My lovely, charming, affectionate little boy started Junior Kindergarten in September. He had been looking forward to starting school for a very long time and he just couldn’t contain his excitement to finally be the Big Boy Who Goes To School.
The first week started off well enough, with a few potty accidents but nothing we felt we couldn’t manage.
Before I go on, I should tell you that my son has some quirks. Don’t we all? He can be a bit particular about how he thinks things should be done. This has gotten a lot better as we (parents) have learned how to deal with it. I was afraid that his quirks might get him into trouble at school since there are 25 other young children in his class and he can’t have everything “just so”. I was hopeful that JK would be wonderful for him and that he would continue to bloom in this setting.
The second week of school our son started telling us he was getting pushed by another child. We spoke to him about what he can do and he seemed to understand that it was wrong to hit. So he started biting. It is not an agressive thing, it is an impulse control outburst that happens quickly out of pure frustration. We told him he could not bite, so he started kicking. We told him he could not kick either, so he discovered hair pulling. Next came punching, smacking, spitting…
Fast forward to February, and the emotional outbursts were all but gone. By the end of March, we were seeing almost no potty accidents at school. He remained particular, but there seemed to be more flexibility in his rigidity, if that makes any sense. We also felt we understood his triggers and were better able to predict the behaviour.
On April 1st, we got the results of his psychological testing : our son is on the autism spectrum. In hindsight, this now makes so much sense. I almost feel dumb that I did not realize this is what was going on. I think what threw me off are his charming ways, his sense of humor, his ease in connecting with us most of the time. If he is autistic, isn’t he supposed to have trouble making eye contact? Isn’t he supposed to have a hard time showing love and affection? Not so! I have learned a lot about autism in the last 7 days.
I can’t help but think that food, though it may not cure autism, certainly has made his behaviour either better or worse. At this point it seems coincidental, but I have seen a link between what our little guy eats (gluten, sugar, dairy, processed foods) and his anxiety, rigidity, obsessive thoughts, and non compliance.
I have, in my hands, the form needed to get his blood work done. Specifically, we will be checking for a gluten intolerance or allergy. In my quest to help my son (pre-diagnosis) we have put him on a gluten free diet every other month. Being gluten free seemed to coincide with his periods of better behaviour. He has not been back on gluten since there must be gluten in his system before we get the bloodwork done. It’s been a hard week.
Our journey to finding out how food can help our son has just begun…