Get your kids tested for food allergies
Indulge me for a minute. I am going to say just how wonderful I think food allergy testing is, and how much it has changed the life of my second son. I'm not even talking about the kinds of allergies that are life threatening with anaphalactic reactions. I'm talking about the kinds of allergens that have much more subtle effects.
My little boy is nearly seven. From the time he was two I was a little bit concerned about him. Occasionally I would wonder if he had ASD like his brother because his language was delayed and he seemed odd, but then he would do enough neurotypical things to alleviate my concerns for a couple of months.
The things which worried me included: delayed language, inaccurate and slightly incomprehensible language once it actually began, inability to express himself clearly, some specific concerns highlighted by the speech therapist at our school, and a definite lack of interest in fine motor skills at preschool.
Things which impacted on our family life included: a very definite inflexibility - he was almost better at throwing tanties than his brother, stubbornness, holding grudges and bursting into tears at small things.
He was a terrible eater. He only wanted to eat cheese and vegemite sandwiches or cheese and pasta for every meal. He would eat fruit, but no meat and no vegetables. And he would throw a massive tantrum if I tried to get something he didn't like into his mouth.
When he was tested for auditory processing at the age of six, he was not competent. I can't remember the results but they weren't good and his performance at school and with friends was clearly suffering.
Three months ago our doctor said, "I think this boy is allergic to something. I'll order a blood test and we'll see."
We paid $200 to have a comprehensive food allergy test done from Allergy Services Pty Ltd and my poor little boy was devastated to find out that he was allergic to cows milk (found in cheese), brewers yeast (found in vegemite), sulfites (found in just about everything) and oats (found in anzac biscuits - also one of his faves).
Still, he rallied, and we found alternatives, and he has been free of the allergens for about two months now.
And He Is A Different Child.
He is more flexible, he is sweeter, he is more accomodating and he is playing with other children. And he is waaaay more coherent in his conversations. We're actually having conversations that mean something. He's asking a whole lot of wonderful 'why' and 'what' questions and really wanting to find out about his world. He's making great connections and he's developing empathy and a real delight in relationships.
If you can squeeze the $200, this test is worth it for any child you're a little bit concerned about. I'd like to get all of mine done (too bad I had four kids... that's a lot of money...) over time and see if things change.
Food allergy testing is definitely worth it, and if you're scared of changing your child's diet, it's really not that hard. There are lots of great alternatives out there these days - even for a cheese and vegemite sandwich. We use sulfite free bread from Bakers Delight, spread with miso paste and sheep's cheese. He thinks it's yummo.