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I have always wondered how processed foods affect kids with autism. I know in our case processed foods, more specifically artificial colors, flavors and preservatives have a negative effect on our child. Looking back on her development I can also see trends in regression or problem behaviors that directly correspond to changes in diet. For us gluten & casein do not appear to cause problems but boy oh boy those artificial colors can transform a sweet, attentive, easy-going kid into hyper demon spawn.
As an infant our daughter was breast-fed and her first foods were organic and homemade. She was also a cloth diaper kid. As she moved up to table foods she started eating regular food (i.e. processed crap) and more and more symptoms and behaviors appeared. Interestingly this is around the 18 month – 2 year mark typical of symptoms of autism showing up in children.
A few months ago we started the Feingold Program and have seen a really nice change in our child. This kid who we were strongly considering medicating for hyperactivity, anxiety and some aggression issues is now back to the attentive, easy-going, sweet kid we remembered her to be. I am happy this seems to be helping because I can also see that she feels more confident and better about herself now that she is not constantly “in trouble” for some kind of behavior which she really was struggling to control.
Now, I don’t claim any “recovery” or magic results, just that his was a relatively easy change that offered tremendous positive impact for our family.
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Sometimes I think about different things regarding autism and one of the issues that I always wonder about is vaccines. I am of the opinion that vaccines may play a role in autism but that it may be more likely that the vaccines to take a closer look at are those that are given to adults, women in particular, of child-bearing age. Some of the reasons I question the safety of vaccinating women, particularly pregnant women are as follows:
- The increase in incidence of autism in the US seems at some level to coincide with the introduction of the second MMR vaccination recommendation for adults in the late 1980s.
- There seems to be a higher incidence of autism in children born between October and March which coincidently is flu season. Most pregnant women are encouraged to get a flu shot.
Could these things point to the vaccine causing some sort of damage to DNA/RNA, ovum, sperm, or fetus which then leads to the child developing autism? Maybe these vaccines cause damage that make the child then more susceptible to additional cell damage caused by their own future vaccinations or other environmental toxins? I don’t know but it is something I think about and I wonder if it is something scientists are thinking about too.
So here we are starting our second full month of home schooling and things are going very well. In fact things are going so well I had to step up my game and find more activities and lessons and added some new curriculum to cover to keep Bella challenged. Last night I organized her classroom using Sue Patrick’s Workbox System.
Using this sytem I have been able break the lessons down into independent work and Mom led work. By making the independent work child friendly with easy to understand insructions has allowed Bella to not only complete the work on her own but to feel very competent while she is doing it. This also frees me up to prepare Mom led interactive activities. I am looking forward to having more time and structure to be able to add more and more RDI time into our home school day.
Today has been great, Bella has really embraced the new system and is doing much more independent work and getting more accomplished. She is really proud of herself when she is able to complete the activities on her own and another plus is that she is verbally asking for help very appropriately when she needs it. I definitely recommend checking out the Workbox System if you are looking for a way to organize your home classroom to make it easier for your child to be successful.