One study in particular found that out of the 21% of families trialling alternative or complementary therapies, 17% of those were using special diets, most commonly gluten and casein free.
The study was presented at the Paediatric Academy Societies annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia and was sponsored by the Autism Treatment Network which has 14 centres across the U.S and Canada and is working hard to develop standards of care for treating children with autism.
Daniel Coury is medical director of the Autism Treatment Network and chief of developmental behavioural paediatrics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. He believes that complementary treatment is used for a variety of issues, whether it be for arthritis or ADHD so it is only natural that it has made the cross over into treating autism.
“Families may be looking at complementary treatment because traditional medical treatments may not be doing the job for their child,” Coury said.
There is evidence that these diets can improve symptoms of autism but it is essential that the child’s GP knows of additional treatments as a combination of alternative and traditional medication may cause side effects.
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