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Debbie Sharp Loeb, teacher by training but full-time mom to a disabled son, craftsperson, bead artist, great cook, creative homemaker & terrific spotter of cool new products for everything under the sun, presents Hodgepodge: recipes, household hints, stories about children, friends & relatives, cool stuff, music, & much more.

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Monday, October 24, 2005

Food allergy affects disability, behavior

The following appeared on the Editorial page, Your Views, section on October 17th, 2005 of the Asbury Park Press, a New Jersey newspaper. I thought it was worth sharing.

"In the spring I submitted a letter about the public's ignorance in autism awareness. Recently, I discovered my own igorance of this disorder. I learned of something that could make a huge difference in my son's disorder, something his pediatrician failed to suggest: food allergies.

You would think a cheese sandwich on white bread with a glass of milk would be a perfectly healthy lunch. I did, until I found out these things contain ingredients harmful to my son's health and affecting his behavior.

A relative suggested we have our son checked for food allergies and, sure enough, his list is very long. Gluten, found in flour, and casin, found in milk products, were major offenders. He can not process gluten or casin, locking up his intestines, as well not allowing part of his brain to function properly.

In my last letter, I told of an experience with a cashier in a store who asked my son if I gave him too much sugar. My answer then was, "No, this is autisum." If I had know about food allergies, I could have said, "No, this is what a cheese sandwich does."

There are thousands of parents of children with autisum who had or still have no idea that a simple change in diet could make a world of difference. An allergist or a nutritionist and even possibly a gastroenterologist may help improve a child's behavior, social skills, and his or her ability to learn."
Christie Kaplan - Freehold Township

I would like to add to this that when David was very little there was a young neighborhood boy by my parents that had outbursts of uncontrolled anger and agression. I suggested that he might have food allergies and sure enough, when tested, he did. I remember some of what he was allergic to were apples, apple juice, wheat, and eggs. When these were removed from his diet his behavior drastically changed. When the mother mentioned it to her mother-in-law she said oh yes, her son had had food allergies as a youngster. Too bad she hadn't mentioned it sooner.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of not mentioning it sooner ... about 15 years ago I got most of my income from working as a "resident advisor" in group homes for mentally ill and developmentally challenged adults. Someone at that time said eventually new medical knowledge would mean the slow end to adult group home business because most of these adults, if the medical community had only known when they were children what we now know, there would have been intentional interventive treatment to enable them to become more functional and self-sufficient. Judging from the help-wanted ads, there are still plenty of group homes operating, so maybe that prediction wasn't accurate. I'm wondering if part of the on-going need to "contain" such folks from the mainstream of daily life is the absence of things like allergy testing. Are any of you familiar enough with the group home industry currently to know if such testing has become routine. Now, of course, another reality of group homes management is state regulations ... it wouldn't surprise me if a group home resident tested significantly allergic to certain foods and showed definite, measurable improvement in behavioral symptoms was, nevertheless, deemed to have the "right" to insist on eating everything that for health should be eliminated from the diet!! If you've ever worked in the field, you probably know what I mean.

11:08 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Thank you so much for posting this. I have one child with adhd and another with autism. I never would of thought of a simple chage in their diet could help. My children have been poked and protteded, blood and urine tested, MRI'S and everything else you could imagine and no one ever even mentioned their diet. So, thank you. Hopefully this can help my family and especially my children.

Gina, Waterford, Wi

10:12 PM  
Blogger DSL said...

Let me know if anything comes of this. I'd be interested to hear.

9:43 AM  

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