Autism Behaviour and Diet Case Study

by sue

From wild behaviour to getting a job

by Sue Kira, Naturopath & Clinical Nutritionist

Client name and identifying information changed

Tim was a 21-year-old adult with autism and serious behavioural issues, but his mental ability was that of a child.

Tim had flu that didn’t clear, even after his doctor prescribed antibiotics that did not get rid of the infection. After weeks of being sick, his mum Jan brought Tim to me.

On the client questionnaire, Jan mentioned Tim’s infection and referred to his mental disabilities and behavioural issues, which she brushed off in clinic as this was ‘just how things were’ for Tim. Yet his illness amplified his customary ‘normal’ intolerable behaviour, to being quite outrageous.

The saving grace for me was that Tim had been somewhat sedated so he didn’t create havoc at the clinic, which meant I could run tests while he was reasonably calm.

Tim’s blood indicated signs of allergy, yet Jan said no allergies or food challenges had ever been investigated or trialled.

First, we looked at his infection and I knew some herbs, probiotics and vitamins/minerals would sort that out quickly (which they did). At the same time, to help Tim’s immune system to get stronger faster, I recommended going off gluten, dairy and additives along with any processed foods, junk foods and most importantly sugar.

Jan looked terrified and told me that Tim would only eat ‘crap foods’, so I appealed to Tim directly. I caught him in a good moment of compliance, as he agreed to change his diet for me. He was a young man of honour, so we shook on our agreement and off they went.

Three weeks later, they returned with beaming smiles as the infection had cleared up and Tim’s behaviour was vastly improved and he was gentler. He still had other disabilities, but Jan said he was no longer a ‘behavioural nightmare’.

I don’t know precisely which of the food changes made the difference, but the family was so happy with his improved behaviour (and weren’t willing to go back to the old Tim) that they decided to change their diet and consequently, they all felt much better.

Three months later, I received an email and photo to let me know that Tim had improved so much that he was able to work at a special needs centre and was already in charge of his area. He was proud of himself and the family were delighted that he wasn’t beating up his younger siblings and smashing down the house.


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