How the Brain-Gut Connection Impacts Your Child with Autism or ADHD

Did you know that the health of your child’s gut reflects the health of their brain? I’d like to start by sharing that there is a lot of research you can find online about Gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms for kids with autism and ADHD, and what I’d like to do in this blog is to bring your attention to your child’s GI tract, because your child’s symptoms can be radically reduced by paying attention to their diet!

Let’s start with some basic scientific facts:  1. The GI Tract and the Central Nervous System (CNS) in your brain communicate on a regular basis – back and forth, just as if they talk over a phone line. 2. The strength and quality of that connection and what is put into your child’s gut (through what they eat) impacts your child’s sleep, mood, thinking process, digestion, and overall health.  You may be thinking, “I’ve never thought about my child’s diet – their gut is fine – they’ve never complained to me about it before.” I am urging you to keep reading!    Kids often don’t complain to you about symptoms you would think are related to their gut health.  In the meantime, when we’re ignoring their gut health, what happens to our children when they are eating foods that they have a food intolerance or allergy to? Or maybe their gut isn’t absorbing the nutrients they are eating (leaky gut/malabsorption issues)? Our children can experience mild to severe behavioural challenges – from poor/low moods, to acting out towards others or themselves. And that’s not all! They can have physical symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, or yellowish stools. They can have a whole inflammatory response in their body which can make them feel tired and/or sick. You may notice things like eczema on their skin or some type of rash on their body.  They may have dark circles under their eyes (also called “allergic shiners”) which can be an indicator of food allergies or nutritional deficiencies due to GI issues.   They can have more obvious symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, or gas, but they don’t necessarily need to have these obvious symptoms in order to have GI issues. Another indicator that may give clue you in to your child having GI issues, is that they chew or suck on things like their shirt or clothes.  These are all signs of GI Issues – whether from a nutritional deficiency because your child is a picky eater or because their gut isn’t absorbing nutrients, or a food intolerance/allergy. I cannot stress enough how important it is to consider this with your child because it simply impacts everything that is important in their life.

According to research, up to 50-85% of kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have some sort of GI symptom, allergy or mal absorption issue.  As many as 43% of kids with ASD have leaky gut, which means they are not able to absorb nutrients from the food they eat. And children with ADHD are significantly more likely to have chronic constipation.

Now, I’m not a GI specialist by any means, but I have seen the difference this has made for my own child, and this is what I want to share with you today.  I encourage you to have a look on under the diet videos, where they provide a lot of information in quite some detail.  This blog is about getting you to understand the basics of GI issues for your child, and what to look for, even when they haven’t complained to you about any stomach pains, bloating, gas or diarrhea.

I’d like to share a story of my own, to show you how my child’s diet so greatly impacted her behavioural symptoms and our lives. My daughter was lactose intolerant from the time she was a baby. By the time she was 4, she had difficulty with diarrhea and stomach pains, after which time a naturopath recommended I try her on a gluten free diet. This was all foreign to me, but I knew I had to do something. The day I started her on the gluten free diet, her stomach pains and diarrhea disappeared. I thought this was great!  I had her on a dairy free and gluten free diet and was able to keep it up for the most part. Then she turned 5, and I started to notice she continued to experience some behavioural challenges even when I had provided her with energetic healings, which I noticed transformed her life. Later, I noticed an itchy patch of skin on her stomach and between her toes. And she started complaining she was so tired. I even noticed her starting to snore at night, which was not her regular sleep habit. So I decided to further investigate. My instinct was telling me there was a food allergy and I took her for allergy testing and nutritional deficiency testing.   I didn’t think I could get her blood taken or a scratch test for all the things I felt she could be allergic to, so I found an energetic test which I had used in the past, and knew they had been in business for over 20 years. To my surprise, even though I had her on a gluten free and dairy free diet, almost everything I was feeding her each and every day (because she was a super picky eater), she had a severe food intolerance to! Wow…what a shock! After feeling overwhelmed for a short time, I decided to take away the foods that she had a severe intolerance to, and low and behold, the itchy patches of skin on her stomach and between her toes went away almost immediately. Then I also start providing her with regular supplements to help her gut to heal from this inflammatory response. Her snoring went away, and within a week, the dark circles under her eyes had disappeared as well. I noticed over the month, that she no longer sucked or chewed on her shirts like she did before, and she also didn’t complain of being tired! And her behavior, for the most part, was that of a lovely kind-hearted 6 year old child. We no longer were experiencing the same behavioural challenges we had in the past. Yes, feeding her has been challenging, but she is so much happier, well-functioning, and evenly distributed as a child, compared to how she was before. And that is worth all the changes we’ve had to make.

In sharing this story with you, I invite you to consider whether you notice any signs or symptoms from GI issues in your child.  Talk to your doctor, specialist or alternative medicine practitioner about this. But don’t stop there – do the research yourself and trust your own instincts! And for goodness sake, if your child is receiving traditional therapy somewhere and they are rewarding your child with food/snacks, please make sure it is not something your child has an intolerance or allergy to. The goal is really to have a healthy diet for your child – removing all artificial sweeteners, preservatives, colors and flavors. Removing high fructose corn syrup or agave, sodas, and hydrogenated oils/trans fats/margarines; caffeine if applicable, deep fried foods and sugar. Also, you need to decide whether removing gluten, dairy, eggs and soy will work for your child. Do your best to go back to the way we used to eat – with as many healthy, live, organic foods like vegetables and seeds/nuts that your kids don’t have allergies to.  Protein can come from smaller portions of meat or seafood, and good protein can also come from avocadoes, broccoli, and nuts/seeds.

Remember how I started this blog, and discussed the brain-gut connection?  If we can feed our children the foods that don’t irritate their guts, and provide supplements that nourish them – like Zinc, Omega 3’s, Vitamins A & D, and whatever else they need according to their unique make up – then we can help them have a healthy gut, and a healthy brain, which impacts their mood, behaviour, sleep, thinking process, gut health and overall health and immunity. The switch in behaviour is worth every ounce of pain you may have in getting your child to eat other foods, but even if you can do it gradually to widen their healthy food choice, it’s so rewarding to see a child happy and without behavioural challenges related to autism or ADHD. One other thing to mention, is that my daughter was also allergic to many healthy foods – like oranges, tomatoes, pineapples and other citric foods. So actually checking for food allergies was well worth the small investment.

If you are interested in more alternative methods of treatment, you can learn about the microbiome and how fecal transplants are changing lives for the better. My colleague, Brenda Rusnak, along with her daughters, have created a documentary on their own experience with fecal transplants and Chron’s disease. Here they interview many health professionals and you can learn more at .

For more information, please visit my online workshop, and watch the section on Diet. You’ll learn more information, and then you can go on your quest to help your child around their diet. Remember there are 3 main influencers to your child’s symptoms from autism or ADHD – diet, the energy of the environment they are in, and their own energetic field. So diet is one of the three main influencers to your child’s health and well-being, and can significantly reduce your child’s symptoms.


My name is Tina Bishai. I’m a mother of two beautiful children and I am also a health professional. I have Bachelors Degrees in Human Biology and Physical Therapy, as well as a Masters Degree in Business Administration. After working in the corporate world for over 20 years, I began following my heart and studied alternative medicine, after which time I became a Reiki Master and Shaman.

As the founder of Golden Healings, now my mission is to help children living with autism and ADHD address problematic symptoms they may be experiencing through a holistic approach, addressing all elements that impact a child’s behavior – emotional, physical and energetic elements.

My goal is to see each and every child have the ability to authentically connect with others in this world, without having to deal with the myriad of symptoms they may be struggling with on a daily basis. I believe that children with autism and ADHD are unique and beautiful gifts who have the ability to function at a level that they have not necessarily achieved before. I have seen such positive transformations with children’s’ symptoms, and I invite you to visit my free online workshop where you can learn about the three main influencers to your child’s symptoms and behavioral challenges. I have healed my own child and others with this methodology. Please visit, and provide your name and email address for instant access to this workshop.

If there are specific topics you would like me to address in my blogs, please email me at and I would be happy to provide more information.

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