Help Us Spread Autism Awareness!

By: Suzanne Wolke 

 

Since April is Autism Awareness Month, it’s the perfect opportunity to turn our attention to this complex developmental disorder. In the last decade the occurrence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in children has increased drastically, making this month more significant than ever.  According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 1 in 88 American children are now identified on some level of the spectrum!

 

How much do you know about autism? Here are a few facts to help you learn more:

  • Autism is 5 times more common in boys than girls.
  • There is no medical detection for autism, currently only careful behavioral analysis and family history leads to diagnoses.
  • The average age for diagnosis is around 3 years old
  • Not all types of autism are alike; there is a very wide spectrum of autism and every child will have their own unique way of coping with it.
  • Currently there is no cure for autism, though with early intervention and treatment many symptoms related to autism can be greatly improved and in some cases completely overcome.
  • Autism is the fastest growing developmental disorder, yet most underfunded

 

Can a Gluten Free and Casein-Free Diet Help?

 

If you’ve heard about autism you’ve probably heard about a Gluten and Casein free diet (GFCF) at some point. Although medical research has not been able to confirm a definite relationship between the two, many parents and physicians have seen improvements in speech or behavior after these ingredients were removed from their diet.

So how exactly can gluten and casein affect behavior? There isn’t a definite answer but some use Leaky Gut Syndrome to explain it. Many children with ASD suffer from a leaky gut, a condition where the incompletely digested proteins (or peptides) found in casein and gluten seep from the intestines into the blood stream. When a child with a leaky gut ingests foods that contain casein and gluten, the peptides enter the blood stream, head to the brain and attach to opiate receptors there, prompting the child to have sensory issues and to sometimes react with unmanageable behavior.

A gluten and casein free diet should not be attempted without consulting your doctor first but it may be worth a shot!

Have you seen any behavioral improvements after someone affected by autism went gluten-free?

 

For more detailed resources on Autism please visit the links below:

Thanks for helping us spread Autism Awareness!

18 Responses to “Help Us Spread Autism Awareness!”

  1. After a vaccine injury in 2001, my son was non-verbal for 2 ½ years. He was very autistic for 7 years (melt-downs, severe tics, PANDAS). I took him to 18 different doctors who did little to help him. I refused to give him mind-altering drugs and tried every ‘natural’ product and method instead. We finally figured out how to fully heal his immune system in 2008. He recovered from PANDAS in 2009; he lost his IEP in 2010 and is now considered gifted.

    A gluten-free diet helped him and Udi’s products have contributed greatly! Autism is an auto-immune disorder. It is well known that people with auto-immune disorders almost always benefit from eliminating gluten from their diet. When we focused on healing his GI tract (where over 80% of our immune system is located) we supported healing in his brain.

    Autism is not well understood by the general public and not well served by most organizations who mis-represent themselves. Unfortunately, most doctors are trained by big pharmas and drugs to suppress symptoms cause even more problems for our children.

    THANK YOU Udi’s – for stepping up to the plate in many ways. This site is serving well to help others. We need to remember that we are all fighting the good fight together.

  2. Julie says:

    I would like to thank Udi’s and the people who commented on this post. It is posts & comments like this that help educate us. Education allows readers like me to better understand these medical conditions and hopefully bring more research.

  3. Arby2B says:

    My granddaughter began showing symptoms of Autism around 18-20 months. At first her parents were in denial, but I persisted in sharing my observances until they began seeing what I was seeing. At 1 year she spoke 2-word phrases constantly, a vocabulary of about 25 words and would eat pretty much anything offered. At 2 years she spoke 3-word phrases infrequently, had gained few new words and only ate 7 different food items. At 3 years she started speaking more, but almost everything was quoted from movies & TV.
    Over the years we have done reseach and found a few services available to help in this battle(she started Speach Therapy around 30 months). We learned about toxic exposure to metals in the environment and began using home remedies for detoxing using herbal teas and Epsom Salts baths. And we learned about anti-oxidants & supplements that aid the immune system. We learned that people with Autism can’t filter metals from their bodies in the way other people do which leads to false-negative results on Lead Testing.because lead doesn’t show up in their hair growth.
    We learned that gluten produces an opioid response in some people and they crave foods containing it because they are self-medicating. My granddaughter is now 9 years old, she is main-streamed and plays team sports in an open league. She loves her school, her friends, her life, and her family. Being gluten-free is a part of that. Thanks Udi’s, for your products and this forum!

  4. Amanda G. says:

    I am an autistic adult. I am gluten free for Celiac reasons.

    Please Udi’s, please tell me you are not supporting / giving money to Autism Speaks. I’d really hate to have stop purchasing your products. Feel free to contact me if you want to know why many autistic people like myself are anti-Autism Speaks. (And also against that horrible puzzle symbol.)

    Also, please consider autism acceptance, which the autism community is promoting, over autism awareness.

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Amanda,

      Thank you for your comment. We do not financially supporting Autism Speaks and apologize for the confusion. We simply wanted to provide a variety of resources for people to explore. We will definitely consider autism acceptance! Thanks again! -Suzanne

  5. Sarah says:

    There is evidence that autism is far more prevalent in females than believed – it is more likely that 2.5 females have autism for every 4 males. Undiagnosed female autistics are at greater risk for sexual assault and eating disorders than the general population.

    Additionally, many autistic individuals are against Autism Speaks because they so rarely allow autistics to speak. 4% of Autism Speaks’ budget makes it to the families of autistics – the rest goes to research and operating costs. Many autistic individuals, such as myself, dislike AutSpe for this reason, and would hesitate to support a company that supported them.

  6. Paul says:

    I will tell you the story of our son. He is on the far end end of the Autism spectrum. Severe. Global Development delay. The biggest thing was his meltdowns. Up until he was 4 he had severe meltdowns. Walking in circles, screaming, crying, pinching and scratching his face and hands(Until they bled. Only now have the scares fully gone), wanting to be held all the time(heavy stuff), waking up and at 2am screaming(and only thing that would calm him was taking him out to the mini-van and holding him in the front seat etc etc etc. This could last up to a week at a time. It was usually triggered by sudden loud noises or other things that would scare him. I can quite vividedly recall his last meltdown. Just a couple of weeks b4 he was scheduled to see the Natural Path we were tipped off about, one evening he had a major one. The next day i was at the store buying all gluten free products, (I started the organic veggies, free range meats (I know the farmer) , probiotics, Calcium, magnesium etc, etc after I saw the Natural Path). He has never, I repeat, never had another meltdown since then. Hes now 10 and has made solid progress. Though he still does not speak. Says the odd muffled word but not often. But he does understand things. Overall he’s continued to make solid progress and much of his positive development can be attributed to the Gluten free diet!

  7. Shai says:

    My son, Cotton, was diagnosed with severe ADHD at 3 and we tried all sorts of natural remedies and then eventually meds. He was diagnosed with Autism as well at 7 (although low on the spectrum) and we decided to take gluten out of his diet just to see….and it helped tremendously. We even had DNA testing done which confirmed that his body treats gluten as an infection. He is now 8 and still being treated for ADHD but the difference in behavioral issues when he consumes gluten is so noticeable that even he sees it. Although I cook most of what we eat, it is so nice to have so many gluten free options out there that we both enjoy. I am gluten free too and loving it!

  8. Phyllis Poole says:

    Try blaming sugar and the refining of it and flour.
    My son had an LD when 5!.It was the same as Alzheimers and they -in the 60′s -would have called in autism also if they had known about it
    Sugar depletes the B vitamins. We didn’t have much sugar before 2-250 yrs ago. Now everywhere you look there are goodies. And in the canned vegetables!
    My doctor (whose wife as a nutritionist) put their LD patients on niacin, a B vitamin. (they said most hyperactive kids had low blood sugar and had glucose tolerant tests to prove it)
    Get the refined sugar out of diets and most “diseases” will vanish!

  9. Nicole says:

    Love you guys even more for this! Yay Udi’s! Our 8 yr old son was diagnosed with Asperger’s at age 5. We started a gluten free & casein free diet with him in January of 2012. To make things easier, the whole family follows this diet. We have seen great improvements in our sons health & behavior. When our younger son, age 5, does eat something with gluten or casein in it, the changes are profound- cranky, out of control within an hour and cranky & out of sorts for days after. Same with our 8 yr old on the spectrum too if he accidentally eats something with gluten or casein. We love Udi’s. thank you for all you do & keep up the great work!

  10. AJ says:

    As an adult with Asperger’s syndrome and gluten intolerance, I was very distraught to find one of my favorite bread manufacturers linking to Autism Speaks, a group which despite its name has constantly sought to silence the voices of actual autistic people and which spends a lot of its money funding executive salaries and is very skewed in the research that it does fund.

    There are a lot of us out here who could use the resources of an autism organization to help us bridge to housing and employment and other essential needs. Autism Speaks constantly abandons those things in favor of, effectively, eugenics research.

    Please actually look into the unpleasant practices of this organization before promoting them.

    I’m willing to believe these links were posted and the organization’s symbol used in ignorance of its actual practices, willing to extend the benefit of the doubt for now, and I really hope that I’m right in that regard, because I would hate to have to stop buying products that have changed my life for the better.

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi AJ,

      Thanks for much for your feedback! We will definitely take your comments regarding Autism Speaks into consideration. I assure we do not support this organization financially and will remove them from the list. Thanks again for your comment! -Suzanne

  11. Chelsea says:

    My son has a moderate form of autism, and we have been GFCF for nearly two years. It has made a remarkable difference in his behaviour! He is no longer aggressive (unless he has a diet infraction), does not sensory-seek as much, and is able to focus and apply himself with great determination. He feels much better now – his belly doesn’t hurt anymore. We LOVE Udi’s in our house! ^_^

  12. ATG says:

    No doubt about it, our twins improved massively from removing gluten from their diet after they’d begun to regress into autism between ages one and three.

    Although we’d read gluten takes about 6 months to get out of the system, our son started talking again within five days of starting the restricted diet, going from 7, barely intelligible words to a vocabulary of more than 300 words within two weeks. His eye contact returned within days and both twins slept through the night for the first time since age one, so the diet not only saved the kids, it saved us as parents as well. Nothing else we were doing at the time was new other than the GF/CF and soy-free diet and there were many witnesses to the transformation who all became convinced that autism is an environmental condition and have protected their children accordingly.

    Eventually we learned that a different type of milk might be more tolerable for the kids (A2 beta casein dairy as opposed to most commercial milk which is A1) and so the kids are back to consuming just this one type of dairy. But the gluten-free and soy-free diet has been working very well for six years and the children are recovering in leaps and bounds. Unfortunately we know instantly whether the twins have had a “food infraction”– they’re still a bit gut busted and recovery takes years– but it’s gotten easier to maintain the diet with all the great products available.

  13. Kim Rice says:

    Within weeks of implementing an elimination diet for my son, who was diagnosed at two and half years old on the autism spectrum, his vocabulary exploded and he started putting two words together for the first time. Between the diet and therapy intervention, within six months Sammy appeared “typical.” He is now, at six and half years old, been mainstreamed for kindergarten with no assistance. He recently “graduated” from his IEP. My son is in “managed recovery” from autism. There is no doubt in my mind that diet intervention plays a key role in his optimized brain function. I myself lost over sixty pounds and a long list of health issues including depression, anxiety and chronic body pain after removing inflammatory foods such as gluten, dairy, soy, etc.

  14. Lee Kendrick says:

    My 21 yr. old daughter has Asperger’s Syndrome, and we discovered information a couple of years ago in regards to the link between gluten and autism spectrum disorders. The research we’ve found shows that gluten sensitivity can (and often does) cause inflammation in the brain. In my daughter’s case, her anxiety/panic issues were occurring 3-4 times per day until she went gluten-free. She now only has issues 1-2 times per week at the most. Her overall health has improved, as has her overall ability to function better. The change was amazing!

  15. Rosie says:

    To prove my sister wrong, that he didn’t have any gluten sensitivities, I did a stool culture on my son. It came back positive for sensitivity, so we tried gluten-free. Saw some improvement in behaviors, but didn’t appreciate how great those improvements were until on vacation he went a week with gluten in his diet. What a change! More hyper, and behaviors that we had seen before-irritability, restlessness, unable to reason with him. Made me a believer! We didnt’ do the casein free diet, which he also was sensitive to. I often wonder if there would be an even bigger improvement. Just can’t make that final leap!

  16. J Bookout says:

    Asbergers testing was suggested for my 3yr old son because of developmental and behavioral challenges. After visiting the neurologist it appeared that it may not be Asbergers and he suggested allergy testing. While we waited for the test date to arrive we started him on a gluten free diet. The behavioral differences were very noticeable that week and the tests pointed to gluten intolerance along with egg and cranberry allergies. He is 9 now and has been gluten free since then. He does appear to be somewhere on the spectrum because of repetitive behaviors, awkward social interaction, and highly detailed intellect. We will have him tested again in a year or so, but the absence of gluten has made a huge difference for him.

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