Many families of children with autism spectrum disorders are interested in dietary and nutritional interventions that might help some of their children’s symptoms. Removal of gluten (a protein found in barley, rye, oats, and wheat) and casein (a protein found in dairy products), in what is known as a Gluten Free, Casein Free diet, or GFCF. It is suspected that these proteins are absorbed differently in children with ASD and act like false opiate-like chemicals in the brain. Basically, people suspect that the chemicals cause an allergic response resulting in the characteristics associated with the disorder. The effectiveness of this diet has not been shown in scientific studies to date. Studies are ongoing in a number of centers. Many parents have been reporting the effectiveness of the diet. However, careful consideration must be used amongst the parents and intervention team to determine the diet for a child.
Families should consult with a dietitian or physician to determine the healthiest application of a GFCF diet.