On January 26, 2011, in a Q&A portion of its website, the Mayo Clinic weighed in on the gluten free, casein free (GFCF) diet for autism. Dr. Jay Hoecker, emeritus consultant for the Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, stated that there was “no evidence that special diets are an effective autism treatment” and that “restrictive diets can lead to nutritional deficiencies.”
Thanks largely to an ever present lack of Autism Awareness in the US, campaigns like the ‘Gluten Free, Casein Free Diet’ are far more hurtful than helpful. These greed induced media bombs, like the vaccine tragedy, are the ‘smoke and mirrors’ that keep true therapy seekers distracted from the required 24/7 hard work in the home that IS CRITICAL and PROVEN in Autism healing/ growth.
Any home brewed diet based upon lack of evidence, (or not), should not be used haphazardly. A professional nutritionist or doctor should be overseeing any type of diet being used on a child and on a frequent basis. Without these measures, you can leave your Autistic child further behind the eight ball than he already is. Not many caregivers have access to the knowledge and diagnostic tools, (like blood work, urine samples, Blood pressure, vitals, interpretations of, etc… ), or nutritional savvy needed in order to keep a constant monitoring on a child’s well being.
My son’s healing, (at a very rapid ace), began when I had gotten off the diet and put him back on milks, yogurts, Happy Meals, Pediasure and Ensure. The theory that the GFCF seals the ‘leaky gut’ and therefore ‘chelating’, (ridding the body of heavy metals), looks great in print. The missing piece is that regardless of the measures you take, we are dumping the heavy metals right back in! So, why bother spending all that time and money? It just doesn’t work. (Chelating has also been disproven but that’s a forthcoming article).
This should not be the battle. We are spinning wheels and focusing on ‘fads’ other than the proven facts about what exactly heals our children. I have never read a single shred of paper stating that ABA, (Applied Behavior Analysis), floor time, complete dedication, the ‘Mary Poppins’ approach, learn through play or any other behavior modification based therapy was disproven or brought into question. That’s what we should all be doing. It works and it cannot hurt.
Australia, the UK and India are leaps and bounds ahead of us on their Autism awareness and ‘curing’ percentages. (‘Curing,’ meaning the goal of functioning, happy, communicating children showing significant growth and results). Those countries are basing therapy on behavior, not diet modifications.
All children need to eat well. Most cannot afford specialized diets. Everyone can afford to learn correct therapy.
Temple Grandin’s mother did not use the GFCF diet. Neither did the majority of parents of the greatest known Autistic adults who are now fully functional. These are facts.
One can search any number of alleged ‘fixes’ and find someone touting ‘results.’ My son is my result. The parents I study with and blog with are real. The diet has failed. The positive results in all GFCF studies could also have been brought about by other factors, (like having a highly animated and charismatic Jim Carey move in).
The GFCF Diet is expensive, (to say the least), and making poor families spend their last dime or feel terrible that they cannot afford it is just cruel. Autism is more prevalent within the upper middle and richer classes and the more educated. That means that the people who don’t even know about the diet, cannot read about it and cannot afford it have less cases of Autism in the first place. Hmmmm…there’s that common sense thing again.
Did we not learn anything from the ‘AIDS’ era? We were so busy jumping on misinformation band wagons and stereotyping that other nations grew more than 10 years ahead of us on the ‘cure!’ How many of our loved ones were unnecessarily lost during that time period? We are still grieving. We were dead wrong. As a result, countless lives are dead because we were wrong.
Let’s not repeat such a horrific pattern of ignorance.
I, like many other parents, am witnessing the behavioral modification based complete turnaround in Autism. My son and I are living it right now. It is remarkable, miraculous and above all, it is free.
How many millions of dollars need to be spent on administering, researching and ultimately eliminating completely this diet fad? I say, Jen, have some decency, remove your book and come out and tell the truth. The Gluten Free, Casein Free Diet does not work.
Early detection and intervention of ASD is the bottom line. Let’s stay focused!