by Daniel C. Dantini, M.D.
I have had a very long professional and personal interest in food allergies and their relationship to developmentally disabled children and physical disease. My approach to research using food allergy indicates foods can contribute significantly or play an important role in autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), which is usually very serious and permanent.
In the early 1970s, I received a research grant from NIMH to study autism and its relationship to food allergies. The reviewers of the grant found the results to be too good to be believed and declined to publish the findings. The results showed that autism is curable by diet alone if caught early enough. As you have seen in your own experience, the medical community can be extremely close-minded when it comes to the treatment of autism.
I have found that delayed food allergies in an autistic child are unique to each one as well as their dietary habits. With milk and wheat being among the most common allergens, their limitation leads to success in a large number of cases. Those children who do not respond to the milk and wheat-free (GF/GC) diet probably have other foods contributing to ASD symptoms. Through very specialized testing (the Sage ELISA Test - a multi-pathway delayed-food allergy test) I have been able to accurately pinpoint other common foods that effect autism, ADHD, and hyperactivity in children.
Early diagnosis of autism is extremely important if diet manipulation is to manage this problem. Since the medical community is extremely resistant to the concept that simple foods cause chronic diseases, pediatricians are reluctant to make an early diagnosis of any chronic disease. I just recently participated in the treatment of a young boy from Philadelphia whose mother knew he was autistic but his pediatrician refused to make a diagnosis until the child was three and a half years old. This particular child has made remarkable progress according to his mother in just six short months.
Five years ago, I started working with the doctors at the Southwest Autism Research Center (SARC) in Phoenix, Arizona. One of the SARC founders (Dr. Cindy Schneider now at The Center for Autism Research and Education - CARE) confirmed that early diagnosis and elimination of all delayed food allergies works. One of her early patients, who had been diagnosed in another clinic and was reconfirmed as autistic by the UCLA Medical Center Pediatric Department, in now entirely normal after having been tested and treated under the Sage program. In addition, she said today no one would diagnose this boy as being autistic. Presently, he is in a regular first grade classroom and is doing exceptionally well.
In 2001, I had the pleasure of meeting with a mother of a formerly autistic boy (now 18 years old) that we successfully treated by elimination of delayed food allergies 16 years ago. The doctors at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center had diagnosed her son as being autistic and offered her absolutely no hope. She heard about my research with delayed food allergies and believed that foods were hindering her son's development. After two months of the removal of specific foods from his diet, she reintroduced each food and then recorded his behavioral and bodily changes. The permanent elimination of those foods having an adverse effect on her son brought about great improvement in her son's behavior and bodily functions. Afterwards he went to a special center for rehabilitation at the DT Watson Center where they were successfully able to rectify his developmental deficiencies. He entered into a public school kindergarten class and has been in regular public schools ever since. He is now graduated from a small western Pennsylvania high school having a normal teenage life (played in the band and run cross-country) as a growing and very active teenager. He graduated in 2005 and now attends Pennsylvania State University. He obtained his PA drivers license at age 16. Before he got the drivers license he stated to his mother, "When I am willing to take on the responsibility of being a driver, I will get my drivers license."
I cannot stress enough the importance of the early diagnosis of autism, the significance of testing for delayed food allergies, and the complete elimination of the allergic foods from a child's diet. This early intervention will be the most critical intervention you will do for your autistic child, especially if the child is under the age of three years or before full brain maturation.
Daniel C. Dantini M.D.