My grandson was diagnosed as having ASD (autism spectrum disorder) when he was two-and-a-half years old. Now at the age of four, this has developed into high-function autism (HFA)/Asperger's.
He had his MMR vaccine when he was 18 months old and, over a period of two weeks, became increasingly miserable and uncooperative. He stopped talking, avoided eye contact, did not respond to stimuli or, indeed, to anyone except his mother. Various GPs and a paediatrician all said it was a virus!
After three months, we managed to get him referred for a hearing test (negative) and eventually to speech therapy. From there, he was referred to a paediatrician for diagnosis. Apart from a small input of speech therapy and sessions with a teacher adviser, no treatment or help was given or advised.
No 'one-to-one' therapy sessions ever materialised as promised, and my daughter has had to source and pay for this herself.
An Early Bird group run by Social Services/Health/Education has offered some insight into the causes and management of difficult behaviour. So, after a great deal of research, tenacity, initiative and financial commitment, my grandson is now finally undergoing an intense, personalised educational programme, a form of interventional treatment called 'applied behaviour analysis', or ABA, used by many to teach autistic and Asperger's children. He is also being treated by a nutritionist. Yet, I was told by GPs that ABA would be positively harmful and that a change in diet or supplementation would not help. - M. Morris, North Shropshire
WDDTY replies: As MMR-induced damage usually begins in the intestine, because certain peptides or large food molecules are allowed to pass through the gut walls, many such children benefit from a wheat- or milk-free diet. Contact the Autism Unit at the University of Sunderland for details on 0191 510 8922.