Symptoms change from diet

Discuss autism diets and biomedical treatments of autism.

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EmilyV
Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:41 pm

Symptoms change from diet

Postby EmilyV » Thu Apr 06, 2017 11:01 pm

Hi all,
My boy is 25 mo, normal cognitive function, language is perhaps a month behind, recently diagnosed, scored high on ADOS. We started GFCF 6 wks ago and ABA 4 wks ago. Switched to soy milk. We want to do soy free But have been unable to wean off soy milk - tried rice milk which made both eye contact and eczema worse, so we are back to soy milk. We noticed marked improvement in eye contact and eczema overall with this diet, but i think he has more verbal repetitions. Any explanations for it? Could it be due to glutamate in soy? When you notice improvement in your children with diet, aren't all core symptoms supposed to improve? Or could eye contact be better due to ABA but actually he is getting worse from diet? Eyecontact got better already before ABA started though...
Please advise! :?:

Winnie
Posts: 4227
Joined: Sat Mar 18, 2006 2:48 pm

Re: Symptoms change from diet

Postby Winnie » Fri Apr 07, 2017 1:57 am

We didn’t use the diet, but I wondered --

Could you give an example of the verbal repetitions (with context) that you are concerned about?

I was wondering if perhaps these might be a form of either immediate or delayed echolalia. If so, the repetitions may reflect how he is using and learning language and not be something to worry about. It’s not unusual for even typically-developing toddlers to repeat sounds and words as they are developing speech and language.

As far as all core symptoms improving with the GFCF diet – I don’t know of any evidence that supports that. There are a lot of anecdotal reports on the internet (diet has been common for way over 15 years now), and to one parent verbal repetitions may be interpreted as an increase in verbalizations (positive), yet to another parent, a source of concern (negative). And all too often it is difficult to assign a cause to an effect – behaviors often serve functions or have origins that are not immediately apparent.

Kids with autism are all so different in terms of physiology, potential co-morbid conditions, developmental trajectories, and areas of strength and weakness that no broad assumption can be made about any treatment or therapy. If your son is doing well and eating healthy on the GFCF diet, there probably isn’t a reason to worry too much about the diet – especially after just 6 weeks.

What might help with making objective decisions about progress or frequency of behaviors would be charting the data kept in ABA sessions. You can compare it with whatever else is going on in his life (including dietary changes) to look for patterns over time.

And one last thing -- it’s probably a good idea not to get too hung up on eye contact – his overall willingness to socially interact is far more important -- kids can even attend without making direct eye contact. Sometimes therapists who insist on eye contact do more to discourage interaction than to promote it!
Winnie
"Make it a powerful memory, the happiest you can remember."

Nikkie111
Posts: 322
Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2015 6:26 am

Re: Symptoms change from diet

Postby Nikkie111 » Fri Apr 07, 2017 4:42 am

Hi Emily
No sure this diet or any other sorts out these issues completely otherwise everyone would have recovered by now :)
Diet certainly helps but there are so many other things in play. The particular diet can be really unhealthy - having GFDFSF cookies and pizzas all day is anything but helpful - so it needs extra caution unfortunately.
Also rice has all sorts of issues like arsenic and soya is renowned for glutamate ... Why don't you try coconut milk instead? Also maybe try to balance it out it doesn't need to be either soya or coconut or rice, maybe try out different ones every other day and experiment with this
On the other hand I do agree with Winnie, yes eye contact is key but don't get stuck on it, look at your child's overall progress and give lots of praising when he does look at you :-)

EmilyV
Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:41 pm

Re: Symptoms change from diet

Postby EmilyV » Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:49 am

Winnie,
examples of verbal repetitions:
1) he would repeat something he wants to communicate or achieve, 6-9 times or when upset more(e.g. wants truck - would say, truck, give truck) until either we say something back to him, or give it to him, or until he switches his attention.
2) he would repeat phrases that are triggered by context -what is happening around but are somewhat a bit off: "guy - trash containter" referring to just the trash container, so not sure why he uses "guy" there, and would also say it 6-9 times without really wanting anything specific from it. It may be of course something he is trying to relay to us, but it just seems a bit odd. I also wonder if these symptoms appeared because this is a natural progression of symptoms in a verbal child with ASD?

Nikkie,
his diet is really healthy now I hope, no processed foods, no preservatives, no sugar, no food colorings, only vegetables, fruits, chicken, eggs, fruits, lots of antioxidant foods, and of course i mentioned soy milk. We used to give him more processed foods/preservatives before. I am sure still there are ways to improve it. THanks for your feedback on eye contact. I do tend to sort of overfocus on it :D but there has been progress on interaction as well. Also previously he didn't use gestures/words and eye contact simultaneously, but now does it. Also it's incredibly rewarding when he looks at me like a normal child now, for more than 2 sec (previously only looked for 1 sec or less) while smiling and saying something sweet like "good night" when he is going to bed. He is still not doing it all the time, but many times a day.

Winnie
Posts: 4227
Joined: Sat Mar 18, 2006 2:48 pm

Re: Symptoms change from diet

Postby Winnie » Sun Apr 09, 2017 6:28 pm

EmilyV wrote:Winnie,
examples of verbal repetitions:
1) he would repeat something he wants to communicate or achieve, 6-9 times or when upset more(e.g. wants truck - would say, truck, give truck) until either we say something back to him, or give it to him, or until he switches his attention.
2) he would repeat phrases that are triggered by context -what is happening around but are somewhat a bit off: "guy - trash containter" referring to just the trash container, so not sure why he uses "guy" there, and would also say it 6-9 times without really wanting anything specific from it. It may be of course something he is trying to relay to us, but it just seems a bit odd. I also wonder if these symptoms appeared because this is a natural progression of symptoms in a verbal child with ASD?


That could be (google Gestalt language acquisition). It seemed that way for my son, though he was older than your little guy when it became apparent. Sounds like your son has a lot more language than my son had at 25 months!

Sometimes an echolalic reponse may seem nonsensical on its face but it actually is related to the situation and is intended to communicate, so echolia is generally considered a positive prognostic indicator rather than something to be eliminated (old old school thought). And there may be learning and reinforcement opportunities there (as in your example #1). That said, echolalia can serve both communicative and non-communicative functions.

Here are some links with info about the functions (with examples) of immediate and delayed echolalia:

Functional Categories of Immediate Echolalia
https://www.iidc.indiana.edu/pages/Functional-Categories-of-Immediate-Echolalia

Functional Categories of Delayed Echolalia
https://www.iidc.indiana.edu/pages/Functional-Categories-of-Delayed-Echolalia

Other articles about echolalia and language acquisition (stages):
http://www.communicationdevelopmentcenter.com/articles/nla.pdf

https://sites.google.com/site/autismhome/Home/special-situations/echolalia

Echolalia and autism:
https://sites.google.com/site/autismhome/Home/special-situations/echolalia

A mom’s description of this progression (blog):
http://momnos.blogspot.com/2006/03/dr-strangetalk-or-how-i-learned-to.html

Some articles by Barry Prizant (SLP whose study of echolalia probably shaped current thinking):
http://barryprizant.com/resources/downloads/echolalia-articles/

Eric.ed.gov search of echolalia and autism – more articles:
https://eric.ed.gov/?q=echolalia+autism
Winnie
"Make it a powerful memory, the happiest you can remember."

EmilyV
Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:41 pm

Re: Symptoms change from diet

Postby EmilyV » Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:07 pm

Winnie,
wow, thanks so much for the info, very useful. Yes, he doesn't have that much of a language delay... but I guess a delay in functional language.


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