Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why is my child doing this? And what can I do about it?

I am an avid believer in the fact that what you eat affects how you behave. We have all heard the phrase, "You are what you eat" and we all understand the vague concept that if you eat junk food and large amounts of fat that you are typically overweight and not very healthy. The converse being that if you eat "healthy", reduced fat, whole wheat, soy milk, lots of veggies and such you will have a typically healthy body. If only wishing made these things true. As with many, if not all, things in life the shades of grey take over. I personally know many people that when doing a "healthy" diet would be hideously ill, myself and my children included. Not to say there aren't "healthy for us" diets to be followed, there are, but finding those diets can be an absolute challenge. There are IgE allergy test and IgG allergy tests, scratch, patch and blood draw, and then there is the elimination diet.

Personal opinions vary on which methods are the best, and only a family or individual can make those decisions. Our family has found, for us, that the IgG test is a great detector of allergens. Our youngest tends to get tested about twice a year, and our eldest anywhere from 2-4 times a year depending on his reactivity and symptoms. We have found, especially with our eldest, that staying ahead of the curve on allergic reactions (i.e.- dietary changes made prior to strong reactions) has really helped benefit his health. Healthy people are often happy people, often well behaved and thoughtful of others, not always but often. On the other hand, people in pain or even general discomfort are often discourteous towards those around them, if they pay them any mind at all. Often their behavior is considered bizarre, thoughtless and even rude. Consider the case of chronic undiagnosed IgG food allergies, wherein the person afflicted doesn't know what is making them sick, hence they are unable to get better. Now imagine that same person is a small child, a child who hasn't learned to talk yet because he feels so sick he can't focus. Of course the child doesn't even know he feels sick because he has never felt any other way. Unfortunately this was the story for my eldest son, until we found a doctor that helped us figure out how to help him.

His behavior was often erratic and/or fixated, what we saw as quirky, and he would have these marvelous mood swings. He had auditory and other sensory integration issues, of course we had never even heard of those back then. I just knew I needed earplugs every time he needed a bath and that he needed to leave the house if I was going to vacuum. Never in a million years would I have guessed that all of this was a byproduct of his diet. It went against everything I had previously learned in my life to think that his behavior was caused by eating Wheat Thins, but it was!

Putting him on the Gluten-free/Casein-free (GF/CF) diet was the first step in helping him heal. It was also a real education for myself to see how much the "healthy" foods I had been giving my son were like poison to him. His behaviors began to change and it became quite hard to ignore what I was seeing. Then we got his first IgG allergy bloodtest done. It turned out that our adventure was just begining. Within six weeks of going GF/CF we discovered that he was allergic to eggs and soy. Now there are a lot of great products on the market as far as GF/CF, more now than 7 years ago, but to this day it is a challenge to find prepackaged foods that are GF/CF and soy and egg free foods. I hadn't baked in a while, not that I wasn't pretty good at it, but imagine if you will HAVING to bake form scratch, yet not being able to use any ingredients you've used before. It's a miracle that my son didn't starve in the first two weeks of his ammended diet, everything I made failed for those two agonizingly long weeks. Then something miraculous happened, the muffins stopped caving in on themselves, the bread rose and the cookies stopped falling apart. I had learned to cook and bake GF/CF without eggs or soy, a small miracle!

Slowly but surely I saw his behaviors and his comprehension of his surroundings change. Back then all we were doing was dietary intervention. We had yet to start any bio-medical treatment and we were seeing steady improvement. Eventually we hit a dietary plateau. That's when other bio-medical treatments took center stage in his treatment, however, dietary intervention has always remained a mainstay in his treatment. It is the least invasive and most natural treatment for autism available and is by far the first I recommend to any parent just starting out. In mid-September learn why rotational diets are a serious matter for some of our kids and the best ways to make it easy.


  1. been chatting with Lulu's mommy...
    She speaks very highly of your wisdom. I would like to implement the total diet with my son, but I can't bake! I have the same problem that he is allergic to soy and eggs as well. Not sure what to do! Can you help? Tell Lulu's mommy that Carson's mom said to give you my phone number and info! XO Jenferjoy