Our daughter, who we will be calling "M", was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome in July of 2013. M is an amazingly compassionate child and tests at the top of her class. However, she is considered to have "HIGH FUNCTIONING AUTISM" a.k.a. Aspergers Syndrome. She struggles with social interaction such as eye contact, simple greetings and making friends. Aside from her social struggles, she exhibits numerous other traits of the "classic aspie" (i.e. sound and texture sensitivities, hyper focus for specific activities and a tendency to have meltdowns).
Unfortunately, we have been met with resistance courtesy of our insurance company. They rejected coverage for speech and occupational therapy. Eventually, she qualified for speech therapy and a specialist who visits her in her regular Pre-K classroom. She has shown amazing improvement since the interventions taken by Cobb County. After seeing how far she has come, we wanted to give her an extra leg up and that is where the new diet comes in!
For months following her diagnosis, I had been looking at implementing a GF diet as a "shot in the dark" attempt to help her. I read article after article about how children with Aspergers respond well to a GF diet. The concept came up in discussion multiple times with my husband- but it never became a reality.
One day my husband came home from work and brought it up again. Apparently, a co-worker of his has a child with Aspergers. When they switched him to a GF diet it changed his world! He explained that when he was consuming products containing gluten he felt like he was "in a fog". After hearing this success story, my husband was not only on board for changing her diet- he was excited! WE were excited!
At this point we were enthusiastic and motivated with only one obstacle standing in our way. Because she is enrolled in Georgia's lottery funded Pre-K, she is required to eat the food provided by the school. The meals and snacks are often packed with wheat products. We figured we could wait for the end of the school year and go GF over the summer and continue to make her lunches in kindergarten. That is when the mama bear in me woke up. Should SHE have to wait to make things easier for me? Should SHE have to wait so as to make it easier on her school's administrative staff? NO! This is about putting HER first and meeting HER needs.
We contacted her doctor to obtain a waiver that allows us to bring her GF food to school. Then we contacted the school. I was nervous that this would be a challenge- I could not have been more wrong. The new owner was more than accommodating and has even set up a meeting with me so we can "get this right for her".
So what is the next step? Time to explain what all this change means to M and take her out for some gluten-free shopping!
***If you are considering a modified diet for yourself or your child:
Contact your doctor or pediatrician. They can help you decide what is the best plan of action for you and your family***