My son has been back on gluten (wheat and related grains) for five days now. His behavior hasn't taken any noticeable nose dives, no sir. Quite the opposite. On Friday he went up to our friend Mary, and announced "Dat's Mary!" Everyone in the room was shocked and pleased. That same day his speech therapist told me he'd had his best session in weeks.
And (apologies, gentle readers) his bowel movements haven't been liquified, either. Those little logs are still rolling along. I am hopeful, oh so hopeful, that we can eventually phase in dairy, chocolate, citrus, peanuts, and sugar....
Now, does all this mean that the past nine months of special diets and vitamin supplements and dietary enzymes have been for naught? Hell no.
I firmly believe that autism arises from multiple causes: hard-wired genes, the environment (including lead poisoning), vaccines, and/or diet. But, as of today, there is no way to quickly pinpoint how a child became autistic. One of the only things a parent can do, can control, is dietary trial and error.
Hence the elimination diet. It was and remains complicated, but it is in no way harmful to him. Not a bit. As in, there was no harm in trying it, and now we may get to be fairly certain that diet is not a factor in his case.
In addition, his GI tract had been seriously messed up by round after round after round after round of antibiotics--the poor boy had non-stop squirts. Putting him on a bland diet has given his little innards the resting period they needed to rebuild themselves. They seem to be able to do their job just fine these days, although they are still getting a little assistance from probiotics (heartily endorsed by his mainstream pediatrician, BTW).
Many autism professionals, particularly those in the ABA field, are skeptical when it comes to elimination diets. Some are outright hostile, and will make concerted efforts to dissuade parents from trying dietary approaches. Fuck them. They're not the parents. They don't have to live with the child; they won't be there in ten years.
Again, there is no harm in trying an elimination diet, other than inconvenience on the parents' part (note that inconvenience does not equal impossibility). For some children, this diet makes an incredible difference. For others, not a whit. But wouldn't you rather know?
Ways to get started:
- Read Karyn Seroussi's Unraveling the Mystery of Autism...
Novelized account of her son's recovery due to a special diet; a bit shrill, but compelling nonetheless.
- Read Lisa Lewis's Special Diets for Special Kids
Causation, theories, recipes.
- Find Yourself a Good DAN Doctor
Ask for recommendations from current and former patients. Some of these practitioners should be canonized, but I have heard of others who are costly bumblers.
Now here's the thing. I wrote this post. Seven and a half years ago. One year after Leo's diagnosis. Because I was misguided. Because I listened to the wrong people (e.g., see list above). Because those people were the loudest voices in the autism parent community. Because good information wasn't available. Because a book like our new Thinking Person's Guide to Autism wasn't available.
But ... our book will be available, in just a few days. We hope it will make a difference to anyone new autism. We appreciate your patience, and hope you will help spread the word about our book, and why it's so important. Thank you.