Dear Feingold Association,
My daughter was 4 when we began Feingold and is 5 now. We began in April 1999, so have been following the program for less than a year. We have been learning new things all along and discover reactions, etc. as we go along; however, we could see improvement in 24 hours. Prior to beginning the diet we had just started allowing her to eat things we had never allowed before, which sent her from being a very emotional, touchy little girl to being off the charts. These foods included colored cereal, which I discovered had less sugar than some and I thought I was being healthier. Also, we allowed her to try peanut butter again, even though we knew that she had reacted classically as a child. We had read and been told that children can outgrow these symptoms - HA!
At the very worst prior Feingold, my 4 yr old was crying many times a day, having at least 30 minute temper tantrums, often. Rocking and chewing her clothes. Chewing on all sorts of toys, even her favorites such as Barbies. She actually completely ruined at least 10 Barbie dolls by chewing off feet and hands etc. I found numerous items chewed up. One time I saw her bite the cat for no reason at all. She became aggressive with her brother with no provocation. We had to use time out at least 4-5 times a day. Her sleep patterns were difficult to manage. We had trouble getting her to sleep and getting her to stay asleep. At times, we had weird nightmares and even at times night terrors where she would wake up disoriented or just screaming. Sometimes she would wake me up continually because her blankets were not in the exact correct spot on her chin and we would move them up and down no more than a centimeter with no satisfaction for her - she continued to scream and cry. She was compulsive -- would cry and get upset if her ponytail holders weren't touching her head in the exact right spot or were slipping slightly, etc, etc, etc. She seemed to want to touch people and things A LOT.
After Feingold all of these things have basically disappeared. She sleeps well and normally. We rarely need to use time out at all for discipline. I don't remember the last time she had a temper tantrum. She is never aggressive, she does not chew toys. She is much more calm and even. She is a particular child, in that she likes things to be a certain way, but is no longer compulsive about it and can go with the flow. She can look into my eyes when we talk. She is physically affectionate, but appropriately so, not driving us crazy with constant touching. No longer chews her clothes. As far as affecting me and my child I think the previous answer says most of it. I used to constantly worry about my husband's relationship with her because they just couldn't click and this is no longer an issue of concern. I feel I am having a better relationship with her. I am no longer exhausted at the end of the day. I used to fall into bed almost as soon as they did! I felt like nobody understood her behavior. In fact, most "outsiders" did not witness the day to day drama and didn't think anything was wrong with her. I had no one who could offer me advice or even encouragement. Who else has a child that wakes up screaming five times a night about blanket position? My daughter was never formally diagnosed or treated in any way.
I was ready to seek treatment and in research had begin to wonder if she was suffering from OCD. An article regarding Feingold fell into my lap and I began to research this option too. As soon as I read the full symptom list and got past the classic ADHD symptoms I got a pit in my stomach -- there she was described on the page to a T. I started the diet from a book in the library and we were so thankful for the signs we were seeing I joined the program shortly thereafter. I mentioned this briefly to my pediatrician who had the attitude of -- if it is working for you I think you are doing the right thing. Feingold alone has made the difference for us. We use no medications or alternate programs.
DG, Sidney, Ohio