After nearly 4 years of significant sleep problems with my son, we now describe both our children as very good sleepers, and this is entirely due to diet.  My son is also doing extremely well in school, again entirely thanks to dietary changes.

Like you, we did the rounds of GPs, paediatricians, psychologists, social workers, OTs and child health nurses, and all the interventions and treatments helped a little, but nothing led to any significant improvement.  Not once was diet mentioned beyond ‘does he eat well?’

 We had a long appointment with a paediatric sleep specialist who went through our entire lifestyle and bedtime routine with us, before apologetically telling us that we were doing all the right things, and that he didn’t know what else he could suggest.  He made no reference to diet. 

Having seen the extreme improvement in sleep following dietary intervention with my son I was very keen to write and tell him, because I think he genuinely wanted to help us and couldn’t, and I could hardly believe that he had no knowledge of the significant impact diet can have on sleep. 

On further consideration, I decided that I would write to every health professional we had consulted with, because time and time again we were met with utter bewilderment.  My son’s behaviour looked a bit like OCD, ADHD, ADD, ASD, ODD and sensory processing disorder, but it didn’t quite fit the diagnosis, and the treatments were ineffective. If only food intolerance had been on someone’s list of differential diagnoses!

I posed the question on the facebook forum a while back, ‘how did people come to the realisation that diet was the issue?’  For most it was random chance, a friend of a friend had a child who had improved hugely from diet, or a class teacher had mentioned something. This is not how the diagnosis should be made.
 
I am attaching an example/suggested format for a letter that could be sent to health professionals (see below).

I will be writing to every health professional I have encountered in an attempt to both assist them in helping others, and to get food intolerance widely recognised as a diagnosis. - Ursula, by email

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Dear Dr <name of doctor>

Re: <Name of child>  DOB: <date of birth>

You may remember that we consulted with you around six months ago regarding our son John.  John has had a history of sleep problems since birth, including taking 2-3 hours to settle to sleep, night terrors, insomnia and excessive movement during sleep.  At that time you were unable to offer us any advice or treatment regarding these problems, which had remained unresolved despite behavioural intervention, careful attention to night time routine, and consistent age-appropriate bedtimes.

Following our consultation, we stumbled across the idea that sleep problems can be linked to food, even some foods which are normally perceived as healthy.  We have now been working with an accredited dietician for four months following the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH) Elimination diet.  I am very pleased to report that as a result of this intervention we no longer consider John to have any sleep problems whatsoever.  He now settles calmly to sleep within 15-30minutes, sleeps through the night, waking only very occasionally, maybe once every six weeks or so.  He also no longer suffers with night terrors.

I wanted to write and tell you about our experience in the hope that this information might benefit some of your other patients in future.  You can find more information about the RPAH elimination diet on their website: http://allergy.net.au, and also from the Food Intolerance Network: http://fedup.com.au which is a voluntary organisation promoting the RPAH work and providing evidence-based information regarding food intolerance.

I hope this information is of use to you, for us, it has been life-changing.

Yours sincerely,

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