Diets and Nutritional Support

Parents of children with ASDs often hear about the benefits many parents have
discovered when their child is placed on a nutritional intervention such as
casein, whey and gluten exclusion diets. Observational reports include a
decrease in negative behaviors, improved language skills, improved attention
or a decrease in repetitive or self injurious behaviors.

Such nutritional interventions can be difficult for a family to pursue. Parents with ASD children are busier and more financially stressed then families without ASD children.
Consequently, such interventions should be considered carefully. Nutritional and
biomedical interventions have not been proven to significantly improve outcome
in children with ASDs. There is extensive observational information from many
parents and professionals who deal with children with ASDs to support their use.
Numerous books have been written and interviews have been given. Strong
methadological studies, however, have not proven the benefits. The key is to
make an informed decision and choose your targeted behavior carefully. The risk
of a placebo effect must always be considered and if the risk is minimal there
is no reason a trial cannot be pursued if response is carefully documented.

Gastrointestinal problems or issues related to children with ASDs having extreme food selectivity should be dealt with as they would for a child without an ASD. Vitamin, mineral, caloric and protein supplementation must be pursued if there is inadequate recommended intake for age or if your child is not meeting expected growth parameters.