Jamie Kropp 28-December-2015

I'm a single mother of two children ages 11 and seven and we are living in Colorado Springs, Colorado. We recently relocated here to Colorado from Arizona in search of a better quality of life for my children. A year after my son Kolt was born in 2008, I was diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism and Grave’s Disease. Within six months, I was starting to notice a change in Kolt to where it seemed he was regressing instead of reaching basic child milestones.

Kolt was diagnosed at two with Autism, sensory processing disorder, and a rare skin condition called Mastocytosis. This beautiful thriving little boy was literally losing all learned skills from basic babble talk, eye contact, and being able to self-calm. Shortly after Kolt's diagnosis, we started applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy, feed therapy, speech therapies, occupational therapy, and physical therapy to just name a few. The next year was spent trying to figure out how to handle Kolt and prevent this poor little boy from hurting himself.

Due to the sensory processing disorder, Kolt was constantly seeking out ways to be able to feel his body or put out the invisible fire his poor little body was feeling. He would do this by taking any object and beating himself with it to where he would be covered in bruises and welts from self-harm. Going to therapy and getting results one day to where Kolt was able to self-calm and begin to start to take in all that was trying to be taught to him and then back the next day to how he was. It was like starting all over again as if he had never learned the skills over the last year.

Kolt started the early intervention program for special needs students at three along with all the therapies. Nothing was helping Kolt. His meltdowns just kept getting worse, more often, and more violent. Nothing seemed to be working. Kolt was not learning anything in school and he was not included in the class due to the disruption he caused to other students. Kolt would spend his school days screaming, hitting, biting, and running away. After a year in public school for special needs students, Kolt was coming home with cuts, bruises, and bloody noses from hitting himself or banging is head on the wall or floor. Having Kolt attend school had turned into a danger and I was being told that if his behavior and self-harm didn't improve, he wouldn't be able to go to this type of school.

I saw behavioral therapist and his specialty doctors that where handling his Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder. I was told the same thing by every doctor that he needs to be on an anti-anxiety medication and other mood and mind altering prescriptions. I tried the ABA therapy route and it's not working. I was told he is going to end up hurting himself or someone else. I was at the end of my rope not knowing any other way to help my beautiful son to stop hurting himself, his sister, and me. To be able to go through one day without wanting to hurt himself, a day of not throwing up due to the Masocytosis and GERD tearing his stomach up, or meltdown of screams because he can't tell me what hurt or what he may need. It was medicate Kolt or I was going to have to have him placed in a facility where they could keep him safe.

I was so unsure about placing Kolt on the prescriptions and losing what little bit of my baby boy I still had, knowing he would go to zombie mode. At the same time, I knew  if I didn't do something soon, it was just going to get worse.
 
I did my own research online and reached out to parents all of the country and found out that some families found amazing results with cannabis. So that's when I decided it was time to try this before ever putting him on pharmaceutical medications. We wanted to help Kolt be able to just cope with everyday tasks. In August of 2014, we packed up our three bedroom home in Arizona and headed for Colorado in search of a better quality of life for Kolt.

This was not an easy move to say the least. Our plan was to stay in a hotel for the first few weeks as we found a house or apartment to rent. As we all know, life sometimes doesn't go smooth or how it’s planned. When we arrived here we ended up in one of the most run down hotels the town could offer but it was cheap and we had made it to Colorado so it didn't matter. The weeks turned into a month then the holidays came and passed. But shortly after the New Year, we were able to get into an apartment and soon after, Kolt received his medical marijuana card. Autism itself is not a qualifying factor for a medical marijuana card, but Kolt was able to fall under two different qualifying conditions; his GERD and Masocytosis. Autism is listed on his signing doctor’s paperwork as well as the other conditions. Now I could finally treat Kolt without the fear of losing him or going to jail for just trying to help Kolt have a better quality of life. The first step in starting the process of giving Kolt marijuana was finding a qualified caregiver that would grow especially for Kolt and hoped they would be able to make Kolt oils and other different means of giving Kolt his new medicine.

 Shortly after joining different support groups, I was put into contact with an amazing person named Dan who just wanted to help myself and Kolt have a better quality of life. From the first day of meeting, this amazing selfless man has done more for Kolt than any doctors have ever done, or even begin to take on, or attempt. After going through all of Kolt’s medical conditions, talking, and brainstorming with each other, Dan started finding different strains of cannabis for different times and behaviors or symptoms Kolt would be having.

Little did I know that within minutes I would be watching a miracle before my own eyes. Kolt went from full meltdown mode and banging his head or screaming in what sound like horrible pain to a little boy who has calmed down so much he has began to talk. He was able to sit and listen and go from throwing up 15 times a day to nothing at all. Up to two weeks ago, Kolt hadn’t slept through the night because he was waking up in night terrors or labored breathing. Kolt is labeled nonverbal as well.

Since Dan became Kolt’s caregiver, he is now reading over 60 words. The results are mind blowing to say the least. My son hasn't just got a little quality of life back; my son has a life now. Without Dan, I can truly say that Kolt was headed to a group home for his own safety and now that's the last thing from my mind.
11-Aug-2015
Garden of the Gods

While Jamie was running errands, Kolt and I explored Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs!
06-Jan-2016
Simply Kids Dental, Colorado Springs

Kolt has severe GERD and has regurgitated after every meal for years. The stomach acid has eaten away at his teeth so bad, that he has to get crowns all the way around.

Due to his sensory processing and autism, he gets a full sedation when he visits the dentist.
May 2015 & Jan-2016, weight loss comparison

The picture on the right was taken on Janurary 24, 2016. The picture on the left was taken in May of 2015. In eight, months Kolt lost almost ten pounds.

By this time his diet has completely changed and he's accepted the healthy patterns...for the most part. The importance on fast food and soda was replaced by new, interesting things like fish, fruit, and iced teas. 
25-Jun-2016

Kolt having fun on a friend's trampoline!

Dan Brandt 24-October-2015

I was inspired to put this organization together by a very special little man, Kolt. Kolt was diagnosed as Severely Autistic before he was three years old. Jamie's life changed that day; realizing her son and her life will be very different than she originally planned. Kolt and Jamie went through years of various therapies; ABA, 4-6 hours a week of outpatient therapy for speech, occupational, and physical therapies and nothing changed from the day he was diagnosed. Kolt didn’t progress for the worse so he was considered to be “okay” by medical standards. For the rest of Kolt’s life, he was to be considered non-verbal and have occupational sensory disorder along with him already having GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and mastocytosis, and no expected mental progression as far as school and learning. If you’re unaware of these terms let me rephrase that last sentence: For the rest of Kolt’s life he will never be able to talk or make any sense with words. He will never hold a pencil or eat with a fork. He will puke up about 1/3 of what he eats and gets servere rash break outs all over his body inside and out. He will never have the mental capacity to learn how the world works around him for the rest of his life.

After three years of trying everything she could, Jamie was at the point to give up anything just to get Kolt to stop banging his head on the floor and to stop him from other self-damage. Jamie heard from a mother in Washington about using cannabis with autistic children, but information was hard to find and limited at best. With limited choices, Jamie made the decision to move to Colorado Springs by the time Kolt turned six in hope to find at least something different. Kolt visited a couple different doctors because it takes two doctors to sign off for a child to get a medical marijuana card. After months of running to doctors and submitting forms, Kolt was issued his medical marijuana card by the state of Colorado just after his seventh birthday.

I met Kolt in May of 2015; a very excited little boy spinning around yelling things I couldn’t understand. Jamie was looking for a personal medical marijuana caregiver to provide for Kolt. Jamie and I started talking over Facebook and decided to meet. I had to be honest and told her I had no idea how to treat autism or what autism really even is. I know what cannabis can do and firmly stand behind it. I’m willing to trial and error until we see results we like. My goal wasn’t to cure anything, I just wanted to make Kolt’s life a little easier. If we could get just that the entire move to Colorado would be worth it. We had no idea what to expect.

I learned a lot about autism in a short period of time. Patterns and patients took on a whole new meaning. We set new habits for sleeping, eating, and everything in between. One day in June, I heard Kolt running through the house saying letters. Things like “A is for apple". It  was hard to understand. The more I listened, the clearer his words became. Only three weeks after that, he was reading simple words in the sub titles on the music channel on TV. Aside from saying words, Kolt was making progress in other ways too. He tends to obsess for food and would eat more chicken nuggets than any human ever should. Pizza, burgers, pretty much any food is eaten as fast and as much as possible, which doesn’t help the GERD. Most people would jump to blame the parents and say you need to limit your child. Yeah, that’s not quite the case here. I was one of those people, and I learned very quickly that you can’t just do that with an autistic child. Is all about patterns and habits; You have to influence them to be changed.

We saw many improvements in Kolt using medical marijuana. After trying various strains, I found ones that I now grow just for him. What we’ve noticed is that the marijuana slows his mind enough for him to say the words he’s thinking and do the tasks he wants to. He’s been on this planet for seven years. To think he hasn’t absorbed anything would be foolish. He’s seen and heard letters and numbers before. He knows who people are and how to perform tasks. By slowing him down, he is not only able to understand the world around him at our level, but he can also relay it to us letting us know what he actually knows. This is verifying to us that he’s actually learning and mentally progressing.

As of 24-Oct-2015, these are the following accomplishments he has made:
•Speech
-Simple sentences
-Spells words like “elephant, Monday, and airplane”
-Is able to read simple sentences
•Sensory/Motor Skills
-Able to twirl small items in circles with his finger tips
-Eats with a fork/spoon, brushes teeth, washes hands
-Can hold a pencil and draw simple shapes and trace
•Anxiety/Meltdown
-More acceptance of unexpected things happening (i.e. not doing something he wanted to)
-Is able to sleep by himself
-Willing to share, knows inside/outside voice, will wait in line, will watch traffic and birds out the window
•Eating/Digestive
-Doesn’t binge eat and eats slowly, smaller meals without complaining
-Lost weight and isn’t as bloated
-Reflux only happens with certain foods but is controlled for the most part
•Mastocytosis
-Condition rarely breaks out if at all. I personally only have seen one break out.
-Since this is also an internal issue, controlling this also helps with the GERD.

I’d like to thank in advance all medical staff that set limits for those of us with determination to break them. I’d also like to thank those who say marijuana is harmful and shouldn’t be given to a child. With coaching and cannabis, Kolt will continue to break limits and boundaries none of us ever thought were possible. Notice that I didn’t just say cannabis. This is learning life though new methods.; By breaking his old patterns and building new ones in a way that’s acceptable to him is the key to helping him build his world.  

6-Aug-2014
 
Kolt enjoying a flower. I wonder what his thoughts are about the way it smells.

19-Oct-2014

Carving a pumpkin! Kolt love to get his hands in there and feel it squish around!
11-Dec-2014

Being festive and decorating! Can't wait for Santa to come!
5-Sep-2015, Colorado Springs Balloon Festival at Memorial Park

Kolt had an exciting day eating ice cream and watching the balloons!
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