My son, 3 years old, diagnosed with autism and constantly ill – this was my brutal truth. The diagnosis in itself was overwhelming, let alone braving the stigma and judgmental stares of the society.


I didn’t know what to do but I knew one thing for certain: I had to stop crying and get to work. I opened up to support groups, communities, parents and individuals at various stages of the autism journey facing as well an ocean of many streams and challenges. The first thing you hear about treating autism is behavioral intervention.


Yet, how can a sick kid get any kind of interventions? At the time, my son was suffering from a variety of illnesses: vomiting, diarrhea, seizure, asthma, which at times occur all at the same time. I started researching on the cause of autism, which was a wrong path to follow.


My focus shifted to tackling the illnesses, which could not find treatment despite the various antibiotic regimen he was put on. Instead, he grew sicker and nothing seemed to ease his condition. Getting to the root cause of the ill health became my primary objective than to embark on the traditional and anticipated ABA therapy. I needed to urgently come up with answers on what was causing all his conditions.


My initial involvement was to understand the disorder, attending countless support groups, scientific conferences, asking questions or just taking notes, and continuously researching both online and offline. In addition, I made the most of the support I got from my extended family and communities advocating for their children.


For instance, one of my sister who is in the medical field attended medical conferences with me to help me better understand the issues.Through it all, one thing finally made sense to me: addressing deficiencies of the immune system by tackling food intolerance and allergies. I recall my other sister saying to me “Focus on his health, you will get to his school education later when he feels better.”


In a typical world, this is a non issue. But the autism world is a chaotic one which you need to figure and find your way into it so as to help your child overcome his/her challenges. Focusing on nutrition and immune system was like putting all of the challenges on a scale and selecting the most pressing ones. In my view, this was the best decision I ever made as food and nutrition are without a doubt at the root of my son’s developmental disorder.


Previously, my son would get a two-day break before the next bout of illnesses. While taking part in self-education and support groups, I ran into these two books entitled “Breaking the Vicious Cycle” – The gut and brain connection which changed my view on autism. Because of it, I started designing a dedicated nutritional program for my son and the result was both surprising and remarkable. The two-day break in between bouts turned into a week, then a month and finally years.


We were able to pick up his broken body, piece by piece, and rebuild it by changing his nutrition, removing food he was intolerant to from his diet, rotating ingredients for optimum digestion, adding therapeutic supplements for better absorption. My aim was to deal with his gut challenges in order to restore his health and heal his brain. And this, along with being today a certified nutritionist, I claim as a personal victory, a breakthrough in the long journey ahead.


Sel Seyoum

Just a mom