National Autism Awareness month is winding down. The topic of Autism is not only near-and-dear to my heart, it’s something our family manages everyday.
Many parents with kids on the spectrum are turning to adjusting their child’s diet when managing Autism. Some believe that Autistic children have a food sensitivity and also believe dairy, also known as Casein, is one of the foods to cause problems with Autistic children. Removing all dairy from your child’s diet can at first seem very difficult to do since most kids love cheese and ice cream.
If you are going to try the dairy free diet with your child you will need to make sure they are getting enough calcium. This can be done with vitamin supplements, or milk substitutes. Many types of food are including calcium.
It is thought that the Casein reacts in the Autistic child’s body causing the unwanted behaviors. Experts think if the dairy products are removed, some of the behaviors will leave. It should take a few months to know if the diet is working for your child. If you are considering removing Gluten from the diet too it is advised to try removing dairy first. The dairy is removed from the body much faster than the Gluten. Gluten can take ten months or more to be completely removed from the body.
Following a Casein free diet can be expensive. Most milk replacements cost double the price of regular milk. Not all stores will carry the dairy free products. They can usually be found at specialty, or health food stores. You can find Casein free products on the Internet for mail order. There are also lots of Casein free recipes available online. To save on the cost of Casein free foods some families find another family in their area using the same diet, and share the cost of ingredients by buying in bulk. They then split the foods.
If you choose to try a Casein (dairy) free diet with your Autistic child remember to allow enough time to see if the diet is helping. It can be helpful to keep a journal while trying the diet. Keep a record of behaviors your Autistic child has. Then you can see if the number of behaviors is dropping. If you have not removed Gluten from your child’s diet you may want to consider this if your child is not improving from the dairy free diet.
To find out if your Autistic child has a sensitivity to dairy (Casein) have them allergy tested. This will tell you if you should remove any other foods from the diet. If you are wanting more information about Casein free diets visit your local library. You can find many books that deal with dairy free living and the internet is also a great source of information as well.