Friday, April 29, 2011

The Chocolate Effect, 14 years later

Once I wrote a little story about a teenage girl and her brother with autism who got his hands on a piece of chocolate. Although the story was fictional, the events and conditions in the story were based on my own experiences. Those experiences I had as a child really framed my mind for receiving the DAN! program as treatment for my son because I knew firsthand the effects that certain foods/toxins had on my brother. (Read The Chocolate Effect here.)

Now fast forward 14 or so years later, I am now an adult, (well...sort of!) and my brother is 18 years old and is spending some time staying with my family along with our mother. On Easter Sunday they both attended church with us. My brother received such great treatment and acceptance that he attended his Sunday School classes on his own. The teacher for his first Sunday School class approached me, saying that she had cupcakes for the class and she didn't know if my brother is in the same treatment as my son. I told her no, but thank you and PLEASE scrape the icing off of his cupcake. (Too much sugar is a HUGE trigger for bad behavior!) My brother seemed to do pretty well on Sunday, but on Monday, his behavior took a turn for the worse.

On Tuesday morning he was telling mom something like this: "In my class on Sunday I got a rice crispy treat shaped like an egg and it had m&ms in it. And I ate the whole thing! I was hoping that I would get to miss school! Too bad I was wrong!" A sweet teacher, (who did not know about the chocolate effect,) in his second Sunday School had given this to him. Mom was making him go to school, and this was his confession after he realized that all of his plotting, horrible behavior, and sabotaging his own gut came to no avail.

It has been a long week with the uptight, much more easily triggered teenage brother around. The chocolate effect wore off to a good extent by Thursday, and mom was actually able to get him to take a shower. (Thank goodness!) This morning I heard "Good Morning, Eli," when my son woke up and walked into the other room. In my story "The Chocolate Effect," I had the chocolate effect wear off in just one day. I was trying to make the story a good balance of positive as well as negative, but in reality, it takes many days to wear off.

My purpose in writing this is to point out that food can be a psychological trigger for abnormal behavior. Even for myself, I have food sensitivities and I can have altered, depressed moods if I eat gluten or too much of something else on my "no" list. Looking back, I just wonder at my son's old pediatrician, who is a very sweet man, but basically told me I should not take my autistic toddler off of milk. How much better our son's life is nowdays with special diet and biochemical intervention!

No comments: