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Posted by on November 14, 2011

After much research, I think I can safely say that there are good things and bad things about autism spectrum disorders. My husband has been so helpful in giving me his perspective. He grew up in the days before aspergers had a name, and he was labeled learning disabled. Now that I have been able to get a pretty clear picture of what aspergers looks like, he has been able to confirm that he struggles with those exact things. So here is a sample list of pros and cons.


  • honesty
  • black and white view of the world
  • loyalty
  • efficiency
  • hard work and devotion to a task
  • connection with animals
  • self motivation
  • ability to work out problems systematically
  • Torah is easy to follow
  • high intelligence


  • sensory overload
  • loss of self control
  • self centered egotism
  • difficulty with empathy
  • inability to read social cues
  • frustration in groups of people
  • difficulty maintaining friendships
  • meltdowns
  • difficulty with compassion

Doug (my hubby) really appreciates some of the pros and doesn’t want to lose them. He definitely wants to get rid of the meltdowns and sensory overload, though. So we are working on a custom battleplan to help him achieve this.

The main place where I feel that standard medical protocols fails is the failure to realize that we are complex people. Our physical health affects our emotions. Our spiritual health affects our physical well being, etc. We are interconnected. That’s why Torah teaches us to love YHVH with our minds, soul, strength, and heart. Only changing his diet may not be effective. Only studying Torah and praying may not be effectice. We need to build him up as a whole person to truly help him.

  1. I feel that diet changes are crucial to his physical health. We are working hard to eliminate all preservatives. This is no small task! I thought I was doing quite well making our food from scratch, but I still have several foods to eliminate. I also am exploring the importance of enzymes in healing and helping the digestive tract. I’ll have more info on that as I learn more.
  2. I am trying to help Doug identify “triggers” that usually lead to frustration or even a meltdown. (Yes, a 44 year old can still have meltdowns. Not pretty.) For example, we have decided to not tackle any projects on Preparation Day. There is too much stress and time pressure. I need to be free to prepare food and the home for Shabbat. Also, he has asked that the entrance to the home be tidy when he gets home from work. He is usually overtaxed from dealing with people at work and needs calm when he gets home.
  3. We are studying Torah on a daily basis, not just on Shabbat. The more his mind is filled with Torah, the more capable he is of keeping everything in perspective. He is able to have more of the heart of YHVH and thinks less of his own priorities.

Sadie is 4 1/2 years old, so my approach with her is very different.

  1. My diet approach with her is pretty much the same as with Doug. It will apply to the whole family.
  2. I am giving Sadie more schoolwork rather than less. She talks better and behaves better when she is being challenged academically. She has been working diligently on her letters and I have seen significant improvements in her drawing and writing abilities. She has also taken great interest in jigsaw puzzles.
  3. I am teaching Sadie appropriate responses to situations through stories and simple explanations. When we read Torah together as a family, we make practical application. When we read about Rebekah at the well, we pointed out that Rebekah was quick to help others. Remember that Torah is the foundation, but all of Scripture teaches us YHVH’s principles for living. We also are holding Sadie accountable for her actions. She gets in trouble for mistreating others just like everyone else. Most of the time, I am able to get her to stop screaming if I am quick to act, but not always. :)

So, that’s our battleplan right now. We want to enhance the good qualities and minimize the negative ones. We want to treat the whole person. We want to emphasize that the choices we make should please YHVH.


4 Responses to Battleplan

  1. Sigalit Chana

    What a great post, Heidi! I think those are all wonderful things to implement. I know for us, the diet has helped tremendously, especially with Noah… certain dyes, additives, etc, can really affect his behavior and thinking process. Also, I have been taking “plant enzymes”, and it has helped greatly with my own digestive problems. There are so many things that food can affect… or the “stuff” they put in food now days. I still have so very much to learn. Of course, we can NEVER go wrong with a daily dose of His Eternal Word =) Love you, dearie. Thank you for your transparency. May Yah continue to lead and guide you on this journey =) Shalom!

  2. Lusi

    Great battle plan Heidi! Ours is similar actually; we have seen HUGE changes in Liji over the 5 years since we began implementing diet changes. That on its own has been a massive journey! Brett too has learnt how to manage his own triggers which has been very helpful. I loved reading your pros and cons list – those cons are things we work on too and the pros are what we want to continue to see more of as well. May Yahs Word continue to bring great delight into your life as He leads you through this journey!!!
    All my love,
    Lus x

    • Heidi Cooper

      Thanks, Lusi. I have learned so much reading your posts. I remember reading the one where your kids were taking golf lessons. What a wonderful victory! Yah is good.

  3. Lusi

    Amen! He is indeed! He keeps leading us to the right info at the right time. He has always helped us discern when to try new things or when to pull back on something and He is the one who has truly led us to this point and continues to lead us. I know He is doing the same thing for you guys. Praise you YHVH!!!
    I’m always here Heidi :) and am glad to know my sharing has been helpful in some way to you guys.
    Much love,
    Lus x

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