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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…

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Parents: Don’t Hide Your Children’s Autism Diagnoses From Them

Reid Knight Dear Parent who is considering not telling your child about their autism: Like many autistics, I found out about my autism through Google. Unlike many autistics, Googling didn’t lead me to a self-diagnosis of autism (though I view self-diagnosis as just as valid as a professional diagnosis). My parents only told me I was autistic after looking at my internet history, and finding out that I already knew. I was fourteen years old when, out of curiosity, I Googled the doctor I had been seeing for as long as I could remember — and discovered that the medication cocktail I had been taking since I was a toddler was actually an “alternative” treatment for autism. For twelve years, I was given 10 to 20 pills each day, without being told what they were for. I was also subjected to Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) and other therapies without being…