Friday, November 4, 2011
The difference a week makes.
Remember how hard last week sucked? That post directly below this one? The boy's understandably awful behavior and inability to concentrate in math?
In the midst of all that for some reason, I decided to try cutting wheat out of my diet. I had read an article about why so many more people are sensitive to gluten these days, and I learned that thanks to genetic manipulation by the good folks at Monsanto, wheat now contains something like 500 times more gluten than it did a generation ago. Reading the list of symptoms of gluten intolerance, I decided to give wheat-free living a week to see if it made any difference in my life.
My first sign that perhaps wheat had been having an effect on me was that on my second wheat-free day, I went into withdrawal. Fatigue, intense food cravings, mood swings, the whole bit. Days of dragging my feet and feeling like crap.
One week later, both Ryan and I are better than ever before.
Ryan's teacher called yesterday to report that Ryan had gone two days at school with absolutely no scripting at all. He has been focused on his work, making lots of appropriate eye contact, and answering questions verbally.
Outside of school, he's also been pretty freaking fabulous. At the park the other day, he was playing beautifully with a little boy he had never met before. They were running around together and laughing. When another child started throwing snowballs, I encouraged Ryan to try joining in. He scooped up some snow with his bare hand (this boy usually insists on gloves for all winter activities), threw it appropriately at his friend, smiled at him, and said "Got you!" And he didn't get upset when he got hit in the face with snow.
And as for me, I'm out of withdrawal and filled with more energy than I've had in forever. I'm focused, I'm less forgetful, I'm getting stuff done. I really don't want to be gluten free forever - as a native New Yorker, I can not imagine life without proper bagels or pizza - but I can't deny that I feel great.
For Ryan, the difference might also be a change of diet. I've been trying to think of anything at all that has changed in the last week that could have contributed to his sudden progress at school, and the only thing I could think of is that he's been gorging on Halloween candy. Maybe a little extra chocolate is good for you?
You're welcome to use that excuse for yourself, too. Off to raid the plastic pumpkin...
Shameless plug: I'm also in a great mood because my book is finally available! Please check out "Ben Has Autism, Ben Is Awesome" from Jason & Nordic Publishers. I hope this picture book, beautifully illustrated by Rebecca Rivard, will be a useful tool to help parents start talking about autism with their children on the spectrum, as well as to help typical kids better understand their ASD peers. Order a copy for yourself or for your local school's library!