We read both this book and The Kid-Friendly ADHD & Autism Cookbook when embarking 3 months ago on our gluten-free, casein-free diet for our 3 year old daughter, diagnosed with autism. The effects of the diet were immediately apparent. While I was skeptical about its possible positive influence (b/c my dd didn't suffer from the frequent ear infections, bowel problems, or infections that others seem to have cured by the diet), the results were almost miraculous. Contrary to the withdrawal symptoms the author describes, my usually lethargic daughter actually became quite hyperactive for the first week or two. Then, it evened out and suddenly, she's having conversations (although she was always verbal, it was very scripted and was mostly manding, which was a vast improvement over the small vocabulary she had when diagnosed-->thanks to a year's worth of ABA therapy). She told her first joke. Within the same week or two, she quit using her pacifier at night and started sleeping soundly. Her occupational therapist told me 5 weeks in that my dd was a completely different girl. She was focused, on task (at least for that session for the first time) and cooperated throughout the hour long session. No, her autism wasn't cured yet, but the speech improvements, the longer attention spans, her improved social interest, shrunken pot belly, and improved physical coordination over just 3 months, has prompted me to explore biomedical treatments.
My criticisms of the book though is that I think it was incredibly overwhelming and scary for someone who was on the fence like me about embarking on the large burden of transforming their kitchen and cooking. She was almost extremist about her positions--suggesting that you buy entirely separate utensils and appliances. I simply can't afford to do that and implying that not finding success "because I didn't implement the diet fully or correctly or consistently" [paraphrased] hurts more than helps parents who are seeking answers. I would normally knock only one star off for this reason, but because I find so much value in the diet and its miraculous potential for ASD kids, I am further disappointed that the book makes it seem that the only people who pursue this diet are crackpots. I would highly recommend the The Kid-Friendly ADHD & Autism Cookbook; it is much more accessible and even-handed.
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