Many of you know that three of my four children have Autism Spectrum Disorders. Some of you also know that the youngest of the boys with ASD (who also has Type 1 Diabetes) has a history of aggressive behavior. It's hard to say what all factors are involved in the recent increase in his aggressive meltdowns--the transition to middle school, the start of puberty, the unpredictability of the diabetes--but regardless of the cause(s), the behavior has become a much larger concern over the last few months. In addition to the meltdowns at home he is having them at school as well.
We have connected with a BCBA (board certified behavior analyst) who has agreed to evaluate our son at home and at school and see if we can get these behaviors under control. The alternative is to seek an out-of-home placement. I've spoken with a few people about options and the best recommendation I've gotten is "next time he has a meltdown, call the police." Naturally that's not what the parent of a child with special needs wants to hear, but a sheriff's deputy I spoke with allayed some of my fears with regard to what would happen should that phone call become necessary.
And now, we interrupt this wall of text to bring you a refreshing picture...
The picture is linked to her Etsy store, if you'd like more info on her work.
Back to the subject...In the mean time, I've gone back to something I've researched off and on over the years since the boys were diagnosed...a gluten-free and casein-free diet. There has not been much in the way of scientific research devoted to this topic in the States, so mostly I'm relying on anecdotal American evidence combined with information from studies done in Europe. Certainly there is no guarantee that this diet would be helpful, it certainly has not helped everyone who has tried it, but the information I've found indicates that there is a fair chance it would help my boys, at least a little.
Gluten-free is completely doable. My husband was diagnosed with Celiac Disease several years ago, so we're already comfortable with avoiding gluten. Casein-free is more challenging. Casein is in all dairy products, and several things you wouldn't think would have any milk or milk derivatives in them. Even most margarines are out, but there are alternatives available in the area, and what we can't find locally we can drive to LaCrosse for, or order online. If this helps either of the boys, it will be worth the time, the effort, the cost, and any frustration that comes as I figure out which recipes work and which result in excellent doorstops and paper-weights.
Lest anyone worry, we are consulting doctors and a nutritionist about this. The boys have an appointment on Monday where we will discuss the benefits, challenges, research, and see if our GP can find out if insurance would be willing to pay for some tests to see if certain proteins are not being broken down properly by the boys' digestive systems. Why the insurance company can't tell me that information, I don't know, but that's life.
Here's another picture. This time it's a puppy!
Now...how will this impact my writing? Well the simple fact is that I haven't been able to write lately. No ideas will come to me in the midst of all of this. There's a brief window of a few hours between dropping our youngest son off at school and waiting to see if the phone rings and we need to either go and help or bring him home early, and my brain is not at its best during that time. When the kids get home, any chance of accomplishing anything goes out the window. So really the impact on my writing is a moot point. What it boils down to is that I'm taking a sort of leave of absence from the work I haven't been getting done anyway.
My theory is that IF the diet helps, and IF we can attain some semblance of normality day-to-day, I'll be able to finally get back to work. When I do, the priority will of course be finishing The DeFord Chronicles, Part II.
And I will add a self-congratulatory note that I may finally get an office out of this. It will be necessary to add some counter space in the kitchen as I'll be using certain small appliances regularly, and it would not make sense to keep dragging them to and from storage--which means we need to move other things around, and my tiny corner needs to go elsewhere. It may be that my files and research materials go to the "office" and my desk stays in the kitchen area, while the laptop travels between the two locations as needed.
Chances are that in the coming month or three I will be very, very busy baking/cooking homemade GF/CF foods, calculating carbohydrates, and dealing with the inevitable upset when the kids don't like a replacement food. The blog will continue to be updated with interviews (mostly of historical figures, but occasionally of living people) and the odd narrative or musing from yours truly. I will continue to be randomly active on Twitter and Facebook as well. And of course I will answer emails, and respond to any comments or questions. Do let me know about any good books you've read--not writing has no effect on my reading addiction--and drop me a line any time.
See you around,