the whole world agreed is mandatory as a human right. Our freedom of speech is guaranteed, so we need to exercise it by expressing our concerns to legislators that we want bills written that ensure the time is taken to provide true informed consent before each and every injection. Call me a rebel on this question as I choose both of these and just couldn’t pick one as bigger than the other.
Q: What advice do you have for parents who are considering their health choices for their children and family?
Michelle: “Food is the best medicine” – Henry G. Beiler, M.D. Eat for health rather than convenience. “All disease begins in the gut” – Hippocrates. Avoid antibiotics unless it is a real emergency and if that’s the case, make sure you replenish healthy gut flora with probiotics and foods that promote healthy gut flora. Antibiotics don’t discriminate and will wipe out your immune system leaving you prone to repeated infections and health problems. Educate yourself on the microbiome. When we stopped using antibiotics and restored gut flora, the ear infections stopped.
Q: What recommendations do you have for other parents and families who are new to an autism diagnosis for their child?
Michelle: Toxicity, inflammation, and gut health. Educate yourselves on addressing these issues. No matter how severe your child’s symptoms may be, your unconditional love for your living and breathing child will get you through. Many infants get vaccinated and don’t wake up. It will not be easy, but it will be worth it, so learn about diet and inflammation and begin your journey of healing without delay. Our boy recovered from a severe case of nonverbal regressive autism ADHD combined type with self-harming behavior to a case of high functioning autism. He no longer requires speech therapy and is on track for a high school diploma. There is hope and it can get better.
Q: What else would you like to share?
Michelle: My husband is a veteran of the Navy just like his father. I am the daughter of a Marine whose father was a veteran of the Navy. I had some symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome including Trichotillomania growing up, but was never properly diagnosed. Despite being seen for the hair and eyelashes pulling, my mother was told they didn’t know why, so no answers or diagnosis. I was lacking in social skills, but excelled at academics and had no issues with speech so it was missed.
I recently asked her more questions about me as an infant and she told me I did scream and stop eating after my DPT vaccine enough that she had to bring me to the hospital and she had to switch to formula.
VACCINE INJURY RECOVERY RESOURCES
This family’s autism story is common and addresses how much damage vaccines can cause, but also how resilient our body’s and brains can be given the chance to recover and heal under optimal circumstances and guidance.
* [Tylenol (Acetaminophen) is not recommended, especially post vaccination, as it has been found to deplete glutathione levels and affects mitochondria, a critical component to detoxification.
* For detoxification, healing, and recovery resources for autism spectrum disorders (ASD), check out: