It isn't anything major. He just seems destined for an ADHD diagnosis but something about that seems a little off. I've wondered if he's on the autism spectrum despite the fact that his pediatrician assures me he's too verbal and affectionate for me to be looking for an autism diagnosis. When it is just me and the kiddo, everything seems normal — because he is my normal, even when he's repeating the same phrase over and over or I'm once again looking up the signs of Oppositional Defiance Disorder. When I see him around his K-4 peers, I realize it just seems harder for him to do what is expected of him. On some days. Other days, he's status quo. He's bright. It is just the concentration and ability to cooperate are missing sometimes. We were considering testing for who knows what, but I decided to look a little more closely at the Feingold diet before we go down that road.
I looked into the diet a little in January when Jenn the Greenmom wrote "Food to Dye For." At the time, I dismissed the idea. We buy mostly organic and I've been aware of behavior problems caused by food dyes for some time, so we eliminated them long ago. I couldn't conceive of eliminating salicylates when the child loves apples and he's so picky that I can't get him to eat many fruits and vegetables.
But when the kid had a meltdown the second day of preschool — and coincidentally the day after we ate a restaurant with seemingly healthy choices — I had to consider the diet. (If this is the ticket to my son's issues, I'll be forever grateful to Jenn for the post and Marcia's note about the Feingold Association in the comments.)
In the meantime, I'm fascinated by the examples of children helped by the diet in the packet I received in the mail and in the book Why Can't My Child Behave? And there are examples of artwork or handwriting by children on and off the diet. There are days by just-turned-5-years-old son colors beautifully in the lines and other days where he scribbles madly. Could it really be that preservatives or apple juice addle his brain?
His behavior is dramatically affected by red dye. He definitely can't have have candies, tattoos, anything with red dye. But apples and grapes? This is really tough for me to swallow. And a six-week elimination diet to see if it makes a difference seems daunting.
Have any of you tried the Feingold program? What was your experience?
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to cross-referencing my grocery list...