Thursday, April 02, 2009

April is Autism Awareness Month

I never thought about autism until a few years ago when a dear friend's child was diagnosed with it. As is often the case, I didn't know what autism or autism-spectrum disorders were until someone close to me was affected by it. Since then, I have become quietly passionate about the topic: reading books, articles, websites, and shushing anyone around when the subject comes up the radio.

I won't go into the debate about the causes of autism here but I will say that my friend and her family have seen a remarkable improvement in her child's symptoms as a result of diet and supplement intervention. It is remarkable, too, that when my friend's child gets a fever, the autism literally goes away. And so it is also immensely frustrating that although these things actually repeat themselves over and over amongst autistic children, many in the medical and research communities dismiss them as anecdotal.

I found Paul Collins' book Not Even Wrong: Adventures in Autism to be a joyful, well, adventure. In it, he talks about both the diagnosis of his son with autism and his research into the history of autism and historical autists. He doesn't rail against the medical community or his son's diagnosis but approaches it with a sense of wonder about what it is instead of what it isn't:

"Autists are described by others--and by themselves--as aliens among humans. But there's an irony to this, for precisely the opposite is true. They are us, and to understand them is to begin to understand what it means to be human. Think of it: a disability is usually defined in terms of what is missing. A child tugs at his or her parents and whispers, 'Where's that man's arm?' But autism is an ability and a disability: it is as much about what is abundant as what is missing, an over expression of the very traits that make our species unique. Other animals are social, but only humans are capable of abstract logic. The autistic outhumans the humans, and we can scarcely recognize the result."

As an avid cook and foodie, I am always on the lookout for recipes that fit my friend's child's diet: gluten, dairy, and soy products exacerbate the autism. Today, so many people are either vegan, intolerant of gluten, or have soy allergies that entire cookbooks exist on the subjects. My search, though, is for recipes that don't require special ingredients or techniques; recipes that fit the lifestyle of a very busy, two working parent, three child household.

I came across this recipe that fit the bill. Click the link for a devastating picture.

Sensational Peanut Butter Cookies

18 cookies
1 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup natural cane sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
additional sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees°F. Mix all the ingredients up in a bowl. Roll walnut-sized pieces into balls and roll balls in the additional sugar. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and flatten slightly with a fork in a crisscross pattern. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool before removing from baking sheet.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My cookies weren't quite as pretty as the one in the pictures but I will wage a bet that they tasted as good, if not better!!