My daughter, Ava, was diagnosed with autism in 2008. Since then, I've implemented the gluten-free casein free diet and it has made a remarkable difference in her life. I know that several autism parents shy away from this lifestyle because it seems like such a tremendous undertaking. The truth, however, is that it's not that hard to do! You learn to read the labels carefully, you learn what your child loves and hates and most of all, you see the difference. Ava and I, together, have made some of the most inedible cake you could imagine but we've also made some amazing chocolate chip cookies using tapioca and sorghum flours.
Regardless of how immediate or immense your child's results may be, I think the most important thing about this diet is the lesson that it teaches these children. I have read and spoken with so many adults on the spectrum who report the difference in how they feel after half a serving of dairy or wheat. This has struck me so profoundly because food choices are SO important for these children. One day, they will be making choices for themselves, so arming them with knowledge of why soda might make them feel funny, for example, is such a powerful gift to me. It's possible that gluten and casein may not be their sensitivities or may not be their ONLY sensitivity, but that opens the door to observe the effects of eggs, soy, etc. My daughter is now 5 and when someone offers her pizza (her FAVORITE!! ) she will politely hold her hand up and say, "No thank you. That is yucky for Ava! " :-)
The other lifesaver in our life has been cod liver oil. Not only does it serve as an excellent booster in her immune system (so many of these kids have such weak immunities), but it keeps her SO focused. I remember the first day I gave cod liver oil to Ava, I cried uncontrollably because she made willing eye contact with me! And I didn't even have to ask for it. It's pretty amazing stuff.
Excerpt From Karyn Seroussi's Book
Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride is a MUST READ for any parent of a child with autism..... She explains in great depth what exactly happens to make one have a sick gut and how to heal it..... She explains why a gluten and casein free diet works well for many children with autism, but not for all. There is more to it.... The gut can be healed completely so the peptides no longer leak through the gut and she explains in great detail how to do so through the GAPS diet. Allergies, asthma, eczema, etc. are all early signs of a sick gut. A MUST READ!