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Dear Dr. Cannell: Improving autism

Posted on: March 4, 2015   by  John Cannell, MD


Dear Dr. Cannell:

Thank you for sharing your information on vitamin D as it changed my life and the life of my son. My son is 8 years old now and is coming along nicely. I attribute it all to vitamin D.


I put him in a pre-K 3 program at a Catholic school for 2 1/2 hours a day. I often was called into school to pick him up as he was crying so much he fell asleep on the floor. He had a difficult time following directions. They suggested I get him tested.

When he was 3 1/2 years old, I took him to see a child neurologist and I was told he was on the “autism spectrum”. Colby could not follow a simple command. The doctor asked him to put a ball on the table. Colby couldn’t do it. He wasn’t talking. Poor eye contact. If we had to make a U-turn in the car, he would cry and get upset. It was hard for me and my older son. The public school system put him in a self-contained classroom. His best friend was missing a chromosome. They thought he should be in school all year, so he went to school during the summer too.

At this point I started doing research. My uncle, a chiropractor from Florida, suggested I look you and the vitamin D Council up. I did. I realized that I gave birth in September in NJ. I did not go in the sun much because I was so big. It was my 2nd child and I wasn’t the best taking my vitamins. So, I assume I was lacking in my vitamin D. After he was born, I breast fed him, thinking that was the best thing to do for him. I didn’t know I had to supplement vitamin D. I didn’t do it. It was winter, and Colby did not get any sun till almost a 10 months later and I of course, used sunscreen. He started drinking cow’s milk at age 13 months.

At approximately 3 years 10 months, after reading all the information you posted about Vitamin D, I began giving my son various amounts of vitamin D3. Some days 6,000 IUs. Some days 10,000 IUs. Some days I forgot. I really wasn’t sure if it would work and didn’t want to over do it. I also watched the sunscreen usage. I would prevent sunburns but made sure he got as much sun as possible in the summer.

When he turned five years old, we moved to a new town and I put him in a regular Kindergarten class at a Catholic school. I asked the teacher if she saw any issues, not telling her of his background. She didn’t see any. There were some things he needed to work on like pronunciation and fine motor skills, but nothing else. What a major turn around.

Today, Colby is 8 years old. He has eye contact now. He’s in a regular classroom. He can follow directions. He plays baseball and swims. He talks up a storm. He has friends.

He is chatty. Sometimes kids can talk and talk and it bothers adults if they are trying to drive or concentrate on something else. But I think back of when he was silent. And I’m so thankful to be bothered by his chattiness. I also give you a heartfelt thank you for publishing the benefits of vitamin D in autism. It changed my life. It changed my son’s life. It changed the life of my family. I wanted you to know.

Many thanks,

Michelle, Minnesota

Dear Michelle:

You’re welcome! In my experience, about 25% of autistic kids have responses like your son, about 50% have a significant response but still have autism, and about 25% of such kids do not respond to vitamin D at all. I do not understand the reason for difference in responses.

My book about autism and vitamin D will be out in April.

John Cannell, MD

1 Response to Dear Dr. Cannell: Improving autism

  1. Rebecca Oshiro

    Michelle, thank you for sharing your story with us, it is truly wonderful.

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