Friday, October 8, 2010

Totally Unscientific Poll: Autism and Allergies

I'm not a scientist, but I'm good at spotting trends. Like noticing the skankification of an entire generation.  And I've realized that I have never met a person on the autism spectrum who does not also have allergies.  Also, the defective allergy gene in my family traces the same line on our family tree as the spectrum-y quirkiness branch.

I don't want to get into a whole thing about what causes autism here. We all know what I'm talking about (it rhymes with smacksinations) and it's just too polarizing.  Remember, we're all here to support each other.  And make fun of Dina Lohan, and be united in our disgust with Bratz Halloween costumes.

And just as with the allergies, in our case Little Dude's Asperger Syndrome is definitively genetic.  This kind of quirky runs pretty deep in our family.  For completely nonscientific proof of this, please see the My DNA: Double Helix of Crap image from earlier today.

But. But. I'm curious. Do I even have any readers with autistic children who don't have allergies? And is anyone actually studying this?  Are any reputable scientific organizations doing research on this?  Or is it being left to parents?

Also, if you've tried a gluten-free / casein-free diet for your autistic child, please leave a comment and let us know if you've had success or not.  I think a lot of parents are interested in this topic, but honestly there doesn't seem to be much in the way of hard evidence there.  I did just read something about autistic children on casein-free diets having thinner bones, so definitely it's not something I would embark on without discussing it with both his pediatrician and a nutritionist. And frankly, after having gone through years of limiting his diet, I'm not eager to go there again. Also? He's always been like this. Even when all he was eating was elemental formula. It's not like his diet changed and then he developed Asperger Syndrome.  So I'm leery but very, very interested in hearing about your experiences.

Looking forward to hearing responses. Please, for the love of God, let's keep this positive, okay?

50 comments:

  1. interesting results...are there any squints looking into this?

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  2. @Lis -- Not yet. When it's done I should forward it to um, somewhere. Suggestions?

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  3. Baby boy 1 is PDD-NOS -- not an Aspie, not typically autistic, just developmentally delayed.

    As a baby he was miserable on milk formula (I was producing less than 2oz of breast milk a day) so we switched to soy. Started giving him milk on his 1st bday and he vomited at every attempt but did seem okay with cheese. He quickly self-limited to an all yellow diet - carbs and cheese. We lost eye contact at age 2. Took him off dairy "just to see" and had eye contact back a week later. We took him off wheat a month after getting rid of dairy just to see if his poop problems (MESSY!) would clear up. Didn't do much for poop at all (which cleared up when we changed our juice of choice from apple to white grape). Recently (he's 3.5) tried some wheat again and noticed that his sensory problems are greatly exacerbated (suddenly he won't wear the socks with the grippy stuff on the bottom because it "tickles", now the bath water is too hot, now the tv is too loud, etc.). Takes him a day or two to detox and then we have our kid back.

    We supplement him with liquid vitamins, liquid calcium, dairy-free probiotics, fish oil, and extra kiss attacks.

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  4. @Anonymous -- does he test positive as having a milk allergy or no? This is fascinating.

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  5. We tried the GFCF diet and it helped.
    That said, I'm not how much of it was because of the gluten-free casein-free part as opposed to the less crap, fewer preservatives and artificial colouring the comes along with all the deliciousness that is in a typical 4-year old's diet.
    By no means did my son eat an unbalanced or unhealthy diet before trying GFCF but it made me that much more aware of what he was eating on a day-to-day basis.
    I had to take a few runs at it before I really got the hang of it but I did find it made him more alert and "present" while he was on it.
    As for allergies, he doesn't have any that we are aware of (touch wood old greek lady spit) unless you count using pubic toilets which I can hardly blame him for ; )

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  6. We've done GF/CF and noticed a bit of a difference, but not enough to be worth the hassle and expense. We've gotten to where we can "limit" it and are OK. Our biggest trigger of things is *corn syrups*. They are verboten.

    My "diagnosed" ASD kid (12YO Aspie) has "only" a PN allergy (and hay fever); it's his sibs that have tons of allergies. (DD has so many she doesn't eat regular food and gets Neocate thru a G-tube.) My other three "big 'uns" are ADHD and/or SPD and/or PDD-NOS.

    My kid's GI has done a lot of research on autism/gut connection - Dr. Karoly Horvath. Interesting stuff.

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  7. Fascinating. My Scoob has an Aspergers diagnosis, yet no allergies that we know of. Now that I've read someone else's comments.... as an infant, we had to put him on soy formula because all he did was barf up the regular formula. He drank regular cow's milk at 12 months without any problems and we've had no dairy issues since then.

    After he was first diagnosed, the developmental ped we see recommended a glutein/casein free diet to see if it would help at all with some of the sensory issues. We spent about 6 months on it and it really didn't help with any of his major issues. We went back to a regular diet and didn't really see any major problems then either.

    Now, my Scoob is a bit different in that he's got the IQ of a flipping genius and attends a gifted academy with minimal accommodations, so perhaps that plays a role as well?

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  8. child with autism #1 no allergies, but very low bone density. Never dared any of the "free" diets because he needed every bit of calcium we could give him. Child #2 an Aspie, no allergies except maybe to doing homework. Child #3 with pdd-nos, allergic to every known plant God created as well as asthma. HATES inhalers and will only use nebulizer. Fun.

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  9. Could you also poll for NON-Asberger kids to compare to the Asberger/allergy stats?

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  10. I'm too chicken to take him in for a bloodtest. We get the forms from the doctor, dh promises to take him to the lab and then never follows through. Maybe these are food sensitivities not true allergies because there doesn't seem to be a histamine reaction, but WHO KNOWS! If we don't test it's just going to be a mystery.

    We don't have allergies in the family, so this is our first experience with anyone having to limit their food choices.

    I'd like to spring for one of those crazy expensive tests where you send their poop off to one of those labs in the midwest but dh keeps saying no. Maybe I need to stop listening to him.

    We cling to the idea that he's "growing out" of his food allergies, but that's just hopeful conjecture.

    One the best books I've read on all this stuff is "Special Needs Kids Eat Right" by Judy Converse. Have you read that one? REALLY good.

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  11. I was the biggest skeptic on GFCF and all diet/supplements stuff. Then I tried it. CHANGED MY LIFE, MY HOUSE, MY KID. Don't get me wrong, we still have all things ASD going on here, but his OCD relaxed. it was less intense, less often, etc. We went from having to have the truck plate for b'fast, the same cup, the blue plate for lunch and dinner, no music, no this, do that, to being ALOT more flexible. The tension relief was palpable. The casein was the worst and all my kids are the "milk protein intolerant". I have hayfever & oak allergies. Most of the ASD comes from my hubby's side, but I have an OCD aunt too. My kid got more clear-headed taking out gluten and casein. He got better with Cod liver oil. Better with probiotics & Sacc B. I have lots & lots of gut issues with our kids.
    I agree with the deficiencies maybe causing other issues (like bones), but according to a collaboration of dr's here (neurologist, geneticist & gastroenterologist), it can help to give them supplements (though trying to find a calcium that doesn't trigger more gut issues from citrate is fun), and you have to give their immune system a break to heal. I think the theory is if you heal some of it now, you may be able to go off the diets later....

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  12. Love this poll - makes sense to me!

    We haven't tried GF/CF but the trend I've noticed is kids do amazingly better off their "trigger" foods which also sometimes happens to be what they crave. In my son's case, no food dyes (see comment on this morning's post) and no pasteurized homogenized milk or yogurt (which is what he craved); cheese seems to be ok. We learned about the red dye stuff first from the book "Unraveling the Mystery of Autism..." by Karyn Seroussi which is also where I first heard about GF/CF but starting with eliminating red dye (and now all food dyes) seemed like such a better (easier) option since I couldn't imagine adding all that stress without knowing there would be benefit... and thankfully that worked.

    I'm a wizard at making bright pink/purple play-doh with red cabbage now. :D Still haven't found a natural (affordable) substitute for stamps though.

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  13. We took our daughter to one of the top Autism Specialists in our state and that was one of the questions we asked him, "Does the gluten-free casein-free diet really work or are we just limiting her diet to add to her stress already?" His answer, no kidding, "You as the parent have to make the choice. There is no scientific evidence that suggests that this diet works; however, we cannot deny that with some kids it certainly does. But because there are so many children who don't repond well to the diet, we can't say it's a treatment for autism. But if you see it working for your child then do it." Wow. Puts lots of presure on parents doesn't it? We put our daughter (now 4 1/2) on a GFCF diet shortly after she turned 2. We heard that it could help and we were desperate. Last summer, we decided we needed to do a little experiment to see if it really was helping her. So we first put gluten back in her diet. She withdrew, stopped making eye contact, babbled less, more physically distant. Put her back on GF and she returned to her normal self. A few months later we put her back on dairy. And the absolute opposite things happened--whiny, more tantrums, crying all the time. Took her off dairy again and she was back to her happy self. So, based on my unofficial Mommy research, my daughter needs to be on this diet. I don't know why. Doctors don't know why. She just does. It's frustrating, but as a parent, you just do what you can do.

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  14. I have not tried the gluten/casein free diets. However I have found a HUGE correlation between artificial food dyes and my son's sensory going BONKERS!!! Whenever he ingested these dyes (examples Red #40, Yellow #5 or #6, or Blue #1) his ability to focus was gone, he couldn't listen or do anything I asked him too, his self stimming was obnoxious. Once we removed these from his diet his sensory issues were far more manageable.

    I think the word is getting out about artificial food dyes, because I can find a dye free product for just about anything these days.

    Also found a website http://www.naturalcandystore.com/ which allows me to find just about any sort of candy or baking stuff but dye free. :)

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  15. How about them apples?

    The first time my kid had the GFCF diet he got worse but he had other allergies in teh way, too. He's back on it now. And when he sneaks something he shouldn't have we notice a HUGE difference in his behavior. He is withdrawn, stims like crazy and screams and bites himself.

    Even though I'm still not a huge believer, it obviously works in our case. Still, not for everyone.

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  16. I was a behavioral therapist and worked 1 on 1 with kids on the spectrum in their homes. I saw lots of kids try the diet, I saw lots of kids whose parents chose not to go the biomedical route. For whatever reason (and lets keep this simple and not even go there!) some kids really do seem to benefit from it, while others showed absolutely no difference (and I was typically taking the behavior data but blind to whatever diet or other intervention they were undergoing). I've seen how hard it can be for families to try different diets and interventions (particularly if you are already dealing with food selectivity issues), but most doctors and providers will recommend that you at least try it for a few months and see which camp your kid falls in to (and it does seem that a lot of kids who do well on specialized diets are also undergoing a number of other biomedical interventions, so if he responded well without casein in his diet, you might want to look into vitamin and mineral supplements also, which would help with your concerns about thin bones!) So although I'm not a parent of a kid on the spectrum, I'd still vote for giving it a shot - that particular intervention generally requires spending a little bit more money on food but doesn't commonly have any drawbacks or major investments involved in it, and you'd at least have the peace of mind of knowing for sure that you gave your kid that chance.

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  17. I hope I don't throw off the survey because I answered "yes" and my son does not have food, medicinal or seasonal allergies. BUT WAIT, I will explain why I said "yes". Every fall and spring, when my husband's allergies are bad, my son's behaviour takes a nose dive. His sensitivities are worse, he doesn't sleep well, we have more meltdowns, and he starts chewing on things. I googled it, and it seems that other parents noticed a change in their kids behaviour too. So I think it is allergies even though he has no sneezing, itching, runny nose etc. My husband is also allergic to certain dyes and I have a slight gluten allergy. We don't do gf/cf diet because bread is one the foods he like and doesn't have texture issues with. I would really like to get him off of sugar. It is in everything.

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  18. I have a six year old son and he was diagnosed with ASD at 2 years, 3 months- at 2 years, 9 months I started the GF/CF diet with him. I had seen a student in my school go on the diet and within a month went from non-verbal to speaking sentences. So I started it with no help from doctors or such. I immediately saw a difference as he was extremely self-injurious and within two weeks of the diet he had zero SIBs! (I was tracking it prior to the diet and after so it's really cool to see it happen on paper!)

    I didn't see an improvement in speech, which what I was hoping for (still hoping for), but he did start to make eye contact again and started doing hand movements that he had done when he was just a year old- the itsy bitsy spider, waving, signing again.

    We see a dietitian now and it's nice to know that I am getting him the nutrients and such that we are lacking- but most of what he is lacking is not due to the diet but his *still* extreme pickiness when it comes to food.

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  19. It's definitely an interesting theory. But like most typical people, ASD people are just as different. My son, PDD-NOS, has no allergies. One doctor tried to pressure us into GFCF diet. We never took the bait, because I knew in my heart of hearts, he didn't have allergies. That was the ONE thing, out of all of the self doubt as a first time parent, (and unknowingly one to a spectrum kid) that was, and still am 100% sure about.

    There was one brief episode, a couple of weeks post birth, where he had some pooping issues, which we attributed to his formula, and switched, and promptly switched back. The culprit, we figured out, was from powdered formula, so he was on a liquid formula diet, from then on.

    My daughter, on the other hand, completely typically developing, breastfed (half and half), etc etc, is the one that I has allergies, I think. I think her immune system is weaker than his was. He never got sick the way she does.

    Now, my theory is, or rather, I wonder, if fertility treatments had something to do with his quirky ways. Obviously I can't really know, either way, but it's a hypothesis. Along with my latest wondering of whether or not, my being on effexor (I was weaning) in my early pregnancy, had any correlation.

    Again, just thoughts, but I'll never know.

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  20. SRMM, you asked about allergy testing up at top. My PDDnos son tested negative for any food allergies, including wheat--but he definately does better on a GF diet. He has less stomach/poop issues, less sensory extremes, calmer behavior, and less skin rashes. I don't have much faith in allergy skin tests! My SPD daughter also tested negative to food allergies, but is highly allergic to dyes and MSG, which they don't have a test for. She gets headaches, stomach aches, and rashes when she eats them.

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  21. I have 2 sisters who each have one child with a child on the spectrum. My nephew has every allergy you can imagine but my other sister's daughter, my niece, has none.

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  22. I found the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) book to be an interesting read... It similar to GF/CF, but in addiition, no sugars or major starches or processed foods... taking all the chemicals out has been HUGE for us.

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    1. We have been on GAPS for more than 2 years and have found it a HUGE help. We are off it ringht now during the summer and life is miserable again. It works, but is a lot of work.

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  23. my 12yo has autism. we tired the gluten free diet, DAN diet and feingolds. none made any changes not even a little bit each was tried for 4 months and really only resulted in lots and lots of crying. She didn't have formula till she was 6 months old and took it just fine.

    she has environmental allergies but so does most of my family who are NT. so i don't feel that's anything more then allergies are hereditary. she has 1 food allergy, no its not peanuts and no its not life-threatening. its bad but completely manageable.

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  24. I do think it's strange that there has been an increase in all sorts of "A" ailments: allergies, autism, and autoimmune disorders.

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  25. My 5 yr old w/ autism is (extremely) allergic to milk, eggs, nuts, cats, dogs, and basically everything environmental you can test for. Now he's also allergic to soy. I keep saying the bubble is coming -- remember the bubble boy from Seinfeld? We tried the GFCF diet for awhile but it didn't impact anything except his bowels. It caused severe constipation that I'm still dealing with 2.5 years later. The diet can work wonders for some kids but it's not the magic bullet it's been portrayed to be by certain celebrities.

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  26. @Anonymous -- I think you bring up an excellent point -- there's no "magic bullet" AT ALL.
    There are things (diet changes, therapies, etc.) that work for SOME families. I think if we can get away from pushing a one-size-fits-all answer, everyone would benefit.

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  27. Love the topic....I agree that there is a definite correlation. I personally think that it is all about the liver. I often wonder how many of the kids on the spectrum had jaundice issues--from the major j to the 'oh, he only a little yellow; just display him in the window for awhile'. The latter was our son. Bili-lamps are mostly a thing of the past with babies leaving hospitals so early, but I wonder if this is a good thing. Our son had major allergy issues early on to wheat and soy. We worked on getting his liver working better by removing all of the crap he couldn't process, and it seems to be working great twelve years later. His celiac testing finally came back ok after 10 years GFCF. And BTW, we are one of the families who were shamed horribly by the medical team for CF when his bone density came back PROFOUNDLY low. Calcium great; vitamin D horribly low. If you go CF, make sure to add D3 and not just calcium.

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    1. That is an interesting correlation. My son had jaundice as a baby. Thanks for mentioning that. I'm going to see what I can do the support the liver now.

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  28. We had one with nightmares, terrors, diahhrea, daily.... all 3. We removed dairy and it vanished, we gave him a tiny bit about a week later and the fallout... let's just leave it at it had Mommy in tears... and move forward.

    Gluten did zilch. This is my started at mild nonverbal PDD to mild "normal" NLD at 11 son. We also have a family history of IBS... of course the Dev Ped told us "some children with autism are like that" and we found out through Karen Seroussi what to try.

    Little boy, the severe one... we did the dairy thing... nada... again, this one didn't have the stomach issues. Never has.

    We do have seasonal allergies... but so does everyone else in these families.

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  29. We removed dairy at our doctor's suggestion in order to help with our DD's encopresis. We did not see a change so reintroduced it about 6 months later. She became a binge eater. She would take whatever dairy products I brought and sneak them in her room and eat them in one sitting. So, now I deal with the obesity and binging but did resolve the encopresis through a soiling solutions program. I wish I had not attempted the diet adjustment.

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  30. My spectrummy son was diagnosed with celiac disease (an autoimmune disease, not an allergy) when he was five. When we took gluten out of his diet he lost most of his self-stimulating behaviors, and, after a week, said "I never knew my body could feel this good." His explosive tantrums have lessened as we have cleared up the malnutrition from the celiac.

    And here's a weird one: from the time he was two, he was very feminine, loved the color pink, and wanted to wear a dress all the time. A week after going on the gluten-free diet, he stopped wanting to play princess and started wanting to play Lego Star Wars all the time, and never asked to put a dress on again. The reason I bring this up, even though it seems like a very uncommon thing that most of you would not experience, is that doctors have speculated that gluten caused an inflammatory response in my son that blocked testosterone. Inflammation does some wild and crazy things, which leads me to...

    There has got to be something going on in spectrummy kids related to the immune system and inflammation. Whether or not vaccines cause autism (and I tend to think it's more nuanced than that--that these are sensitive kids for whom any number of immune assaults could trigger the onset of autism), it can't be denied that they cause an immune response and inflammation. Like celiac disease. And allergies. There is some really interesting research out there about how fevers temporarily "cure" autism. There is (now this is Really Scientific) some sort of interaction between the immune system (and the things that upset it) and diet and autism, I just can't quite get a handle on what the hell it is. And given that I'm not a scientist, I'm not that likely to get a handle on it anytime soon. But all of us together, maybe.....

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    1. You will really want to read the GAPS book (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. It will answer a lot of your questions. You are on the right track.

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  31. @Sarah -- That. Is. Fascinating. Also, I've read the same thing about some autism behaviors going away during a fever and immediately afterward.

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  32. Sadly still anon as I havn't told the family yet.

    Yes, my son has a bazillion allergies to things like dairy, nuts, camels, dust, and pretty much the earth.

    We were "accidentally" GF/CF when he was also allergic to wheat, and it made no difference in behavior when we went back to wheat a few years later and stayed off dairy.

    Now, this thing about his terrible two's FINALLY showing up now that he's four? THAT's causing behavior changes!

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  33. Although I can not speak from experience, I did read this book (granted it's fiction) but it's interesting. The food/behavior correlation sparked the connection. The book is House Rules: A Novel Jodi Picoult. It was heartbreaking and fascinating at the same time.

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  34. It turns out my daughter is BOTH non-celiac gluten intolerant and has Aspergers syndrome.

    The non-celiac gluten intolerant is a real medical issue, confirmed by a well respected gastroenteroligist who is the head of his department in a well respected major metropolitan hospital.

    The gluten (even in miniscule quantities) causes her to have MIGRAINES! Her reaction to MIGRAINES (banging her head against the wall, spacing out, auditory processing problems, etc.) exacerbates her Aspergers symptoms. Gluten in larger quantities will eventually cause bowel problems and stomach cramps. Gluten in even larger quantities will damage her intestines causing her to have false positives to blood allergy tests.

    She always has some eczema, particularly where her skin touches the sheets. The allergist we had been seeing, when we lived in the city, told us it was a reaction to the polution. Now that we have moved to the country I am not noticing the eczema as much.

    I have no idea what the connection is to the sheets, but moving to the country seems to have really helped.

    I could go on and on and on about this, but I'm sure ya'll don't need to hear pathetic rantings.

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  35. 4 year old with Fragile X and "autistic tendencies" (whatever that's supposed to mean). No allergies. tried CFGF and it did nothing. but Fragile X is genetic so he's going to have developmental problems no matter what treatments or interventions we do.

    katy

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  36. Here's information about the "fever effect" study:

    http://www.kennedykrieger.org/kki_news.jsp?pid=6801

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  37. We have two quirky boys- 5 (typical autism behaviors) & 7 (more Aspie behaviors with a blanket ASD diagnosis.) Neither have stomach issues, but we tried GFCG for the younger one- just to see. There were no signifigant changes in his behavior whatsoever- and he would actually open his lunch and cry daily at school. BTW, hubby and I thought the items I made were quite good. We have found the cognisant, verbal, stimming and violent meltdowns issues to be largely, not completely, controlled- for OUR family- with the daily use of fish oil, liquid vitamin B complex and DMG. I am very interested to look into the food coloring arena, but I use it for certain recipes- Red Velvet Cake, for one- and have never noticed an obvious difference in either boy's behavior.

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  38. @ Heather - try Cod Liver Oil for speech. No guarantees but they have found correlations between that and increased language (receptive or expressive or both). I went from scripting sentences to him being more "clear-headed" and able to communicate better with me expressively. He seems to process things better overall and CLO is one of my *must-haves* supplements everyday. He has to be really, really sick for me to miss doses!

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  39. I have a child with Sensory Processing Disorder, he is Hypo Sensitive. He is highly allergic to bees. We also notice a sensitivity to food dyes.

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  40. My allergy ridden child (dairy, eggs, peanuts, dust and cats) is NOT on the spectrum. But he has a good friend that has a sensory processing disorder and no allergies. His friend has recently started the CF/GF diet, hasn't been on it long enough to see results quite yet.

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  41. Hi there! This is my first visit to your blog. Lately several people have asked me if I know you or if you and I are the same person, and at first glance I was thinking no because you're funnier than me and I only have two kids and I try to avoid Houston, but having read your archives I'm now thinking ... it's possible. Maybe. Has anyone ever seen the two of us in the same place? I'm a little weirded out now.

    Anyhoo, my older child has Asperger Syndrome, Sensory Integration Dysfunction, mild Tourette's and all the fun stuff that goes with that combo. He's 14 and has some food sensitivities (very few, fortunately), plus he's allergic to latex, dust, mold, pretty much all mammals except humans, and every single freaking tree or plant that grows in Texas. He also had issues with both my milk and regular formula as an infant, but was able to tolerate soy formula just fine.

    My younger child (age 12) has some anxiety/mood issues that have never really definitively been diagnosed but is NOT on the spectrum, we're pretty sure. She is allergic to soy and other legumes (except peanuts, weirdly enough) along with tree nuts, dust, mold, and the aforementioned mammals and plants. She's also my picky eater, whereas my Aspie kid will eat anything, go figure.

    And just to throw another data point into the mix, my husband has Asperger Syndrome and is allergic to latex, soy/legumes, poultry, tree nuts, cats, mold, grass, and ... life, pretty much.

    We've learned to avoid potlucks. And the outdoors. And other people's houses. And any sort of social life whatsoever. Good times!

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  42. I would love to try the no dairy/wheat diet but that's about all my son will eat. Yoghurt, cheese, cereals, sandwiches, crackers, more cheese. I know all kids are, but he is very limited in what he will eat and will go without desert/computer time etc if he doesn't like dinner.

    Something funny about the testosterone comment back there - Al has a big aversion to anything evenly slightly girly - you can't call him pet names that are feminine, he wont wear pink or ride a pink bike or scooter.

    Another book mention - The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. A.Must.Read.

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  43. My girl has been on a dairy free diet for years, Before that it was major sensory issues, little eye contact and massively strange behaviors. And it was all she would eat! Like seriously all she ate was cheese, milk, yogurt and carbs... She was headed for autism label. But I did manage to get her off the dairy drug via cold turkey method *shudder* it was like watching an addict. But 6 weeks later they booted her out of speech therapy because she had progressed 6th months in 6 weeks and NO Longer Qualified! *yippie*
    Give my kid dairy and its like giving her vodka on the rocks. Everything is suddenly funny, she runs into walls, falls over and laughs a whole lot, slurs her words. Doesn't talk to people anymore, but rather to her little friend in the mirror..
    She does not test allergic for dairy either. But heck unless I want Charlie Chaplain In my house... it rice milk and spinach for you my dear. We did try gluten free but saw no changes.

    I have recently started giving her daily electrolytes, and bio available trace mineral supplements. We saw so many positive changes! She no longer is constantly cold and her hands are warm.. And like you I'm in TX its 105 and she would put on a sweater to play outside!!!

    We have just been recommended by our neurodelvelopmental (wow that is such a long world ) therapist to try the Spectrum Balance Protocol Diet apparently this high Iron diet may give us some progress on her sensory issues. I would love to not have to wait 30 min while she gets her socks "just right" on her feet... think that is 30 min of extra sleep!

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  44. This is a small study and didn't include any kids with bowel issues (which seems to be the portion of kids who show improvement), but it shows no benefit to the GFCF diet: http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/news/story/index.cfm?id=2860
    We need a tightly controlled study on kids with bowel issues.

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  45. My son was just recently diagnosed with PDD-NOS. He has seasonal allergies and a penicillin allergy. He also has asthma (but absolutely refuses the neb...inhalers only). I've heard elsewhere before as well about most child on the spectrum having allergies or some sort of tummy issues. It's definitely interesting...

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  46. So I'm a little late to this post but I thought I'd share our experience. My daughter is 3.5 years and has autistic tendencies but no official diagnosis yet. (that's scheduled for mid-jan) anyway, when she was an infant she spit up all the time. And I mean all. The. Time. We switched her formulas several times and finally ended up giving her soy. The spit up decreased and when she was about 12 months we gradually switched her to whole cows milk...not so good. She had a constant rash as well as loose stools and gas. She drank Lactaid until she was about two years old and then seemed to do fine on regular cows milk (skim or 2%). She also seemed to have severe stomach aches to chocolate, although we aren't completely sure since she's basically nonverbal, but it seems to not bother her these days. However we don't give it to her in large portions. When we had a meeting discussing some of her teachers concerns, we researched and decided right away that we would try the gfcf diet. IT WORKED. And I mean WORKED. almost immediately she was different. She was less distracted, less destructive, and she tried harder to talk. We meant to do it slowly and take out the gluten first, but the casein happened naturally, not on purpose. She's had some casein since then, and it seems to bother her to have it, but not as much. When she has gluten she is extremely hyper, very distracted, defiant, LOUD, destructive, and eye contact is fleeting. We also recently started taking her to an acupuncturist who treats children on the spectrum. He said in Chinese medicine, all food turns to phlegm and goes all over the body, including the brain. Casein and gluten are the main two that turn to phlegm, which is why we had seen such an improvement. He looked at her tongue, asked us questions, determined that her digestive system was not working right and whatever system controlled her moods and emotions wasnt either. He mixed her up some herbs to put in her drink to have twice a day. We saw results almost immediately. He was expecting results in about ten days, for her focus to be better, for her moods to be under control. It's been amazing. She's been on them for about three weeks and we see improvements everyday. The biggest thing is that she's talking more. She's always been a babbler, the SLP mentioned that she thinks she might use it as her own language, but now she's making the connection between words and their meaning. Shes trying to talk, which is huge. And not just the occassional word, she's trying to say sentences. It's amazing and I'm completely sold. I'm anxious to see what she will be like in a few months' time. Thanks for this post and all the comments, it was an interesting read.

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  47. Very late to the party. Sorry about that!

    No, our five-year-old has no allergies.... that is, he has tested negative to everything with a possible exception of nuts. (That was a possible "yes," but they wanted us to bring him in for further testing.) Since then, we've found that he does not, in fact, have any allergies. He has intolerances. A TON of them! And a toxic amount of manganese built up in his brain.

    You know... no big deal.

    And because he doesn't swell up or stop breathing, some family members and friends think we're just overreacting and anal retentive when it comes to our food choices. If he doesn't react physically, then he must be okay. Right? So when my family took the kids for a week of fun, and they gave him cake on the way home (wheat, milk, sugar, trans fats, artificial colors and flavors, etc), they couldn't understand why I was upset.

    So I've seen intolerances impact my son a lot. I've also found that most in the medical community think I'm a crackpot.

    I'm okay with that. My son is getting better day by day.

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