(I've decided that, from time to time, I'd like to make note of any improvements or regressions I find in Sam's autistic behaviors. Maybe others would find this interesting or useful, but I'm really just doing it for myself. I don't keep a handwritten journal or anything like that, so this is the best way for me to keep track of his behaviors. This way, I can look back and do a better job of correlating his improvements/regressions with other things in his environment.)
Eight days ago we went gluten-free. We did this mostly for Sam. I've read in several different places that a gluten-free/casein-free diet works wonders in many autistic children. I didn't feel confident enough to try omitting both from our diet, so we started off with just getting rid of gluten. The change in our child has been extraordinary! He speaks TO us! It was normal for Sam to speak at us, but very rarely directly to us. When we ask him a question he will respond with an appropriate answer. Before, he would just repeat something from a movie or tv show. On day three of the gluten-free diet, I was able to watch Sam and Sarah play ball together for the first time. Prior to the diet change, Sam would roam around the property by himself. Getting him to stay and play with Sarah was nearly impossible. I was also able to witness Sam playing with other children. He actually said things like, "Come on, follow me!" and was running around with the other children. Awesome feelings...Seeing your 5 year old interact and fit in with his peers for the first time..Definitely lots more hope here now than there was a week ago.
There have still been a few meltdowns, although they are far less frequent. Also, he does still seem to get overwhelmed when there are a lot of people around. The erratic behavior comes back when there's a lot of noise and chaos.
Andrew is still having a lot of belly upset. Every single bowel movement he has is an awful mess. I don't really see where eliminating gluten has helped him. So, I'm making up a meal plan today that is going to be gluten-free and casein-free. I figure that this may help Sam even more than simply being gluten-free, but it may also help Andrew's belly. Perhaps it's the casein that's bothering him so much. If not casein, then maybe egg. I'm so tired of trying to figure this out, but I'm also awfully tired of dunking 2-3 messy cloth diapers a day.
So, for the changes here, our diet has basically been a Weston Price diet that eliminated gluten. Lots of farm fresh eggs, raw milk, grass-fed beef, organic fruits and vegetables, store-bought bacon, cod liver oil, raw honey, pastured butter and cheese, maple syrup, gluten-free oats, brown rice, homemade yogurt, etc.
Edit...I just went back and read my previous post on Sam's autism. I noted then that his humming and clapping worsened during quiet time. It's 3:15PM right now, so the kids are having quiet time. I can hear that Sam is awake in his room, but there's no humming or clapping noises whatsoever. My child is quiet...I can hear pages of books turning, but that's it. He is just so much more calm and peaceful. Our days have been very nice lately.