I've not read through everything here (cuz let's face it, there's a LOT to read through) but I searched the archives for articles on Autism and only found short references to it, but nothing really definitive. Here's why I'm looking:
I have a three year old son who is currently under going evaluation for autism and I can't help but wonder if I'm somehow responsible for his potential condition because I ate what I was told to eat while I was pregnant to keep my blood sugar under control (low fat, whole grains, no sugar, etc.) I had gestational diabetes and while I did splurge occasionally, I managed to keep my blood sugar well within the normal range most of the time. It was hard because where I was living at the time was a tiny little, second rate apartment that was infested with roaches. We couldn't have any food out and only prepared what we could make in the microwave. Basically we had to keep everything in the fridge or freezer to keep it safe from our unwanted and extremely numerous roommates.
He is my 6th child and I've never had another with any concerns such as this. I also never had gestational diabetes while pregnant either. Aside from whether or not it's my fault, is there anything I can do now to help lessen his symptoms? He is very picky with his food and he will actually not eat rather then eat something that just doesn't seem like food to him. This would be things like eggs, cheese until recently, beef, chicken or fish. What he will eat is hot dogs, rice, pasta, peanut butter and jam sandwiches on white bread, toast with margarine (he won't eat it if it's butter) and of course cookies, crackers and chips. He won't touch veggies unless we sneak them under the rice we're feeding him.
I can't starve him obviously, but at the same time, I don't want him to keep eating junk and that seems to be all he is willing, or able, to eat. Does anyone else have similar situations where they could share their ideas that might help me get him to eat things that will benefit him and get him away from all the yucky stuff? I appreciate any feedback or suggestions. Thanks.
Just for your information: I am a high-functioning autistic. It is not diet that causes autism. It is a genetic, neurological difference. I beg of you not to a) blame yourself or b) try to make him non-autistic. Neither one will do any good. Accept him for who he is and do your best to guide him. If he gets hungry enough, he will eat what you put in front of him. Let him have the hot dogs - it's better than the bread, certainly.
Diet will not change his symptoms. It's neurologically hard-wired. Please, please, please don't buy into the whackjobs who tell you that it will. And you have my full permission to tell anyone who tells you it's in any way your fault to go to hell.
I would not change who I am. I like being an autistic person. If I wasn't autistic, I wouldn't be me. It's a difference, not a disease. If you want to PM me I can tell you about my own experiences being an adult autistic, which your son will also be, someday.
First off (((big hugs))). The door for guilt when you are the parent of a special child is a mile wide. You did not do it to him. I have a 10 year old daughter with classic autism. Like lots of kids on the spectrum she does SO much better on the CF/GF diet. She also needs lots of fats and omega3s. The primal way of eating has helped so much. In the last 6 months she has really started taling and it is wonderful.
Picky eating is really common. a lot of the time it is a sensory thing. The brushing program helped my daughter start trying new foods. Do you know if he has a candida? (that is another thing lots of our kids suffer with and can cause funny eating patterns.) I run a small online group for parents of children with autism. Quite a few of us are into biomed and healing the whole body with foods. Like Griff, I too think our kids need to be celebrated for how great they are. PM me if you want the group info or just to toss around ideas.
How old where you when you were diagnosed as autistic? They are still evaluating him so until that is done he just has developmental delays (no speech other then simple words which aren't real words that other people would understand, easily frustrated and overwhelmed by too much stimulus, sometimes has a hard time making or keeping eye contact and showing that reciprocity with other people, etc.) There has been only one person who has tried to tell me it's due to nutrition and diet and tried to convince me I should have him tested for celiac because it can cause it. City bus riders feel the need to get all up in your business and share things even when you don't need or want to hear it. Sometimes you have to get rude before they shut up and butt out too. I suppose the reason I thought perhaps my diet during pregnancy might have contributed to it is there isn't really anything concrete as to what causes it to happen and a lot of people are leaning toward environmental factors rather then a genetic component. The information right now I guess is inconclusive and as such is confusing to say the least. Don't get me wrong, I love my son, more then I can tell. Obviously having a special needs child is a challenge and hopefully I'm up for it since there is a lot of years to go before he will be an adult and even then he might have difficulty functioning in 'normal' society. I'm afraid and worried for him, mostly because I don't know what I can do to help him and that frustrates me.
I was thirty-one. They didn't have a diagnosis for autism at the level I have it in the 1970s.
Eye contact is REALLY hard. I can mimic it, but it makes me feel physically ill to have to do it for more than a few seconds at a time. I can't THINK when I have to LOOK. I can't HEAR you when I have to LOOK at you. The expectation that people have that I should look them in the eye drives me insane. It's frankly unreasonable. Please don't ever demand that of your son.
(And oh ghu please let's NOT talk about reciprocity. I still haven't figured that out and I'm nearly 40 years old.)
I was hyperlexic so I don't remember learning how to read or talk, but I'm on the Aspie side of the spectrum, not the Kanner's side. Your son probably doesn't know that words mean anything. He's associated some sounds with things he wants (I'll bet he says the same thing every single time), but hasn't made that vital connection that "Me" means himself and "Mom" means YOU.
It's easy to get overwhelmed. Even if I'd had the money to go, I might not have gone to PrimalCon. Too many people, too much stimulus, this way lies a major meltdown for me. I don't deal well with new situations or new people at all. That's just a fact of life for most autistics. We're neophobes.
Despite all that, I have an AA, a AS, a BS, and an MA, and I'm working on my PhD, so being autistic doesn't mean automatically being institutionalized or helpless. Given the right supports, we can accomplish a lot. It just might take us a little longer.
There's a community online at Live Journal called ask_an_aspie. You might ask some of your questions there. The community is all adult autistics and Asperger folks.
On a side note, your son has an excellent at going into engineering when he gets older. Something to do with that mindset and the excruciating attention to everything a lot of autistics (esp. Aspie side). I've met several high functioning aspie engineers that do quite well into their respective fields. Even if he is diagnosed with a form of autism, he has a bright future. (FYI, it is theorized that Einstein may have been high functioning autistic.)
As for any blame you may be even thinking of placing on yourself, DON'T. It's purely a genetic lottery that he beat the odds on. It has nothing to do with vaccines, or the mother's diet, or anything else for that matter. It simply is part of him like his hair color or eye color.
if you want your child to be healthy you provide them healthy, safe foods. i strongly doubt a 3 year old will starve themselves.
elaine gottschall in 'Breaking the vicious cycle', a book about gastrointestinal disorders (like chrons, colitis, celiac), suggests a brain-gut connection. essentially bad bacteria (thriving off unabsorbed carbohydrates) ferment and can produce toxins that pass the blood-brain barrier and disrupt functions. she also presents evidence at least of a correlation between brain and gastrointestinal problems. i haven't looked into the subject further than that. googling 'autism paleo' brings up relevant looking results. i'd recommend to keep researching the subject.
primarily though just feed your child as healthily as possible. regardless of whether paleo eating affects something like autism, people should just generally be eating plaeo/primal as a means for good overall health. eating primally just can't be bad for a newborn human in the way grains and frankenfoods foods can be.
Hehe, I love the phrase frankenfood, that's all too true these days though.
Griff -- out of curiosity, has going primal improved the difficult aspects of autism or alleviated them somewhat?
PrimalPete: It's made no difference, but then for me most of the difficult aspects of autism are social, not physical (like people demanding that I look them in the eye when talking to them) and caused by other people.