The GF/CF diet had an impact on Snoopy immediately; it was obvious when he experienced withdrawal right from the start. The second his withdrawal ended – recovery began, and a “new Snoopy” was revealed. As the weeks went by, Snoopy steadily overcame obstacles that, according to the experts and all the literature I received, should have been impossible for him to ever accomplish. Everyday he “connected” more and more, which gave him the advantage to really benefit from his ongoing therapies. From that point on, he was like a little sponge soaking up, AND accurately processing, information from his surroundings – surroundings he had never even noticed before, surroundings which had once overwhelmed him to the point of covering his eyes and ears, and hiding in a corner or under a table.
Although it was a few months before Snoopy started speaking, he suddenly had a very obvious desire to communicate. The “new Snoopy” instantly caught on to using sign language, which his therapists had previously worked on with him for months to no avail. He also started to point to what he wanted if he did not know the associated sign. This was a huge improvement from the meltdowns that formerly took place when I could not figure out what he wanted. In addition to his therapists, everyone encouraged Snoopy to use his signs. He also learned a lot from a particular DVD series I bought called “Baby Signing Time” (https://www.babysigningtime.com/). All of a sudden, there was much less frustration – he signed or pointed. It was so beautiful! This method of communication was awesome, and the reality was amazing – Snoopy could actually communicate!
About two months into the GF/CF diet, Snoopy started to say some words along with using his signs to communicate. In addition, all of his “medical issues” completely disappeared; stimming became almost non-existent; and his sensory issues became less and less intense. Everyday he played more like a “typical” little boy. Everyday he learned more like a “typical” little boy, and everyday he loved more like a “typical” little boy. I can honestly say that everyday he amazed me with something new. Everyday I could hardly believe what I was witnessing with my own two eyes and ears. Absolutely everyone involved in his life was completely blown-away by this “new Snoopy” who broke free from the chains of Autism. What a powerful little guy!
All was progressing beautifully until one day we were all playing in the yard, and Snoopy got a series of bug bites which developed into huge welts. Being particulary cautious when it comes to Snoopy, I gave him a dose of Benedryl and took him to the doctor to get checked out. The doctor looked him over, confirmed that the welts were in fact only bug bites, and stated that there was no need for concern. She suggested giving him Non-Drowsey Childrens Claritin Meltaways instead of Benedryl, and she gave me a few days worth of samples. We talked about Snoopy’s emersion out of his world of Autism by means of the success of the GF/CF diet intervenion. She was very impressed, told me to “keep up the good work”, then me and my welted-up, itchy little Snoopy headed home.
Snoopy’s big, itchy bug bites certainly had not affected his appetite. He ate his GF/CF dinner, ate his supplements (which I will talk about in an article to come), and ate his Claritin Meltaway from the doctor. All was fine, and Snoopy went on to play. About 20 minutes later, I noticed that Snoopy did not look like “new Snoopy” anymore. He looked like “Autism Snoopy”. He had that “drugged”/”disconnected” look on his face. Panic ran through me. At first, I stayed close and just monitored him. Then I tried to engage him by calling him to “come to mommy”, and “let’s sing some songs”. “What do you want to sing, Snoopy”? No response, just a blank look. What in the world had happened??? Had he reverted back to Autism??? I racked my brain trying to think of what could have caused the sudden drastic change. He had to have eaten something not GF/CF. I could not think of anything he could have possibly gotten his little hands on at home. I was as equally confident that he did not get anything other than his GF/CF food from daycare. I watched from a distance as he started stimming and spinning in circles. For the first time since the GF/CF diet was introduced, old feelings of despair and defeat rushed back. I went completely numb, my stomach felt sick, and my heart ached all over again.
I re-played the events of the day over and over in my head, and all of a sudden, late into the night – it hit me! I ran to the computer, “Googled” the ingredients in Non-Drowsey Childrens Claritin Meltaways, and sure enough – “Starch” was an ingredient. Good Lord! What a huge lesson learned for me! I never gave thought to checking the ingredients in medications, but I witnessed Snoopy quickly regress within 20 minutes of ingesting the Claritin Meltaways.
I felt a great sense of relief after I solved that horrible mystery. I flushed the rest of the Claritin Meltaways down the toilet, making certain that those damn things would never hurt my Snoopy ever again! Ultimately, Snoopy went through a short withdrawal, and “new Snoopy” re-emerged within a day or two. Welcome back, baby – I missed you soooo much!!!
Here are some of my favorite GF/CF resources: http://www.tacanow.org/tag/gfcf/; http://www.gfmeals.com/; http://www.glutensolutions.com/autism.htm; http://autism.about.com/od/specialdietsandautism/a/startgfcf.htm; http://www.autismweb.com/diet.htm; and http://gfcfdiet.com/.