Anyone have any experience with autistic children and diet?
MOST HELPFUL POSTS
Bekki - posted on 01/10/2009
i tried my son on gluten free diet a few years ago but it didnt work at all and we stuck to it rigidly. my doctor said that if after 3 months a diet doesnt seem to make a difference it never will. we tried it for a year to be on the safe side. our problem is that he cant stop eating! he never feels full and is starting to put weight on despite our best efforts. has anyone else had this problem?
Gabriella - posted on 01/06/2009
Hi, My name is Gabriella True and I have twin boys, Timmy and Xander. Timmy has autism. We are starting TONS of bio-medical treatments as we speek - starting with going casein free. oh wait - we already started on a gfcf probiotic, cod liver oil and multi-viatmins - let me give links to the ones that most of "us" are on. and a bunch of other stuff while I am at it. First - go to www.tacanow.org - read it all and join the Taca Yahoo Group - they help with EVERYTHING - from biomedical issues to school issues to life issues. great people http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/tac... We started these first - adding one a week in this order Probiotic - half adult dose two times a day - this is a good onehttp://www.kirkmanlabs.com/ViewProductDe... Cod Liver oil - this is the one recommended by my doc - 1/2 tsp 2x dayhttp://www.kirkmanlabs.com/ViewProductDe...
Multi-Vitamin - super nuthera with A&D is considered to be the best - follow there amount - you can get pills and chewables and powder depending on what is easiesthttp://www.kirkmanlabs.com/ViewProductDe... Now to go GFCF - follow the TACA guidelineshttp://www.talkaboutcuringautism.org/gfc... Then after that there is lots more Most important - these things can make things worse for a short while but that is a good thing - it means that they are releasing toxins, lowering yeast levels, withdrawing from the opiates that gluten and casein are. And attaching these two articles - one is by a fellow mom on the GFCGKids yahoo group Best, Gabriella True
Jessica - posted on 01/06/2009
Many years ago, before Aspergers was a diagnosis, I removed red dye, and wheat from my daughters diet in the hopes that it would help me to help her....The red dye is still gone and the wheat isn't. Truthfully, after 18 years, I have come to realize that help with Autistic children is very individual. The diet is no exception. My girlfriend has a son who cannot have any gluten, one whose daughter cannot do yellow dye, and yet another whose children (3) cannot not handle various other foods. What really worked for me was having my daughter allergy tested and removing the items that she showed a reaction to... She is now a young adult and is doing wonderfully!!!
User - posted on 01/08/2009
For a lot of kids with Autism, diet is looked at with the recommendation of Gluten and Dairy free being good as their bodies cannot cope with certain things in those foods, and the nutrients don't get digested as well and blocked from being sent to the brain, so brain function is more difficult.
For us... they make a BIG difference.
When he was 2 and 1/2 we went to a Hungry Jacks (aka Burger King) with some friends... we had just recently reduced his diet, except we still let him have cheese, coz he just loved it so. It was HARD, he couldn't sit in his own chair, tried to steal food off other tables, and wouldn't play in the playground.. I think we lasted 35 minutes before giving up and going home.
We decided then to take him off cheese and just see. Two weeks later we were at the same HJ's, and he sat in his chair, ate his food, and played happily. So... we gave him an icecream as a treat, we were so pleased. He spent the next 4 days under his bed... quite literally - he just could not be with us or be at our level.
Then we have gluten. At day care last year he had a bunch of specific 'free' foods just for him, which was wonderful. However, one of them thought we were wanting wheat free and preservative free.. so got a rye bread especially for him (GLUTEN!!!). We were not aware, and in the two weeks they gave it to him (only 1-2 pieces every other day) he regressed massively in multiple areas of his life. Socially he stinted, words dropped off, and he stopped going to the toilet in the toilet... we were back to him doing poo's in the back yard, as he could not cope with sitting on the toilet... it had been 6 months since he had done that! Once we found the culprit and stopped it.. it was about 2 months before he was back to the stage he was previously at.
Mind you - being completely GF and CF free these days is possible, there are so many foods available - soy products, tofu cheeses, goats, rice.. etc. But we find it hard still - with 3 kids, parties, friends... so we aim for 80% plus.. and then don't get stressed if he has something he shouldn't... coz if we were too focused on it, it would truly be a burden.
So... if any of you have heard of these things for your child... please try them.. just give it 2 weeks and measure for yourself, then make you own decisions about continue... coz habits are hard to break, and good habits can be a challenge to get into :)
This is from a few years ago now, these days we have pretty much totally relaxed, and he's been fine - as he gets older he copes better with it.
Kathleen - posted on 01/08/2009
Amanda that diet you discribed was my son's diet to a tee. I removed both gluten and casien and finally 6 months in he is trying other foods. He now eats protein w/o some kind of batter coating, he tries new foods. In addition to the diet I added one tsp of liquid zinc, it seems to have helped with the texture problems my son had. the other day he ate broccoli! I was thrilled when he started eating veggies. I was so surprised that removing those things could help but it did. if you have questions please let me know. I was told several years before i tried the diet to start it by my son's speech therapist, suggested really and was terrified to try he only ate wheat and drank milk. I wish now that I had started sooner. It makes me cry to think how much more progress we might have made. I will recommend that you add vitamins even if you don't try the diet, we take zinc, a multi-vitamin, nordic naturals fish oil gummies, b6 and magnsium, b12 and folic acid, and calcium and vitamin d. those are given to help suppliement the gaps he still has in his range of food but it helps.
Gabriella - posted on 01/08/2009
and make sure you are on a really really high dose of probiotics. make sure that you don't have any diary in them like in three-lac or some of th others. if you kid has strep issues or PANDAS then you must make sure it does not have strep strains -- a great one is from Klaire labs
Gabriella - posted on 01/08/2009
this will be a bit here and there.
if the school is giving him snacks you should get it written into his IEP that he can't be given anything.
Constipation- and not progressing and other issues of the diet not working...
There are steps beyond GFCF... Going soy free is a first step. then testing for other food issues with IGg testing. corn and eggs can often be a problem or need to be rotated.
also -- YEAST!!! Huge huge issue. most of our kids have GOBS of yeast. and they cause many many many behavioral issues. you can treat yeast with diflucan or naturals.
phenols - this can cause other behavior issues.
the gfcf diet is often just a start -- it certainly is not the end to this diet .
join some of the groups - like taca and gfcfkids on the yahoo group and read books. There is a lot to learn but it can be seriously worth it.
Jennifer - posted on 01/08/2009
We had to find a lot of things through trial and error (emphasis on error for the first few weeks). At first I was trying to cook complicated menus with strange ingredients. It was very costly and difficult. Then I decided to just back off and take things down to simple meals. After that things got easier and cheaper. We do go 100% gluten and dairy free (including exclusion of items processed with gluten and dairy). The other thing we did that was most helpful was to clean out our house of items not on the diet. For the first few weeks this is especially important if the child is old enough to sneak foods. We found our son went through withdrawal symptoms so having a completely gluten/dairy free house was essential to keep him from sneaking stuff not on his diet. One of the other things that helps us is he has become fixated (we don't call them fixations but his "topics of expertise") on the diet so he is almost better than me at reading labels. After the inital withdrawal weeks were over he actually recognized that his body felt better so keeping up the diet is not too hard. The hardest thing we struggle with is going to family's houses who think just a little of something won't hurt him and not being able to go out to dinner very much. We have only found a few menu items besides a garden salad that are okay and even then most are cooked in a kitchen with gluten and dairy contamination.
This diet is very hard. I am not going to tell you its not. It takes a lot of committment to get it going. What I can tell you is that we have seen such a tremendous difference in our child we are amazed and that if you get through the first month or so it does get better.
If you want more specific information about our menus, snacks, etc feel free to email me @ MazellaJ@aol.com.
Trisha - posted on 01/08/2009
We are also trying the GFCF diet and failing miserably. I feel like we are good for a few days and then something happens to screw up the whole thing........my son will sneak food at my parent's house or his teachers give him some candy by mistake. I also found some crackers that I thought were GFCF and then I read they were made in the same place as wheat and dairy products. Did that make a difference for your son??? I would love suggestions for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, if you have the time.
My son is extremely constipated. After taking him to a DAN! doctor, she suggested we try the diet for 6 months. We immediately saw results with the pooping but nothing with his attention, talking, or social skills. I would love any ideas/suggestions that you have!!
Jennifer - posted on 01/08/2009
We have been gluten & dairy free for almost 6 months and in the 5 years since his diagnosis it has been the most effective treatment we have done. Our son is much calmer, more focused and is making great strides in his social skills. It has been a very difficult and expensive diet to maintain, but by far worth the effort in seeing such great results. I have several friends with similar issues in their kids try it and not see the results we do. I suspect that they were not as diligent in keeping 100% free of gluten & dairy. If a child gets even a small amount of those things the diet will not work. I can understand why a lot of parents don't go this route, as I said before the cost and the work required is significant. The other issue is how long they tried the diet. We did not start seeing results until 3 month into the diet. It is working for us, so we will continue the diet.
Amanda - posted on 01/07/2009
Hi. No , Milk does not seem to affect my son, but he's not a big fan of it. The only milk product I give him, that he will eat, is Chocolate pudding and ice cream. Poly Vi Sol is a liquid supplement that is typically given to babies, but is also reccommended for picky children. I recently ordered the supplements that another mom posted on here..I am anxious to see how he does with them.
Lori - posted on 01/07/2009
My child has autism and is 2-1/2 years old. He has eliminated most foods from his diet and will now eat only a specific chicken we buy at Walmart, rice, colby-jack cheese, apples, watermelon, three kinds of cereal, crackers, french fries, Nestle Nido Kinder and rice & beans from Chipotle. All attempts to introduce new foods or re-introduce foods he once ate have been unsuccessful--and usually result in him not eating anything (he'll cover up the food he doesn't like with his normal food). We had a dietician from E.C.I. evaluate him, but they were not any help. Since he is within the normal height and weight ranges and is relatively healthy, they don't see a problem. But it is very frustrating to me as a mom, worrying about him getting adequate nutrition, not to mention the way this limits us at mealtime or when going out to eat. I would be interested, also, if anyone had any suggestions.
Gabriella - posted on 01/06/2009
it does not mattter if he appears not to have any reactions to the foods, bc he more than likely is having reactions. very often those textures go away once the diet is fixed. there is a whole thing on TACAnow.org about how to slowly introduce the diet.
Paulette - posted on 01/06/2009
I have a son who is almost 7 and mildly autistic with speech delay. He too has food texture issues too. What kind of drinks will your son drink? (i.e. milk, juice, water, lemonade or soda)
With children on the spectrum they have varying reactions to food, drink and other enviromental things. My son can not tolerate milk it makes his stools real hard and him irritable. Casein for children on the spectrum can make some hyper and increase tantrums. I got the following link...http://www.talkaboutcuringautism.org/gfc... from another thread on circle of mom. It looked interesting to read.
How are your sons tantrums and moods? If your son can tolorate milk I would suggest Pedisure shakes for vitamins. Speaking of vitamins....Poly Vi Sol what kind of vitamins are they? I have heard to of some kids on the spectrum having a yeast overgrowth that affects their appetites, have you?
Amanda - posted on 01/06/2009
This is very helpful. My concern is this...my son is 6 years old and mild functioning autisitc. He does not appear to have any food allergies or bad reactions to food, however he is extremely picky about what he will eat (textures, etc). Currently he will only eat chicken strips, granola bars, any kind of chips, french fries, and sometimes salami and bacon, as well as peanut butter and jelly for lunch. His diet is TERRIBLE. I am concerned that if I try to make him eat healthier things he will literally starve. Any ideas on how I can slowly introduce new foods without starving him? By the way, I give him Poly Vi Sol vitamins in his water everyday. He seems to do pretty well with that. He refused to take any kind of medicine whether it's chewable or in the form of gummy bears.
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