We are taking off the month of December with regard to the ETU Designer’s Journal to instead bring you a series of articles on Autism in support of the Midnight Charity Project. Even though this isn’t game related, we hope you’ll take a few moments to read it. 

There are many theories regarding Autism and its causes. A majority of the medical community believe it’s a developmental problem of the brain that occurs in the womb. Others believe it has to do with high levels of mercury introduced via inoculations, particularly the MMR (for measles, mumps and rubella). The traditional treatments include various teaching methodologies and the prescription of various drugs.

What follows is a really basic treatment of the GF/CF diet as my wife and I have come to understand it. We have spent many hours on the internet and read a wonderful book by Karyn Seroussi entitled Unraveling the Mystery of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder. Quotes used herein are taken from her book.

Many autistic kids have been found to be allergic to Glutin (which comes from wheat, bran, oats, etc) and casienates which come from dairy (milk products, not eggs). Many parents and doctors have also experienced that while children are being introduced to wheat and dairy, many begin suffering from chronic ear infections and are placed on antibiotics on a very regular basis. (With our kids it was every two months like clockwork!) Unfortunately, antibiotics also attack good bacteria in the stomach and intestinal walls, and this can have the effect of leaving only candida-the bad yeasts and fungus in the intestinal linings.
Whatever the cause, many autistic children have been proven to have high levels of candida (gastrointestinal yeasts and fungus). Normally, candida exists at very tiny levels in the gastrointestinal linings, but something is killing the “good-guy” bacteria, which allows candida to grow. Candida can be considered the “bad-guys” and is barbed, toxic and difficult to kill. A healthy intestinal system allows only nutrients to pass into the bloodstream and blocks out larger products like “incompletely digested fats, proteins, starches, and bacteria.”

When candida grows and takes over the system, many professionals refer to it as “leaky-gut syndrome.” The theory is that when this occurs, certain proteins are not broken down and pass through the intestinal lining into the blood stream. These proteins are toxic and foreign in the bloodstream and act almost like narcotics or opiates in the human system. Hence ADHD, ADD, Autism and many other disorders could possibly be traced to someone with “leaky-gut” syndrome. A 1995 article in the journal Gastroenterology, “found increased evidence of leaky gut in diabetics and schizophrenics” as well.

DAN! (Defeat Autism Now!), an organization put together by Dr. Rimland states the following: (taken from Seroussis’ book)

  • Children may be born with a genetic predisposition toward food or other allergies.
  • As some point in their development, they develop an abnormal immune response.
  • The children become ill and are given antibiotics.
  • The candida grows and becomes a nastier version that attacks their guts, causing changes in the GI immune system and a leaky gut.
  • This is seen with the malprocessing of certain proteins; such as casein and gluten. Instead of being properly utilized, they are broken down into neurotransmitters, which affect their brains.

Remarkably many autistic children (1 in 3) respond very well to a glutin-free/casein-free diet, and begin expressing normal behaviors, communication, and development. Mrs. Seroussi’s child had been diagnosed as a moderately autistic on the spectrum at a very young age. She investigated and learned that many parents were having wonderful results on this diet. She became a pioneer, and now her son is fully recovered and on level with the rest of his schoolmates. He no longer exhibits the signs of autism. There are now many parents and doctors who have come to accept this diet as one possible treatment for children with autism.

You have our permission to pass this along to anyone interested in the diet, but please understand that my wife and I are not doctors and this description is our best understanding of it. We are still learning, and have a long way to go.

I highly recommend Seroussi’s book, as well as Special Diets for Special Kids by Lisa Lewis, Ph.D.

For more information check out:


Midnight Charity Project banner

PINEBOX, TX – 12 to Midnight is auctioning off a role in their upcoming college horror campaign book ETU: Degrees of Horror to benefit the Autism Research Institute. The auction is just one of the fundraisers being held this month as part of the Midnight Charity Project. All fundraisers are in support of autism research.

 The winner of the Ebay auction will be written into an ETU “Midnight Tale” (adventure outline) and includes a piece of interior art in his or her likeness. 12 to Midnight pledges to let the winner choose whether the character in this horror setting is killed in a spectacular style or allowed to survive as a potential victim another day. 

 “This is a great opportunity to not only become a part of RPG ‘canon’ in a campaign world, but also to help advance the mission of defeating autism,” says 12 to Midnight president Preston P. DuBose. “Not many people know that at least some forms of autism are treatable, but the Autism Research Institute is literally changing people’s lives. The RPG community has been very supportive of us for the last four years, so we felt it was past time to ‘pay forward’ and help a very worthy cause.”

 The ETU auction runs until December 21. Other fundraisers include an auction for an autographed copy Bloodlines (modern d20 System edition) and donations of sales made at the Midnight Cellar online store.

We are taking off the month of December with regard to the ETU Designer’s Journal to instead bring you a series of articles on Autism in support of the Midnight Charity Project. Even though this isn’t game related, we hope you’ll take a few moments to read it. 

Howdy. First I want to thank everyone who is supporting this drive to raise money for the Autism Research Institute. Your support during this holiday season is a tremendous gift and very much appreciated.

As some of you may know, I have two boys. The youngest, Kevin, is a high functioning autistic child. He has Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD- in educationalese). I consider my family to be very lucky as he can function in society, learn, and become a productive citizen, though he may always have “autistic” tendencies.

I knew the day he was born something was wrong, but no one could tell what. As a newborn he was very fidgety, could never get comfortable, and cried a lot! Of course we thought he was just a colicky baby, but I knew something was wrong. It was as if whenever I tried to hold him he would not be consoled. As if he hated being held or touched. He never played peek-a-boo or showed interest in what other people were doing. As he grew into a toddler, he did not develop speech as my other son had done, but remained with a type of baby gibberish. He did mature physically very quickly and was pulling up at 9 months and walked extremely early, never really crawling as most babies’ do.

I asked our pediatrician several times if something was wrong with him, each time she said she didn’t think so and that some children “just develop at different rates” from others. I was very impressed that he learned the alphabet, seemingly overnight, and spent hours playing with magnetic letters on the refrigerator. I could ask him for any letter and he would give it to me. My wife and I worried that the only true speech he had developed included “mom, dad, coke,” and the letters of the alphabet. I also realized that if I ever tried to make eye contact, he could not look me in the eyes and always immediately looked away.

It was stressful to ever go out in public as he seemed to never hear us, was uncontrollable, and generally raised hell wherever he was. We left restaurants early, rarely visited others, and were even afraid to leave him with the sitters at church. Our friends were afraid when we came to visit as nothing was safe. He would run through their home and though I don’t remember him breaking anything, it was a constant worry.

Realizing he needed help, we contacted our local school system and they recommended he attend speech therapy classes at the elementary school with a speech therapist. He was to receive 30 minutes instruction a week. He was 3 ½ years old at the time. The young therapist told us to leave him with her. The first session lasted a total of 10 minutes and the therapist told my wife that she couldn’t work with Kevin as he wouldn’t sit down or listen to her. There were also three other children in the session. My wife sat in on the second and all subsequent sessions to assist in “controlling” Kevin. After a particularly frustrating experience, the therapist told Tracey (my wife) that she simply couldn’t help him, but we could continue to bring him and let him play in the corner.

I got very angry. I have a Special Education Teaching Certification and I know the laws. That is not a right the therapist actually has. I called her and told her my opinion. My wife and I then decided against attending any more of the sessions.

I finally transferred Kevin to the school district in which I work, as I rightfully thought they would have better services for him. They tested him and decided that he was PDD. I took him to a specialist and she tested him as well. She recommended we take him to special speech therapy class. Each session would cost between 75 and 100 dollars and it , two to three times a week, and it was not covered by insurance. Well, it’s not something we could afford. There are actually many awesome programs to help autistic children, but they are all very expensive and middle class and lower economic folks simply can’t afford them.

Finally my wife and I got tired of feeling helpless. We began reading everything we could find on autism and particularly a book by Karen Seroussi about her struggles as a parent of an autistic child. In it she described the GF/CF diet (gluten free, casein free) and how it had a very positive impact on her child. Basically every item that contained wheat or dairy had to go. We decided to try the diet and threw out approximately $200.00 in groceries and started over from scratch. We ordered a book called Special Diets for Special Kids to gain recipes and to learn to cook the GF/CF way. We went to an organic store to purchase these special dietary items. It’s amazing really. I used to make fun of folks who went “organic” and perceived them as flower children or Wiccans, but I am now convinced of the effects of this diet.

Almost overnight Kevin began talking. Within six months he was speaking sentences. I have not seen him stemming (hand-flapping) since we started the diet. His abnormal behaviors decreased greatly and he no longer hid under tables at school and we constantly received positive reports from his care givers and teachers. The difference was drastic. He can now look into my eyes, and he actively plays with his brother and other kids. He still has a very sing-song voice and experiences difficulty expressing his thoughts, but he has come so far.

Many doctors do not believe that a diet can be used to treat autism. They state that there are no professional studies to prove it helps. True. Pharmaceutical companies are not in the business of treating any illness with dietary changes, so it makes no sense for them to fund such studies. However, thousands of parents can attest to the difference dietary changes made with their children. I am definitely one of them.

I don’t believe the diet works for every child, as I believe the causes of autism vary greatly and without recognizing causes it is difficult to treat. But if you are a parent of an autistic child, what would it hurt to try the diet and see for yourself?

The Autism Research Institute is made up of DAN doctors who have seen the dramatic results of dietary changes and are willing to seek other answers as well as using the more generally accepted methods of teaching and working with autistic children.

Finally, I am happy to report that Kevin is now in first grade, is reading in the top of his class, and is on level in math and other skills.

We will be taking off the month of December with regard to the ETU Designer’s Journal to instead bring you a series of articles on Autism in support of the Midnight Charity Project. Even though this isn’t game related, we hope you’ll take a few moments to read it.

As we kick off our fundraising month to help Autism research I wanted to take the time to explain why we are doing this and how you can help. First I want to thank everyone who has purchased our products and shown us so much wonderful support since August of 2003. Our customers have been very loyal and every cent we have earned has been appreciated. While we have been very successful for a small indie publishing company, we still do it out of love of gaming. The greatly positive customer reviews we have received proves that we have managed to produce quality products.

We have wanted to give back for a while now, and finally we have the means to do so. We discussed several charities, all deserving of help, but finally settled on helping the Autism Research Institute and their initiative known as DAN (Defeat Autism Now!).

Autism is unfortunately becoming more and more common, and affecting more families around the world today. In the mid 1970s it was rated as only 5 of 10,000 births. Today the incidence of babies being born autistic has been reported to be 1 in every 150 kids. What is happening?

Well, I do agree that we are better at diagnosing autism than we were thirty years ago, but even given that statement, the incidence of autistic children is growing at an astounding rate. Worse, there seems to be no central, common cause though many have developed various theories. I’ve read about too many metals in the bloodstream, gluten/casein proteins, inoculations, chemical overloads, and many others. The truth is, it may be a combination of all these things or it may be that there are many different causes, but the disability looks the same.

What is Autism? It is a “severe developmental disorder that begins at birth or within the first two-and-a-half years of life. Most autistic children are perfectly normal in appearance, but spend their time engaged in puzzling and disturbing behaviors which are markedly different from those of typical children. Less severe cases may be diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) or with Asperger’s Syndrome (these children typically have normal speech, but they have many "autistic" social and behavioral problems)” [www.autism.com].

Many authorities believe it is part of a spectrum of disorders that actually range from Attention Deficit Disorders to Severe Autistic Disorders. Some autistic children are very high performing and look to be “normal” though upon speaking to them you may notice something that is just not quite right. There are many signs that could indicate a child has autistic tendencies that parents should look for, and these should be taken together, not individually, as every child develops at different rates and times. If you see a pattern of these behaviors in your child, see a doctor immediately, as early diagnosis and treatment can greatly affect the life of the person. Signs include not playing age appropriate games-such as peekabo-with others, not being able to look directly into the eyes of another, not reacting when spoken to, may not learn age appropriate words but rely on hand gestures, may seem immature for age, may not be able to play or show interest in playing with other children, may have bizarre or repetitive behaviors such as hand flapping or rocking back and forth, and more [see www.autism.com for more information].

How can you help? We are sponsoring a series of fund raising events, collectively called the Midnight Charity Project. All proceeds of this year’s event are going to the Autism Research Institute (ARI). More than 80 cents per dollar donated to ARI goes directly to programs and research projects. These doctors and scientists are exploring new ways of combating this disability, and are providing great help to parents who have just learned that their child is autistic or has PDD (pervasive developmental disorder).

I’m sure if you know many families with young children, you know of at least one child who has autism. It is an epidemic that affects us all, and as the cause is not known, it could personally affect you or your family.

I know. See, my youngest son is autistic. Please help us Defeat Autism Now!

PINEBOX, Texas — RPG publisher 12 to Midnight is launching a monthlong charity initiative called the Midnight Charity Project. This year the initiative, which runs from midnight December 1 to midnight December 31, will raise money for the Autism Research Institute

12 to Midnight is offering several ways for gamers to participate. First, they can bid in an online auction to win a guest role as an NPC in the upcoming college-horror RPG campaign book, “ETU: Degrees of Horror.” You can also bid on an official City of Pinebox death certificate or an autographed copy of 12 to Midnight’s adventure “Bloodlines.” Finally, when you purchase products from Midnight Cellar, 12 to Midnight’s store, the company will donate 100% of the purchase price of Last Rites of the Black Guard, Brainwashed and Skinwalker, as well as 20% of the proceeds from all other titles, to the Autism Research Institute.

Anyone who participates in the charity project is invited to further help raise awareness by using the html or BB-code snippets found on the Midnight Charity Project home page. Also, throughout the month of December, 12 to Midnight will post articles about autism at 12tomidnight.com.

Other RPG publishers, podcasters, bloggers and everyday gamers are invited to participate in the Midnight Charity Project and help grow it into a hobby-wide, focused campaign. If you would like to donate merchandise, airtime, space on your blog, banner ads or anything else, please send an e-mail to mcp at 12tomidnight.com.

For more information on the Midnight Charity Project, including links to auctions, visit the Midnight Charity Project home page.

About the Autism Research Institute

The Autism Research Institute (ARI) is the hub of a worldwide network of parents and professionals concerned with autism. ARI was founded in 1967 to conduct and foster scientific research designed to improve the methods of diagnosing, treating and preventing autism. ARI also disseminates research findings to parents and others worldwide seeking help. The ARI data bank, the world’s largest, contains over 40,000 detailed case histories of autistic children from over 60 countries. 

About 12 to Midnight

12 to Midnight has been publishing RPG materials—primarily adventures for modern horror campaigns—since 2003. The company also publishes the works of two game design studios, Dirty Unicorn Games and Fabled Environments. This year marks the inaugural year of the company’s Midnight Charity Project.