Competent, capable, different not disabled

Landing on the beach on Barra

Gluten-Free Diet (cont.)

From talking to others, I believe that the diet positively influences mental health and flexibility of thinking. 


I don’t know for certain if everyone on the spectrum will benefit from this diet, since autism is believed to have a number of different causes. However, I do not personally know of anyone on the spectrum who has tried the diet properly but who has NOT found a positive effect.


I am a huge fan of this diet and support it whole-heartedly. However, this diet can be very powerful and is not to be messed with! Undertaking this diet should be done with the same seriousness, commitment and support as if you were going to be quitting drugs.


There are two reasons for this:


1.           The diet is difficult (since wheat and milk are very common Western foods), and getting it wrong is painful. Whilst I ate wheat all the time, my body had a level of tolerance to it and I had continual but small stomach pains. Now, if I accidentally eat wheat, the tolerance is not there, I will be in serious pain. Everyone responsible for the person doing the diet must ensure the diet is adhered to at all times. One person sabotaging the diet because they don’t believe in it will cause a lot of pain. It is probably better not to do the diet at all then to have someone going on and off gluten repeatedly.


2.           This diet may significantly improve someone’s developmental level! Whilst this may not sound like a problem, it can bring up some difficulties that did not exist before. For example, a change in brain chemistry could make an adult want to have friends for the first time, but since this is completely new, the skills to do this will most likely not be there. Additional learning, such as appropriate personal space boundaries, will have to take place. The person may need support if the diet gives them a huge developmental leap such as this. This is not such an important concern for children – improving their developmental level will have big advantages for them and because they are developing relatively quickly at any rate. However, what about for an adult receiving part-time support by social services who are not expecting such a development?


One big change can be for a person who was previously very under-sensitive to their circumstances and the effect they are having on the world, suddenly changing and becoming much more self-aware and sensitive. I personally think this is a good thing, but it is not easy to make this transition.


When you start the diet, you become very sensitive to even very small quantities of the offending foods. 



To contact, e-mail: debi@aspiedebi.com

Me, skating around a church hall in shoes with wheels on: 


“Have you left school yet?”


“Uh yes, I’m nearly 30.”