HELP FOR PARENTS OF CHILDREN WITH ASPERGER'S & HIGH-FUNCTIONING AUTISM

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How Diet and Supplements Can Help Aspergers Children

A gluten-free, casein free diet is recommended for Aspergers kids – and adults. Often moms and dads feel rather overwhelmed with such a restrictive diet, and only opt to embrace it as a last resort. Results vary when using a gluten-free, casein free diet – but the keyword here is RESULT. You can expect some result.

Kids with Aspergers (high functioning autism) usually have gastrointestinal problems (e.g., reflux, constipation, diarrhea, vomiting and hiccups). It is well-known that the proteins found in wheat, rye, oats, barley and dairy products (gluten and casein) are NOT completely broken down in kids with Aspergers. These undigested proteins can leak into the bloodstream, potentially interfering with neurological processes by having an opiate-like effect upon their systems.

It's suggested that these undigested proteins (peptides) can reach toxic levels, with the Asperger youngster seeming to "crave" milk and wheat products. Symptoms of gluten/casein intolerance include red cheeks and ears, dry skin, runny nose, headaches, hyperactivity, tantrums and malformed bowel movements.

Moms and dads report a variety of outcomes, including:
  • improved fine motor skills
  • improved focus and attention span
  • improved intestinal function
  • improved personal hygiene habits
  • improved sleep patterns
  • improved social skills
  • improved speech and communication
  • increase in affection shown
  • reduction of tantrums and irritability

So a gluten-free, casein-free diet is definitely worth considering for your Asperger youngster. You don't have to feel overwhelmed by the restrictive nature of the diet. I suggest simply starting slowly and eliminating one group (either gluten or casein) at a time. Once you're comfortable without wheat or dairy products, then you can tackle the next element. If you see a desirable result from eliminating one component, you may decide not to go any further.

Simply substituting gluten-free flour in all recipes I used was a simple but highly effective action. I'm a home-baker, so in any cakes, biscuits, slices and desserts I just substituted gluten-free flour in my usual recipes. I didn't add any extras like Xantham gum, and didn't have any failures.

Finding an alternative to bread was our biggest obstacle. The gluten-free varieties just weren't the same, so instead we excluded bread altogether. The gluten-free pastas on the market are excellent, but do tend to cook slightly quicker.

I suggest you email all the major distributors of snack foods, such as muesli bars and fruit slices and ask for a list of their gluten-free products. This helps with easy identification at the store. Eating out is difficult at first, but if you mention you're gluten-free most restaurant or cafe chefs will gladly prepare something gluten-free.

The gluten-free, casein-free diet finally eliminated all our grandson's known trigger foods such as peanut butter, chocolate and caffeine in sodas. We stayed on the diet strictly for 10 months before gradually reintroducing gluten. We have seen no return of the eliminated characteristics in our grandson (all of those mentioned above). We have continued to use gluten-free pasta and flour in our cooking.

I believe that the gluten-free diet had a detoxifying effect not only on our Aspergers grandson, but on all of us, and the benefits have been obvious. So be adventurous and try a gluten-free/casein-free diet for your Asperger youngster....you may be nicely surprised!

More diet tips especially for Aspergers children—
  • Reduce and eliminate foods containing artificial ingredients, preservatives and coloring
  • Reduce and eliminate foods with high sugar, salt and fat content
  • Incorporate more fresh foods into the diet
  • Always eat breakfast; this meal is key for regulating energy levels, brain power, and moods
  • Have healthy go-to foods on hand, such as apples and peanut butter, carrots, and celery, granola bars, fruit and nut mixes, yogurt with fruit, hard boiled eggs, cheese and crackers
  • For picky eaters not fond of vegetables or ‘healthy foods’, check out health food stores or farmers’ market for homemade sauces, herb vinegars, and dressings free of preservatives or chemicals to add flavor to meals

Supplements for Aspergers children—

Herbal and homeopathic remedies can be viable alternatives to synthetic drugs and may be just as effective, with far fewer risks and side effects. It is important that you only use natural remedies from a reliable source, as the quality of herbs used as well as methods of preparation may affect the strength and effectiveness of the remedy.

Depending on the symptoms that need treatment, certain herbal and homeopathic ingredients may be recommended as part of a holistic treatment plan, such as:

• Chamomila (6C) is used homeopathically for kids who are irritable and difficult to please, as well as for those with a low pain threshold. It is also well–known for its soothing effect on infant colic, symptoms of teething babies and its ability to promote sleepiness naturally.

• Cina (6C) is used homeopathically to relieve irritability, increase tolerance and prevent temper tantrums. Regular use of Cina is also thought to make kids less stubborn and more affectionate.

• Melissa officinalis has been studied for its beneficial effect on the nervous system, and is well-known for its soothing and calming properties.

• Passiflora is known for its soothing properties as a general nerve tonic to help naturally maintain a positive demeanor, balance emotions, settle the nerves and ease minor worries, as confirmed by clinical research.

• St. John’s Wort, which has been used in traditional medicine for centuries and research has confirmed the positive effects of this herb on mental and emotional health.

Natural remedies may often contain a combination of ingredients for best effect. A holistic treatment plan aims to address the underlying cause of the problem and does not just treat the symptoms in isolation. In this way, it provides an all-around approach to greater well-being.



COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said... gonna get him off milk and switch to almond milk. Sticking with doTerra for now too... Have a few calming blends that seem to work well for him.
•    Anonymous said... How about dosage/how to give it...? Capsule or liquid? Dosage size when taking them all together? And I noticed the ratio between Omega 3 and 6. Are they bought separately and I believe hemp oil contains both. I know if I start asking our psychiatrist about it, she will dismiss it and insist on the drugs. So I wanna know ahead of time just how much of each I may want to start him on.
Thanks so much!
•    Anonymous said... I did a bit more searching, and hit up Sprouts today. The woman in the vitamin area was super knowledgable and helpful too! I'm getting him started on vitamin C, B6 w/ magnesium, ground flaxseed (to mix into foods/drinks), and hemp oil... As well as a child probiotic. I have a game plan, and when we head to the psychiatrist next month, hopefully she will be supportive, but not holding my breath. Wanna start weaning him off the drugs at that time. While there, I studied the aisles, luckily much of what I buy is gluten free, but I did find a few new substitutions I can make.
•    Anonymous said... I have seen too many kids with Autism. Aspergers and ADHD that have been drugged to the gills to "control" their condition. I believe that trying a holistic, heathy approach may hopefully work. Fingers crossed. If I come across anything when researching for articles, I will let you know xxoo
•    Anonymous said... We all, as a family, practice Clean Eating and eat raw as much as possible. All organic, VERY little processed foods, no soda or fast food, no GMOs or anything artificial, very little sugar (but when we do, it's raw coconut sugar). We try to be as gluten free as possible, but it gets tricky. I guess I could be more diligent though. We use coconut flour rather than regular flour, and buy only gluten free organic cereals. Dairy is my big fail. Maybe a switch to almond milk is in order! With 4 kids, only 1 with AS, it will be a struggle to get the other 3 to let go of dairy milk and cheese! Thanks for all the info!!! 

Post your comment below…

13 comments:

Vonny said...

Hi, I tried my AS 9 yr old son on a gluten-free diet earlier this year and was knocked out by the results. So much calmer, more focused, less obstinate and lost the jelly belly, too! He can't tolerate cow's milk products so I have given him organic goats milk, yoghurts and cheese since he was a baby with no ill effects. So, for anybody considering trying it, it is well worth the bit of effort. I too found the gluten-free bread to be so nasty that I just dropped it altogether and would use gluten-free crackers in his lunch instead of sandwiches. Over the summer holidays we slipped back into gluten content foods and he was an absolute nightmare to deal with. So, we're back on the gluten-free horse again and will be giving the homeopathic remedies a whirl as well. Thanks for the advice.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I have a 9 yr old son with Aspergers, ADHD and ODD. From reading your blog and other autism related websites I'm going to give the homeopathic supplements a go to see if it improves his temperament. I wondering what dosage you recommend for Cina (6c) and Passiflora? Do I just administer the dosage on the bottle or should it be a higher/lower dose for kids with AS? Thanks.

Denise said...

I am nervous to try a restrictive diet for my son. After reading this however, I feel like it might be a very real need for him. He often has red cheeks in the afternoon. Part of my fear is not knowing what I should be feeding him. I know what NOT to feed him in these cases but what DO I feed him? In the new year, I logged his foods for a couple of weeks and discovered he was eating not nearly enough healthy fats. I changed that and his GI was much happier. He has ADHD and Aspergers. He periodically take a probitic and he takes a Omega 3 supplement. Any tips on how to start and what to feed him?

Anonymous said...

My son has been on the diet and supplements for years. Saw great improvements, I'm considering just using the supplements now since they seem to be the key in solving his digestion problems.

Anonymous said...

My son had really bad digestive problems (found out it was candida) so we put him on gluten-casein free ( and tons of supplements) at 2 but started gradually. Didnt see much of a difference with casein (he was already dairy free anyway) but once we pulled gluten out, 6 months later we saw a huge difference and a huge jump in milestones-at 3 he didnt even need services anymore except speech. At 4 I decided to allow some dairy in, which is fine but not too much other wise he gets the candida (also happens with too much sugar) I found the Trienza supplement works with breaking down gluten and casien and even tested it out a couple times by giving the supplement before he eats something with gluten and it works wonders. I thought the diet is great, but I wouldnt even start it unless the kid had digestive problems along with developmental problems. I see alot of kids on the diet that didnt have digestive problems and it isnt doing anything for them. Just limiting the sugar and processed food will probably make enough of a difference without having to go gluten free!

Anonymous said...

My daughter has phenylketonuria as Well as aspergers so her protein is strictly monitered with protein free items which end up gluten free and dairy is high protein so also not allowed ... When the protein builds up or she eats too much "forbidden foods" she is utterly utterly unbearable and out of control. I never before thought the two conditions could inter link at all but after reading this it would seem they actually do ... How very interesting thank you ♥
about an hour ago · Like

Anonymous said...

hello everybody my name is sara and i am an adult with autism. i now run my own autistic spectrum condition group facebook.which can now be accessed. i am also co-chair of the autism partnership board here in grimsby north east lincolnshire. being a passionate advocate for all those on the autistic spectrum.

Anonymous said...

We had SOME result. Not dramatic, although the withdrawal from dairy for my daughter was very dramatic (lots of meltdowns and obsession with dairy foods!). She's been GFCF for almost a year now and the one major thing that came out of it is that her eczema cleared up completely.

Anonymous said...

BTW Dahlya, if you don't want to try it, there is another supplement also called Spectrum Digest by Enzymedica. We use this to digest hidden gluten, casein and phenols/salicylates. It doesn't have to be that your child has a digestion problem per se, often kids with autistic spectrum issues have issues breaking down certain proteins as well. It doesn't have to manifest in stomach problems, it can manifest in behavior, skin or respiratory issues, etc.

Annie said...

I find it quite frustrating reading these articles that discuss the amazing effects of eliminating gluten etc. Am I the only parent of a picky Aspergers child? My son only eats about five thing, all of them completely dependent on wheat and dairy. I can't imagine for one minute eliminating these items from his diet as he would eat nothing. I wish someone could help me with his fussy eating habits but so far nobody has been able to. He doesn't however have any of the symptoms you list relating to digestive disorders. In fact despite his shocking diet he seems to have the healthiest digestive system. Any tips to help a child expand his dietary horizons would be much appreciated!

Anonymous said...

Annie:

I think that everyone here agrees with you on a foundational level--- but what nobody has mentioned is that a lot of kids who are put on this diet initially protest quite a bit and quite dramatically too-- but a lot of kids who go on the diet find that they feel so much better that they start to beg to be gluten and casein free-- my son has shown incredible results in just days ----and before, he too only ate the forbidden foods and very few of them-- but within days of switching- i would ask him what (of the 5 things he eats) would he like to eat-- and he would just say "whatever you make, mom"-- it was amazing--- within days his pickiness was drastically reduced, his tummy aches stopped, he behavior improved-- i was shocked-- i didn't believe it would work, but it did-- it's always worth a try!

Stephbosch said...

Our son is dairy free and mostly gluten free. Lately he has been eating more wheat and oh boy! He has been a nightmare! Can't focus, angry, actually picking fights with his sister! No more! I am gf/f myself and he is going to join me!

kim johnston said...

Is it possible to get your child tested for gluten sensitivity before going through the drastic change in diet?

My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the Aspergers child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually. Thus, the best treatment for Aspergers children and teens is, without a doubt, “social skills training.”

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Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and the Asperger’s child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

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Although Aspergers is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager with Aspergers are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the Aspergers teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

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Parenting children with Aspergers and HFA can be a daunting task. In layman’s terms, Aspergers is a developmental disability that affects the way children develop and understand the world around them, and is directly linked to their senses and sensory processing. This means they often use certain behaviors to block out their emotions or response to pain.

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Older Teens and Young Adult Children With Aspergers Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with Aspergers face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

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Living with an Aspergers Spouse/Partner

Research reveals that the divorce rate for people with Aspergers is around 80%. Why so high!? The answer may be found in how the symptoms of Aspergers affect intimate relationships. People with Aspergers often find it difficult to understand others and express themselves. They may seem to lose interest in people over time, appear aloof, and are often mistaken as self-centered, vain individuals.

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Online Parent Coaching for Parents of Asperger's Children

If you’re the parent of a child with Aspergers or High-Functioning Autism, you know it can be a struggle from time to time. Your child may be experiencing: obsessive routines; problems coping in social situations; intense tantrums and meltdowns; over-sensitivity to sounds, tastes, smells and sights; preoccupation with one subject of interest; and being overwhelmed by even the smallest of changes. The hardest part is you feel like you’ll never actually get to know your child and how he/she views the world.

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