[581] Three responses on behavioural effects of Down Syndrome (September 2007)

"A great improvement in my son who has Down Syndrome"

Your books are fantastic and I have noticed a great improvement in my son who has Down Syndrome and was recently diagnosed with ADD. Apparently Ritalin was our next step! This information should be given to all Maternal Health Centres and it would save families a lot of unnecessary arguing and disharmony! - by email

Diet, sneaky poos and Down Syndrome

I have been reading your website for over a year now, after stumbling across the information on sneaky poos.

About 2 years ago our son who is now 11 and has Down Syndrome, began soiling his pants on a daily basis, rarely at school but often up to six times in the evening. I stumbled across some information about Failsafe on a parenting website and when scanning through the fact sheets, found the information on "sneaky poos" It described our situation perfectly. So after reading lots and lots of information on the Fed Up site, we, or should I say "I", along with one extremely sceptical husband, set about reducing salicylates in my son's diet to see if it made any difference. His diet was basically a salicylate feast - spaghetti bolognaise probably 4 -5 times a week, laden with hidden vegetables (mostly zucchini) and followed by a bowl of either grapes, strawberries or cherry tomatoes (that was lunch), peanut butter on toast for breakfast, dinners included tacos, lasagne with hidden high salicylate vegetables, various stir frys with worcestershire, soy, tomato, oyster sauce etc. He was also hugely into fruit salad. As I'm sure you've heard over and over, I thought we were providing him with a really healthy diet and couldn't understand why he would be unwell all the time.

Anyway we took the plunge, and within maybe three days the soiling had ceased and there were no more stomach aches. I was pleased with the results, however my husband still believed it was another of my harebrained ideas until I tested the salicylates about a month later with a huge fruit salad. My son scoffed a bowl after dinner and another for breakfast the following day. And by lunch time the next day we were back to square one. From that day on my husband has been as
vigilant as I am. I must admit, I missed all the summer fruits last season, but only having one pair of undies in the wash each day is worth it.

After going low salicylate and cutting out other nasties, we also noticed a definite behavioural improvement in our son. One thing in particular was his change in motivation, especially getting ready for school. Before the diet, I had a daily struggle with him to get dressed, as if he had the choice, he would stay home every day. After getting strict with his food, he started to just take his clothes from me and say "thanks mum" and next thing he would be dressed.

On the strict diet, he seems to be so much more agreeable and able to be redirected or reasoned with. He used to lose his temper regularly especially with our older son. Now, instead of losing his temper, he will asking calmly for help - like to find a DVD or figure out which remote he needed to change channels. His school teachers have commented on how well he concentrates this year, they were unaware that we had made any changes to his diet. The teachers have also commented that he no longer acts the fool to gain attention, and is much happier to sit and do school work, and be like everyone else.

I have also discovered that he is intolerant of MSG. He used to be addicted to corn chips, we cut those out early on in our failsafe journey. When he later ate other flavoured chips I noticed every time he had them he would cough continually for several minutes. At first I thought he was choking on the chips, as he sometimes has trouble swallowing but then it clicked - it was basically MSG causing an asthma attack.

The low salicylate diet has been a life saver for us with our son. I am a huge fan of failsafe!!! - by email

“Low salicylate diet for DS”

I have a friend who is into failsafe also, she has a 2-year-old with Down Syndrome on a low salicylate diet. Behaviour can be a definite challenge when it comes to DS and I'm sure most families never suspect food intolerance as a contributing factor. - by email