The ‘A’ Word. Are we really talking Autism here?

img_4064The A Word…

I remember clearly – it was Boxing Day 2007 and Ellie, who was normally such a happy and sociable toddler was very upset by the visitors we had that day.  She looked terrible – her eyes had black circles around them, she looked pale and her nose was constantly running.  Over the following days, Ellie seemed to go even further downhill. Simple instructions such as “put your coat on” was met with moans and groans and hand flapping.  Ellie stopped looking at my Nan and my mum became very quiet and speech was replaced with groans.

At a Christmas play date, a friend suggested changing her milk as her daughter was having some problems.  Anything was worth trying so we changed the cows’ milk to soya milk. The change in Ellie was unremarkable.  The following morning we were greeted with “Hello Mummy, Hello Daddy” instead of the moaning we had been experiencing.  As days went by, Ellie became less moany and able to follow instructions again… but this didn’t last.

Over the following weeks, she started to revert back to her previous behaviour and some. The moaning became a lot worse, eye contact was going and Ellie didn’t seem to recognise close family members. We would also find her climbing into tiny spaces and constantly climbing on me – which I suppose you’d think was quite normal for a two-year-old, but for some reason, this just didn’t feel right.

This may be a little TMI… but Ellie’s bowel movements had changed.  She produced what looked like ‘rabbit droppings’! She started dribbling excessively, started to eat weird non-edible things and would want to constantly be eating Weetabix.

We also had this really weird experience one night where Ellie was sat on my lap in her room, but she was looking behind me laughing uncontrollably – like she could see someone there.  We jokingly said “Ellie, can you see dead people?” but the whole episode really was quite spooky!

I’ll never forget the day when my mum brought up the A word.  It was a couple weeks into January and my husband Andy was working away for a few days. It was just after lunch when I got home from work and Ellie really wasn’t too good.  Mum had that look about her that she was going to tell me something… and then she came out with it… “Do you think Ellie might be Autistic?”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! I felt sick to the stomach. She was just having some trouble with her milk and something else wasn’t agreeing with her… where on earth had this come from! I just thought it was ridiculous.  Then mum mentioned a site about Allergy Induced Autism called Respectrum, run by Marilyn Le Breton and Rosemary Kessick – unfortunately, this site is no longer running. Part of the site included case studies about children and how certain foods had affected them.  The comparison was unbelievable. Their stories all rang true to what we were experiencing.  As we read through the case studies, it became clear that these children saw improvements when removing wheat, gluten and dairy from the diet. From the experience with milk, we knew there was definitely something in this link with food.

It was time to become Google masters and do our research…. And also tell hubby what we had found out.  That bit wasn’t going to be quite as easy.

 

Until next time… Love & hugs xxx