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

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