on November 29, 2000
Every parent of an autistic child needs to read this book. It is not just about trying dietary intervention - it is about examining various biological factors in what was wrongly thought to be an untreatable disorder.
I would like to comment on one review of Ms. Seroussi's book. One reviewer said, "The sad truth is, if diet were the cure, there would be no autism."
In her book, the author states that she estimates at least 30% of all cases of autism are caused by the improper breakdown of gluten and casein. The other cases clearly have different causes, and therefore diet would be ineffective for those cases.
My child was a diet responder and I agree with the sentiments in the book - that every parent should give it a try. The reason I am so frustrated with parents who are unwilling to try the diet is that until we have good diagnostic peptide testing, it is absurd not to give the so-called "tedious" diet a 3-month trial. When it applies, it can be quite miraculous. What kind of parent wouldn't do this harmless intervention for their child, asap? I just don't understand such an attitude.
Read all of the reviews of this book before deciding whether to read it. Most are raves, and rightly so. There is a note of sour-grapes bitterness in a couple of them. If these peoples' children were not diet responders, I am sorry to hear it. However, it is not only inaccurate to make a statement like "if diet were the cure, there would be no autism," it is potentially quite disastrous if it dissuades parents from giving it a try. One of the most outspoken advocates of biological intervention I've met is a mom whose kid did not respond, but who helped several other local children (including mine) get on the diet, two of whom recovered. I greatly admire her generosity of spirit.
Until the medical studies are in, and the doctors understand which kids need the diet, this book can be a lifesaver. It was for my precious little boy, who has come back to me and is a constant source of pride and pleasure. If you are the parent of a newly-diagnosed child with autism, "Unraveling" should be the first book you read. Period.
on February 1, 2000
Fresh from the printer I just got Karyn Seroussis book on how her son recovered from autism on a diet free of gluten and casein. I started reading it and couldn't put it down before I had read the last paragraph. Maybe if I hadn't been in a position of seeing for myself the amazing difference of applying the diet, I might have thought the whole idea ludicrous. But while reading this success story I am also seeing for myself, in my own home, the practical effects of a diet free of gluten and protein from milk, on my own son. It makes me want to say to every parent in this world with a child diagnosed with autism or Autism Spectrum Disorders: Don't lose hope! There is a lot that can be done! Maybe not every child can recover but every child can have a better life! In this endeavour Karyn Seroussi has been one of the pioneers. It is important to point out that Seroussi is a woman with a very clear, scientific mind - this is not new age magic. Behind the practice of the diet there is an elaborate scientific theory on peptides not broken down properly in the gut, interfering in an irregular and morphine-like way with the opiate receptors in the brain and causing all sorts of damage in the process. Unraveling these lines of reasoning is straightforward science, but at the same time also a story of suspense. A few years ago Catherine Maurice's book "Let Me Hear Your Voice" meant a breakthrough and a wider acceptance for ABA-therapy for children with autism - I am convinced Seroussis book will have the same kind of inpact for dietary and other biological interventions for children with autism. This will mean saving the lives of hundreds, maybe thousands of children. Seroussis book is both deeply personal and also very clear, with a lot of straightforward and simple advice. It's the kind of book I would love to see in an Oprah show discussing what can be done for kids afflicted with one of the most difficult handicaps there is. This book is a must for everyone trying to come to terms with one of the most devastating things that can happen to a child - regardless of whether you're a parent, a sister or brother, a grandparent or just a compassionate human being. And what's more, it is a book that gives you hope and shows you a way to go forward. This hope is dearly needed: Autism is an epidemic on the rise - statistics show an increase by several 100s %in the last few years. No one yet knows the reason - but in her book Serrousi gives us some of the instruments to start fighting back. I would recommend this book specially to those who have recently started their journey with a very special child - it is often heartbreaking and sad and extremely tiring - and you may even blame yourself at some point. But take a deep breath - soon you will walk the road of the diet together. You're both worth it.
on February 23, 2003
I love this book! I went to the store to buy a different book about sensory integration dysfunction and I found this one and read it cover to cover in 24 hours. (I haven't opened the other one!!) The thing I love about this book is the variety and depth of information. My son is mildly autistic but he's already 6 years old. Thankfully, early intervention at age 2 helped is future. However, this book helped me explore more options to help him and me, especially with the diet. It was like the light went on when I read her story, finally figuring out why all these things were plaging him in the past and maybe for the future as well. I would recommend this book to every parent who has a child. My childs needs are no longer severe, but this book just opened my eyes to all of the options and possibilites there are for children. I teared up soooo many times reading about all of the strives that Miles made. I wish I would have read this book when my son was born in 1996. If all of the parents in this world were as ambitious to help their children as Karyn and her husband, the world would be a much better place. You have to be an advocate for your child, and this book is a prime example of this and so many other things!!
on October 31, 2002
If you have a child with autism you owe it to them on checking out this "GFCF Diet" thing. I have a son with autism and it is hands down the best thing I have done for him (besides hours of ABA,VBA, Speech & OT and some biomed intervention) - the diet wins.
Not only is the the healthiest thing you can do, it is the cheapest thing you can do and something you have complete control over. The diet is truly about proper nutrition for children that have wounded guts (whether you think your child has a wounded gut or not - it is something to truly try.)
Doctors and others who say - a diet cannot help children with autism are 100% wrong. I have seen it with my own 2 eyes on my child and many others.
After starting the GFCF Diet my son -
- stopped self stim behavior
- slept thru the night for the first time in 2 years
- within 6 months had great stools for the first time in 2 years
- began to be much more connected
- all the other therapies were possible
- there is a lot more I could write here - but you are going to have to believe what I am typing... it truly makes a difference.
There is also alot of sound advice on other therapies and her journey. It has a happy ending to the story as well and that was worth it enough.
My son is now totally connected with us, doing amazing things and is in kindergarten.
What do you have to lose? It is just a book... it is just a diet. See what it can do for your child.
Karyn Seroussi is a gem and this book is something you need to read.
on February 28, 2000
Maybe, like me, you have considered drugs for your autistic child, but have been understandably reluctant. Maybe you are overwhelmed by the vast amounts of information bombarding you daily concerning the causes of autism. Maybe your educational intervention progran hasn't quite worked as well as you hoped it would.
If so, get this book. It deserves a place right next to Catherine Maurice's groundbreaking book on intervention through educational methods, LET ME HEAR YOUR VOICE. Actually, it deserves a place of honor right on your kitchen table, where you can refer to it everyday, easily. What Catherine Maurice did for education vis vis autistic children, this book does for dietary intervention.
Karyn Seroussi has written a practical, clear, acessible book about how your child's diet can affect his/her whole way of living in our world. She posits that the health (particularly, a damaged immune system) of your child is one of the major reasons your child diplays autistic behaviors. She has incorporated her own child, Miles, and her own family, in a most compassionate and perceptive way to demonstrate this. I found that, in and of itself, a comfort. We are all in this together, aren't we? We need to help each other. This book is all about helping OUR CHILDREN get better.
Parents of autistic children have it hard enough without having to sift through the incredible, time consuming theories and treatments that come our way daily. Karyn covers all of these and makes them understandable. She explains things. Then she gives you step by step directions to follow to actually improve the health of your own autistic child (or in my case, autistic children: I have two!) This book makes so much sense and is so exciting to read, I wrote this review as soon as I finished it. Even if my own children do not experience the same remarkable recovery that Karyn's son Miles did (she caught his autism really early), I know, from my other reading, that this book ultimately makes total sense... and that my sons will be immeasurably improved. For that, I am incredibly grateful. Thank you, Karyn Seroussi.
on October 6, 2000
Karen Seroussi has woven a remarkable, well-written story of her son's recovery from Autism through tedious dietary interventions. Her offering of recipes gives the parents considering the diet for their children a place from where to start. As the mother of two Autistic children myself, I felt compelled to read it, even though a grueling 18 month trial of the diet in our home offered few, if any, results, other than depriving my sons of what foods they were willing to eat.
Seroussi is a gifted writer, and tells her story from her mother's heart. But facets of her story disturbed me deeply. After reading this book, I felt my choice to live as a mother who has come to accept her children's Autism and lead them towards a good life in spite of grim prognoses was viewed by the author as something to feel ashamed of. While this may not have been Seroussi's intent, the insistence that something is wrong with parents who don't try her techniques, or tried the diet and had it fail are somehow lacking was very bothersome to my heart.
Granted, dietary interventions have helped many Autistic children. However, this his book implicates that any parent who does not attempt the diet which benefitted Ms. Seroussi's son is failing his/her child. Children who respond to diet are most specifically those showing a serum IGE response to specific allergens and gliadin antibodies. I'd strongly recommend any parent who considers putting a child through such a restrictive regime will get the bloodwork done first. This diet is not easy to implement and it is not easy to encourage an older child to follow it when away from home.
This book tells a rare, triumphant story. It is well documented, and worth a read. But please, don't see diet as a cure-all if the techniques outlined simply don't work for your child. The sad truth is, if diet were the cure, there would be no Autism.
on April 10, 2000
As a psychologist interested in learning disabilities and the brain; as a patient who was also treated for depression, panic attacks, chronic fatigue and intestinal illness through food allery diagnosis and treatment which was incredibly successful; and as a woman with a close relative who is autistic, I appreciated this well-written, beautifully presented story of a boy and his parents who cared to take the time to research his disease, to challenge the negligent and rigid traditional medical community, to find and persist with a cure, and to sacrifice their time to spread the word to the far too many families with children suffering from the epidemic of autism or developmental problems/learning disablities. We hear too often of parents who simply accept a diagnosis and put their children on the current drug (e.g., ritalin) without bothering to actually behave like parents and use sound judgement and their parental instincts. Karyn is a hero in her son's life and in the growing effort to publicize the dangers of the intense battery of vaccinations given to babies at far too early an age. Her book is not bitter, however, but inspiring. You'll hear about Miles' symptoms and behaviors, about Karyn's concerns and fears, of pioneering psychologists and physicians who literally risk their careers on finding the source and cure for autism. Karyn details all her experiences from discoveries that opiate byproducts are found in autistic children's urine (e.g., some reaction is going on in their bodies that is like putting them on hallucinogenic drugs), using the food elimination diet on Miles and finding miraculous results, working with other mothers and their "autistic" children, interacting with physicians who were finding clues and treatments such as Secretin (including her husband, a research scientist). Karyn's life completely changed with the diagnosis of autism, and always at the back of her mind is the suspicion concerning Miles' vaccinations -- until this book even offers the experimental proof found though denied and ignored by the medical community and the pharmaceutical companies manufacturing the "cash-cow" vaccines. Parents who trust medical experts need to read this book to realize in just what poor, ill-informed, close-minded, and unconcerned hands their children (and themselves,too) can be. The author goes further and tells her own and her husband's stories, and she even uses the food allergy principles to cure her chronic fatigue. This is a dramatic story, told humbly. It is fascinating reading simply as the biography of a disease. I don't believe I've ever encountered a book that I could recommend more than this one, for any person who wants to lead a better quality life. NOTE: the diet Karyn used for her son, including recipes, is included, as well as info on websites and organizations.
on June 16, 2000
I am the father of a 3 1/2 year son who has been diagnosed with Autism just four months ago. I am a natural sceptic and a person who typically relies on empirical evidence, especially when it comes to medicine. I read Ms. Seroussi's book and questioned a great deal of the information and considered some of its assertions as 'fringe' thinking. However, a few things she descibed about her son and his development struck a cord: numerous ear infections, an almost drug-like haze over my son, and finally - milk. He drank a ton of it and always wanted more. Six months ago, we found out his 6 week old sister was in fact allergic to milk, and food allergies tend to be hereditary. The parallels were compelling. We consulted our physicain about doing a complete allergy test on him and she was reluctant because he showed no outward signs (rashes, bumps, diarrhea). The specialist who treated my daughter was also sceptical but agreed to run some tests. The results ... a severe milk allergy and an allergy to wheat. Both practitioners were shocked and taken back. FINALLY! We are on to something. If we had not read this book, chances are we would not have known about some of these intertwined relationships that could lead to or complicate autism. There is probably no silver bullet and it may not be true for your child, but you should unquestionably read this book to find out about emerging thoughts on the causes and treatment of autism. This sceptic is not so sceptical any more.
on August 22, 2000
I read this book in one sitting, and found much that interested me greatly. I was far more convinced by it than by anything else I have read to think more about a special diet for my autistic spectrum child, and was also fascinated by the many other theories touched on here---the connection between autism and auto-immune disorders, ideas about mothers for whom the MMR vaccine doesn't "take" and having a child with autism, etc. However, a few things about this book disturbed me. Although the book does state that the very restricted special diet seems to only work in 1 of 3 children with autism, the author seems to have quite a bit of anger and disdain for parents who chose not to try the diet---I was really troubled by her description of a scene in a grocery store after a meeting with a parent who had not been convinved to try the diet. I feel quite sure I know what at least partially caused my child's autism, and although I am extremely open to and interested in all theories and ideas on how to help him, I do not want to be judged for not trying any certain one. However, if you do have a child with autism, I think that it's worth reading this book, as it's well written, and making a decision on your own as to what to do with what you do with what you read here.
on May 31, 2001
A year ago, when my son was diagnosed, I read William Shaw's book about biological interventions. It scared me to death. I decided to bag the whole idea of changing my little one's diet. I thought this was a bunch of junk. Fortunately, I decided to investigate this intervention again with Ms. Seroussi's book. I am so thankful that I did. Not only is Karyn Seroussi a great writer, she completely sold me on the idea of trying the diet. She is so passionate, and gives wonderful, heartfelt advice. And my son is responding. It is hard to get started, but once you become used to the idea, it becomes second nature. If you have been skeptical, or worse, your child's doctor advises that this doesn't work- as mine did- give this book a chance. It is so worth it. I'm just sorry I lost a year in the process. We, as parents, would do ANYTHING to help our kids, so why not this? Try it, and READ THIS BOOK!!!!!