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Diet and Autism

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Have you explored or tried any  dietary and/or nutritional interventions that might with autism symptoms?

Removal of gluten (a protein found in barley, rye, oats, and wheat) and casein (a protein found in dairy products), in what is known as a Gluten Free, Casein Free diet, or GFCF is popular. Have you had any success with this type of diet?

Are you or your child a picky eater? How do you handle this?

*Consultation with a dietitian or physician should be considered and can be helpful to families in the determination of healthy application of a GFCF diet.

For more information about diet and other autism treatments, visit here.

  1. Charity
    March 14, 2011 at 11:24 am

    I’ve completely eliminated High Fructose Corn Syrup from our diet and I’m working towards going all natural and all organic. I can see a big difference after taking HFCS out of the equation. Thomas can focus a lot better in school. I urge everyone, on the autism spectrum or no, to eliminate HFCS. The difference in how you feel is amazing. Better sleep, foods fill you up better, and lower glucose readings.

    • Jennifer H.
      March 14, 2011 at 11:55 am

      Have you noticed a significant increase in expense for groceries? I have wanted to go organic, but with five children (one on the spectrum) it is proving a challenge financially.

      • devin
        March 16, 2011 at 1:31 pm

        If it’s too expensive at the local grocery try finding your local farmer’s market.Or starting your own garden.

      • Charity
        March 16, 2011 at 5:05 pm

        YES! We joined a CSA (community supported agriculture) farm in our area, so the cost is a little better. But buying organic at the grocery store is murder when you’re buying for 6 people! I think it’s worth it for the difference I’ve seen. I’ve seen a difference in all of us, not just my aspie. We’re all a bit healthier, we all have more energy, and without HFCS we don’t eat as much. HFCS has a chemical in it that’s been shown to increase appetite rather than decrease. Go figure.

  2. Nancy
    March 14, 2011 at 11:26 am

    I have a very picky eater with Aspergers. He only eats high startch foods. Mac and cheese, french fries, bread, some fruit (apples and grapes), occationally mixed veggies with the green beans out. He drinks milk, pop, water, Kool-aid and cappo. He does not eat meat unless it is pressed and formed beef jerky. He has been eating like this for about 10 years now. Tomorrow he will be 18 yrs. old.

    • March 14, 2011 at 11:32 am

      One of the reasons we decided to go gluten and casein free is because our son (then about three) had eliminated everything from his diet that wasn’t bread, cheese, or french fry related.

      • Sarah
        March 14, 2011 at 1:21 pm

        Did that help with trying to get him to eat a bigger variety of foods? My 3 year old has eliminated a lot from his diet and eats the same things everyday. We’ve tried a few gluten free foods but he won’t eat them. Any tips?

    • fluffinear
      March 15, 2011 at 12:52 pm

      Nancy I have a 10 year old, also with Aspergers, on basically the same diet except he can only have lactose free diary. It’s great to know that I am not alone. Thank you for your post.

      • Nancy
        March 16, 2011 at 11:55 pm

        Never ever feel alone. : )

    • Marilyn
      March 16, 2011 at 12:46 pm

      I have the same problem, but he won’t even eat fruit or vegetables. My son is Aspergers and 15 years old. It worries me to death. Especially, since he doesn’t get much exercise. I would love suggestions from parents with teens. I wish I had realized when he was younger and I may have approached things differently. Now I don’t know how to change it.

      • Nancy
        March 16, 2011 at 11:58 pm

        A great movie to watch is Adam. About a young man with Aspergers. He only eats certain foods too. It is a great movie and it helped my husband and I feel better about Zach’s future. The Temple Grandin movie is awesome, but it was nice to see a movie about a boy who has it too. There is hope. It is just so hard to see sometimes.

      • March 18, 2011 at 1:12 pm

        I have the same problem with my 14 year old Who has aspergers. He is just starting to worry about his weight so he is trying to eat yogurt and some bites of different vegatables

  3. Kimber
    March 14, 2011 at 11:26 am

    We have an almost 5 year old who has been semi diagnosed with Autism. We have started a gluten-free/dairy-free diet for him but have also been told he needs a supplement to detox the metals out of his system and a supplement to help his small intestine digestion. This has become very expensive. There is some insurance with costly co-pays and buying food needed for this type of diet is very expensive… Any suggestions on cost effectiveness and help with insurance supplementation?

    • Kathi
      March 14, 2011 at 4:32 pm

      I know Target has alot of gluten free and dairy free foods and mixes in their brand name as well as some grocery stores that are about half the price of the others.

      • Jess
        March 14, 2011 at 5:56 pm

        I am going to ramble here and type unedited because I want to hurry and post this before my son wakes up from his nap! lol We have our 2 year old son on the gfcf diet and we live on a budget. After researching, I have a 6 page printout of items that I can buy at “regular” grocery stores. We have found the Chex honey nut and regular rice chex make good snacks. Fruity Pebbles, Chocolate Pebbles and Trix are also gluten free (although sugary). Hebrew national hot dogs and Oscar mayer has the nitrate-nitrite free and so is the Hormel lunchmeat. Almond, Rice & Soy milks are good and Udi’s bread slices for sandwiches (freezer section). Jiffy and skippy peanut butter and the smuckers jams are gfcf as well. I can’t say enough about the Van’s Blueberry Waffles either. my son loves them with bananas and PURE maple syrup. Also, Betty crocker now has gluten free bisquick as well as cake mixes!! We have found the Fleishmanns margarine to be a good butter replacer too. Ore Ida fries and tater tots, and lots of fruits, veggies, and other meats. Fritos corn ships for snacks. Also, many of the Uncle Bens (garden vegetable, chicken, and long grain wild rices) Zatarains spanish rice and yellow rice) and minute rices are all gfcf. McCormicks single spices and their taco seasoning are safe as well. Ortega’s yellow corn taco shells make for perfect tacos with refried beans and ground beef.
        Another great tip, the Walmart brand soy sauce and their chocolate chips are gfcf. That was a big find because the chocolate chips at health food stores are pricey! Ahhh that’s it for now, my boy’s awake! :)

    • Carole Moore
      March 16, 2011 at 2:13 pm

      I know the gluten free diet is tax deductible for celiac disease. I have posted a link to a celiac information site. You might be able to get some relief from the expense if you can get your doctor to prescribe the diet as medically necessary. However, this only helps if you are able to itemize on your taxes.

      http://www.celiac.com/articles/279/1/Tax-Deduction-for-Gluten-Free-Foods-as-a-Medical-Expense-for-Diagnosed-Celiacs-Only/Page1.html

  4. March 14, 2011 at 11:29 am

    We decided to finally take the plunge and go gluten/casein free about ten months ago. We also ditched high fructose corn syrup and red number 40, and de-emphasized meat. It has made a huge difference not only in our son, but in us as well! I’ve lost 60 pounds, my partner has lost about the same. The most striking change is of course in our son- he just seems much more present. He no longer drools or has fits of seemingly endless uncontrollable laughter. He’s able to focus more deeply and for longer periods of time on his schedule and lessons. I wouldn’t say it’s a “miracle” of a change, but it’s significant enough for us to decide this is a lifetime commitment. Is he a picky eater? Absolutely! He gets it from me. We handle it in much the same way my grandma did when I was a kid- feed him the good things he’ll eat in abundance, give multi-vitamins, and the rest will iron itself out. I found recently (by keeping a food diary) he actually eats many more foods than I was giving him credit for: natural turkey breast, beans, corn tortillas, bananas, oranges, fruit smoothies with rice protein powder…just because he won’t sit down and eat a head of steamed broccoli doesn’t mean he’s not getting nutrition. ;-)

  5. Elizabeth
    March 14, 2011 at 11:30 am

    I hope to see some good comments. Im getting ready to try this diet with my 22 month old daughter, hoping it will help atleast a little bit. If anyone has had succsess, or any good tips please let us know.

    Thanks!

    • Kim Klein White
      March 16, 2011 at 12:48 pm

      I commend anyone who is starting this diet early in your child’s life. My son just turned 11 yrs.old and we started gluten free and dairy free a few months ago. We also do probiotics. He has been on tons of antibiotics throughout his life and had many G.I. problems that we were unable to resolve with meds. He had many unexplained fevers,rashes,mood swings,memory problems,learning disorders nos, you name it. When I finally got tired of Drs. shrugging their shoulders and piling on more meds. I started to research diet as related to autism and other disorders.As you can imagine taking away most of his favorite foods was quite a challenge and now we are having a difficult time with him sticking to the diet when at the home of friends. However, we have noticed a BIG difference and have been able to eliminate some meds. and cut way back on others. Read labels carefully as some gluten can be hidden along with sugars,MSG,(which can also cause many problems such as headaches and anxiety.)Almond milk is our favorite. I am following the diet and have noticed less swelling in my joints, improvement in my skin, and have more energy. Probiotics that are coated to be released in the intestinal tract instead of the stomach are the ones to look for. Well, good luck and God bless to everyone on this journey.

    • Shannon
      March 16, 2011 at 4:40 pm

      I can’t say enough good things about Chex cereal. I work with kids with autism, and I have also just recently found out that I can’t eat gluten anymore so I’ve been taking the challenge with the kiddos I work with. Udi’s is the best for bread, honestly, I wouldn’t even try any other brand because the other ones didn’t taste good at all. Kinnikinnick has some good snack ish foods, they’re more sweet than savory though. If you’re looking for a soft cookie don’t go near “Enjoy Life” brand, they made me not enjoy being gluten free.

      However my biggest recommendation is KEEP VARIETY!!!!! I’ve seen many of the families I work with go the route of their kids restricting their diets to near nothing and they just go with it. My biggest recommendation is that you have specific expectations for her eating, and as hard as it is, if she doesn’t eat at dinner one night, just let it be. Don’t change the food for her, or give her snack foods after she doesnt’ eat what you made. Honestly, and I’ve seen this work for a wide range of kids. Set expectations and follow through, and don’t let them get away with not eating something. They at least have to try it, maybe it’s 1, 2 or 3 bites, but she should have to try some of what you put on her place. ALSO when you’re eating have something she might not like on the table, and she needs to tollerate that being there. OR candles on the table. I’ve seen many kids I work with not be able to handle these things on the table and this makes for really hard family gatherings!!!

      As you can see I have a lot of experience and opinions, so if you have any specific questions about anything (from eating to potty training) PLEASE shoot me an e mail. I’m more than happy to talk to ANYONE!

      hope that helps a bit

  6. Jessica H
    March 14, 2011 at 11:31 am

    We started the GFCF diet with our son 3 months ago and have noticed changes. I was skeptical of the diet at first, but figured it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try. We started by removing dairy but didn’t notice a huge change. We then removed gluten and within a week we saw changes. He sleeps better, his bowels are finally under control, he has better attention/eye contact.

    After about 2 months we decided to slowly add dairy back to his diet. It was a little rough the first few days, but he has tolerated it very well.

    Although gluten-free cooking is difficult and gluten is hidden in so many foods, it was worth it to me. I did a lot of research and did a lot of trial and error cooking. There are great resources on the internet for gluten-free cooking and baking–specifically blogs written by mom’s who are feeding their family a GF or GFCF diet. It takes a little time to get used to, but for some, the rewards will be great!

  7. Danielle Purificato
    March 14, 2011 at 11:32 am

    My son is on the low end of the spectrum and highly functional, however when I took him off of milk at the age of 2, he started giving my eye contact and it felt that he was more “present” after about 2 weeks.. so I started him on the GF/DF diet.. and it is very hard because he his picky.. I won’t eat mashed potatoes with the “fake” butter lol.. and he won’t eat red meat and he’s about to turn 3 and I still puree his vegetable and add fruit to them, just to get them in him.. his basic diet consists of peanut butter and chocolate cereal from wholefoods with almond milk, or gluten/dairy free waffles from Vans.. or some scrambled eggs with Heinz ketchup. Heinz is gluten free.. for lunch I give him fresh Almond butter or peanut butter, “organic” also from Wholefoods, and organic jelly with no High fructose corn syrup in it. “he’s hyper enough” so I stay away from extra sugar when I can.. or I put a banana on the sandwich as well.. he likes grapes.. but apples give him diarrea, sorry If I spelled that wrong, but I heard the pectin in apples can aggrevate kids with ADHD as well. I also found a yogurt in whole foods made with coconut milk which is very good. and when I make dinner, I make sure I cook with McCormick seasoning, which are also GF.. he likes GF pasta.. with my son Its more the dairy then the Gluten.. I notice after he “acidentally” eats something with dairy, he seems uncomfortable in his own skin, especially at bedtime.. Even now, he still has a hard time getting comfy in bed, but its worse if he has something hes not supposed to have. Snyders makes GF pretzels too, he likes those.. they have good GF/DF ice cream and Ice pops.. Its just hard because he doesn’t understand why he can’t have stuff that everyone else can have, so he cries alot, but I guess he’ll get used to it.. we just had a birthday for my daughter with cheesecake and he had a yummy gluten free chocolate muffin.. “Udi’s” made really yummy GF/DF stuff.. hope I helped a little ;)

  8. Danielle Purificato
    March 14, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Danielle Purificato :
    My son is on the low end of the spectrum and highly functional, however when I took him off of milk at the age of 2, he started giving me eye contact and it felt that he was more “present” after about 2 weeks.. so I started him on the GF/DF diet.. and it is very hard because he his picky.. he won’t eat mashed potatoes with the “fake” butter lol.. and he won’t eat red meat and he’s about to turn 3 and I still puree his vegetable and add fruit to them, just to get them in him.. his basic diet consists of peanut butter and chocolate cereal from wholefoods with almond milk, or gluten/dairy free waffles from Vans.. or some scrambled eggs with Heinz ketchup. Heinz is gluten free.. for lunch I give him fresh Almond butter or peanut butter, “organic” also from Wholefoods, and organic jelly with no High fructose corn syrup in it. “he’s hyper enough” so I stay away from extra sugar when I can.. or I put a banana on the sandwich as well.. he likes grapes.. but apples give him diarrea, sorry If I spelled that wrong, but I heard the pectin in apples can aggrevate kids with ADHD as well. I also found a yogurt in whole foods made with coconut milk which is very good. and when I make dinner, I make sure I cook with McCormick seasoning, which are also GF.. he likes GF pasta.. with my son Its more the dairy then the Gluten.. I notice after he “acidentally” eats something with dairy, he seems uncomfortable in his own skin, especially at bedtime.. Even now, he still has a hard time getting comfy in bed, but its worse if he has something hes not supposed to have. Snyders makes GF pretzels too, he likes those.. they have good GF/DF ice cream and Ice pops.. Its just hard because he doesn’t understand why he can’t have stuff that everyone else can have, so he cries alot, but I guess he’ll get used to it.. we just had a birthday for my daughter with cheesecake and he had a yummy gluten free chocolate muffin.. “Udi’s” made really yummy GF/DF stuff.. hope I helped a little ;)

    • Kim Klein White
      March 16, 2011 at 12:55 pm

      Thanks,I’ll check out whole foods. Angel Food Ministies also has an allergy free box of meats that are very good.Look for them online.

  9. Jennifer Reynolds
    March 14, 2011 at 11:35 am

    We are currently trying the GFCF diet. I have renamed it the GP diet (standing for gold plated b/c it’s so expensive). I have seen some very good results with this diet, although to say he’s 100% GFCF is an overstatement. He is 100% CF, but sometimes I let him cheat the tiniest bit on the gluten part. It doesn’t seem to affect him incredibly much, and it’s only now and then. He also doesn’t like yellow or brown foods unless he knows they’re sweet…we went through a period before he was diagnosed…where he would only eat yogurt and gummy bears.

    • March 14, 2011 at 1:33 pm

      If the GF/CF diet is much more costly than a normal grocery trip then you’re buying too many processed “replacement” foods. We try not to buy the breads, bagels, things like chicken nuggets with GF breading, etc. With a little research making things like GF breadings, gravies, pancakes, and even flatbreads for sandwiches are quick and cheap. Also, look for ethnic grocery stores in your area- they have rice, chickpea, and other flours for MUCH cheaper than anything you can get at Whole Foods. Another thing we do that’s far cheaper is we use rice cakes for nut butter and jelly, and corn tortillas to roll up natural lunch meats. That saves me from the $6 a loaf bread. Hope this helps a little. :)

  10. Amy
    March 14, 2011 at 11:36 am

    WE just recently found out that my step son is medium level autistic. He eats no fruit at all. Refuses. He does eat veggies good for us. He does eat alot of chicken nuggets,pasta,pizza,corndog,grill cheese, but he will not really try anything else. He will eat no meat, or chicken. He will not drink milk. But he wants sweet sweet tea and Dr pepper. But have found some sugar free fruit punch that he loves. I have so many questions.

  11. Lee
    March 14, 2011 at 11:37 am

    We have had our son on a gluten/casein/soy (soy can have the same affect as G/C on some children so after some trial and error we eliminated that as well) free diet for almost two years now and I cannot express how amazing it has been and how far he has come! No it was not easy at first and it has been very hard to keep everyone (school, daycare, family/friends) on the same page in making sure his needs are met! When we started this diet all he wanted to eat was bread (gluten) and cheese (casein)or products that contained tons of that. My son never had a solid bowel movement before we started this diet his poop was always runny and greenish, unless he has the flu he now has normal solid poop. He now sleeps through the night, his vocab has gone from 50 words (at 5) to being able to put 8 word sentences together and can now communicate quite effectively with appropriate words. He rarely has sensory issues anymore, no more tantrums and his aggression has disappeared and he loves to interact with other children now! He rarely stims and has gone from 150mph alllll day long to about 75mph! We really limit his sugars and stay away from anything with artificial colors, preservatives, ect. We have come so far and he is a happy healthy kid. It took a lot of trial and error, but every step of the way has been so worth it and so wonderful to see the amazing progress he has made. We have found substitutes for almost everything and have found goat cheese does not cause any regression! They can still eat pizza, pasta, cookies it just tastes a little different, usually takes a little longer to make but is worth it in every way! WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO LOOSE! Give your child a chance you never know until you try! If it doesn’t work oh well, at least you made the effort! It may not work for everyone but there is nothing wrong with giving it a shot! The one thing I tell everyone though is NO CHEATING! Dive in head first give it a go for a month and take it seriously if you don’t see progress quit!

    • March 14, 2011 at 1:38 pm

      Awesome! *high five*

      Yours sounds very similar to our situation! I’ve heard that yogurt, if turned for 24 hours, is also fine to give on a GF/CF diet. I’m thinking about picking up a yogurt maker and some goat’s milk to give it a try- that’s the one thing my son really misses, and the vegan versions (soy, coconut) really taste bad to me, and he won’t eat them!

  12. Danielle Purificato
    March 14, 2011 at 11:38 am

    Sorry, I tried to edit something and it posted twice.. Also, my sons neurologist told me to keep him away from food coloring.. red, yellow and blue.. its toxic to kids on the spectrum and with ADHD.. his teacher did an experiment with food coloring and she didn’t know he couldn’t have it, and I never told her because I never thought they would do such an experiment with 2 year olds, but it was stuck in his hands for 3 days.. but on the 2nd day, he started making these noises, almost like a tick as if he had torrets or something, so now I have to keep my eye out for that as well and see if it eventually will go away, or does he now have a form of torets.. I can’t spell today, please forgive me.. heard insurance companies don’t really cover anything outside of the norm with children on the spectrum and they need to start.. I had to stop my sons probiotics for now because they were running me $80 and I’m not working right now.. it is very hard..

    • sue
      March 14, 2011 at 12:54 pm

      Danielle,I switched to the over the counter” Pearls ” and have had great results thus savin a little money!!!

  13. Susan
    March 14, 2011 at 11:42 am

    I have a student with autism whose parents tried the GFCF diet with him last year. His behavior and focus in school was so much better! However, the cost of this type of diet was just too high and the parents were unable to afford it.

  14. Linsey
    March 14, 2011 at 11:42 am

    My son is going to be 3 on Sunday, he has been diagnosed to PDD NOS. He really doesn’t eat he chews the food then spits it out. We’ve tried every little trick that the doctors and therapist have given us, we now let him decide what he eats. It tends to be pizza, though I can get him to eat his vegetables(which is weird). I’ve taken dairy out of his diet and give him soy which i feel is better for him at this time. It concerns me because he can get so skinny but I’ve found letting him decide what he eats has helped the situation.

    • March 14, 2011 at 10:11 pm

      I have a great recipe for gluten free pizza crust, you can make it and freeze it for up to one month. if you wanted to try the gluten free diet.

      • April 1, 2011 at 7:19 pm

        Hi we are starting my nephew, Hi functioning Aspergers, he is 10. We are going to start going gluten free, an would love a good pizza crust receipt!! He loves pizza and pasta .. any practical receipts are so appreciated!
        Thanks so much, Mary

    • CJ
      September 5, 2011 at 9:40 am

      Neither of my children are on the Autism spectrum. Both have Celiac disease (gluten intolerant) and my son has extensive cortical dyspepsia. I am fortunate that they are good eaters. My friend’s kids, one of whom may be on the spectrum and has a lot of bowel issues, are all picky eaters. She has started keeping a food journal and going GF/lactose free. As a nurse she worries about nutrition too. Together we are finding ways to sneak it in. There are many ways to get calcium into the diet without dairy. Aside from the list included, Animal Parade makes an ice cream flavored supplement that is easily absorbed. Try adding ground nuts into the pizza crust and letting him choose the topping from a set of item YOU choose. Add some parsley to to sauce. Grind it up if you have to.
      Changing your flours to add some of those listed that are high in calcium may be to easiest. And to cut costs, Shop at Oriental Markets. Their rice pasta is very good and very cheap. They also sell Potato starch, Tapioca Starch, and Corn starch (to name a few) for very cheap.

      cooked turnip greens 450
      cooked bok choy 330
      cooked collards 300
      cooked spinach 250
      cooked kale 200
      parsley 200
      cooked mustard greens 180
      dandelion greens 150
      romaine lettuce 40
      head lettuce 10
      tapioca (dried) 300
      brown rice, cooked 20
      quinoa, cooked 80
      corn meal, whole grain 50
      tortillas, corn, calcium fortified (2) 120
      almonds 750
      hazelnuts (filbert) 450
      walnuts 280
      sesame seeds (whole, unhulled) 2,100
      sunflower seeds 260

  15. Katie Wright
    March 14, 2011 at 11:47 am

    This is SO important!
    There are so few aspects of our kids’ health that are so completely within our control.

    Naturally, as in the case w/ all ASD interventions, nothing comes easily. Every child responds differently to dietary interventions. For some GF/CF is great, for others it is not enough and SCD works best. If your child has ANY GI problems diet modification is critically important but all ASD children will benefit from an elimination of artificial colorings / additives/ processed foods. I know it is impossible to get rid of it all , just do the best you can. Waht they crave- empty carbs, dairy and junk food are usually what is the worst them.

    A few yrs ago I had a lethargic, chronically sick child, with rashes all over his face, dark circles and a bloated tummy. ALL he ate was fries and yogurt. It was like breaking a drug addict from his habit but after a month my son really started to enjoy healthy food and is now the healthiest eater I know.

    I did this with the help of JulieMatthews.com, and the Elaine Gottschall book and attended a number of hugely helpful diet workshops at DAN! conferences. It is really worth it.

  16. Lillette
    March 14, 2011 at 11:48 am

    I have apergers and I am a very picky eater basically I eat chicken fingers, french fries, pizza and a few other select things. Most of the time it works for me but like if I have dinner at someones house or something like that it can be hard. I usually just say I have food issues or that I am on a specialized diet lol.

  17. Amy
    March 14, 2011 at 11:50 am

    I have been reading up on gfcf diet and am considering it. My 10 year old with Aspergers is a very picky eater and I am not sure about finding replacement foods for him to eat on this diet.

    Sam has a lot of tummy issues with not feeling well, diahrrhea, etc.

    • Joanne Mehlhaff
      March 14, 2011 at 1:16 pm

      His tummy troubles may very well be due too Gluten and Casien. If you try not to replace things and just go for meat , fruits and veggies . And then add Gluten/Casien free crackers or cookies . You’ll probably be suprised at what will happen.

    • April 1, 2011 at 8:29 pm

      Hi Amy, my nephew is 10 as well.. he is also high functioning Aspergers. We are going to try a gluten free diet with him as well. We’re also looking for “replacement foods”. My nephew also has tummy issues. We’re hoping this will help him be more comfortable in his own skin :) If I come across anything good, I’ll be posting so hang in there!
      From Playfulparent
      March 14, 2011 at 10:11 pm | #35 Reply | Quote I have a great recipe for gluten free pizza crust, you can make it and freeze it for up to one month. if you wanted to try the gluten free diet

  18. KW
    March 14, 2011 at 11:59 am

    I have a high functioning autistic 6 yr old son. He is a very picky eater and is highly sensory sensitive in his mouth. He spits everything out…everything, even things he likes because he thinks hes choking or will choke.. He panics if foods hit the back of his throat a certain way and crys in panic mode for a drink. I cant get this child to eat anything but pudding and mashed potatoes at times. I finally got him to nibble a vitamin down everyday. He drooled a ton up until the age of about 4 and he still puts toys and his shirts in his mouth. I figure Ill just let him eat what he will…at least hes eating something I guess.

    • Joanne Mehlhaff
      March 14, 2011 at 1:14 pm

      He seems very sensory has he had any Occupational Therapy? It may help. My daughter is still very oral but now chews on more appropriate things , some chew toys from :Abilations and gum. When she is in full swing and we do many gross motor skills throughout the day she chews less. You may want him checked for sensory disorder ,which they do at an O.T.’s office . And maybe even feeding therapy.

    • Sarah
      March 14, 2011 at 1:57 pm

      My son is 12 and still occasionally chews on his clothes. He has serious issues with proprioception and sensory integration. It does get better, but expect this to go on for awhile. Joanne is right – keeping him active will help. I bought an individual trampoline for my son (a few years ago I paid about $30), and bouncing up and down (along with other kinds of sensory input like that) really helps him.

    • Cheryl
      March 16, 2011 at 11:22 am

      Hi. Your son’s feeding and sensory problems sound very similar to my daughter’s. She’s three-and-a-half now and is still eating only toddler rice cereal and one very specific kind of rice cracker: Gerber apple “wagon wheels” which are very hard and crunchy, but dissolve quickly. She eats french fries, rice milk, and fruit juices as well. It’s important to note that she’s allergic to all of the ‘big 8′ foods: milk, caesin, wheat, gluten, eggs, peanuts, soy, and we’re avoiding the tree nuts (almonds, etc.) as rec. by her dr.

      FEEDING THERAPY is the most effective way I know of to deal with situations like those of our children. My daughter, Jane, started a few times, but insurance and other roadblocks have hindered her attendance. She has been fully evaluated by two different feeding therapists and they both say she has FOOD ANXIETY coupled with sensory aversions.
      Basically, b’c of all the neg. effects of eating food that she was allergic to during those early months and years of introducing new foods, etc., she has “learned” that unfamiliar food or food that resembles anything that made her sick is BAD and simply refuses to eat it.
      During the beginning of feeding therapy, Jane learned to pick up undesirable food (both texturally negative and those which are perceived as hurtful) and put it down somewhere else; then she “kisses” these foods, so she is making the motion to bring it to her mouth and actually place it on her lips (big step!). All of this is done very much like the process ABA follows, as she is rewarded frequently for compliance and successful performance (the ball popper toy that babies play with is surprisingly effective in getting her to comply…you just never know what’s going to work). This therapy is done with a speech therapist and all of what I just explained were from the few sessions Jane had. We use them still, but she hasn’t progressed further. She’ll be starting again in the next few weeks – yeah!

      Another idea is touch of texture or temperature that your son finds unacceptable (makes him gag). Jane dislikes anything very cold and/or frozen, so we’re practicing giving her “accidental” opportunities to touch cold things and give it a name and then show how it won’t hurt. For example, we will put an unopened can of cold soda on the table or just hand it to her (at first, we just put her fingers on it and played “Ooooh, that’s coooollddd!” and made her laugh in one way or another (associating the perceived negative item/experience with one that she finds enjoyable and acceptable). She now will walk around with it and even push an ice cube around on a plate.
      It’s really working through anxieties related to food that were formed before the age of three for whatever reason. Jane randomly chooses to stop eating things, but I suspect it’s b’c I’ve tried to give her s’thing similar before she was ready and she connects the two foods (pudding is a recent example…used to eat soy pudding, then allergy…so I tried all kinds of choc. type pudding recipes that she could eat, but they were awful. She won’t consider anything that resembles her former pudding now.) It’s a tricky puzzle to work out, but these pieces will fit together. I’m sure of it.

      Just two other ideas from what you’ve said: the drooling (even though it has stopped) could very easily be due to gluten if he is still on it – Jane didn’t drool much but when they put her BACK on gluten to test for celiac disease, she began to drool – I was horrified at the effects this protein was having on my child. Just s’thing to consider.

      You’ve also mentioned a lot of chewing on shirts and toys. This is one of the most common behavioral signs of yeast overgrowth. I would investigate that further. You’ll probably need a DAN! dr. to take you seriously, but it’s worth getting the OAT done and having him treated sooner rather than later.
      Jane has been on antifungals since late Oct.,2010 and continues today. I’m telling you that after everything she’s been through and all the treatments and therapies she’s had, dealing with the yeast has been the most impressive and obvious for improving Jane’s behaviors, overall well-being, and reducing her autistic behaviors. She is definitely not the same child today that she was a year ago when she was diagnosed with autism. She’s so “with-it” and appears “typical” to many. They have a hard time believing she has austism. She’s interested in a variety of play, talks more, imitates both physically and verbally; it goes on and on…she just seems happy and “living life” instead of just being there.
      The yeast problem may just be something that’s laying dormant, esp. if he had a lot of antibiotics early on and a lot of ear infections. The biting in this case is a result of the child trying to soothe themselves when the yeast toxins are interfering with their systems, and later as they’re (the yeast toxins and oxalates produced by yeast and diet) dying off with treatment. Again, just something to consider.

      Best of luck with everything! :)

      • cindy
        March 22, 2011 at 9:12 pm

        Have you tried probiotic supplements, there is one called culterelle and it works great it’s got the same active bacteria as yogurt but like a million times the amount. Thanks

  19. Pamela Wright
    March 14, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    This isn’t really on subject but my son is 15 and FINALLY got a diagnosis (PDD). Riht now I am struggling with him. He has been hospitalized 3 times in 3 months to the adolescent mental health unit (about 5 days each time). If someone can tell me some simple suggestions to start with, let me know. We don’t have much money and I also have a 17 yr old. So changing my sons diet miht backfire when his older brother doesn’t have to. I’m new to all of this and will take ANY advice
    Thanks so very much! I’m glad I found this site!

    • March 14, 2011 at 1:45 pm

      I can tell you that the diet works far better (and potentially at all) if the family does it together. I do most of the shopping and food prep for our family so I made it a fun announcement and said it would help my son with autism, and also help the rest of the family be healthy! Not everyone was thrilled- but I kept a positive attitude and stuck with it, we’re about ten months in and doing great.

    • Sarah
      March 14, 2011 at 1:52 pm

      From what I understand, this diet makes the largest impact if you can start them young. I am not an expert, but I highly recommend the books Special Diets for Special Kids. Maybe your local library has them or can get them. I have the first one and it was an enormous help.

  20. Teresa Steppe
    March 14, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    I have a 4 year old grandson diagnosed with aspergers syndrome at age 2. His parents give him alot of sugar free drinks such as diet soda, crystal light, and sugar free kool aide. I am concerned about the amount of aspertain in these drinks and the effects of to much of these diet drinks on my grandson. Has anyone see or heard of any reports on aspertain and autism?

    • Annie
      March 14, 2011 at 3:35 pm

      Aspartame isn’t good for anyone! When I was pregnant I had Gestational Diabetes and drank diet drinks, I was homicidal/suicidal and had horrible headaches. I’ve talked to many people who experienced the same effects. Aspartame also creates more methanol in our body and that’s very dangerous! I have read that it can be a “trigger” for Autism, Parkinson’s and MS. I would highly recommend that no one ingest aspartame!

    • Kim Klein White
      March 16, 2011 at 1:19 pm

      All of my four children react badly and differently to artificial sweeteners. My dad workd for the CDC and warned me long ago to stay away from them all.I get a migraine from aspartame.

  21. Joanne Mehlhaff
    March 14, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    We have been on the Gluten/Casien free diet for 4 years. We cheat a little here and there and do okay if we take enzymes to help us digest. But we noticed almost instantly a difference in our daughter. If you don’t try to replace what you are eating now and just eat meat , fruits , and veggies and anything you find that is gluten/casien free is just extra at first . It makes it much easier. We also noticed on the diet she was willing to try new things. Sauce on noodles or things that were mixed where as before the diet she was absolutely against any of that. It changed her behavior greatly. She still has fits but there now seems to be a cause where as before they would strike at any moment and I think alot of that was due to pain and neuron firing that she couldn’t control during digestion of those foods. So we have had great success with it and I stand behind it whole heartedly.

  22. Jessica
    March 14, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    my aspie daughter will not eat anything mushy, and will not try anything new. That is the extent of my dietary troubles with her. I do not believe it would be physically possible for me to impliment a gfcf diet because I know my daughter would sooner starve than try something new. I have a hard enough time changing her routine otherwise.

    • March 14, 2011 at 1:51 pm

      A dietitian told me, and I believe it ten months later, that a child will not literally starve him/herself. With my son we found a few key things he would eat that fit into GFCF- especially GFCF ginger cookies and we started slowly introducing new things to him with the promise of a preferred food after. Mind you, with something like gelatin with fruit in it (the horror!) we just had him put it on his plate for a couple of weeks. Then we had him smell it, eventually touch it, then lick a spoon of it, and finally eat a bite. It took us about a month to get him to try it, but now we’re able to buy him all natural gel cups with fruit and he eats them. It takes epic patience, but look up some feeding therapy tips and that should get you on the right track.

    • Florence
      March 14, 2011 at 2:15 pm

      Mushy is a lot of my son’s problem as well as won’t eat anything new. Plus no sauces or gravies, and nothing can touch on the plate. If I even buy a different brand of some products he will not eat them because they look different even though its the same thing. Like mac-n-cheese can only be Kraft. So know what you mean about its hard enough already and at least my son will eat, so I do my best to limit certain things but can’t impliment an entire gfcf diet.

  23. March 14, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    I hate to play the negative skeptic, but most of the positive effects people see when eliminating high fructose corn syrup, gluten, and dairy from their diets are attributable to the fact that it’s difficult to find junk food that doesn’t contain one or more of the three. Assuming one isn’t sensitive or allergic to gluten or dairy, there’s nothing wrong with it, and consuming it doesn’t cause PDD of any sort. As for HFCS, it’s sugar, plain and simple. You shouldn’t eat too much sugar. If you are, it’s going to have negative consequences. You can have a soda every now and then, just not every day. You can have a hamburger every now and then, just not every day. If you get into the habit of eating whole grains, copious quantities of legumes and pulses, lots of vegetables, and limiting your meat intake, you will be healthier, and you can enjoy the occasional junk food with no guilt.

    Obviously, there are people who are allergic or sensitive to dairy and gluten, and it’s certainly worth finding out if that is a problem for you. My son, who has ADHD and Aspergers, was having problems with soiling himself while he slept. We eliminated dairy and gluten, and then gradually introduced one food item back in at a time. We found out that gluten was not a problem, but that he was lactose intolerant, so no more dairy for him. Didn’t have any effect on his behavior though.

  24. Cristy
    March 14, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    I tried the diet to prove it wouldn’t work. With in 2 weeks dairy free my son started talking. He is GFCF and a few other things have been removed. He has to have biotin every day or he screams and melts down. We still haven’t figured everything out but I learning how to read his body. Dark circles under the eyes, bloated belly are a few of his symptoms if he eats the wrong thing. It is a struggle to keep his diet clean but if he eats the wrong thing he is so miserable. I know that all kids are different but for my child supplements and diet are worth it.

  25. Rozmarin Bruncaj
    March 14, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    My son has had a lot of health issues. He was first diagnosed with low spectrum autism, had coldsand allergies all the time, I have always stayed at home with him and for years barely ever slept. I my self am on a GF diet because of my celiacs, so I knew about it before.
    At 2 years of age my son was not verbal and rarely made eyecontact. A new pediatrician suggested to take him to an audiology test and turned out he couldn’t even hear us, all he must have heared was mumbling.. So we had eartubes put in, which fixed his hearing. We started speech and special instructions therapy 5 times a week. We were lucky, because we live near Albert Einstein College of Medicine and they have a department where my son was seen by a speech pathologist twice a week besides the above mentioned early intervention program. Infact the pathologist was training a college student while teaching my son too. I would recommend to everybody to go to nearby medical university where there might be such program, it doesm’t hurt to ask.

    With the above professional help in place, I decided to go casein free with him first, which made a huge difference. He started to be interested in manual activities, while he still didn’t make eyecontact. When I completely went CF and GF, he started to take off. We still needed all the therapy to close development gaps.
    You have to make sure that the person, especially a growing child on diets is getting enough fiber, calcium, potassium. I used to meticulusly build menus, but by now I figure it out on the go according to what’s on sale in the organics department.
    Now he is in 1st grade, not classified with disabilities, because he no longer has to be, has major trouble with reading, but amazingly good at math and social skills.
    I do not think we would be here without both the diet and initial vigrious professional help working together.
    We have only one income, live in a smaller house, but I think it was worth it. May be we would have lost the extra because of the economy anyway….

  26. Sarah
    March 14, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    My 12 year old son was diagnosed with ASD at the age of four. The GFCF diet was recommended to us right away. It took me a few months to want to take on the challenge – and yes, it truly is and continues to be a challenge. It does get easier with time, and there are so many more products available and more people are aware at least of the gluten in foods (thank you, celiac’s groups!).

    It took us about six months to completely remove all gluten and casein from his diet, but the results were amazing. Before the dietary changes, my son only communicated through echolalia. It was not until after he was completely gluten and casein free that he began to create his own sentences. That was also the time he started to be able to show us that he has an incredible imagination and a great sense of humor.

    At one point, I had bought my other son a box of cereal that had some special shape (I think it was stars). My autistic son wanted that cereal as well – it looked cool. I told him that he could have it, but that it would make his head hurt. I then asked him if he wanted the cereal. He calmly said “No thanks” – without any sign of frustration or meltdown. That was when I knew that this diet had absolutely been the right thing to do for him.

    He has been on the diet for almost eight years now. I notice some difference in behavior if mistakenly gets some gluten or casein, but the bigger issue seems to be that he has intestinal issues. I think that gluten and casein may have contributed to the “leaky gut” problems that he had when he was younger (that and a overly large dose of antibiotics that he had gotten while we lived in France).

    Now he self regulates completely. He is able to at least tell people what he can’t have and ask if there is wheat or milk in things. I don’t think he can verbalize why it’s important to him, but I know he understands that he feels better when he does not eat certain things.

  27. Barb Richards
    March 14, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    I have tried this diet several times with both of my children (They are both on the spectrum). I do see a difference in their behaviour, but quite frankly we just can’t afford to do it forever. It’s so frustrating because I know it helps them. Along with all of the supplementation they have to take, it costs a fortune and it’s all out of pocket…

    • Kimberly
      March 15, 2011 at 9:52 am

      Check in to tax deductions, and your insuance some cover this

  28. Florence
    March 14, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    My son is 4 and officially has a dx of PDD-NOS but we have been told the he will probably end up with an asperger’s dx. He is a picky eater, nothing mashed or no gravy or sauce on anything. Only potato he will eat is french fries or tater tots. He would live off of nuggets, pepperoni, cheese, crackers, pizza, french fries and chocolate milk if I let him. But I am lucky in that he will eat several different veggies and most fruits and only allow him his perferred foods in moderation. I refuse to cook an entirely different dinner so he has learned to eat what I make and I try to include one thing I know he likes that is not a preferred food. I limit his high fructose corn syrup and only allow one cup of 100% juice a day, other then that he drinks 2 cups of milk and then water the rest of the day. It has been suggested to get him a nutritional consult and allergy testing, but have not persued this yet as insurance will not cover the cost. We do give him several nutritional supplements recommended by one of the psychiatrist we have seen, as none of the medications were helping anyway and the side effects were no fun for anyone in the family.
    I wish it was not so expensive or I would do more. Right now, we are on a fixed income and I do the best I can to provide healthy choices for my son and the rest of the family.

  29. Donna
    March 14, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Our daughter is 4 and was on a CFCF diet for 1.5 yrs and we did not see a difference. Now we have trouble getting her to try anything new. She only eats toast with peanut butter, gluten free crackers and chex cereal. Help!

  30. Rachel
    March 14, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    I have not tried gluten free or anything that drastic but found a change when I cut out processed foods & switched as much as possible to all natural. I noticed that my daughter with PDD-NOS seemed to focus better & was not as hyper.

  31. cindy
    March 14, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Our 12 year old son is very high functioning and ADD. He is an extremely picky eater but absolutely loves his breads and pastas. I would love to try the GF/CF diet on him but I am lost as to where to even begin and am concerned about expense. I would do anything to help him become more successful in school and socially but it is just hard to know where to start and how to go about it all. His eating habits are limited now and I don’t want to make things worse for him. Any advise would be greatly appreciated. I don’t even know what foods have gluten and casein in them other than pasta and breads.

    • Jen jarl
      March 14, 2011 at 7:53 pm

      Although it is more expensive, go to any health food stores and just take look at the alternatives. I have experimented and found what works for us. I also noticed that food stores I general are carrying a lot of gluten free products.

  32. Kris
    March 14, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    My son is 6 years old and diagnosed with high functioning autism. There are only about six things that he will eat. They have to be brand specific, the same flavor and shaped perfectly – one defect and it’s a no go! He eats baby oatmeal, chicken nuggets, wheat crackers, peanut butter on wheat bread, the occasional french fry and bananas. He used to eat cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, applesauce, hot dogs, grapes and never fussed about eating as a baby. I haven’t tried changing any of the products to GFCF because I am scared to lose another food for him if I make a change. Maybe the bread on the PB sandwiches would be a place to start.

  33. Veronica
    March 14, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    I have a 3 1/2 year old autistic son. At 18 months after numerous ear infections and getting ear tubes, we figured out he had a wheat allergy (wheat and gluten are pretty much the same). At first we just took bread out of his diet hoping this would help, the Dr.’s told us since he had been eating it for the first year and half of his life that as long as we just took out a little he would be okay. This was way before the diagnosis. The closer he got to 2, I became more concerned with autism, so during my research I saw the GF/CF diet and decided to remove it completely from his diet. He seemed to break out of this shell and the skin rashes stopped.
    I was hesitant on the Casein since milk was one of his favorite items. After about 3 months of the Gluten Free, I decided to remove Casein from his diet. He really didn’t seem to notice the difference between milk and soy milk or the veggie cheese replacement. The soy seemed to be upsetting his stomach so we switched to Rice milk. Again with no fighting or forcing feeding him anything. Again like with the Gluten removal we noticed another difference. He didn’t seem so dazed or in his own world. Now the changes for both the Gluten and Casein were not automatic, they were a gradual improvement on his behavior that took about 2 weeks.
    About 2 months ago I read something regarding vitamin supplements, not having the income to go to the dr. and purchase anything prescription I just decided to add a multivitamin to his diet. Now I knew he would not eat a vitamin (he doesn’t like candy or sweets) so I found an infant multivitamin from Enfamil and started putting it in his milk. My husband and I noticed his babbling increasing and the social interaction becoming more frequent. I didn’t say anything to anyone about adding the vitamins. I didn’t know if it was just changes I had noticed. Well about a week later his PPCD teacher called me and asked what we were doing different with Alex. She said he’s babbling up a storm and interacting with the other children in the ESL class. I told her about the vitamins and she said to continue it because something seemed to be working.
    I’ve never been a health nut, but I willing to try anything to help my son out. I think we got reassurance it was making a difference when about a month ago he was on a very strong antibiotic that was upsetting his stomach. The Dr. told us we needed to give him yogurt to help. He ate the yogurt and about 5 minutes later my husband said it looked like he was high. He was sitting at his chair with drooping eyes and staring nothing. Almost like he was hallucinating.
    There are 5 of us in the family and he’s the only one that eats his special diet. I know he’s only 3 but it seems to be working. I purchase anything I can that is Gluten free and very close to our normal food (chicken nuggets, pizza, fish sticks, rice bread, pasta, macaroni, animal cookies). The prices for all of these have dropped in half over the last year and all of it is found in the health food aisles of our Kroger. He also eats lots of other foods (he really like crunchy things) that we all eat like; Chex cereal, Cheetos, Fritos, Rice Cakes, bananas, Hot dog wieners and canned veggies. The only dairy like items he eats are Veggie cheese slices, veggie shredded cheese and Rice milk.
    Now he’s far from cured but like all the therapy, I think they are positive steps in getting him there.

  34. March 14, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    As a nutritionist I have studied not only the composition of many foods but the composition of the healthy brain. The research has clearly shown that the foods that contain cholesterol also contain the many nutrients needed for proper development and function. In comparing the many foods to the brain, I have not found any food that more nearly equals the brain than regular eggs or even egg yolks.
    They are natural, inexpensive, and the most complete food you can provide. Two to three regular eggs or egg yolks daily have been reported to offer tremendous benefits to children with autism. Meltdowns and tantrums are reported to disappear in less than a week. Even non-verbal children seem to understand everything and develop 40-60 word vocabularies and form short sentences in two to four months. My research has shown quite clearly that malnutrition of the brain is the cause for autism and proper diet is the solution when it meets the needs of the brain.

  35. March 14, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    For information about diet, autism and learning

    http://playfulwisdom.blogspot.com/

  36. Chelsey
    March 14, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    I have a high functioning autistic 5 year old son. We completly took all dairy out of his diet about 2 years ago and most gluten. I seen a major change in him. I try my hardest to make sure everything he eats in all natural. I will say this is very hard to keep up with but it is worth it.

  37. Jen jarl
    March 14, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    My 9 year old son, diagnosed with Asperger’s, tourettes, ADHD & OCD, began a gfcf dies about a month ago. As with most of our kids, it is difficult to implement such change due to sensory issues, limited diets, resistance to change, but also for cost and practicality reasons. At the urging of our holistic neurologist, however, we started with a series of herbal supplements, then slowly eliminated dairy, and ultimately gluten. Several things happened, and it’s hard to say if the results are due to the supplements or the diet, but his behavior improved dramatically, both at home & school. He is making smarter choices with foods in general and seems to be stronger. It’s not always, and he does get upset when the pasta is not quite as he remembers it, but he actually feels a difference, and told me himself that ” his brain feels calmer”. In this way,I think he innately knows he is feeling better and is willing (for the most part) to continue. I have noticed an amazing difference in his levels of empathy and overall attention to others around him, not perfect but an improvement. It is difficult however, to find creative ways to serve food. It is more expensive, more difficult to find foods, and frankly, more difficult to feed him. But as a whole, the entire family is eating healthier, and it is not impossible! My advice, why not give it a try? It’s only a healthier diet alternative that if it doesn’t work,what have you lost? We also recognized noticeable improvement with his asthma AND excema, which has at times been very uncomfortable for him. All in all, as much as I wad kind of hoping it wouldn’t work to make my life easier, it’s been great for my son & we’ll do whatever it takes to help him.

  38. Kim
    March 14, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    There is a great book called Eating for Autism. By Elizabeth Strickland. It’s amazing what can make a difference.

  39. March 14, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    I work with children who are on the spectrum and have found that the GAPS diet – Gut and Psychology Syndrome diet works well. You can find more information about it on line. The author of the diet, from Europe, has had amazing results with children who have learning challenges.

  40. Allison
    March 15, 2011 at 1:23 am

    My son has Aspergers and ADD. We had him on the GF/ CF diet for about a year, it didn’t make a huge difference for him. Eliminating refined sugars (corn syrup!), however, has worked wonders.

    Some useful things I learned about GF/CF diets:

    You can do a GF/ CF diet inexpensively by using potatoes, rice, and beans. All of which you can buy in bulk, but it takes some time, and you have to cook from scratch. Get creative and make up your own recipes. These foods are pretty versatile.
    Rice cakes are pretty good for peanut butter sandwiches. Popcorn and raisins makes a great snack too.

    I see a lot of people saying their children love fries- try switching to sweet potato fries. You can find them in the frozen foods section, just make sure they don’t use flour to keep them from sticking- Alexia brand is gluten free.

  41. Cathy
    March 15, 2011 at 6:50 am

    My son is 14. I just started getting him healthy with supplements, and a slow introduction to organic foods, and the right nutrition. Like many responding to this post, the cost is stressful. Part of the stress is self-funding the trial and error of products. I have seen the amazing difference using high quality supplements can make! But, how can we find the supplement or food with the quality that is equal to the cost? More trial and error by parents, which means more expense, and less time for our kids to enjoy good health.

    With that said, I was wondering, does anyone know of a site where we can freely rant and rave about specific companies and products? As a parent in a rural area, I would love the opinions of other parents, and would love to cut down the cost and time involved in the trial and error!

  42. Kimberly
    March 15, 2011 at 9:39 am

    My son was dignosed at 3. We started the diet on feb 19 he was 3 1/2! At first it was the hardest thing I had to learn the expence behind this experiment. When I saw his temper tantrums calm down with in a week I knew this is it! March detox began. day 3 words came MMMmommy! This is the best idea any one can ever try! U never know until U try! He is 8yrs old! He knows the diet the ingredence what he can have what he can’t! Today he sits in a regular class room no aid! Yesterday we went in his health food store he went to the freezer section to get his favorite mac and cheese! The sales clerk handed him a box he said no that has gluten in it can u order me Amys Gluten Free mac and cheese! This is made from soy! Amasing! When we started this diet we started explaining the school jumped right in and helped! With that note I want to thank them! How I feel the world don’t stare, judge him over a temper tantrum comments are not said! Sometimes I get the looks and stares, and judgements now! Some say theres no such thing! I know better with that I smile! This worked for him! Once u see smiles and hear words the expence becomes no such thing this is well worth it!

    He only at peaches before!

    Today corn, mash poteos, green beans, pees, colsala, salad, applesaluse. The doors of varity open up!

  43. Kimberly
    March 15, 2011 at 9:44 am

    He has came a long way! Today what were working on some social skills! This not a cure this helps him control it!

  44. Cheryl
    March 15, 2011 at 11:22 am

    Well, I just spent an hour and a half writing a really in-depth, personal response, got an error page when I tried to post and lost it all. :/

    So, here it goes again: (P.S. I just spent another hour on this; it doesn’t read the same as the first response, but the basics are there!)

    Basically, your best bet for success with proper nutrition/diet, supplementation, and medications would be consulting with a “D.A.N.!” doctor. They are a group of doctors who are on the cutting edge of research when it comes to this very topic, as well as biomedical treatments, ASD etiology, detoxification, GI and immunology as it relates to ASDs (i.e. “leaky gut”)…among many other areas.

    My daughter was diagnosed twice with autism last year (once in March by her neurologist “observing” her and the other in April by a child psych. using the the ADOS). She has horrible food allergies (allergic to the ‘big eight': milk, caesin, wheat, gluten, eggs, soy, peanuts, and inconclusively tree nuts. Having her on an anything-free diet is common here and it’s a little easier right now when she’s three b’c she doesn’t know anything else and doesn’t want to – she has food anxiety b’c of the pain and other reactions when she’s eaten anything she’s allergic to. Now she eats ONLY what she found safe at around a year old: toddler rice cereal and crackers, french fries (thanks to her grandparents…and I mean that very sincerely!), rice milk, and fruit juices. This is the “other” side of having food issues. I will say that taking her off of gluten was probably the biggest and most noticeable difference in her behaviorally. I took a picture of her lethargic and drooling while on gluten so no one would ever make her go back on it again (one GI did for celiac testing).

    My point is that the supplements needed are numerous and have very specific functions. The best way to know what to give your child would be through a knowledgeable D.A.N.! doctor, or at least one who is open to this topic. They are not everywhere, but do consultations on the phone which I think could be just as useful as meeting in person.

    When Jane (my daughter) was diagnosed, her “regular” pediatrician actually INSISTED that I not put her on “any special diets”! I told him that I’ll give her anything she’s not allergic to and that she’ll actually put in her mouth! I was told by her allergist that I was wasting my money with my D.A.N.! doctor, his tests, and the nutritional & medical protocol on which he has her placed. There is a lot of resistence and ignorance out there in the medical field purely out of not having the most current information and/or not being open to it.

    A nutritionist may be of some service in helping make decisions about what foods need to be organic and what nutrients your child is actually already getting through their food intake. S/He may also help you through the confusing world of what’s in different types of products and how they would or would not benefit your child.

    There is a lot our children can benefit from when taking the appropriate supplements and in the correct dosing. Before you even begin supplements though, eliminating caesin, gluten, and in many cases, soy, a lot of internal and external (skin) HEALING may happen which COULD then lead to improvements in autistic behaviors. That is what I know we all hope for and it is real…I’ve seen it.

    The next step is to really consult a doctor who will work WITH you and not tell you what to do with no testing. Jane’s D.A.N.! doctor consulted with me, assured me that we were partners in her care, made several detailed notes, made some judgments based on her history giving me an idea of what he thinks is going on and what our next steps are. This was last Sept, 2010. After a year of officially being on the spectrum, I’m telling you that Jane is nothing like the child she was a year ago in many ways…the changes, transformations! are astounding and we’re still at the early stages of treatment.

    Our children need to have Organic Acid Tests (OATs) run (a urine analysis), some kind of stool testing, and bloodwork to check all kinds of levels of an array of vitamins, minerals, metals, amino acids, etc. Only then can an informed decision be made on what our children’s bodies need, what supplements and/or foods will be needed (how much and when), what is “going on” in their bodies, and what needs to happen to heal. Only a trained doctor can really make these decisions best, in my opinion.

    After that, if we want to see real changes…it has to go beyond diet and supplements. We have to use the results of those tests and their follow-ups to make newer, more informed descions. Jane has low immunity, so she takes colostrum; her D levels are minimal, so she takes 4 drops of D3; she cannot digest or absorb properly, so she takes enzymes with her food; her yeast is WAY out of control, so she takes an antifungal Rx and double probiotics; a sulfate metabolic dysfunction is suspected and constipation is a problem, so she takes 20-minute baths with two cups of Epsom salts every night. I would NEVER have thought to do any of this (never mind the Rx…I knew the yeast was a problem, but that was based on research uncovering yeast overgrowth behavior and physical symptoms).
    These are just examples of what her dr. “ordered” as part of her course of treatment as of now. There are other supplements, but those are just some examples (she’s on a lot).

    As her parents, my husband and I made the decision to not give her the flu shot (many reasons…not relevant here except that she’s allergic to eggs and it makes that process unbearable and risky). Because of that, I looked at her nutrients and decided to give her supplemental Vit.A, buffered Vit.C, black elderberry (herbal anti-viral), and extra zinc (even though her zinc levels were perfect). She has been healthier this year than ever…and she started public school this year too! She only had one nasty virus, but that was one that they were practically passing around her class of nine children like a ball (‘your turn to have the fever bug’, ‘okay, now it’s Jane’s turn…let me pass the “ball”).

    So, yes, I think there’s room for our own judgment. I will never doubt my mother’s intuition again, b’c the few times I have and went against it, I was right all along! Many people doubt our perceptions, decisions, insticts, but when they are put together with the science and experience of a great doctor, your child can only benefit.

    Finally, I know all too well that these things cost money. She has two pediatricians – one for her GI needs and biomedical treatment for her autism and the other for “everyday” needs. Why? Well, because her D.A.N.! dr. is not covered by her insurance and when it was, he was out-of-network and the services he provides are often “not covered” or need to be “pre-authorized”. Jane’s physical health, comfort, and well-being are our main concern and so every last dime goes into these supplements, appointments, and labs. I would say that we do what we can. We still have to keep a roof over our heads and take care of the rest of the family! I just think it’s smarter to invest in the doctor, go with his/her recommmendations (and believe me, they are very cognisant of the costs involved and will recommend the minimal amounts that are working), and just keep close tabs on budgeting whatever you can. Going blind and experimenting seems more costly, both financially and possibly to the child’s health.

    I’m all about partnering up with experienced professionals AND those who are in the trenches with us just trying to help our children be as healthy, comfortable, and happy as possible. The sky’s the limit!

    I’m not any kind of doctor, but I hope some of my experiences and information is helpful. All my best!

  45. Laura Watkins
    March 15, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    DHA which comes in a liquid at Whole Foods in strawberry flavor. Please contct me if you would like further information. I have my son and my friends grandson on a nutritional supplement with DHA and some other cognitive function herbs. Absolutely remarkable changes for the better in many areas. My neice has her som who has severe allergies on the liquid DHA. Please contact me for info. Please urge families to start good supplements and DHA asap.
    774-285-1244

  46. Tricia Selka
    March 15, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    Wow! Sounds like a lot of parents have great results with this diet! My 3 1/2 year old son is high functioning and in April of 2010, 3 months before his 3rd birthday, was diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum. Around Mother’s Day, I put him on the GFCF diet and started the supplements as recommended by my DAN! doctor. The changes have been incredible. I think one supplement that has really helped are the B-12 shots. At that time, he was saying one or two words, not putting words together. Last week he said a six word sentence, “Mama got a new purple balloon!” Read and research, parents. We would not all be testifying to the same types of things if this were not the truth!

  47. Marian Dar
    March 16, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Am the mother of a young adult man w/autism. Asymptomatic (!!), I was diagnosed as celiac (gluten-intolerant) in my late 40’s as part of a routine comprehensive physical (and, surprise — low bone density). Five yrs later, no 1 son also diagnosed gluten-intolerant at age 20. Autistic son “tests” ok, but…??

    Why go on the diet if asymptomatic, lab tests ok, etc., etc. — Not much data, but do know this lessens the likelihood of a cascade of other autoimmune conditions and is generally a good preventive measure to reduce and or check out. NUTRITIONAL guidance and support important!!

    Many questions remain, possible links still unknown. fungal/bacterial/mitochondrial, etc. ???

    • Sarah
      March 16, 2011 at 4:49 pm

      The reason the diet works for autistic kids has nothing to do with celiac. Some people improperly digest longer proteins like gluten and casein. Normally, this would not be a huge problem – our bodies should just pass it with the rest of the waste we eliminate. Some people, however, also have larger than normal spaces in the intestinal wall, which allow these improperly digested proteins into the bloodstream. Once they arrive in the brain, they act like an opioid. So, in effect, those people get a high from eating things with those proteins. That’s why a hyper-focus on those foods is often an indication that this diet will help – they are trying to maintain their high. It’s also why you should remove it from your diet slowly, or you will suffer from withdrawal. I actually recently met someone who does not have autism and reacts the same way to gluten. She gave me a lot of insight into how it must feel for my son. Again, I can highly recommend the book Special Diets for Special Kids. It describes the process better than I can.

    • Lisa
      April 24, 2011 at 9:00 am

      I have a 19 y.o. with Aspergers. I, too, diagnosed with Celiac Disease later in life. Your osteoporsis is secondary to CD:malabsorption in the colon.You need to see an Endocrinologist for your treatment and you need GF diet for the rest of your life, mainly to avoid other autoimmune diseases, bone fractures,cancers, etc.It isn’t optional, either.

      My son shows elevated gliadin antibodies…interested in knowing of pathology of his gut. Should he have (repeated)Upper Endoscopy or not? First one 1 1/2 years ago was negative for CD. What is the mind-gut connection in AS? Anyone with real life experience, not just theories? Thanks. Lisa.

  48. Nancy Coleman
    March 16, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    I used the super nu-thera vitamins for Jason for a few years when he was in grade school , I also looked into the Feingold diet. Now that Jason is 20, he is in charge, and he is at college (he is high functioning) he eats what he wants. He was just prescribed Vitamin D therapy for 12 weeks by our DR who monitors his ALD.

  49. March 16, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Listen, I realize that people have a number of ideas about how to address autism and diet. Personally as a grandmother of twin autistic children, it appears via many of these websites that this approach is easy to apply, when in reality nobody really knows if these companies who make the various food that our children consume…you have no idea if there are glutens or caesans in the diet just on someones say so.

  50. Debra
    March 16, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    I had my son on GFCF diet for 2 years, He was doing better. I didn’t notice how well he was doing until i took him off for a research study. Now that the study is over i want to to put him back on it. But cant afford it any longer. I tried to get government assistance But since the diet is not proven to help they wont help me. Just because it works for some of us don’t necessarily mean that it will work for all Autistic Children. I Found a story about serotonin deficiency in Autistic kids. so going to talk to his doctor about it.

    • Debra
      March 16, 2011 at 12:26 pm

      I also had him on B-12 chewable’s, DHA and Pro Biotic

  51. Beth Van Ness
    March 16, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    This is blog subject is fascinating to me. My son is now 23 and I have tried several diets with him in the course of his life.
    We saw the most improvement with the Feingold diet. Vitamin supplements also seemed to help him, though the improvement did not last. As he has gotten older, it is harder to keep things like artificial colors and flavors out of his diet, though I perservere. He is on a rotation diet now….foods that seem to make his autism worse are allowed for a few days and then not again till 30-60 days go by. He gets crabby and easily overstimulated when he has been consuming foods with artificial colors and flavors.
    I’ve contemplated trying a gluten free diet, but he is too old now to modify his diet without his consent and he does not want to try it. He also seems to be mildly lactose intolerant, as I am, so we eat yogurt every day and that helps a great deal.
    I am very skeptical of the claims that autism is caused by poor diet. I believe digestive and immune system problems are just part of the spectrum. My son developed differently from some other people and he is still different, but he functions quite well.

    • devin
      March 16, 2011 at 1:43 pm

      I have never heard of “poor” diet being a cause for autism. usually the GFCF diet is offered after many tests have been done to see what foods they have allergies to.It is NEVER too late to make change.

  52. March 16, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    We did GFCF for a while-no real difference. The homeopathic mood stabilizers did help. We as a family don’t eat a lot of processed foods; it comes mostly in the form of candy. We stay away from HFCS as much as possible. I wish I could get rid of the sugar but we all like brownies too much. We eat a lot of grains, beans, some meat, veggies (what I can get them to eat). The GFCF was wayyy expensive. There seem to be more options now.

  53. Debby
    March 16, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    My 11 year-old son was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome when he was 9 years old. He had been 50 pounds for three years, complaining on constant stomach aches and experiencing alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea. He ate a broad variety of foods but my gut instinct was he wasn’t absorbing the nutrients he needed. After his diagnosis, I began to learn about various interventions and a gluten-free, casein-free diet kept popping up in all the literature. He seemed a good candidate for giving it the ol’ college try. My former husband was dubious – and not very supportive – but we muscled through the trial period anyway – with miraculous results! Jack’s stomach aches disappeared, he began to gain weight and he felt better. We determined early on that a gluten-free diet was sufficient for him. Finding great-tasting gluten-free substitutes for all Jack’s favorite foods became a game for us – and Jack took great delight in leading the charge! I’m happy to tell you that in just ten months, Jack has gained 15 pounds – which puts him in the “normal” weight range for his age, he continues to have no stomach aches and he feels wonderful. Being on this diet was one of the most empowering aspects of Jack’s program.

  54. Alyson Riley
    March 16, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    We did the GFCF diet with positive results that others who did not know about the diet, were able to identify within the week. It is a high maintenance effort and creates issues with non-ASD family sometimes. However, we were able to maintain an greatly improved eating pattern for 10-12 months. Then we were told to very gradually re-introduce particular foods singularly and make individual adjustments. That made us feel more liberated in our selections. We were also fortunate enough to be able to have feeding therapy, which yielded even better results. Our son made advances, some more grand than others, in all areas…eating habits, speech, behavior and connectivity. I hope that others are able to find relief as well!

  55. Donna May
    March 16, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    When my son was younger we tried the caesin free diet with him. My experience with it was that it really did help. Within 2 weeks I started seeing a difference in my son’s behavior and he had a huge vocabulary increase. We haven’t kept to the diet but, he has started aggressive and defiant behaviors and attitudes again. This has been 4 years ago since we stopped the diet. I am curious if the same thing has occurred with another child or not. My son is a high functioning autistic and he is age 8. I also think that the aggression may be the on-set of puberty.

  56. March 16, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    I am very passionate about sharing my experiences with my now 8 year old twin boys who are on the “Spectrum” Please feel free to visit my site above and read my “testimony.” I am very happy to speak with someone and feel free to contact me at debbiedo@comcast.net if you would like further information. I believe DIET can truly make a HUGE different for many many many children. Peace Love and Blessings <3

  57. Bruce Bookman
    March 16, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    There is no scientific evidence that a gluten free diet or an organic diet or any other special diet has any effect. Everyone can sight anecdotal evidence. But it is exactly that, anecdotal. We are easily fooled by the folks who want to sell us organic or gluten free products that these must be better. Where is the double blind studies. You would not accept anecdotal evidence for a certain drug, don’t accept it for a special diet. Demand real, hard, strong evidence from double blind studies that are reproducible. That is the kind of thing that produces actual information on what works and what does not work. Anecdotal evidence gives us fad diets and nonsense.

    Wikipedia. An open forum where those with better evidence could give it at any time, says

    “here is no scientific evidence that these diets are useful in the treatment of autism.[35] A study by the University of Rochester found that the “Popular Autism Diet Does Not Show Behavioral Improvement”.[36]“

    • Janine Mosley
      March 16, 2011 at 2:06 pm

      Have you tried it? I’m a scientist. There are two older gentleman at Sunderland University, one a chemist and one a pharmicist. They have produced they most credible study to date. its not double blind. I’ve contacted them to see if i can help out.

      if your child injested a toxin that caused symptoms like diarhea and skin rashes, and anti-social behavior would you wait until two scientists across the ocean completed a study before you’d take the toxin away?

      In this case, the toxin is casein, gluten, food colours, and msg. Its a no-brainer.

      • Bruce Bookman
        March 17, 2011 at 11:16 am

        requirement: double blind. And one study does not make fact. Try 10 or 20 studies. you know that this is how science works

  58. Bruce Bookman
    March 16, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    shame on autism speaks for promoting non-scientific nonesense

    • March 16, 2011 at 2:00 pm

      Bruce,

      I am not a doctor, specialist or clinition of any sort, however I am a MOM who has done some amazing research. I don’t know why you would attact no negatively to the suggestion of a PURE and Natural DIET? The sort of diet has been proven to help many folks to function optimally. Not just with Autism. I can speak from first hand as to what I have witnessed with my own family and friends. I think this forum is wonderful and allows others to express “FREELY” what they too have experienced. DRUG companies are SELLING why aren’t you attacking them? FOOD is FOOD is FOOD. It makes perfect sense to me, that parents people all have choices to make and if cleaning up a diet and putting in foods that are not loaded with artificial, processed ingredients then perhaps children who have symptoms of Autism and people in general will be able to function optimally. I am so happy I decided to post on here today. If for nothing else, your comment has helped me to find my PASSION again. I have been extremely blessed with my very high functioning children whom I have done much of what is discussed. I have to admit that based on “convenience” have too have lagged and gotten away from following what I preach and wholeheartedly agree with. Thank you for reminding me to KEEP my PASSION and continue my journey to help educate, and share my experiences and knowledge to help others in an ever changing world. Peace and Blessings :).

  59. Bridget
    March 16, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    My daughter never spoke in sentences until I removed cow’s milk from her diet. The change was almost immediate. Before I removed it from her diet, she drank massive quantities of milk each day and CRAVED it. She suffered from yeast infections. I had read a book by Jenny MCarthy and decided to give the dietary changes a try to see what, if anything might happen. It also ended ALL if her bowel problems, like stool withholding for up to 9 days, and distended stomach. She was 4. Now she is seven and no longer needs speech therapy.

  60. Donna May
    March 16, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    I also wanted to add that many companies and stores will have coupons to help combat natural, organic and GFCF foods. If you call or write your favorite companies, they will usually mail you some coupons. I have learned that coupons truly help with the costs of foods! :)

    • Bruce Bookman
      March 17, 2011 at 11:18 am

      What, there are also stores that really try everything to get you to buy organic. organic is a huge profit for them as they can charge a lot more. let’s not go the conspiracy route here. you are simply wrong. the markets are there to make money. they dont care how they make money. why are they stocking organics and such? because they make money doing so.

  61. devin
    March 16, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Our daughter has been on the GFCF diet now for a little over a year. It has been challenging but, we believe everything has become much better. Her attention is better as is her eye contact.Her ASL vocabulary has grown by leaps and bounds.
    We have also gone a little further with the diet.NO ARTIFICIAL ANYTHING! No HFCS or anything else you cannot pronounce in ingredients.We have found Trader Joe’s to be the BEST place for most staple groceries along with Whole Foods.

    • Bruce Bookman
      March 17, 2011 at 11:29 am

      “We believe” is the danger here. First, your child is getting older. As children get older, their abilities tend to improve. That certainly has nothing to do with diet. Second, humans are easily fooled. Many folks can walk into a “fake acupuncture” office and get acupuncture by an untrained person and report they now feel a whole lot better. Does that really mean they improved? What measure are you using to see improvement. Has that measure been used consistently. Perhaps some skill test you have applied a few times. one that is controlled for age improvement? See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias

      And this “Artificial is evil” is very wrongheaded. Do you ever take aspirin? Ever had surgery? Ever taken an anti-biotic? Oh my god, you are using artificial substances. Arguing that just because a substance being used is not in the form where it is exactly like it came from nature is nonsense. Don’t eat cooked meat then please. And the opposite is also not true. Everything natural is not good for you. Mercury is a very natural substance, but I wouldn’t want to ingest it. And what about botchulism – now there is a true natural treat.

      Here’s a great article about the “evil unnatural” aspartame. Turns out, it is perfectly safe. http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4127

  62. Janine Mosley
    March 16, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    My DS with a DX of Aspergers has been GFCF and Feingold for 1 month now. WOW WOW WOW WOW. It has been the most significant intervention. I cook most all his foods from scratch. I buy a blend of organic and conventional (depending on quality/price/local vs. imported). I also look for pasture fed meats and eggs.

    Today we just had home made chicken noodle soup, and Udi’s cinnamon buns. I made pancakes with peaches for breakfast using Pamela’s mix. He ate 6 pancakes! This kid used to avoid the kitchen table at meals, and once he ate he used to become quite violent and sensory seeking and have tantrums. Now, meal time is pleasant, he’s eating good healthy food, and we have lost weight too.

    Its a LOT of work. For dinners out, we eat asian. Sushi, Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese are all casein-free,and we pick rice noodles.

  63. Tonya
    March 16, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    We have our kids on reliv, Kids Now product. They no longer deal with ear infections and sinus infections. I have many friends with autistic kids and also with ADHD and one with Downs Syndrome that are on it that are getting great results with talking much more and clearer. They also don’t deal with the upper respitory problems they used to. It’s also great for tourettes syndrome or ticks. This product for kids or adults is a nutrition power house that has everything that the body needs in it to function properly and if taken correctly which means being very very consistant, kids that showed high signs of austism and ADHD became almost normal with time.
    This is the best thing that my family could have ever found out their. This is also great for allergies, gluten problems etc… With time the allergies are better by about 90-98% on most people, again being very consistant with taking it. It is just awesome and a great blessing to all. It takes a lot of patients to get results though, because the body with correct all the imballance eventally with time. Most people see big results in 2 to 4 months of being very very consistant with taking the shakes. If you want more info just send me a messege. I would be glad to help you get signed up to get some.

    • Tonya
      March 17, 2011 at 8:48 am

      My email address is pdc645@gmail.com is you interested in trying reliv

      • Bruce Bookman
        March 17, 2011 at 11:29 am

        Let’s see. you want to sell something. i really should believe your results

  64. Becka
    March 16, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    My son is 5 and was diagnosed this past summer with Asperger’s. He has always been a very picky eater, eliminating more foods as he has gotten older. He does not eat any vegetables except maybe some kernel corn. The only fruit he will eat is green grapes apples and bananas (if they are the right color and not too mushy). He has to be “in the mood” for the fruit. He is really big on dairy. He loves milk and cheese and these are probably the most consistent foods in his diet. He will eat pasta, crackers and bread. He will eat chicken nuggets (only frozen) and sometimes meatballs or meatloaf. He is funny about the texture, appearance, color and smell of foods. Supplements are out of the question because I can’t even sneak anything in his beverages (he just KNOWS they are there). The only vitamins he will take are Hannah Montana and not the orange ones. I try all the time to get him to eat new things even offering reward stickers, but he just will not try anything he is not familiar with. He recently told me that he ate vegetables when he was a baby just to make me happy lol. Even then I had to mix his veggies in his rice cereal! He is not underweight, and some days he hardly eats at all. Packing his lunchbox is a daily challenge. Most days he will have Carnation instant breakfast in the morning if I can’t get him to eat cereal. My 4 year-old son is also picky, but eats more fruit and vegetables. He is also more easily encouraged to try new foods. I am trying for an overall healthier diet for the whole family, though not sure I am ready for GFCF. I really don’t know if my son would give up dairy too easily.

  65. Brandi Obanya
    March 16, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    I’ve had my daughter on a gfcf diet since she was 15 mos old. Shortly after an autism specialist from Aea said she suspected she had it. I noticed an almost immediate improvement in her behavior. When she was tested at 3 for Autism she tested off the spectrum. I kept her on the diet anyway. It has been a struggle because she doesn’t like being on the diet and because she officially doesn’t have Autism many people question whether she ever had it at all. I suppose it’s possible she didn’t, but I remember how she used to be: she would spin around for hours unless we physically stopped her, we thought she had hearing problems because she wouldn’t pay attention when we spoke to her. She didn’t like to be held starting at around one month old. She was developmentally delayed in almost every area. All of this improved after we put her on the Diet. She’s 10 now and has an Adhd diagnosis. Her school nurse thinks this is what she’s had all along. I’m not sure if that’s true or not. I just know I saw an improvement with the diet all those years ago.

  66. March 16, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Has anyone tried supplement therapy – especially with amino acids or plant enzymes? I have been exploring and wondered if anyone else has experience.

  67. Suzanne
    March 16, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    I asked my son’s therapist about it. She said it is hard to say if diet changes work because you are doing so many other things to help too. I have tried to limit sugar and processed starchy foods. We eat a lot of whole foods and give him plenty of fruits and vegetables (which he loves, luckily). I think an exclusive diet is not natural so it is not my first choice. If I find he has an allergy or a sensitivity to a food I will definitely make the change. I respect those of you who are willing to put in so much time and effort for the well-being of your children.

  68. Morgan
    March 16, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    being “diagnosed” with Aspergers my mother tried to change my diet. I am actually gluten sensitive, and the diets didn’t help.

  69. March 16, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    We tried for a month and my son lost 10lbs. And with him being 13 and only weighing 96 lbs. with have backed off. For him things were not getting better. He started laughing out of control. This was something new. And he started to wave his hand even more.He has a hard time having a BM and its really bad now.The doc. has him on 15 pill a day of Vitamins.And I have seen no change at all. All the doc. said sometimes it takes awhile before it gets better. Im sick of making my son feel even more different than other kids even with his eating now. He goes to church and cant eat anything his friends are eating and the some with school. Im going to back off this for awhile and try to do more all natural.And keep up the Vitamins. He was so excited when I told him he could have a glass of milk.(all natural).

    • Cheryl
      March 16, 2011 at 5:27 pm

      Kay,
      Your son has some of the classic signs/symptoms of yeast overgrowth throughout the body. Random laughing out of control, renewed regressive autistic behaviors, having BM issues (either way). I don’t know if you have a DAN! dr., but I would ask for an OAT (Organic Acid Test of the urine) and a stool analysis – a new one if you’ve had these previously done. Take a look online for other symptoms, but some I can think of off the top of my head (my three-year-old daughter is being treated for this and had almost every physical and behavioral symptom of which I was aware…her tests confirmed it and she’s now being treated with Rx antifungals); back to symptoms: grinding of teeth, spinning around or flipping upsidedown (or some variation of trying to fulfill a vestibular need), defiance, irritability, chewing, hands over ears, loss of energy, seeming “out of it”, cravings for breads, pastas, and sweets, rashes, excema, abdominal bloating, a funky-smelling scalp (almost like a “wet dog” smell), stimming among others. I don’t know what vitamins your son is taking, but there are excellent mulitvitamins that may help reduce that (my daughter takes Super Nu-Thera w/o Vit. A & D – which she gets separately – it’s made by the Kirkman company…I have NO connection to this company; I’m just sharing what my daughter is taking instead of many separate vitamins). I hope this was helpful and wish you and your family all the best.

      • Bruce Bookman
        March 17, 2011 at 11:35 am

        Explain how exactly yeast growth and random laughing are related. The medical community would be really interested to know you have found some relationship here with strong double blind controlled conditions.

        “Your son has some of the classic signs/symptoms of yeast overgrowth throughout the body. Random laughing out of control, renewed regressive autistic behaviors,”

        Seems like it would be really simple to veriify. Measure the yeast. I will make you a very honest bet. Very simple. I will put up $1000 of my own money. You go get your child tested for yeast in any part of the body. Do this at two independent labs. If both show a significant above normal yeast infection, you get my $1000.

        I’m putting my money on the line here. Waiting for you to show your belief has some actual data to back it up

        By the way, the word “significant” above is really important. There can be natural variability. So we are not talking 1% or 2% above normal. That is variability. We are talking 30% or more above normal. Your pediatrician can explain this to you if you need.

        A thousand dollars is waiting.

    • Jody
      March 17, 2011 at 6:15 am

      Have you tried Miralax? My grand daughter had a lot of pain because she seldom had a BM and when she did it was as hard and as large as a softball. When she came to live with me I took her to a specialist and for 3 months she took Miralax daily and now she takes it at night every other day and probably will for the rest of her life because her colon was stretched so much the nerves do not work properly.

  70. March 16, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    My son is 4 and dx with medium to high functioning Autism. We tried GFCF for almost a year with no real results. But like a few other posters, we did see a tremendous change when we elimitated HFCS and dyes & preservatives. He’s still a picky eater, and we’re working on some ABA strategies to help that. I do what i can to make everythign from scratch, and keep the junky stuff out of the house.

  71. Meagan
    March 16, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Yes! We have done the gf cf diet since fall of 2007. We immediately noticed improvement in our sons early intervention therapies. His eye contact came back. His words were more clear and they increased three fold in the first month on the diet! This was a child we were told wouldn’t ever speak more than a dozen words, if that! He eventually refused to use the sign language he’d been taught! Him ocd admittedly got worse before it got better. For us that was a minor inconvenience. He is five now and in a public school intergrated in mainstream with a one in one aide. His speech and comprehension are above age and grade level! We think the diet is AN IMPORTANT KEY TO SUCCESS long term!

  72. Meagan
    March 16, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    For all who have said they can’t stay on the diet because of cost, approach it this way; if it didn’t walk on two or four legs or get picked out the ground Don’t eat it! Very simple and easy approach to the diet and I’ve found the most costs effective.

  73. March 16, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    We own a health and wellness business and have a product used to help those that fall under the spectrum umbrella. Helps people with Autism, Aspergers Syndrome, ADD and ADHD just to name a few. If you would like me to email info, send me a message at tracyp6469@yahoo.com Our son was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 4, he was on various prescription drugs (the meds made him worse) until the age of 9, he was weaned off all meds and has now been prescription drug free for 11 years due to these supplements.

  74. tracey farrauto
    March 16, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    I use dietary enzymes in place of the GFCF or SCD diets. My son is nine now and has been on them since he was 2 1/2. It has been one of the most key interventions for my son so far. He regained all of the speech that he initially lost after his MMR shot within two weeks of starting them. Great asset.

  75. Amy
    March 16, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    I have a three year old that has high functioning autism .I would like to put him on GFCF diet but his diet is already a nightmare . He only eats chicken nuggets, hotdogs ,ceral bars,cheerios ,chips, juice treats and some bread . He will not touch a friut or vegtable . So I give him the juice that has some vegtable juice in them . I also have him on soy milk and a soy based nutricanal drink . I have tried a few GFCF products like the ceral bars and he wont touch them .I am afraid to try to many things because of the expense and the fact that he is very unlikely to try them .Anyother suggestions .

  76. Bridget
    March 16, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    Our son is 6 years old and has Autism. He has been GFCF for over 2 years. He takes many supplements and vitamins, including digestive enzymes, vitamin D, B6, B12, folic acid, magnesium citrate, multi-vitamin. I know it’s a lot, but we have noticed lots of changes. We did GFCF first and within 2 weeks his therapist were noticing he was able to focus for longer periods of time, his eyes where brighter, he was more aware of his surroundings (and we hadn’t told them about the GFCF yet). He did have major Gastrointestinal issues before we started this. We took him to a gastroenterologist and they told us all he needed was fiber. Really? No. We decided to take him to a DAN (Defeat Autism Now) doctor and that made all the difference. Just remember, every child is different. Keep trying new things until you find what works for your child. It is worth it. Good luck everyone.

  77. Rebecca
    March 17, 2011 at 12:46 am

    I have a 8 year old Severely Agressive Autistic son His name is Sincere we are thinking of trying the diet for not only Sincere but our other 3 children as well. How should i go about starting do i slowly take things away or do it all at once? And what recomendations does anyone have for getting him to stop hitting and recently he picked up some new lovely words like f u and f u b how do i get him to stop? Sincere is a very loving happy kid but how can i go about getting him calm and not as agressive when my daughter was 3 mths old i made the choice to try meds because he is violent towards her and his other siblings how can i get help for his aggression?

  78. craigkrsiten
    March 17, 2011 at 4:29 am

    We did not see any effect on our daughter when we tried this diet 5 years ago. We maintained it for almost two years and was very expensive. Like most people we kept hearing that is was the new thing would make a huge difference in our daughters development. In speaking to our doctor at the Mayo Clinic, he stated that you may see a difference if you are allergic to gluten, however if not, you may see no difference. Since this did not show any signs of working it boiled down to this: If it makes you believe it is helping, stay on it. We did not. We were also informed there is no medical proof that this diet somehow cures Autism. I also do not want to be a downer on this subject but if it works in some area of your childs behaviour or seems to help them stay focused, then that is great, but you must also understand that if may not have any impact on behaviour and it is not a cure all. Our daughter has made leaps and bounds since then by having a Behaviour Program within our home and school and by having ABA Programing as well. These two items I can say work.

  79. Darlene
    March 17, 2011 at 8:08 am

    My husband and I put our son that has Autism and myself on the GFCF diet 10 years ago when our son was 6 years old. In our son we have seen huge improvements. Back then (10 years ago) we weren’t getting much help at all from Doctors. When our son was a baby he would projectile vomit his milk up but every specialist we took him to said he was fine. Our son always had rashes on his face and reddish ears. We decided on our own to start removing milk from his diet when he was about 4 years old; he started noticing things in our house that had always been there but he had never noticed before. It was awesome! A couple years later we took Gluten and Wheat out of his diet and he began to be more verbal, there was no more side staring,there was no more giggling out of the blue, way less flapping,he began to start playing with toys appropriately instead of wanting things that weren’t toys. He gave family members good eye contact. He slowly but surely stopped lining up all his video tapes and toys. He started drawing; he is my artist.
    He is not cured of Autism but I do believe seeing the dramatic change in my son is because we removed what his body couldn’t tolerate. The GFCF diet definitely helped him tremendously. Kevin use to love Cheetos. My husband and I both decided last year to let him try a couple just to see how he would do. It had been twelve years since he had had milk (they didn’t have gluten). He was so nervous to try them because he didn’t want to get sick. Very shortly after he ate it he had very bad diarrhea, stomach cramps and side starring which we hadn’t seen in so long. We felt very terrible about letting him having that. That won’t happen again.
    The diet is expensive, I agree. It helps him so we have to keep doing it for him. The process of him improving did not happen over night; but it did happen. My 16 year old son carries conversations with me which I never imagined could happen way back when he was little. We laugh together and just have a great time. I just wish I knew back then what I know now, I use to worry and have many sleepless nights thinking I wouldn’t be able to communicate with him He tells me he loves me every day and he hugs me. Recently he gently held my face and he said “awww.” I asked him “what’s wrong?” He said “nothing.” I said “come on Kev tell me.” He said “I don’t want to hurt your feelings.” I said “you can tell me anything.” He said “your hair is getting older.” I said “what do you mean?” He said “it’s white.” He said “but don’t be sad your face isn’t old just your hair.”
    I was thinking that is from many years of being so scared and wondering what the future holds for my precious son. I just thought I’d share that because I thought that was so cute when he told me that.

  80. Shelley Taylor
    March 17, 2011 at 9:56 am

    I have a 6yr. old son with high functioning Autism. When he was a baby he ate everything. Now he only eats Doritos, Cheetos,cheese pizza, any kind of chips or pretzel’s, Pediasure, candy, yogurt, Mcdonalds french fries and peanut butter sandwiches. In therapy we tried apples dipped in peanut butter and grapes, he ate them for his therapist but he won’t eat them for me. He doesn’t eat any meats. He has sensory issues with his mouth with textures and the strength of chewing. Any ideas of how I can get him to eat more foods that are healthy for him?

  81. Bruce Bookman
    March 17, 2011 at 11:36 am

    Confirmation bias (also called confirmatory bias or myside bias) is a tendency for people to favor information that confirms their preconceptions or hypotheses regardless of whether the information is true.[Note 1][1] As a result, people gather evidence and recall information from memory selectively, and interpret it in a biased way. The biases appear in particular for emotionally significant issues and for established beliefs. For example, in reading about gun control, people usually prefer sources that affirm their existing attitudes. They also tend to interpret ambiguous evidence as supporting their existing position. Biased search, interpretation and/or recall have been invoked to explain attitude polarization (when a disagreement becomes more extreme even though the different parties are exposed to the same evidence), belief perseverance (when beliefs persist after the evidence for them is shown to be false), the irrational primacy effect (a stronger weighting for data encountered early in an arbitrary series) and illusory correlation (in which people falsely perceive an association between two events or situations).

    A series of experiments in the 1960s suggested that people are biased towards confirming their existing beliefs. Later work explained these results in terms of a tendency to test ideas in a one-sided way, focusing on one possibility and ignoring alternatives. In combination with other effects, this strategy can bias the conclusions that are reached. Explanations for the observed biases include wishful thinking and the limited human capacity to process information. Another proposal is that people show confirmation bias because they are pragmatically assessing the costs of being wrong, rather than investigating in a neutral, scientific way.

    Confirmation biases contribute to overconfidence in personal beliefs and can maintain or strengthen beliefs in the face of contrary evidence. Hence they can lead to disastrous decisions, especially in organizational, military, political and social contexts.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias

    • Lisa
      April 24, 2011 at 9:33 am

      Bruce, you want to know something funny? There is statistical evidence that AS is an immune disorder… just ask the moms of these “kids”. Many, many have hayfever, psoriasis, food allergies, celiac disease, anxiety, depression, panic attacks (I have all).So do the “kids”.The problem is, these individuals may not know they are immune compromised!

      The benefits of special diets is not anecdotal, but to ignore real life experiences is worse than standing by a “Confirmation Bias”. Especially when parent after parent describes the benefits of GF. While I agree we should not purchase “cures, supplements, vitamins” as a quick cure, I do believe there is real pathology there.

      By the way, since my own diagnosis/treatment of CD and related diseases, my own health has improved and risk factors for illness have dropped.
      By the way, the

      • Lisa
        April 24, 2011 at 9:40 am

        To continue, since my own diagnosis and treatment, my own health is improving.

        Why the epidemic of people with AS, and not just the hayfever, anxiety, celiac disease. I certainly don’t know. Yet as a community we need to listen to what is being said and make reasonable connections.Thank you.

  82. Sarah
    March 18, 2011 at 11:21 am

    I have a 6 year old that will only eat Pizza, Mac & Cheese, Grilled Cheese, and breads. We are trying to break him of this but when ever we try to give him something different he has melt downs that just end up making dinner time bad for the rest of the family. We have 2 other children in the home and they understand that he has autism but i know they still fell like they are treated unfair because they have to have what i make for dinner not what he maybe having. He will not eat any vegetables or fruits so what i have been doing lately is making brownies with spinach, carrots, and blueberries pureed in them. I dont know how GOOD they really are with all the sugar that they have in them but i like to think that maybe it helps and is getting some vegies in to him.

  83. Vicki
    March 18, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    My 4 year old will only eat…french fries, pop tarts and toast..occasional chicken nuggets and pancakes…but loves fruit of all kinds..drinks milk with carnation so I know he is atleast getting his vitamins..not sure if that diet will work for all..I can’t see it being effective over here!!

  84. March 18, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    I have six year old twins onne has mild autism and ADHD. Also he was diagnosed with bipolar dissorder at the age of three. My other son was diagnosed with aspbergers snydrome at age two. He also has ADHD. I have found it very hard to find support group in the state of Washington. In the state of North Carolina we had mentors and child therapist. Anyone with information on support groups for parents of autistic and ADHD children please send me the information.My email is marebab@yahoo.com. thanks in advance

  85. Brenda
    March 19, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    I have a 9 1/2 year old son with autism that has been on the GFCF diet for the past 7 years. 5 out of 6 in my house are gluten free as we gradually found that it is Celiac Disease that is the source of the problem and caused the leaky gut. My son has made tremendous strides over the years. Initially at 2 1/2 going from a little boy that would only stare at his hands, click 2 blocks together and hide his face from everyone showed eye contact and interaction within 2 weeks of starting the diet.

    I have since gone to school for dietetic s and specialize with Celiac Disease. Please, I ask that you get your chiildren tested for Celiac before starting the diet. The diet does work for about 50% of those with Autism but we need to show why. There is a form of Celiac that causes dendritic (nerve endings in the braib) damage. This is what we tend to see as the “opiat” type effect. It also causes the GI issues, food avoidance behaviors, and acting out due to the internal pain. A simple blood test (TtG) is the most sensitive and your family practicioner can order the test. Your child has to be eating the gluten to get a positive test result.
    I wish I had known all of this years ago when I put my son on the diet. At this point I admit I would never try the gluten challenge(eating gluten for 2-3 months) to try the test only because he gets so violently ill.
    I also urge parents to write everything down. What you see as symptoms prior and after the introduction of the diet. Written data is what we need to show and prove that this diet does work and end the sceptisism.

    By-the -way, this diet also helped my son with ADHD as many of his anger, hyperactivity, and aggresion was stemmed from the Celiac Disease.

    Good luck.

  86. Marie
    March 20, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    My son was diagnosed with ADD at age 8 and Aspbergers at age 12. My daughter was diagnosed with Aspbergers at age 12. They are both high functioning children. The only “fad” diet we tried was the South Beach diet, because I wanted to and the whole family decided to try it. We did lose weight and ate very healthy foods, including good carbs. I am new to any blogs of any kind. I have dealt with my children’s diagnosis with education, research, common sense and my own intuition. I have a wonderful psychiatrist who diagnosed my son with autism when the other psychiatrist who was treating him with his ADD for years did not see it. We have depended on medications to assist my children to be focused and happy. From what I understand my children’s conditions to be is a chemical imbalance. These medications help balance and keep them focused and happy. My son does have some issues with the texture of foods and we just roll with it. He on his own, after being on the proper medications, has established his own diet of non processed foods and has even taken an interest in cooking to help him achieve what he believes. He even has the lunch lady at his high school trying to get more fresh veggies and whole wheat breads on a frequent basis. I am sorry that I do not believe much in the diet only treatment. However, you are all moms and obviously love your children enough to make drastic changes in your diets to help make better lives for your children I commend you all on this and keep up what you believe in. I was so against any medications when my son was diagnosed with ADD and believed that no doctor was going to tell me otherwise. However, the more research I have done on our two conditions, the more I am convinced that one needs to help balance the chemicals in the body that are lacking. Could some foods help? Certainly! Can some children have allergies to foods and thus affect their behaviors? Absolutely! We all need to pay attention to what is best for our individual children. Because after all, we are all individuals. You do not have to agree with me, that is ok, but I am doing what is right for my children. The effect of the medications were immediate, long lasting and have done a world of good for my children to be productive adolescents (they are now 15 and 13) and with the help of IEP’s, counseling and social practice will be productive and happy adults. Bruce, you have some valid reasons, but science is black and white and who is to say that one interpretation is more right than the other. I do agree with everyone, because it helps their individual child. However, it is not my intention to push what works on my kids to others. Listen to your intuition! Good luck to all, we are all doing a great thing in caring for our Autistic children because they are more than special, they are able to tap into parts of the brains that “normal” people cannot. How great is that?!? Sorry, I tend to babble. :)

  87. Mary
    March 26, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    I have a nephew,He is 10 years old with high functional aspergers. He is a smart sweet boy, who’s “rages” that are at times frightening. In a rage (over a WII) he will threaten to kill, set the house on fire, ect. as he knows these are the “worse” things that can be said. He is immediately sorry once he calms down, and is sincere. My concern is that his mood swings are now becoming very severe. The actual “swings” are harder to handle as he is getting bigger. The doctor is insinuating he my be going into a bi-polar mode (I’m sorry if my verbiage is incorrect, please bear with me) and is prescribing anti-physcotic drugs. I have been reading about the gluton free diet, has anyone out there trying this diet noticed a change in the “rages”?? We do not want our nephew on these drugs, but we’re not sure what other options there are. Any options, ideas, suggestions are welcome. Thank you!

    • Lily
      March 27, 2011 at 3:01 am

      I really think you should try this diet. GFCF diet has helped my brother and I’m sure that it helps in most cases, especially as severe as yours! You can just read stories written above to understand how much effect it has on autistic children.
      I hope your nephew will become much better in no time and there will be no need in these drugs…
      Best wishes!

    • April 2, 2011 at 6:21 pm

      I have found that many parents have reported the calming effect of two to three regular large eggs or egg yolks every day will do wonders. This will provide for most of the nutrients known to be absent in those with autism.

    • Lisa
      April 24, 2011 at 10:31 am

      Mary, the mood swings you describe are not signs or symptoms of Bipolar Disorder or Psychosis, but of the usual rigidity of AS. Try what you can to improve the general health of your nephew (check on allergies, gliadin antibodies, anemia), then seek professional help with a Autism Speaks Psychiatrist.Often psychiatric medications are used, in small dosages,to help with obsessive thoughts, inattention.

  88. April 2, 2011 at 3:47 am

    Please share your thoughts on caring for someone with autism. http://tinyurl.com/3b6c4ss

  89. Nicole
    April 27, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    My nephew has autism. He is currently five. He eats nothing but chocolate and chicken, thats it. He is five a weighs 35 pounds. My sister just lets him eat that because he starts crying if you even ask him to eat something else, but it scares me to death because hes never had a fruit or a veggie in his life. This cant be healthy. He weighs too little and he has a severe lack of nutrients and vitamins. Are any of you guys going through the same thing?

    • Shelley
      April 27, 2011 at 8:31 pm

      Nicole, My son is now 6 but he still is a very picky eater. When he was 3 he would only eat Doritos, cheetos, french fries. Just salty chips. He started to eat peanut butter. Then we went to french toast with syrup and peanut butter which was great. He will eat peanut butter sandwiches too. He loves cheese pizza too. He has a texture problem and the muscles in his mouth were not strong enough to chew certain foods. He still will not eat meat. Therapy with apples and peanut butter, grapes, whatever she think would be the easiest thing for him to start with. You can’t push him, he will only push back. But in a controlled environment try to introduce him to one thing at a time. Have him smell it, kiss it and maybe even lick it. Or if it is something he can feel with his hands like apple sauce, let him do that. Supplements are a must though. Vitamin D, B12, Probiotics, Calcium, Zinc and Magnesium. If she can mix some of these in his juice and milk that would help. My son only drank chocolate Pediasure until lately he has been drinking Nesquik. (It’s less expensive). Hope this helps, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask. I’ve been through it all! DAN Dr.’s too!

    • April 27, 2011 at 9:38 pm

      Nichole,
      Sometimes you can obtain dried eggs or egg yolks from Honeyville Farms or others on the web. This is without taste or texture but it can be mixed into most anything and will provide the critical nutrients needed for proper development of the brain.

  90. Kimberly
    May 26, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    I have a child that has been randomly kicking, spitting, biting and pulling hair of his pre school teachers and he’s never displayed this behavior with me or his former day care providers. Any advice?

  91. Ingrid Bachoo
    August 10, 2011 at 9:28 am

    My 10 years old aspie is very very picky, all he has been eating is bread and cheese or butter, drinks chocolate milk, kool aid and water and like big foot spicy.He wont eat anything else.

  92. terri a.
    August 10, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    @ kimberly & ingrid bachoo; i’m a 50 year old recently (last yr or so) self diagnosed asperger. i have 2 bachelors, psychology & physical ed. i taught professionally 4 abot 14 years; abot 12 of which were with chicago public schools. home-schooled the children from preschool & kindergarden 2 about 9 & 10 yrs old. @ which time i was having sum emotional difficulties adjusting 2 sum challenges @ those times. i could no longer manage the home & the children so we (i & then husband-now x) placed them n montessori school.had 2 stop i have 2 teen agers, 1 boy 17 1 girl 16. they live with their father. i like routine. i need routine. there r times that i feel (emotionally speaking) when i am stressed, under whatever perceptions of tension i may have, that i have the emotional state of 3 yrs old. try 2 find out what might b stressing out yur child n that situation, the classroom nvironment, the # of students, how the teacher dresses, speaks, moves etc. certain associations tend 2 b very ntense with autistic pple. prhaps the child is associating sumthing n the classroom nvironment with a sensitivity that the child has. sensory overload may also b a factor.

    in the last 3 1/2 years i have found out that i am gluten ntolerant & fructose ntolerant n addition 2 b-ng lactose ntolerant. i have been looking 4 research studies on the correlation b-tween autism spectrum diagnoses & dietary disorder & or ‘eating eccentricities’. i have a certain diet but even if i could eat more freely, i would get overwhelmed with 2 many choices.
    resistance 2 new things is like having 2 make a d-cision, 2 many d-cisions r overwhelming, which is why routine, systems, structures, logic, & analytical thinking r common aspects among asperger-memory @ sum level is usually affected. try 2 track your aspie’s mood dynamics & try 2 ntroduce sumthing new not 2 new or different but prhaps similar 2 sumthing he/she is already use 2. i am a stickler 4 healthy eating, organic if u can afford, i can’t @ this time but what i eat i dn’t need it 2 b organic. i try 2 get all the most important nutrients from the very restrictive diet that i am able 2 eat @ this time. i would say n general have an eventual goal of eliminating process foods whenever possible. i hope this helps sum.

  93. terri a.
    August 10, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    …sorry, ‘track the mood dynamics’ so when yur ‘aspie’ is n a generally pleasant or even mood, prhaps this might b the best time 2 ntroduce sumthing sumwhat new?

  94. August 11, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    Hi Terri,
    Sorry your life has been so tough. You are moving in the right direction in being concerned with diet. You may find some help on either of my web sites that deal with autism and diet. http://www.theautismwebsite.com or http://www.whostolemyfood.com My research has shown that the problem is malnutrition and this can be easily overcome naturally and GF/CF.
    Many of the missing nutrients are available in the cholesterol containing foods but are not adequately available in fruits, vegetables, cereals, soy, etc.

  95. terri a.
    August 12, 2011 at 10:22 am

    @ harold rongey phd, the life of me is challenging but awsum @ the same time. it was not the ntent of that piece 2 present a difficult life but 2 share with hope the difficulties that 1 may ncounter. thnk u tho 4 yur sympathetic words & 4 responding. i did peruse yur suggested sites.

    n general i b-lieve we agree. from the perspective of me, the big pic b-ng, initially the world, that is the global ecosystem was condusive 2 sustaining life via clean air & water, appropriate sun light, & such essential nutritiion via the erth (plants, animal & etc).

    when pple generally lived & worked otside, n freedom & dignity & security n appropriate space (not 2 crowded) pple were generally much healthier regardless of the geographical diet they consumed. (pets n usa r ncreasingly b-ng diagnosed with ‘human’ chronic diseases)

    i b-lieve ancestral diets do cum n2 play with differing ethnic groups, finding what that is 4 any given ndividual can prove 2 b tedious & time & money consuming. so finding the most nutritious foods 4 tht ndividual 2 ngest (not processed, not sprayed with x-icides, or gmo nfected) & then having a healthy digestive system 2 effectively/efficiently absorbed the nutrients is the objective n the humble opinion of me.

    i am able 2 eat small red kidney beans with cooked/microwaved cow cheese (or raw aged goat & sheep cheese-2 xpensive tho) bagged baby flat leaf spinach, organic pop corn, water, raw mixed nuts (i dn’t eat the pitachios) & xtra virgin olive oil. the cramping n the lower large ntestine has subsided. most adverse symptoms (i had many serious 1s) have been eliminated. it has taken almost 3 yrs 2 get 2 this point. the main symptom that i struggle with @ this point is maintaining a healthy weight. i have always had a very active/efficient metabolism & i am prone 2 make muscle ezily, so keeping the weight on is difficult. fructose (glycogen reserves) from carbs r hard 2 build up since i am fructose & glutent ntolerant.

    so i can c how folks n ndustrialize societies who r more likely 2 b obesed & suffer from malnutrition would have a higher rate of chronic diseases i.e. ‘disorders’ as d-picted with the ‘autism spectrum’.

    what say u abot, the seemingly growing ‘epidemic’ of gluten ntolerant & fructose ntolerant ppl along with the ongoing & growing # of lactose ntolerant pple?

    • Cheryl
      August 12, 2011 at 4:59 pm

      Is there any way that you can write with complete words here? Using texting language is difficult to read for some people and what you have to say is important. If it takes too much time or you just don’t want to, that’s fine. I just thought I’d bring it to your attention. Thanks!

  96. Cheryl
    August 12, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    My comments on diet and autism may be in the middle of this large conversational posting, but if they’re there, I’m sure I have more to add since it’s been a while. First, I’m curious how so many of you have children who don’t have many food allergies along with their autism. My daughter is allergic to “everything”: milk/daiy, caesin, eggs, peanuts, almonds, soy, and is borderline allergic (but definite intolerance) to wheat and gluten. She mainly eats vanilla rice milk, fruit and vegetable juices, rice crackers, and french fries. These are all foods that she ate before the age of one and I believe that her severe, constant allergic reactions to “new” foods has caused a true food anxiety. She is in feeding therapy and OT to try to fix this problem, but these professionals are also having a lot of difficulty. My next call is to a child psychologist (namely the one who diagnosed her). The CF came first with an intolerance to milk-based formula around one month old; milk and egg came next with a horrible outbreak of hives over her torso, arms, neck, and face (yogurt and teething cookies were the culprits here); next came peanuts – you can probably guess how that came about – after about two snacks with crackers and peanut butter, she screamed when I came near her with the peanut butter and I knew immediately what that was going to mean; next came the gluten and wheat when a low-level allergy was reported on a blood test, but I was going to take her off the gluten around that time anyway; soy was first noticed by her D.A.N.! pediatrician by her behaviors – he recommended eliminating it and three months later another blood test revealed an allergy to soy (which is the kind of formula she had for over a year!); almond was just one that was tested because of the peanut and sure enough…no tree nuts either.

    My point in illustrating her situation nutritionally is to show you where she was this time last year…three re-innoculations as her titers had gone completely or were too low to be considered protected. I was told that this was happening because she has a low immune system, which generally meant that she’d just get sick more often. Her immune system couldn’t handle the food because it saw it as an invader (which happens very often with gluten and caesin proteins if they’re released into the blood without being properlyl broken down into their proper amino acid chains – otherwise known as “leaky gut” that every “regular” pediatric physician doesn’t believe in and will not treat my daughter because it’s just the autism causing her problems.

    No. These children need their systems to be checked and supplemented, as well as treated medically if necessary. I would not accept her “low immunity” diagnosis as something I couldn’t do anything about and I’m glad I didn’t. Once we went to who I call her “pediatrician specialist”, he ran tests (stool, blood, and urine) and LISTENED to me! He put her on a large variety of supplements over time, not all at once. She takes antifungals because her body is riddled with yeast; she takes Colostrum, zinc, and black elderberry to boost her immune system, as well as other supplements that have treated a variety of problems in her body. We started working with this doctor in Sept. of last year (2010) and my daughter has not been on an antibiotic since then; ALL of her titers/antibodies to the immunizations that the “regular/local” pediatricians were insisting she get/needed were way above the necessary amount a year later, so there’s no need to “boost” antibodies when they are already there in abundance – it only distracts the immune system from what it really needs to be doing…healing itself and working on the real culprits that are making my daughter sick.

    Food is definitely a factor, but making sure the right nutrients are there is a much more important issue than how you get them into your child’s system. Sure, I’m making a morning juice “cocktail” of supplements and it takes more time and costs a significant amount of money, but it’s working! Though she doesn’t eat properly now, she is getting her nutrients and the supplements that will help her immune system strengthen and her metabolic system working properly again…that is where the real results have shown themselves with her at least. My daughter went from the 25 percentile in height in 2010 (age 3) to the 50th percentile in 2011 (age 4) and her diet hasn’t improved one bit…if anything, it’s decreased – hence the therapies and my looking into a possible food anxiety.

    Don’t get me wrong…I don’t want her to have to drink her nutrients all day, but if that’s what it takes to be healthy, then we’ll do it as long as it takes. Take your child off the gluten, caesin, and soy, one at a time and watch the differences in behavior and cognition. Pay attention to how your child eliminates these foods they’re eating. My daughter was so constipated that her feces were decaying in her bowels. If I hadn’t known and listened to the “regular” pediatric G.I., she’d probably have ended up in the hospital, or worse! She was on a laxative for about seven MONTHS before her GI system was able to work with the digestive enzymes properly and eliminate without medicinal “help”. These diets are a good discussion in regard to health and its effect on our kids on the spectrum, but the bottom line is look at the nutrients, avoid the proteins if they’re causing any kind of negative bodily or behavioral effect, have your child’s GI system evaluated thoroughly, fix what is “broken”, then go for the metabolism. The methylation process and mitochondrial deficiencies/diseases that our kids “secretly” have can be treated, but you’ve got to “heal” the gut first, even if that means a “poor food diet”, implementing a GF/CF/SF diet, using a myriad of supplements (per doctor supervision and orders) to achieve optimal digestive and systematic health, and incorporating medicines, if needed, to help heal a “leaky gut” if it’s concluded that your child does indeed have one. Believe me…they do exist and any doctor worth his/her salt will do the research and/or read the material you provide that shows is without question.

    Our kids’ health starts with a healthy GI system. Notice I didn’t say “ASD kids’ health”…all children need a healthy GI to have a healthy immune system and optimal health overall. Our ASD kids need that to be dealt with first in order to move forward with both the biomendical and behavioral therapies (my daughter is in ABA, SLT, PT, and OT besides the feeding therapy, so I’m not saying everything will be okay with this nutritional improvement…it just smooths the road so that the other therapies and their learning are most effective…and I think that was the concern overall regarding these GF/CF and S/F diets in the beginning – that’s just it… you have to do it with no exceptions and get a doctor who will help you through it all. They’re out there! They may not be where you live, but they will work with you over the phone in most cases. Best of luck to you all!

  97. August 12, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    I was able to observe first hand with my wife of 53 years as she consumed a diet that was more and more deficient. She gradually became allergic to almost everything and she had no resistance to infections. I would suggest you Google the USDA Choline 02 for a report that I believe might help. My research has shown that a nutritionally adequate diet based upon the chemical needs of the body is the answer to chronic diseases and disorders.

  98. terri a.
    August 13, 2011 at 4:21 am

    @ harold rongey, yea, i xpect the ‘short hand’ might b frustrating 4 sum persons. i virtually use it n all of the writings of me. it is a form of personal xpression; d-veloped when i started writing commentaries n rap/poem form. i mean no disrespect & appreciate u bringing it 2 the attention of me.

    the reasons i use it so prolifically r: 2 help ‘neuron typical’ processors have a little bit of an idea of the frustrations pple on the autism spectrum go thru evry day. how long it takes us 2 do ‘simple tasks’ & how hard sum of us have 2 concentrate 2 get thru a verbal conversation or a sensory over loaded nvironment. long paragraphs r ‘turn offs’ 4 me. which is why i started using rap/peotic form & this shorthand style. sum of the old writings that i did yrs ago i can’t go back & read, they r 2 seemingly ‘cluttered’. most non typical processors have 2 d-velop ‘tricks’ 2 compensate 4 whatever ‘mpairments’ that they may have.

    the other reason i use it is that i am of african & ndigenous descent & have no knowledge of the ancestors of me true language. i thnk the dominance & classism of the nglish language is way 2 pompous & xcluding. we have 2 b-cum much more patient with folks who r not typically nglish speaking, verbal or typical language users i.e. the deaf, folks like helen keller & sum pple on the autism spectrum & etc.

    if we had had this xchanged n person, i xpect i might b feeling sum of the way u r feeling now. i have 2 b patient with ppl who may speak rather fast & who may not know or understand the limitations that i may have. i also know that writing as such may b a turn off 4 sum persons, so i take the chance that sum people might have the patience 2 ndure it, as i did when i read cheryl’s post & am glad i took the time 2 read thru it.

  99. November 9, 2011 at 2:10 am

    please if anyone has suggestions on items like chex cereal that you can find almost anywhere let me know, I am on a very tight budget and trying to help my 2yr old with some hopeful mild autism by changing his diet, i have to give his day care ideas of what they can easily make him since they are not going to spend alot on special foods Im looking for ideas of things i may not realize are already gluten free

  100. November 9, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    Kelly,
    I suggest you have them give your 2 yr old one or two regular eggs or egg yolks every day. They can be found most anywhere, are natural, gluten and casein free, the cost will be about half that of dry cereals, and will provide all of the nutrients known to be lacking in those with autism. If this is not possible you might try powdered eggs or egg yolks (Honeyville Farms) that will mix well with whole milk and cost about the same as dry cereal but provide adequately for the nutrition needed. For more information visit http://www.theautismwebsite.com

    • November 12, 2011 at 12:15 am

      thank you, i was wondering about eggs

  101. November 12, 2011 at 12:13 am

    great way to find recipes is at http://www.supercook.com, you just enter what you have in your kitchen and you can find normal recipes for your GF life style

  102. November 15, 2011 at 2:46 am

    $author, you have (amazing|excellent|bright} ideas in this topic and I do believe that every that come to your site will be a regular visitor. Thanks for sharing such amazing ideas on
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  103. Eileen
    January 30, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Just wanted to leave info on a great breakfast, or other meal protein shake recently reformulated. As long as your child with Autism does not have a corn or soy allergy this would be a great meal replacement. They are working on eliminating the corn in the shake by years end. I have a son with Autism too, and plan on ordering this for him to give him every other day. Cost is about 30.00 a month and if anyone is interested I’m a distributor of this product so you could order through me. It’s Juice Plus Complete Shake and if you would like to learn more about the ingredients in the shake just email me at http://www.eileen4jp@prodigy.net. It comes in vanilla and chocolate flavor. It’s GFCF, no artificial flavors colors no artificial at all, there are no wheat, egg, milk, dairy,caffeine or herbs in the mix. This would actually be very good for anyone to try, especially us moms. Eileen

  1. March 14, 2011 at 3:14 pm
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