"Do you think supplements actually help children with Autism Spectrum Disorders?"
The short answer is 'yes'. Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are especially prone to nutritional difficulties, and it is important that they take supplements to achieve a balanced nutritional state. But supplementation takes some investigation to find the right vitamins and minerals for your child. Every child on the autism spectrum is different, and what works for one may not work for another.
The first step toward addressing supplementation for ASD children is to adopt a gluten and casein free diet. These proteins have been found to potentially worsen the symptoms of ASD. In fact, gluten and casein have been found to help the brain produce natural opiates, making foods that contain them practically addictive!
Another important step is the implementation of a balanced and healthy diet. Remember, ASD children are influenced by routines, so if a healthy diet is instituted early and followed, these children will likely adhere to it.
It is also important to have the input of a doctor to determine if your child is absorbing the proper amount of nutrients. Simple blood tests can determine nutrient levels, and from this data a diet can be successfully adjusted to address any shortfalls. "Defeat Autism Now" medical professionals are a good place to start because they have been especially trained to understand the challenges facing ASD children.
Here is a partial list of common supplements that ASD children are often lacking or simply do not have at optimum levels:
- folinic aci
- vitamins C and E
- essential fatty acid
- various amino acids
When beginning a regiment of supplements, it is important to work them in slowly. It is equally important to document changes in behavior. Pay close attention to the effects of supplements on your child. Note any differences and prepare to discuss them with your doctor or nutritionist. In terms of positive and negative effects that can result from the use of supplements, and a change in diet – they will not be easy to miss.
Positive changes can include a reduction in the severity of behaviors. Many ASD children can show improvement in managing behaviors and social interaction. It is equally important to note regressions in behavior. If negative behaviors are observed, the supplement added should be reduced or eliminated.
For the most part, negotiating the diet and supplementation of an ASD child is a trial and error process -- but well worth the effort. It is recommended that when first purchasing supplements, you start with small packages. Buying in bulk can save you money in the long run, but if you buy a ton of supplements that produce undesired results, you are stuck with useless products.
Should you chose to add supplements to your child’s diet, you will need to do so in a controlled manner. Don’t just dole out supplements on an experimental basis. Work with a doctor or a nutritionist to come up with a specific plan that is geared toward your child’s success. This regiment should include frequent tests for metal toxicity, stool analysis, and tests for various amino acids and peptides.
There is a lot to consider when choosing supplements for your child. This process is very important and can improve the overall quality of his/her life. However, don't rush into the process, and make sure you cover all the bases before proceeding. Also, give supplements time to work. Oftentimes, it takes at least two weeks for the body to accurately process nutrients and for you to see any changes in your child's behavior.
The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook