My son James was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at the age of 2, characterized by a marked lack of speech and cognitive development, poor social and communication skills, and a series of repetitive and self-damaging behaviors.
Growing up I spent a great deal of time in the kitchen with my Grandmother (who was a nurse) and my Mother. In my Grandmother's kitchen we made everything from scratch, which was a great way to learn to cook. My family loves food so much, that my Mom became a personal chef. Over the years, Mom gave me many of her memorable recipes as well.
Prior to starting a family I worked in the television industry for several years doing Audio Post Production for America's Most Wanted, and working in Master Control for ABC News in the DC bureau (Nightline, This Week with George Stephanopolis, etc.) I also hold 3 degrees from Johns Hopkins University, and I've put my research skills to great use searching high and low for the best options to help our autistic son. The GAPS diet proved to be the cornerstone of his recovery process.
Our Family's Story
Before starting our special diet, James would often exhibit autistic behaviors such as flapping his hands, toe walking, and banging his head on the ground when frustrated. He would run around aimlessly in circles. He would repeat everything that was said to him (echolalia) without understanding a word of it. He did not point at objects. He did not talk very often, and when he did speak he used one word utterances like "cracker" or "train". As parents, when we spoke to him, he literally couldn't understand what we were saying to him. He never asked us any questions. Potty training was not even a consideration. He would obsessively play with trains for hours. He had no interest in opening Christmas presents, literally dropping them on the ground and walking away. He would play by himself, even in a roomful of children.
The first thing we tried was the Gluten Free / Casein Free diet. This worked great to eliminate stimming behaviors such as hand flapping and toe walking. But still the echolalia and general lack of comprehension persisted. I had read some testimonials from other moms about how the strict GAPS diet had helped their children, so we started it. I cooked everything from scratch, including our salad dressing. Within a year James was enrolled in regular preschool, speaking in complete sentences, using pronouns correctly, potty trained, playing with friends, and asking us who/what/when/where/why questions!