By Emm Spring
My son has Asperger’s, which is a high functioning form of autism, and Tourette’s syndrome along with food and drug allergies. Just about an hour ago, I thought someone turned the TV on very loud but then realized it was my son freaking out from a dream. I spent 20 minutes chasing him down, trying to hold him still and calm him down while he jumped up and down like a kangaroo, ran from room to room, screaming, and begging me to take him to the hospital. This hasn’t happened in over four years. It’s not easy trying to control a guy that is 6’3” tall and as strong as an ox.
He used to do this nightly when he was younger. Then we had him tested for food allergies. We found out he was allergic to eggs, garlic, and onions. Within a week of removing those foods, he was a completely different child. He slept through the night and was communicating better. He made eye contact, laughed and started telling jokes. He was in a good mood most of the time.
Many people, including doctors, have argued with me about food allergies. They say he will break out in a rash or hives, possibly have difficulty breathing, etc if it is a food allergy. They also say that if he doesn’t do those things, but acts out from foods, then it is an adverse reaction and not an allergy. Well, I’m here to say that is wrong!
He never once broke out from those foods, but they did and still do cause night terrors and the other symptoms I listed. A skin prick allergy test is the only way I knew he was highly allergic to those foods.
I can tell which food he has accidentally eaten by the way he acts. So tonight’s episode shocked me because he hasn’t eaten any of those foods. I’ve cooked everything he has eaten for the last three days. Then it hit me. Coconut water. He has been sick, so yesterday and today, I gave him several glasses of coconut water to keep him hydrated. Last week, after I cooked salmon in coconut oil, he complained of a stomachache, but it quickly went away and I didn’t think anything of it. Coconut water is the only thing different that would have caused this type of reaction.
Thankfully, he is calm now and asleep a few feet from me in my bed. I’m sure it will be a long night though.
I strongly believe that many children with autism or Tourette’s or ADHD or any other disease or disorder, has a food allergy that is causing the symptoms to worsen. I don’t know if the food allergy actually causes the disorder itself, probably not, but I can almost guarantee undiagnosed allergies are to blame for the child’s behaviors to worsen at times. I hear from other parents on a daily basis, how their child acts like that all the time and they have to medicate their child to keep them calm. It aggravates me that doctors are unwilling to test for allergies because the child shows no symptoms that can be seen. It aggravates me even more that so many kids are being heavily medicated for something that could have a much easier fix.
But the one thing that really makes me angry, are the parents who refuse to have their children tested. The parents who blindly follow what doctors say instead of questioning every little thing. The parents who even argue with me that it couldn’t possibly be a food allergy causing their child to act out or demonstrate a violent behavior. I mean, what could it possibly hurt just to make sure?!
I don’t think it only affects the children who already have another disorder either. I have witnessed a person’s attitude and whole demeanor change when he ate foods with egg in it. He is allergic to eggs but would eat things like cookies, cakes, meat dipped in egg for the breading and other foods containing eggs. Shortly after, and for a few days after the eggs left his system, he was mean, rude and just in a generally bad mood, but he also never showed physical symptoms of the food allergy.
I want the parents and doctors to wake up, step out of the denial pattern. What could it hurt to do allergy testing? Maybe, just maybe, you could take your children off these drugs if you would just go see an allergist.
Have you had your child tested for food allergies? If so, has their behavior changed since removing the foods they are allergic to?