Sunday, March 15, 2009

Avoiding Dairy: A Benefit to Autistic Children?

Parents of autistic children will do whatever they can do decrease the condition’s hold on their kids. For many of them, this means eliminating certain foods from the child’s diet. Most may have heard of getting rid of the gluten, but another sensitivity Autistic children may have is Casein – which is present in pretty much all dairy foods. While this seems a difficult task, it’s entirely possible if the parents are committed and dedicated.

Where to Find Casein Free Foods –

If you are considering placing your child on the casein-free diet, you should know that at first, it will be difficult to adjust. Purchasing casein-free foods can also be more expensive than purchasing regular foods as well. However, it has been proven on several occasions and with many Autistic children that the casein-free diet really helps the symptoms of Autism.

You can find foods with no casein in health food stores and online. You simply need to perform a search for ‘casein-free foods.’ Although a bit of dedication and effort is required for this diet, the payoff can be extreme. Parents have reported a significant reduction in Autism symptoms after a few months on the casein-free and gluten-free diets.

How Long to Remain on the Diet –

This is not a typical diet, so results will probably not be seen within a few weeks or even a month. It is suggested that if you’re considering this type of diet for your Autistic child, to try it for at least 3 months. By this time, you should be able to determine whether it is making a difference in the symptoms of Autism or not. It may help to slowly replace your dairy foods with casein-free products, especially if your child is having a difficult time adjusting to the new types of foods.

Helpful Resources –

Because this can be a challenging change in your life and the life of your child, any resources available can be a great help to you. You can find casein-free recipes online and in cookbooks created specifically for the purpose – those can be found in your local library or bookstore. Many parents use a journal to document the food changes and behavior changes they make so that they can connect the two to determine what is working and what is not.

If you are in any sort of support group for parents of Autistic children or if you are close friends with any – you may consider splitting the costs. If you both decide to place your children on this type of diet, buying foods in bulk and splitting the cost can be a great way to save money and pool resources.

Although the casein-free diet is not a cure for Autism, it can be a great way to help treat the symptoms your child suffers with. Remember that this will be a difficult change – much like any other major change. It takes a strong will, determination and dedication to pull it off. However, as time passes, the transition will be much easier and the payoff can be very well worth it.

Photo: jscreationzs

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Can I Find a Cure for Autism?

Parents of children who have just been diagnosed with Autism usually have a pretty difficult time adjusting to the diagnosis. There are so many questions and thoughts running through your head that it can be difficult to focus. You may even wonder whether or not you can find a cure for your child. If you’re asking yourself, ‘Can I find a cure for Autism,’ you should know that there is no specific cure. However, this should also not discourage you too much, as there are many wonderful treatments for this condition available. Let’s take a look at some of those treatments.

Prescription Medications

Your doctor will most likely let you know the most popular and common prescription medications for autism. Ask questions if you don’t understand – your doctor will not mind explaining what each type of medicine actually is and what affects it will have on your child. The prescriptions that are most commonly given to autistic children do not cure autism. They simply help your child deal with the symptoms of autism and to function more normally than he or she would be able to without the prescriptions. You should know that there are always concerns with side-effects or potentially dangerous reactions to these prescriptions.

Going Gluten Free –

Since many parents feel that their Autistic child has sensitivities to foods that may trigger more symptoms of the condition, many have gone to the diet in order to treat their children. Gluten is one of those foods that most often trigger Autistic symptoms, so this is also one of the most popular treatments. Taking gluten out of your child’s diet can be difficult – however, it can also be very helpful. Visit your local health food store to find gluten-free ingredients and snacks. You can also get some great recipes online and through your local library or book store. Know that you must try your child on the gluten-free diet for a few months in order to see a significant difference, so a few weeks with no results may not mean anything.

Different Forms of Therapy –

There are many different forms of therapy that you can employ to help your child reduce the symptoms of autism. For instance, autistic children typically respond well to sensory therapy – such as noise, textures and smells. This is a great way to calm your child and open them up to be more responsive. Music therapy is a great choice as well. Music has a very calming affect on children and can be a great aid in helping your child to learn behavioral and social skills that are necessary. Speak with your pediatrician about recommendations for different types of therapy.

Although your first thought may be, ‘can I find a cure for autism,’ you should know that there are many different choices and options when it comes to treatment. Although the options above are very popular, there are many more. You will want to do some research so that you’ll be fully prepared to help your child cope with his or her autism.