My daughter Bronte is 6½ years old and now in her first year at school. Aside from reflux until the age of 12 months, she was an absolutely delightful baby who was happy and content. She slept 12 hours through the night by 10 weeks old, hit all her milestones and was fairly average in our mothers group.

When Bronte was approximately 14 months old this deteriorated and we had a child who was frustrated, defiant, irritable and downright difficult. She was naughty on purpose and was impossible to discipline. She also developed eczema at this time but grew out of it after a couple of years. We felt that we were failing as parents. Our first son was born when Bronte was 17 months and he has been a delight. As our sons have grown up we realised that they were ‘normal’ kids and Bronte wasn’t.

When Bronte was three and her younger brother was speaking so much better than her, we had her hearing tested. She had the worst glue ear the ENT specialist had seen in years. She had grommets put in the next week and we were reassured that her behaviour and speech would return to normal reasonably quickly. We started speech therapy to help her catch up but things didn't improve. She didn't respond to the speech therapy as firstly she didn't have the concentration and secondly she simply seemed unable to attempt what was asked of her.

At three and a half she was assessed and we were told she had a global developmental delay of 19 months. That was almost half her life. At this point toilet training had become a huge issue. She was the first in mothers group to use the toilet but was always dribbling urine in her pants ven after recently going to the toilet. She resisted every trip to the toilet and it became a battle. She used to hide and poo in her undies every day and didn’t seem to care if we were out.

She was also very tactile and was into anything she could get her hands on that she could smear and finger paint in. This included dog poo. Many times she would emerge with her body covered on hers or the dogs poo. I hate to admit to how many times she ate dog poo and survived.

By the time she got to four she was still attending speech therapy and was about to commence early intervention. We were desperate patents and lucky to still be married at times due to the stress. We were ready to try anything. After many hours searching the internet, my next attempt to normalise our daughter was an elimination diet. A very daunting venture. With the support of my mother who stayed with us and a fairly skeptical husband we made it through the first three weeks. My husband then changed his tune quickly as a different child emerged into our lives. She virtually toilet trained overnight. The painting of poo ceased. Her language improved exceptionally. Everyone in her life commented about what a different kid she was. I will never forget bursting into tears at around the three week mark (in the diet) when she said ‘thank you mummy’ one day I was driving her to speech therapy. It was the first time she showed any emotion or acknowledgement of our feelings.

We continued the diet and commenced challenges. Two hours after eating chocolate and banana she went berserk. She stood on the carpet and wet her pants in front of us. She pooed her pants. She was defiant and oppositional again. And biggest of all, we couldn’t understand a word she said. We now know she is intolerant to amines in a huge way.

Bronte has since been diagnosed with dyspraxia, a language and motor disorder. She still requires speech therapy. Her private speech therapist has since done the diet with her child and encourages other parents to look into it also as she saw such a big change in Bronte’s speech and development.

We took Bronte to a paediatrician six weeks into the elimination diet to discuss her developmental delay. He bluntly told us that some kids were unlucky enough to be developmentally delayed and we shouldn’t expect too much from her. He said we would be lucky if she was able to catch a bus when she grew up. She would be able to do that now. When I told him that were currently on an elimination diet and had seen huge results he said he would never expect a parent to go to that much trouble and would therefore never suggest it. His last words were ‘When you are ready to put her on Ritalin come back and see me’. I walked out of there disgusted and feeling very sorry for the parents who are told this when they are searching for help. I have to say that that elimination diet we did with our daughter Bronte, with help from you and our allergist, has absolutely changed my daughter's (and the rest of our family's) life. - Wendy, NSW