Saturday, November 17, 2012

Losing Him

A week ago today Kenny and I decided to take gluten out of Shane's diet. His behavior had spiraled out of control and we were grasping at straws. I knew that eliminating gluten out of your diet for all kinds of reasons wasn't unheard of. Kenny did a little research and decided that it was worth a try.

For various reasons we kept gluten out of Shane's diet for his first two years of life. Kenny has several members of his family that are gluten free for various reasons as well. I've had numerous friends that are gluten for, too. So I wasn't scared to jump into this, I just knew that it would take some energy and these days I don't feel like I have lots of energy left, but ahead we went anyways.

Sunday morning he had his last bit of gluten for breakfast. Quickly after breakfast he had an insane melt down over a minor incident with Adalyn. He went into a rage with a tantrum, hitting and screaming. A full on mess.

From there on out he has not had any gluten. Since that morning he has not gone into any major rages, has not hit us, been aggressive or threatened to hit us. We really had no idea what taking him off gluten would do, but we knew we needed to try it.

Along with the sudden stop of anger and aggression we've seen his focus increase. The past week he has sat calmly at meal time and consumed large portions of food. He has been eating more then "normal" for him and really healthier foods.

Just days after we started this experiment we were having dinner together. Generally the two kiddos think dinner is a race and shovel food into their mouths and want to hop down to continue playing as quickly as possible. This evening Shane continued to sit after Adalyn had been excused. He then proceed to have the best conversation with us reflecting on his day. When he finally was excused, he returned to the table numerous times to continue talking to us.

Afterwards I looked at Kenny and said that was Shane. That was the kid I remember. That was the little boy who is sweet, fun to talk to, loving, helpful, smart and caring. I had forgotten about him. He has been buried under this ugliness of rage and aggression, of unfocusedness and misbehavior. Shane is in there...we haven't lost him! That was a moment I'll never forget.

We still are struggling with smaller tantrums and smaller misbehavior, but we now feel like we are back in a place to address that.

I don't think a gluten free diet is the answer for all things "challenging" kiddos, but it certainly is something that can be tried simple enough.

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