Robert’s Big Moment

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I have a really smart kid.

Well, I have three smart kids, but one of them is showing a whole lot more self-awareness than I thought was possible for him.

As you may know, Robert has been tentatively diagnosed with mild autism. When I was reading up on diet changes that might help him, I read about gluten sensitivities possibly affecting children with autism. Since I have a gluten sensitivity/ allergy and we are aware that Robert is very sensitive to outside stimuli, I figured cutting out gluten for him might help us manage some of the more difficult symptoms.

At first I didn’t really tell him much about it. I just started substituting gluten-free foods in to his diet. I would bring rice pasta over to great-grandma’s house so he could still have Sunday Spaghetti and buy gluten-free waffles for quick breakfasts. I figured it was easier to just do it because Robert doesn’t have room in his busy little head for that sort of information.

Yesterday, however, Robert confronted gluten head on. There was a family birthday and I prepared by bringing sherbet and gluten-free ice cream cones to the party so Robert could have a sweet treat and not feel left out when everyone was having cake. Well, he started asking questions about what had gluten in it and why he was trying to avoid it. He has been much less of a wild animal since we started cutting it out and I think he is realizing that it’s a good change for him.

“Does pizza have gluten?” he asked as he slurped down his sherbet.

“Yup. Except for the pizza I make. That is okay to have.”

“So, even the pizza at school,” Robert contemplated for a few minutes. “Can you pack me lunches for school so I can not have gluten?”

I was so proud! I hadn’t approached the subject of what to do about school lunches. I was going to wait until after the house had been purged completely of gluten to start on that. But, bless his heart, Robert took control of that one and asked me to start making his lunches again so he would know what he was eating was good for him. It might not sound like much, but for a seven year old with a history of doing everything to prevent his own self-preservation, this is enormous.

I will gladly pack you lunches, little man!

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