When I was working in the field of Early Intervention, providing play therapy to those children ages birth to three years old who were delayed or disabled in one or more of six developmental areas, I had personal contact with quite a few children diagnosed in the Autism Spectrum of Disorders. Specifically Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). I was the main therapist or one of a number of therapists for many of these children and have come to believe that there is indeed, a direct link between Autism and allergies.
As a woman who has suffered from allergies for approximately ten years now, I know the symptoms entirely too well. A runny nose. Itchy eyes. But beyond these is the prevalence of eczema as well. Not all people who have allergies suffer from eczema, but many people who have eczema also have allergies to some extent (for confirmation, please refer to ( http://www.webmd.com/allergies/guide/eczema. ) A few of the children I treated had eczema to some extent. One little boy diagnosed as having Autism would sit there during our therapy sessions scratching the patches that had flared-up in the crevice of his knees, on his arms, on his legs.
With the population of children being so young, they weren’t often tested for allergies during my time with them, but there were always suspicions. One little girl that another therapist and I worked with was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder. She did not suffer from eczema, but in speaking with my co-therapist and her pediatrician as well, she altered her daughters diet. In her particular instance, she removed dairy, and months later, the progress that this little girl made was phenomenal. She still displayed symptoms to warrant her diagnosis, but the progress would have made any mother and therapist beam with pride. We suspect the absense of dairy in her diet helped to aid in this transformation.
My little boy with the terrible eczema flare-up’s never did have an altered diet and I often wonder if this would have indeed helped him. I think about the link of eczema to allergies and the link that I personally believe could be there for some children between allergies and Autism.
I am by no means giving false hope here. I don’t want to convey a cure. I simply want to express that if there happens to be a link, is it not worth it then to speak to your child’s pediatrician and therapist/s and see if an altered diet is a course you’d like to persue? I don’t belive it can hurt. And if it happens to help, even in the slightest, then it’s a job well done.
For information on Autism and it’s characteristics, please refer to the following articles: