is a brain development disorder characterized by impaired social
interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior.
These signs all begin before a child is three years old. The autism
spectrum disorders (ASD) also include related conditions with milder
signs and symptoms.
Autism has a strong genetic basis, although the genetics of autism are complex and it is unclear whether ASD is explained more by multigene interactions or by rare mutations. In rare cases, autism is strongly associated with agents that cause birth defects. Other proposed causes, such as childhood vaccines, are controversial, and the vaccine hypotheses lack any convincing scientific evidence. The prevalence of ASD is about 6 per 1,000 people, with about four times as many boys as girls. The number of people known to have autism has increased dramatically since the 1980s, partly due to changes in diagnostic practice; the question of whether actual prevalence has increased is unresolved.
Autism affects many parts of the brain; how this occurs is not understood. Parents usually notice signs in the first two years of their child's life. Although early behavioral or cognitive intervention can help children gain self-care, social, and communication skills, there is no known cure. Few children with autism live independently after reaching adulthood, but some become successful, and an autistic culture has developed, with some seeking a cure and others believing that autism is a condition rather than a disorder.
Parents are turning to their child's diet to when treating Autism. Some believe that Autistic children have a food sensitivity. They believe dairy, also known as Casein, is one of the foods to cause problems with Autistic children. Removing all dairy from your child's diet can at first seem very difficult to do. Most kids love cheese and ice cream.
Most people following a dairy free diet also remove Gluten from the diet. The ingredient in dairy that it thought to cause problems is Casein. Casein is a protein found in dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, and some hotdogs. It is very important to read all labels on food the child will be eating.
If you are going to try the dairy free diet with your child you will need to make sure they are getting enough calcium. This can be done with vitamin supplements, or milk substitutes. Many types of food are including calcium.
It is thought that the Casein reacts in the Autistic child's body causing the unwanted behaviours. They think if the dairy products are removed some of the behaviours will leave. It should take a few months to know if the diet is working for your child.
If you are considering removing Gluten from the diet too it is advised to try removing dairy first. The dairy is removed from the body much faster than the Gluten. Gluten can take ten months or more to be completely removed from the body.
Following a Casein free diet can be expensive. Most milk replacements cost double the price of regular milk. Not all stores will carry the dairy free products. They can usually be found at specialty, or health food stores.
You can find Casein free products on the internet for mail order. There are also lots of Casein free recipes available online. To save on the cost of Casein free foods some families find another family in their area using the same diet, and share the cost of ingredients by buying in bulk. They then split the foods.
If you choose to try a Casein (dairy) free diet with your Autistic child remember to allow enough time to see if the diet is helping. It can be helpful to keep a journal while trying the diet. Keep a record of behaviours your Autistic child has.
Then you can see if the number of behaviours is dropping. If you have not removed Gluten from your child's diet you may want to consider this if your child is not improving from the dairy free diet.
find out if your Autistic child has a sensitivity to dairy (Casein) have
them allergy tested. This will tell you if you should remove any other
foods from the diet. If you are wanting more information about Casein
free diets visit your local library. You can find many books that deal
with dairy free living. The internet is also a great source of
A Casein free diet might be helpful in treating your child's Autism. It is not a cure for Autism though. It will only help treat some of the symptoms.
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