About eight months ago, in December 2012, my 3-year-old son qualified for special education services related to autism spectrum disorder through the school district. Though he had (and still has) no official, medical diagnosis, his behavior and development match characteristics of ASD. He was very late to talk–in fact, even babbled very little as a baby–and though he talks now, even in full sentences, most of his communication is echolalia, meaning he repeats things he’s heard others say, things he’s heard in a movie, lines we’ve read in books. He has little eye contact, rarely engages with peers in play, and is very averse to change. After we heard the word “autism” from the school district, I immediately called several autism specialists in our area to schedule an appointment to have him officially evaluated and diagnosed. Each place put us on a wait list. We are still waiting.
In the meantime, I’ve been learning as much as I can about autism and treatments. Of course, as anyone beginning to look into autism knows, the gluten-free, casein-free diet popped up again and again in my reading. I’d heard about it a couple years ago and admittedly scoffed openly. Live without milk? Impossible. I love milk. I love cheese. I practically live on these. GFCF sounded like a crazy, new-age trend. But the more I read about it and its connection with autism, the more it sounded reasonable.
Maybe it does work–and isn’t it my job as a mother to try anything I can to help my son? As long as we approached it correctly and made sure Logan still received all the nutrients he would otherwise, what could it hurt to try, at least?
Well, for one, it would be more expensive. And it would be more stressful. After all, I hate cooking–in fact, even going grocery shopping gives me anxiety. Too many choices, too many prices, too many people…ever since I can remember, shopping for and preparing food has been a nightmare for me. There was at least one year in my life where I ate little more than fettuccine Alfredo TV dinner because the microwave was the only kitchen appliance I could handle. I called myself vegetarian for several years not only because I am concerned about animal welfare but also because the thought of touching and cooking meat scares the hell out of me. I told myself I’d learn to cook when I had children. But I didn’t–thankfully (or perhaps because) my husband is a terrific cook.
So how could I, a girl who panics at the thought of boiling water, learn to cook anything GFCF?
So we let the thought of a GFCF diet percolate for several months.
Feeling: Extremely anxious and frustrated