Last week Shelby had a GI virus. She doesn’t get them super often but since she is still in diapers, they are a rather big pain. As most readers know, Shelby was diagnosed with autism at age 2. She is now six and a half. And while changing her diapers (and sometimes having her “help” by attempting to change them herself) and trying to get her to sit on the potty and do SOMETHING is annoying, something else is even moreso. People’s “suggestions” that her problems are solely diet related and they KNOW the solution.
It’s annoying because we’ve investigated all of that. The majority of her GI issues are viruses. She goes to public school. She has to have assistance in washing her hands and sometimes she puts things that are not food in her mouth. Like a lot of kids. But because autism is in the lexicon when it comes to Shelby, immediately people who do not know us well, particularly other parents on the autism spectrum will pipe up with diet advice. She’s gluten-intolerant or allergic, no, it’s soy! No, it must be casein! Au contraire, we’ve eliminated, she still got sick and worse yet, she went on a hunger strike.
Right now gluten sensitivities are on the rise it appears in the general population. Or at least it appears that way. So even more people tend to be quick with their arm-chair diagnoses. The only time Shelby has ever had issues with food we’ve narrowed to two foods. Fast food french fries and corn/popcorn. Now corn is one of the alternatives to a gluten-free diet, so we’d be really in the hole if she was gluten-intolerant. But it’s not a vegetable, it’s non-soluble fiber, so she maybe has a sensitivity to that. The french fries seems to just be a fast food thing because fries at home have no affect on her and it happens with fries from all fast food places.
And Shelby doesn’t have diarrhea more than an average kid does (I live with two, so I should know) and it typically coincides with a virus going through her classroom or the boys having one. I know people mean well, but we’ve lived in “autism-land” for four and a half years now, so, yeah. We kinda know our kid and her habits. And I realize that plenty of people both off and on the autism spectrum have benefited from eliminating these things from their diets, but that means nothing for anyone else necessarily, truly it does not.
In the grand scheme of things, this is a pretty minor annoyance I live with but I feel like it’s one that people should be aware of because no one likes receiving parenting advice and that’s kind of what this boils down to. And for an issue that I’m not really “battling” all the time.