Autism affects you too…not just the 1 in 42 boys diagnosed

Autism affects you too…not just the 1 in 42 boys diagnosed


When I saw this newly released statistic I cried….not only for the children but for the 1 in 42 mothers, who just like me five short years ago, received the news that their child has autism. I remember feeling like I was free falling into a deep black hole.  You can read more about that day here: Sammy and the day of his autism diagnosis.  I knew very little about autism at the time but I knew for sure our lives would never be the same. I now know that what seemed like at the time a devastating turn of events, took us on a journey that would forever change our lives and actually ended up being the greatest blessing ever.


I cannot express to you how much I love this child or how far I would walk for him (and my other kids too). There are no words to express the magnitude.  When people question how hard Sammy’s dietary restrictions must be on me, I think to myself, I would jump in front of a speeding semi truck for any of my children. Surely planning, buying and fixing a gluten, dairy, soy, egg and dye-free meal or snack is not a problem. It’s the least I can do.


I am further saddened today because I’ve watched this statistic drastically change in the past five years since Sammy’s diagnosis. I remember very vividly that it was 1 in 100 for children and 1 in 88 for boys in 2008 when Sam was intially evaluated. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released their new estimation: 1 in 68 for children and 1 in 42 for boys.  When is the number of children affected by this brain disorder going to stop growing? When are we as a society going to WAKE UP and begin to connect the dots between food and environment and what’s happening in the bodies of our children and their behavior? When are we going to stop sacrificing our children’s welfare because of our ignorance? I admit it. I blindly followed the crowd. If the medical world told me to vaccinate, I did it. I did not question the safety of it. If a product was sitting on the shelf, FDA approved, I assumed it was tested for human consumption and was safe. I had many allergies all my life and so did my children but I never questioned if those allergies/sensitivities were affecting our brain function and our ability to focus or learn. I just did not know enough. I was ignorant. I am ashamed of that. Ignorance does not always equal bliss.


People ask me why I do what I do…maintaining this blog and my newsletter, leading three gluten-free support group here in the bay area of San Francisco with over 650+ members, coaching other adults and parents on healthy eating at a low rate (I’ve been told I need to double my fees) and speaking for free wherever I can to share my story. I do it because I want to educate people. I want to be the same light that saved both my son and me. The light that came into my life and educated me to the connection between food, toxicity, our gut and brain function. In this process, if I help one child…if I am one part of a complex puzzle that helps save one child from the grips of autism, it will all have been worth it.  These children are worth saving. For every child that is diagnosed, there are two parents who cry and worry. They are worth saving too.

autism diet intervention

My “Sammy J” recovered from autism

As you may know, diet intervention played a key role in my son’s recovery from autism. Many professionals point out to me that the science behind dietary intervention just does not exist. I am puzzled by this as I think it does exist. Check out this blog post by a well respected nutritionist that specializes in autism, Julie Matthews of Nourishing Hope for Autism. The science is there. I just think we choose to see what we want to see sometimes and ignore what we don’t want to admit. I don’t need a “study” to verify what I witnessed in my own living room.  Gluten, dairy and food color dye affect my son’s brain function…NO DOUBT ABOUT IT. I do not need a doctor or scientist’s seal of approval or verification. I sometimes wonder if feeding my child a regular gluten cheese pizza and then locking him in the room with a couple of doubting doctors and scientists would change their perspective.  It makes me chuckle to think about it. My son gets very rigid and argumentative on gluten. Of course, it’s never going to happen because I would never do that to my son but one can have a little fun imagining what the “specialists” might learn, right?


USA Today published an article last weekend, Autism rates soar, now affects 1 in 68 children, stating that, “Autism rates climbed nearly 30% between 2008 and 2010 and have more than doubled since the turn of the century…” The reporter quoted Robert Ring, chief science officer for Autism Speaks, a research and advocacy group as saying, “Whether something in the environment could be causing the uptick remains ‘the million-dollar question,'” The article went on to report that, “New Jersey…autism rates were 50% higher than in the rest of the nation in 2000, and they remained that much higher in 2010.” What’s in New Jersey that’s potentially causing this increased rate? Could it be in the soil, the air, the water, the housing or maybe even within the culture…what they’re eating…maybe all these factors weigh in? We definitely have tribal patterns of behaving and consuming. Again, this remains the “million dollar question.”

Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) quoted in a recent post, “if you weren’t worried about autism before, you need to be worried now.” They report that the annual cost of autism is $137 billion a year. Every child that is diagnosed receives some level of therapy, usually state funded…STATE FUNDED…YOUR TAX DOLLARS. Autism affects you. More importantly, every time a a child, a mother or a father suffers, we all suffer. Autism affects you.  I’ve been told that these statistics are generally about four years behind so the true reality is that this number is actually even lower. TACA featured a video in their article to drive home the point…what will it take? 1 in 30 kids, 1 in 20 kids, 1 in 10 kids…before we take action….before we wake up and realize we have an epidemic on our hands. As I look around and watch the way we consume food and toxicity in our environment, I shutter and fear the new modern day “fall of the Roman Empire” is upon us. I’ve bought a megaphone. If you hear of some crazy mother standing on a corner shouting out about the dangers of our food and environment and how it’s affecting our children (our future), it’s probably me.

I will be speaking throughout the bay area of San Francisco on the topic of food and brain function along with Dr. David Traver. Email if you live in the area and are interested in attending. I will send you an invite. Email:

On a lighter note, if nail polish wasn’t so toxic, I think I’d get nails done like this for autism awareness month. SUPER COOL. Don’t forget to wear blue this month.


On another lighter note, my oldest son just got a tattoo against my wishes so I thought…if you can’t beat em, join em. I’m considering one of these below. Which one do you prefer? Leave a comment and let me know.

Warrior Mom Tattoo Option #1



Warrior Mom Tattoo Option #2



I personally like option #2…Support, Educate, Advocate and Love. Smile, it’s autism awareness month. Don’t just share the topic, stand up and do something about it. Share my story. Maybe, just maybe, it will save one more child.








  1. My nephew with autism is about 25. At 19 or so he additionally developed alternating catatonia and aggression. I have mentioned foods many times, receiving disengaging responses from his parents. Told them about Sammy who is much younger, “perhaps with less years of damage” they replied vaguely. I guess changing food is more than his attentive parents can deal with or envision as helpful. I do not live in the depths of my nephew’s disorders as his parents do yet feel sad I have stopped trying to be helpful.

    • Hi Francine,
      Yes, autism is a complex disorder to address. Every child is bio individual so what works for one, might not work for another. It does take quite a lot of energy and focus to keep exploring and searching for answers. In some cases, lots of money too. I feel sad that there are so few doctors and specialists that really understand what is happening in the bodies and brains of these children. So often, the parent are to left to try and figure it out for themselves. I learned more from other mothers during this process than I did any doctors. I met the good doctors much later after Sam’s recovery. One day we will figure this out. Put aside the rise in autism, our lifestyles have become very toxic and I am sure this is affecting our health and wellness in ways we have yet to comprehend.

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