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How Extreme Diets Damage Autistic People

Reid Knight Content note: This article contains discussion of disordered eating. Photo from www.quotecatalog.com | Flickr / Creative Commons [image: Fork and knife paired in the center of a white ceramic plate on a pink background.] For many parents of a newly-diagnosed autistic child, a quick internet search for ‘autism’ tells them that changing their child’s diet is a smart first step towards “improving” autistic behaviors or other co-occuring conditions. Despite the popularity of “autism diets,” research shows insufficient proof that they do anything positive at all. Nevertheless, strictly regimenting the diet of autistic children continues to be a common parental practice. I was one of those autistic children who got put on a special diet, by parents who thought they were doing what was best for me. Though parents like mine may believe such a controlled diet is for the benefit of their child, my own experience on an…

When a Mom Says Something Works: The GFCF Diet

JoyMama elvis-sightings.blogspot.com My six-year old daughter Joy loves Baby Einstein videos, and has found them mesmerizing since infancy. I’ve heard them so often that I practically know them by heart, including the promotional material at the end of the VHS tapes. In one of the self-advertising sequences, Julie Aigner-Clark, creator of Baby Einstein, is heard to exclaim, “As moms, we’re all looking for help … and if a mom tells you, ‘Try this, it works,’ you automatically try it if you’re a mom!” She wasn’t talking about alternative therapies for autism. But as the mother of a child on the autism spectrum, I hear the echoes. One place I heard such reverberations was in a Time magazine article on Jenny McCarthy and autism1, in the March 8, 2010 issue. Actress and former Playboy Playmate Jenny McCarthy, whose son was diagnosed with autism in 2005, has become the celebrity-mom face of…