Autism is a complex biomedical disorder that is currently being diagnosed at an epidemic level in children. As research continues to fall short of unveiling a cause or cure for autism, parents and professionals strive to find treatments to minimize the symptoms of the condition. One well-known treatment is the use of specialized diets for autism. A preliminary dietary intervention which is still the most popular within the field of autism is the Gluten Free-Casein Free (GFCF) diet. The GFCF diet strives to remove the proteins of gluten (found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye and oats) and casein (found in dairy products) for optimal digestion. As researchers have further recognized the gastrointestinal component of autism, additional diets to address the symptoms of autism have developed and are becoming more widely utilized.
These diets include:
Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD)
Body Ecology Diet (BED)
GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome)
Weston A. Price
Research has recognized that those with autism have marked gastrointestinal symptoms and by eliminating offenders for the immune and gastrointestinal systems, improvements are often seen in neurological symptoms as well as digestive symptoms. For many children, dietary intervention has resulted in significant improvements in language, social interaction, behavior, and eye contact, along with a reduction in self-stimulatory behaviors and aggression. A healthy diet that addresses the gastrointestinal concerns for those who suffer from the condition is a viable treatment option in reducing symptoms and improving outcomes for children with autism.