gluten-free diet

definition of gluten-free diet: Dietary change used as an alternative therapy for autism. All foods with gluten (e.g., barley, rye, oats, and wheat) are removed from the diet.

What is it?

Pediatric Nutritionist

Can Your Young Adult with Autism Go To College?

Teaser: 

This article tackles the issue of a young adult with autism attending college.

Body: 

This article tackles the issue of a young adult with autism attending college. Dr. Roel and Katrina Laygo’s son was diagnosed with autism just before he turned three. With a total of five kids, the Laygo’s did all they could to help Nathan, but they felt that speech and occupational therapies weren’t enough. Nathan is now involved in ABA, therapeutic horseback riding, music, social skills, and on a gluten-free/casein-free diet. Knowing how much this has cost them, the Laygo’s have established Nathan’s Something Special Scholarship Fund, which awards a scholarship each year to a child with autism or cerebral palsy to attend a year of college or vocational school. Katrina Laygo has also started a lifestyle publication, Something Special Magazine to help other parents of kids with special needs.

Church Reaches Out to Families with Autism

Teaser: 

Trinity Episcopal Church in Virginia started All God’s Children as a worship service geared to children with autism and other developmental delays.

Body: 

Trinity Episcopal Church in Virginia started All God’s Children as a worship service geared to children with autism and other developmental delays. This monthly Saturday evening service builds on currently available church programs. The basics of All God's Children are built on special education programs that incorporate items for kids to touch and see. The service also focuses on picture boards to help teach scripture and follow along with the service. Three of the songs that the congregation sings have picture boards to accompany them. The service in addition to singing, contains a Bible reading and short sermon. There is an optional Communion with gluten-free wafers. Families of the children are relieved to be able to attend service as a family without having to leave if the child acts out.

Beyond a Gluten-Free Diet for Children with Autism

Teaser: 

Jennifer Cerbasi, a special education teacher, works with parents of children with autism to improve their emotional, academic, and physical health.

Body: 

Jennifer Cerbasi, a special education teacher, works with parents of children with autism to improve their emotional, academic, and physical health. She suggests in the article that it may not be enough just to reduce gluten in a child’s diet, but that other items such as sugar need to be considered. Parents are finding that eliminating food dyes, sugar, and artificial flavors may help their child’s behavior. Cerbasi explains that it can be hard to change the family diet because in many cases, children are picky eaters, and food may often be used as a reward in ABA therapy.

Sensory Saturday Films Just for Kids with Autism

Teaser: 

Two years ago, AMC theatres and Autism Society of America began hosting special viewings of movies just for kids with autism – “Sensory Friendly Films.”

Body: 

Two years ago, AMC theatres and Autism Society of America began hosting special viewings of movies just for kids with autism – “Sensory Friendly Films.” Because AMC does not have theatres in Oregon, the Autism Society there went on a search for small local theatres to host films for kids. Bijou Arts Cinemas in Eugene, Oregon stepped up to host sensory-friendly films on Saturdays. Edward Schiessl, co-owner of the Bijou, shows films that will also appeal to University of Oregon audiences. He explains, “It's meant a steady stream of animated and adventure-themed classics from the 1980s and '90s, he says, well-attended by both audiences.” Bijou’s next venture will be to update the theatre food offerings to include gluten-free and casein-free items for children with dietary constraints.

Physician Cautions Against Restrictive Diets for Autism Unless Necessary

Teaser: 

Dr. Jay L. Hoecker suggests that parents of children with autism should be careful when starting their child on a new diet.

Body: 

Dr. Jay L. Hoecker, an emeritus consultant in Mayo Clinic’s Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, suggests that parents of children with autism should be careful when starting their child on a new diet. He explains that restrictive diets, such as the gluten-free, casein-free diet may be harmful if basic nutritional needs are not met. He suggests that before putting your child on a special diet, you should seek the expertise of a nutritionist or doctor. Hoecker reminds parents, for example, that Temple Grandin’s mother did not have her on a GFCF diet, “neither did the majority of parents of the greatest known dults with autism who are now fully functional in our society.” He believes that early intervention is probably the best starting point to helping kids with autism.

Autism: Tips to Keep Some Fun in Your Child's Life

Teaser: 

Susan Walton, whose son has autism, was determined to keep fun in the family checklist of things to do.

Body: 

Susan Walton, whose son has autism, was determined to keep fun in the family checklist of things to do. She recently completed a book, Coloring Outside Autism’s Lines: 50+ Activities, Adventures and Celebrations for Families of Children with Autism. She explains that many families get caught up with therapy, doctor’s appointments, nutrition, and caregiving and forget that everyone needs a break to have fun as well. One of her suggestions is to call ahead to family destinations to see if they have special passes or areas for your children with special needs. She suggests contacting local pools, gyms, and other businesses about holding a special needs event. She also provides a national chain list of gluten-free and casein-free restaurants.

Chords for Kids Provides Venue for Children with Autism to Listen to Classical Music

Teaser: 

Chords for Kids, presented by North Central College Concert Winds, is a classical recital geared specifically for children with autism.

Body: 

Chords for Kids, presented by North Central College Concert Winds, is a classical recital geared specifically for children with autism. The student-musicians do not mind wiggly, talkative children, and gear their music appropriately. They also have the opportunity to learn about children with disabilities. The lights in the auditorium are adjusted for children with sensory integration issues and the snacks provided are gluten- and casein-free. Parents and siblings are welcome; the admission is free. As co-founder Susan Maynes says, “What we try to do on our end is to create a very understanding and safe environment for kids to come and learn what it’s like to be at a concert. We have kids dancing in the aisles, kids bopping up and down in their seats and kids singing or humming along.”

Treatment of Food Selectivity in a Young Child with Autism

Therapeutic feeding intervention may increase the number and variety of foods eaten by a child with autism.

Wood BK, Wolery M, Kaiser AP.  2009.  Treatment of Food Selectivity in a Young Child with Autism. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities. 24(3):169-177.
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