Friday, November 11, 2011

A Lost Tooth & Another Sam Update (10 months on GAPS Intro)

Not too long ago I received a comment on another post:

Erin said...
I was wondering if you could do an update on Sam's autism. I'm assuming he's still improving. I've shown the videos to some people, and for some reason people don't want to believe it. One lady said, "Any kid will differ from day to day..."

Erin, thank you for your question. Yes..Sam continues to improve! The healing is extremely slow, but that's not surprising. Dr. McBride's book is very up-front about the fact that this is a lengthy healing process. I guess, to some extent, the comment that you overheard is true. Yes, any kid will differ from day to day and that holds true for Sam. There are still some days that he hums and claps more than others. There are still some days that he recites passages from books. HOWEVER, Sam's worst day now is so much better than his best day before the diet.

A couple weeks ago we invited our property's previous owners out to visit. Mr. G commented, "You know, you all are doing a great job with Sam. When we first met him two years ago it was obvious that something wasn't right. Now I don't know if most people would even realize that there's something different about him." Those kinds of comments just make my day!

Last night Sam lost his 3rd tooth. Here's a video of him explaining what happened. He doesn't make eye contact all the time, but he is very capable of answering my questions. He's keeping up with our conversation. He's able to tell what his FEELINGS were. That right there is huge! He used to have such a difficult time identifying people's feelings, even his own.

There are still certain times when Sam struggles to control himself. If we are away from home I can tell that he still gets a little overstimulated. Even if it's a place that he's accustomed to I will notice a slight difference in behavior compared to when we're home. Of course, if we're somewhere out of the ordinary, the difference in his behavior is even more noticeable. I've also noticed that he gets overstimulated anytime he watches electronic media. We have no TV service in our home and we've even stopped watching movies. However, we do still allow the children to watch some YouTube videos from time to time. I've noticed that Sam has more difficulty controlling himself after watching those videos.

However, having said all the above, I want to stress again that when you compare his behavior now to his behavior pre-GAPS (or even early post-GAPS) there is obvious improvement. His worst behavior now after watching a YouTube video is dramatically better than his best behavior a year ago.

I get really frustrated when people make comments like the one you overheard. In my experience, those comments are usually made by people that are looking for an excuse not to make dietary changes. They are from people that are so devoted to their processed food and fast food drive-thru convenience that they'll look for any reason to quickly dismiss the diet. I know that parent's don't actually say this, but this is what I hear when they quickly dismiss a dietary change:

"I choose Twinkies over my child's health."
"I choose birthday parties over my child's health."
"I choose convenient fast food over my child's health."
"I'm too busy to devote the time it takes to recover my child."

I cannot wrap my mind around this way of thinking. Prior to starting the GAPS diet, Sam's behavior was so out of control that I was willing to try almost anything. I was worn down and exhausted (both physically and emotionally) from constantly arguing and disciplining my son. I didn't care if a dietary change only gave us one HOUR of peace a day. Even if it gave us the most minimal improvement, then it was worth it. I actually have a lot more respect for someone that dismisses the diet by saying, "I'm glad it's working for them and I'll keep it in mind for us later, but I think we're going to try something different right now."

I don't know if what I'm about to say is right or wrong, but it's how I feel:

I don't have the time or the patience to go out and "convert" everyone. I am more than willing and happy to spend time helping someone recover their child from autism...IF they are truly interested in doing what it takes to recover their child. For all the others, I simply try to shake the dust from my feet and walk away. So Erin, based on my own experience my advice would be to: Move on and make yourself accessible to those that are interested in listening and then acting.

If there's anyone out there that I can help by sharing our family's experiences, then PLEASE don't hesitate to contact me at


  1. My only comment though is that a child matures and we never know how much of the change is truly diet related or behavioral changes due to normal maturity.

    Either way, I'm glad he is improving and you have found what works for your family.

  2. Anonymous, I appreciate you sharing your comments. I would like you to go back and look at the very first video in this post:

    Now, in that video, compare Sam's behavior as a 4 year old with the behavior of his 3 year old sister and 1 year old brother. His 1 year old brother has more self-control than Sam does at 4 years old.

    Perhaps I am misunderstanding your comment. If so, I'm sorry. Please forgive me.

    Are you really saying that when Sam was 4 years old he was less mature than a 1 year old and then, at some point in 2011, Sam's body just suddenly acquired several years of maturity in a few months' time? Are you implying that Sam would have acquired this maturity even if we had been eating the typical Standard American Diet?

    Personally, I've never met a child that matured that much in such a short period of time.

    I'm not gullible enough to believe that every single aspect of Sam's transformation is due to the GAPS diet. I do believe you're correct in saying that some of the changes are probably due to normal maturing. However, to imply that many of these changes derive from normal maturation, and no dietary influence, is a bit to the other extreme.

    Again, if I've misunderstood your comment, I'm sorry.

  3. Hi, Janice. I feel so bad you've had this posted for almost a month, and I am just seeing it for the first time, and it was an answer to my question! Oh, such is the life - we're doing GAPS, too, and it is soooo time consuming. We're on Intro, and I'm up until midnight most nights cooking. Kind of pathetic, I know. Anyway, my blog-viewing is sparse these days :) Anyway, thank you for this great post. Yes, that is how I feel, too, that people don't WANT to believe it, b/c they don't WANT to change. Doesn't make any sense. My kids don't have autism, but my dd is anxious, and I would do ANYTHING to help her. As parents, we bend over backwards for our kids. We quit jobs to stay home, we wake up at night when they cry, we drive them to lessons, we help with homework, we clean up throw up. Why can't we change what we eat if it helps them so much? I want my kids to be happy and healthy, so why would I want to accept their limitations as being "just the way they are" if I can really help them?

  4. Having known autistic people before, the change is very obvious!! ESPECIALLY considering that doctors say (to my knowledge) that there is no cure for autism, only methods of adjusting around it. That is amazing!

    Really appreciate everything you're doing. :) My fiancee and I were wondering how Sam has been doing since the last videos, and it was good to see that he's still doing well! :) Lord continue to bless your efforts!

  5. Tim, thank you so much for your kind words. I really do appreciate the encouragement.

    Take care,