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Dietary & Therapeutic Considerations for Autism Spectrum Disorder [level 1]

ASD [High-Functioning Autism] is a neurobiological disorder that has no known cause or cure. For this reason, a number of alternative therapies have been tried to improve the symptoms of ASD and other autistic spectrum disorders.

Much has been made about the gluten-free and casein-free diet. This includes a diet virtually void of wheat, oat, rye and barley foods as well as any dairy foods that generally contain casein. Many parents have noted significant improvement in the behavioral symptoms of their child. Such a diet can be difficult to arrange, but there are web sites that sell products free of casein and gluten, and a few week's trial of the diet may make a difference that no medication can do.

Other alternative therapies include chelation therapy (rids the body of heavy metals which may be contributing to the symptoms), cranio-sacral therapy, auditory integration therapy, sensory integration therapy and music therapy. Some of these alternative therapies have gone past being “alternative” and have reached mainstream medical therapies.

A natural supplement found to be helpful in ASD is called L-Carnosine, a supplement that is a protein combination of alanine and histadine. In several studies, it has been shown to improve the auditory processing skills, socialization, speech production, fine motor skills and language skills of children with autism spectrum disorders.

Certain digestive enzymes have been developed for kids with ASD and related disorders. It is felt that the enzymes reduce the amount of undigested food that unhealthy gut bacteria thrive on.

Some researchers believe that kids with ASD are deficient in glutathione. Some companies now manufacture what is called liposome-enclosed glutathione. Glutathione is an antioxidant that also helps rid the body of toxins, including heavy metals.

Electrolyte solutions containing minerals are used to prevent dehydration and add valuable minerals to the child’s diet. In addition, phosphatidyl serine is used because it is known to regenerate damaged nerve cells and improve memory, learning and concentration.

There is much less research on dietary supplements and dietary changes in children with ASD and related disorders. Any research done is often done on extremely small numbers of children, so they can’t be widely recommended; however, none of these therapies are harmful to the body, so they may be tried safely in families looking to optimize their youngster’s level of functioning. As an example, numerous parents have reported wonderful results when giving their child melatonin for sleep issues.


•    Anonymous said... Avoiding dyes, ESP red 40. The frustrating thing is that most kids antibiotics are pink and have red 40
•    Anonymous said... omega 3 fish oil capsules/oil of evening primrose capsules/good multi vitamin and mineral supplement,
•    Anonymous said... So, is it possible it's the GMOs that are in almost all wheat, soy and corn causing the problems and not the actual gluten? Why after thousands of years are people all of a sudden reacting to gluten? Organic foods are GMO free!
•    Anonymous said... We removed all artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives and saw a HUGE difference in about a week. It's worth a try for a week to see if it will help your child. We saw huge improvements in stimming, focus, hyperactivity, and meltdowns decreased. It worked better than any medications we have tried.
On a side note, most of the colors/flavors/preservatives are banned in other countries as a known health hazard for human consumption. Yet our government allows it. I'll let you do the research if you choose
•    Anonymous said... We've been doing the GAPS diet for 4+ months. We've seen huge gains (among the most impressive have been the initiation of pretend play -- there was zero before -- vanishing of rough play, and excellent growth in social and verbal skills). GAPS (similar to and based on SCD) removes all processed foods, grains, sugars (except in fruit and honey) and starches, and is designed to heal and seal the gut lining. It's a commitment, but it has been totally worth the effort and expense. Also, it has changed my super-picky eater into the kid who asks for vegetables for snack and plain fruit as dessert!
•    Anonymous said... when we look that he GF/CF diet, there was a lot of referring to gluten and casein being changed into a type of morphine in the brain and this is why these kids crave for these foods, it's like a drug addiction. When we change our son's diet, we had it rough for about 5 weeks and it was apparently his body going thru withdraws. We have taken additives out and added omega 3,6 and 9 which contains evening primrose oil and it has worked really well, a different kid.
•    Anonymous said... With my son we have to avoid dyes and colorants along with a lot of sugar. But he craves dairy and salt. Not sure why yet.

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Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

Two traits often found in kids with High-Functioning Autism are “mind-blindness” (i.e., the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others) and “alexithymia” (i.e., the inability to identify and interpret emotional signals in others). These two traits reduce the youngster’s ability to empathize with peers. As a result, he or she may be perceived by adults and other children as selfish, insensitive and uncaring.

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