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.