Daniel J Vance

Only weeks ago I wrote a column about a dedicated woman raising her child with autism. Due to a healthy response to that column, here is another about autism, yet with a twist.

Deborah Lofink, 42, of Brewton, Alabama, worked as an attorney for six years before giving birth to son Gregory in 1996. ‘He was born somewhat premature,’ said Lofink in a telephone interview. ‘And he probably shouldn’t have received a vaccination the day he was born.’

Lofink said something seemed wrong from the start. As a baby, Gergory regularly stared into lights and couldn’t hold his head up when he should have. Then the Lofinks moved from Las Vegas to the Florida panhandle around 1998, where a neurological pediatrician officially diagnosed Gregory with autism, told Lofink that her son couldn’t recover and that he needed anxiety drugs.

‘First, I [told the pediatrician] the drugs weren’t acceptable,’ she said. ‘It seemed that the drugs were more for the parent than for the child. These were dark times. My four-year-old son did not speak, and at times he was a meltdown, obsessive-compulsive, screaming maniac child.’

A National Institutes of Health website states that children with ‘autism spectrum disorder’ demonstrate deficits in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, and have repetitive behaviors or interests. Autism may affect one child in 150.

The pediatrician, almost as an aside, told Lofink that some children improve after thoroughly eliminating any gluten and casein from their diets. Lofink can’t exactly explain the reasons why, but her son improved dramatically after starting the highly restrictive diet at age four, which eventually included eliminating almost all sugar.

She said that a ‘whole subculture’ exists on the Internet of people not happy with the lack of hope many medical professionals have for children with autism.

Over the years her son’s tested IQ has risen from about 90 before diet restrictions, to 100 a year after starting the diet, to 118 today at age eleven, which, she said, was a swing ‘outside the statistical probability.’

She said, ‘Everyone could see the huge difference the diet made.’ She stressed that a restrictive diet does not work for every child with autism, but for her son, the change worked well.

‘You can barely tell he is autistic now, as long as we give vitamin supplements and keep him on a highly restrictive diet,’ she said.

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