Autism and the Gluten-Free Diet

Thousands of parents are finding that following a gluten-free and casein-free diet helps ease the symptoms of childhood Autism. What constitutes a gluten-free and casein-free diet? A gluten-free and casein-free diet is the elimination of gluten and casein, common gastrointestinal allergens, from the diet. Try cutting all wheat and milk products for a month and determine whether or not your child is:

  1. Responding better to his or her environment;
  2. Healthier look in the eyes;
  3. Rashes decrease and
  4. Less painful bloating and gas.

Eliminating wheat (gluten) and milk (casein) from a child’s diet need not be an unpleasant experience, although most parents feel that a total diet change would be more complex, expensive, and stressful than filling a prescription. Therefore, they might see a diet change as a last resort for their child displaying Autism symptoms. A word to the wise here, the doctor could very easily miss certain symptoms, by not looking in the right places, and the child, the parents, as well as the physician, are running a risk by not first checking for food allergies and intolerance. The doctor might administer medicine to the child that was manufactured with gluten or casein in it, thereby exacerbating the situation with another source of the allergen. Worse, the doctor could prescribe either hyperactivity or psychotropic drugs which could further disable the child.

It is important to know that many studies have surveyed children with autism and found very few who showed celiac disease symptoms. On the other hand, it is also important to acknowledge that many children, with symptoms amounting to Asperger’s Syndrome, which is not quite full-blown autism, will find relief from their symptoms--and even seemingly unrelated allergies--by changing to a gluten-free and casein-free diet. It need not be a torture process, either. Here at the Gluten-Free Mall, we offer plenty of goodies and snacks to warm the heart and bolster morale.

Autism, or childhood autism, cannot be cured by a change in diet. However, many children diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome or autism might find much relief to their symptoms with a diet change. Have your child’s small intestine checked for food malabsorption. Some doctors are quicker to try to cure conditions with medicine rather than food-based remedies, and some parents are too. Remember, though, dealing with Autism is not a walk in the park. It is a lifelong journey for the child and their family. Take your time and patience with diagnosis and treatment.

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For more information, please visit the author's Celiac Disease Information Site.