The Secret of Our Success…With Autism

November 5, 2010 at 5:36 pm | Posted in GFCF | Leave a comment

By Shannon Penrod

The other day I ran into a woman I had not seen in years.  The last time I saw her was shortly after my son was diagnosed with Autism.  We had begun having therapy sessions at a local business that specialized in early intervention using a “Floortime” Approach.  Jem was 2 1/2, and had lost almost all of his language.  After speaking in full sentences he was down to five words that he would use sparingly.  I was terrified. 

He was in a group of eight kids and he was by far the most severe.  He couldn’t sit in the circle with the other kids.  He screamed as if he was being peeled.  It was terrible.  So terrible that I have blocked most of it out.  But I ran into the parent of one of the other children the other day.  Jem was with me and I could see in her eyes that she didn’t believe that it was the same child.  She asked me a question and he pipped up and answered, telling her all about his friends in class and how glad he was that it was Friday because he didn’t have any homework for the weekend.  The mom looked at me with tears in her eyes and asked me what the secret to our success was.

I didn’t hesitate.  I told her that the diet was first.  When we started GFCF Jem started gaining five new words a day.  Being GFCF opened the door for him to be teachable.  Without it we could have done everything under the sun and I don’t think we would have been successful.  I have always believed that on a gut level.  I didn’t understand the science behind it until I went to the recent DAN Conference, now I understand why it is true. 

But ultimately I followed my gut, we did the diet and it started our child on the road toward recovery.  We also got the very best ABA imaginable and we did some biomedical intervention.  But you know how Oprah always asks her guests “What’s the one thing you know for sure?”  The one thing I know for sure is that the GFCF diet made it possible for the ABA to work and made it possible for us to get through some of the negative side effects of biomedical intervention so we could enjoy the benefits.  The GFCF diet is the bedrock on which we built our son’s intervention, without it I think it’s very possible we wouldn’t have gotten our child back.

I can not know what is right for your child.  You need to look to your own gut for that.  But I do know that if you have read this far, you are either GFCF or considering it.  I am begging you to follow your gut.  For your sake and for your child’s sake.  It’s incredibly doable and the rough transition will be over before you know it.  Please follow your gut.


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