If anyone should know about treating autism with diet it is Rosemary Kessick, author of two of three new books on the subject from Jessica Kingsley Publishers. The mother of a now adult son with autism, Rosemary is a former CEO of Allergy Induced Autism, one of the charities that championed the early use of the gluten and casein-free diet in autism …
Her two short and very accessible books form an excellent introduction to the subject for anyone caring for a child or adult with autism who also has (as a significant number have) serious gastrointestinal problems.
The first book, Autism and Gastrointestinal Complaints, looks at the signs and symptoms of the condition, many of which, in autistic children, may be mistaken for behavioural problems. Strange postures, for example, or pressing a hand directly above their pubic bone (often mistaken for masturbation) may merely be an attempt to relieve cramps or other chronic digestive discomfort.
She quotes alarming figures from recent research of the number of autistic people suffering from inflammatory bowel conditions, and describes the huge leap forward in diagnosis as a result of the invention of the ‘Pill-cam’ – a tiny video camera in a capsule which can photograph the full length of the
The book goes on to suggest ways of approaching and dealing with these conditions – which include the gluten and casein free diet. The two other books, Autism and Diet and Susan Lord’s Getting Your Kid on a Gluten-Free Casein-Free Diet give you day-today instructions as to how to implement the diet.
Rosemary Kessick explains the background to the diet, gives very specific details as to what it involves (what is excluded and what allowed not only in food but in personal care and household products) and how to cope with ‘withdrawal’ symptoms, along with some very encouraging case studies.
Susan Lord, the mother of an autistic daughter, gets ‘down and dirty’ with the food itself. What to include and what to exclude, menu suggestions and loads of recipes. She also ‘paces’ you through adopting the full diet – more than most harassed parents of autistic children can face all in one go!
This review was reprinted with permissions from the July 2009 issue of Foods Matter Magazine.