By Shannon Penrod
When your child isn’t meeting all of the their developmental markers it seems counter intuitive to take away their favorite foods, maybe even cruel. It seems that way but it isn’t. The truth is that food is sometimes part of the problem. If your child was recently diagnosed with Autism, you may have been told there are some dietary interventions that prove very effective with some children. You may also have been told that it doesn’t work for all kids, or even that it doesn’t work at all. I can’t speak for all children, but as a parent I can tell you that my child started speaking again when we took milk and wheat in all forms out of his diet. If that isn’t compelling enough, it also changed his behavior so greatly that I was able to walk down the sidewalk and hold his hand for the first time. It was so clear in our son’s case that milk and wheat made his symptoms of Autism worse that we were highly motivated to keep it out of his diet.
I remember my mother saying to me, “Isn’t he ever going to get to eat ice cream?” I looked at my chubby cheeked three year old and told her, “He can have ice cream, he just won’t be able to talk or communicate for days afterward. Ice cream is great but I’m going to choose being able to talk over ice cream.” My mother looked like I’d slapped her, but she really “got it”. I’m sure kids who have peanut allergies wonder what it’s like to have a peanut butter sandwich or to eat our without fear of contamination, but who would choose peanuts over breathing? Or ice cream over speaking. In our case it was a no brainer. Unfortunately, it isn’t always as cut and dried with other kids.
There is one efficient way that I have found to predict if your child could benefit from one of the dietary interventions for Autism: Look at what and how your child currently eats. Is your child addicted to colorful candy? They don’t want to eat meals they just want to snack on colorful sweets? Chances are that your child could benefit from a version of the Feingold Diet. Does your child live on crackers and milk, or mac and cheese and chicken nuggets? They don’t want juice, but they crave milk? Your child is a prime candidate to improve on the gluten free, casein diet. Is your child in love with potatoes? French fries for lunch, tater tots for dinner, mashed potatoes at restaurants and potato chips in the car? They don’t want water, but they love juice and crave fruit of all kinds? Odds are your child could benefit from at least a modified version of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Does it all sound scary and overwhelming to you? You aren’t alone.
In this week’s show we are going to talk about dietary interventions, what to try, how to do it with very little fuss and what it can mean for your child and your family. Have questions or want to tell how dietary intervention helped your child? Call in during the live show on Friday at 2pm EST, 11am Pacific Time at 877.864.4869.