My 3yr old son Jack is salicylate and benzoate intolerant. I began this journey after googling head banging and your website appeared with a wealth of information on  annatto160b. I eliminated everything we were consuming Kraft cheese, yoghurt, ice-cream etc and noticed a drastic improvement. My toddler no longer banged his head on the floor or the walls.
After doing a supervised elimination diet, we spent the greater part of last year learning about failsafe eating and adapting our lifestyle accordingly. We went through the stage of convincing pre-school and family members that salicylate intolerance really does exist and after providing them with fact sheets from your web site they are more understanding.
Jack has learnt his "happy" and "cranky" foods and even asks if certain foods have salicylate or colours in them. A great learning tool was the weekly grocery shopping.The fruit and veg department became our classroom as we would talk about salicylate and foods that make us feel happy or cranky. The curiosity of a then 2yr old is amazing.
Benzoate was our hidden problem though. It was not until severe reactions to phenergan and valium that we joined the dots. Jack required a CT brain scan so sedatives were prescribed. After giving Jack valium, 6hrs later and we were still driving around with a 2yr old singing Playschool songs in short hand and stating I feel funny.  Finally he fell asleep - yes that lasted for all of 15mins, we got the scan done and he was still bouncing off the walls at 11pm that night!
I have since learnt that poor Jack has been reacting his whole life. Baby panadol, bonjela, infacol - yes all salicylate and or benzoate as ingredients!  In reality we have been making things worse for Jack by giving him over the counter medications that people use everyday in an attempt to ease pain.
Since managing most of the food issues we are now noticing reactions to chlorine, air freshners ( at Nan's ) and perfume (visiting aunts).  A weekend visit to relatives has become a minefield of scents and hidden benzoates.
Like others I have read about we too notice a difference in behaviour after weekly swimming lessons in a chlorinated pool.  After many attempts we have finally got Jack to wear goggles, but he seems to compulsively lick or drink the pool water ( I am assuming he is getting some kind of fix from it). The level of aggression following lessons is what led us to draw the link. 
It is a constant battle with one so young who cannot fully verbalise what he is feeling, he just reacts with kicking, hitting, head butting, talking gibberish and constantly rubbing his nose and playing with his tongue. Jack's reactions last 8 days and at the end of the reaction he gets very upset and clingy. 
Dealing with food intolerance can be very isolating. When you hear comments that your child is a "horrid vicious child", as I have had said to me, it is upsetting. Or being told it would be good if you came to the birthday party late so we can have all the GOOD FOOD (junk full of colours and preservatives) before you arrive.
Perseverance does pay though and family and friends are noticing the difference. My parents can now distinguish between toddler behaviour and a chemical reaction. I would like to say a BIG THANK YOU for all the time and effort you put in to providing us novices with such a wonderful resource.There seems to be an endless amount of information we need to process in order to protect our children and your web site and cook books have been of tremendous assistance. Your efforts keep us sane!
UPDATE 3 years later: to re read our story (above) made me cry. I had forgotten just how far we have travelled on this journey to a new way of living. We still have our good and bad times, but  food is under control, it's just inhaled salicylate/benzoates that cause us the most grief.
Jack is now 6yrs old and in year 1 at school. I spent a considerable amount of time educating the principal and his teacher last year on food intolerance and fortunately they were open to being educated!  The Principal even made note of a new student having chemical intolerance in the school newsletter, and requested parents be aware that wearing fragrance in the classroom would have an adverse effect on one of the students.
As we all know this doesn't guarantee people will abide by the request, but after years of slogging away, to have the Principal accept the literature we provided him & be willing to assist, was a relief. He did liken food /chemical intolerance to when nut allergy firstly came about. He remembers a lot of scepticism re nut allergy & was willing to accept that food intolerance was a real issue for Jack; the greater community just wasn't aware of it.
The school toilets with the automatic air fresheners are our biggest problem at school. Again though the Principal arranged for Jack to use a toilet in the administration block that did not have an air freshener. This worked for most of kindergarten, but kids being kids the teasing about being different has kicked in, so now Jack is unwilling to go to the administration block for bathroom breaks (which is understandable).
Most of the kids in his class are fine about Jack having his own treats for special occasion days at school, but there are always 1 or 2 kids who like to remind him his food is different (yes, tastier/healthier and home made!). I take cup cakes to school at the start of each term for class birthdays and leave them in the freezer. The lady who runs the school canteen has been lovely, and lets me take homemade pizza or chicken nuggets in and she heats them up, so Jack can have a lunch order just like the other kids. 
On reflection we have been blessed with the staff we have encountered at school. I have gotten quiet good at smuggling my homemade chicken nuggets and French fries into McDonalds birthday parties. I did approach them about re-heating nuggets for me, but food safety standards wont allow them to. Now I heat them just before I leave and travel with a heated medipack in an insulated lunch bag.  Then there is another one with an ice brick in it for the homemade ice cream cake!
As I said food is the easy part. Shopping centres, toilets, theatres and  hotels are still places we try and not frequent too often. Even going to the Doctors is an issue, with other patients in the waiting room wearing fragrance, the hand sanitisers and air fresheners.
We love our Rainbow Air and are no longer scared about staying in hotels. Though I still do spend a lot of time researching establishments that we can access without going through lobbies/foyers and elevators. Caravan parks with cabins or your old fashioned single story motels are safest.
Again Sue, I want to thank you for your tireless efforts in guiding us and reminding us we are not alone. To be honest the bad days can be really bad when trying to calm a child high on chemical overload. It is exhausting. To know others in this forum understand and are experiencing similar is comforting. Those in my circle of friends try and understand, but until you see an outburst first hand, you can't fully understand. -  Nicole by email

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