Autism, Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity (ADHD) and without hyperactivity (ADD), dyslexia, dyspraxia, allergies, asthma, eczema and various learning and behavioural problems in children and adults have reached a new magnitude. It is becoming rarer for an adult or child to have just one of the above conditions. These seemingly unrelated conditions are overlapping and every child or adult may have two or more of these health problems at once. There is an approximate 30 – 50% overlap between ADHD and dyslexia and a 50% overlap between dyslexia and dyspraxia. The modern medical world has created all of these separate boxes to place each individual into. However, today a child doesn’t fit into any one of them; rather an abstract picture as can be seen in the image below.

Why are all these conditions related and what is the underlying problem?
The one thing that unites everyone that has any number of these health conditions is the state of their digestive system. You may be thinking ‘what do digestive abnormalities have to do with mood, behaviour, learning difficulties, autism and hyperactivity?’ According to recent research, the underlying disorder, which can manifest itself in different children with varying combinations of symptoms resides in the gut!


“All disease begins in the gut.”

What can help?

  • Incorporate healing, nourishing foods into your daily diet
  • Prepare foods from scratch so you know ALL the ingredients
  • Incorporate foods rich in probiotics and prebiotics
  • Avoid ALL processed, refined and manufactured foods containing chemicals and dubious ingredients
  • Buy seasonal, local, fresh, spray free and preferably organic whole foods
  • Consider environmental stressors
  • Avoid the use of antibiotics
  • Create a chemical free environment and home

About Autism/ADD

Autism may be classed as a mental condition, usually present from very early childhood and is characterised with difficulty in learning, communication, speaking and forming relationships even with those closest to them (ie parents and siblings). ADD – attention deficit disorder predominantly present in children is characterised with having persistent patterns of difficulties relating to hyperactivity, passivity, inattentiveness and impulsiveness.

Contributing factors may include:


  • Being bottle fed as a baby
  • The condition of the mother’s and father’s gut health
  • The use of antibiotics, medications and contraceptive pills
  • The modern diet of processed and refined foods filled with chemicals and dubious ingredients
  • Life events
  • Pollution and exposure to other toxic substances

Changing Habits recommends…

  • Diet – follow the GAPS Protocol
  • Supplementation may be required such as digestive enzymes, probiotics, cod liver oil, Changing Habits products (ie the Inca Inchi oil which is rich in essential fatty acids) – with guidance from your chosen health care practitioner
  • Detoxification and lifestyle changes – decreasing overall toxic load by creating a chemical free household, including skincare and self-care products, cleaning products, mattresses, pillows, rugs etc
  • Consume seasonal, fresh, organic whole foods, pasture raised animals and eggs, organic dairy, nuts and seeds
  • Read and re-read the GAPS book – Gut and Psychology Syndrome. The GAPS diet is a comprehensive healing protocol developed by Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride, a neurologist and nutritionist. GAPS helps conditions like autism spectrum disorders, ADD/ADHD, hyperactivity, eating disorders, depression, dyspraxia, dyslexia, schizophrenia, constipation, diarrhoea, IBS, Chrons and more, by treating the root cause of many of these disorders: compromised gut health.
  • Consuming filtered water
  • Alternative therapies may help – acupuncture, kinesiology, naturopathy, chiropractic care etc
  • Support and guidance from our Changing Habits nutritionists who are also qualified GAPS practitioners
  • Intensive, structured and one-to-one teaching, conducted by specially trained people (ABA – Applied Behaviour Analysis learning)
Want to learn more?
To gain an initial understanding on GAPS, click here for an article written by Dr Campbell-McBride
Campbell-Mcbride, N. Gut and Psychology Syndrome- Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, ADD, Dyslexia, ADHD, Depression and Schizophrenia. 2010. Pg 5-7. 338-344. Haake DA, Manning P, Kaul A. Gastrointestinal microflora studies in late-onset autism. Clin Infect Dis. 2002 Sep 1;35(Suppl 1):S6-S16. Kirjavainen PV, Apostolov E, Salminen SS, Isolauri E 1999.New aspects of probiotics – a novel approach in the management of food allergy. (Review)(59refs).Allergy. 54(9):909-15, 1999 Sep. Singh V et al. Immunodiagnosis and immunotherapy in autistic children. Ann NY Acad Sci 540:602-604, 1988. Warren R et al. Immune abnormalities in patients with autism. J. Autism Develop Dis. 16, 189-197, 1986.

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