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:
- Autism Society
- Autistic Advocacy
- Huffingtonpost Autism Awareness
- National Autism Association
- Mayo Clinic – Autism
- MD Mama
- Parents – Autism
Thanks for helping us spread Autism Awareness!