Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) encompasses a wide range of behavioral conditions. This is because every child diagnosed with autism presents with different symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms include limited social and communication skills, and repetitive behavior. The cause is not clearly understood or there are many different theories trying to explain it. One of the theories stipulates that there’re many different genes associated with autism.
The diagnosis is as complex, and often equally confusing to health care professionals and parents. There is no simple test to confirm it. The child’s pediatrician may further refer the family to either neurologist or a hearing specialist. But it takes a team of specialist who will observe the child in play and while interacting with the parents.
The treatment is also varied, but an early intervention is critical. This may include speech, occupational, and physical therapy, and the use of various dietary interventions, including a diet free of casein and gluten. The gluten free diet is especially beneficial to autistic children diagnosed with Celiac or Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity.
The child is prescribed a strictly gluten free diet. All grains naturally containing gluten are eliminated from the diet: wheat, barley, and rye. These can be replaced with gluten free grains: buckwheat, millet, quinoa, amaranth, rice, corn, and gluten free oats. All processed foods must be gluten free certified. Autistic children with Celiac will permanently remain on the gluten free diet. As for children with gluten sensitivity, gluten may in some instances be eventually reintroduced into their diet.
This article has been written by our in-house Dietitian. If you have any nutrition-related inquiries, please contact us.