~I received ASD the Complete Autism Spectrum Disorder Health & Diet Guide for review. Opinions and stories are my own.~
Having a child on the spectrum is woefully confusing at times. There are so many things still unknown and despite the fact that the percentage of children affected by it is growing, it still remains mostly wrapped in mystery. Because of this, many of us search for answers to questions wherever they can be found and/or resort to trial and error. There are some families who have had success with the Gluten Free/Casein Free (GFCF) Diet and for that I am sharing this book. It does not work for everyone. The idea that ASD children are unique also extends to their bodies, their minds and their process. Please keep this in mind when referring to any book on Autism Spectrum Disorder. Discuss all aspects of your child’s behaviors and any therapies with your health care provider before starting any new diet regimes.
With that said, ASD the Complete Autism Spectrum Disorder Health & Diet Guide was written by 3 doctors: R. Garth Smith, MBBS, FRCPC who is a developmental pediatrician and the Medical Director of a Child Development Center and formally a board member of the Autism Spectrum Disorders Canadian-American Research Consortium (ASD-CARC). Susan Hannah, BA, BScH, a health and former research associate in the Development of Family Medicine and ASD-CARC. And Elke Sengmueller, BASc, RD, a registered dietitian with expertise in nutrition and mental health with more than 16 years of experience providing pediatric nutritional care. Together they created this book as a resource to help manage ASD for parents, caregivers and health professionals. It covers answers to many questions that parents start out with as well as those looking for Dietary Therapies (mainly with GFCF).
- What is Autism
- How is Autism Diagnosed
- What Causes Autism
The Understanding Autism section of the book covers everything from awareness, signs and symptoms, language development and milestones. There is the full CDC Developmental Milestone Chart for Age/Area of Development/Behavior. At the end of the chart it gives warning signals for the 5 year mark to talk to your doctor if your child should experience any of them, however, most families begin to recognize traits before 3 years old.
To help out a family newly looking for answers, they also provide a Checklist of Signs and Symptoms to fill out and which you can take to your next doctors appointment. As these are questions most health care providers will ask, it is really nice to have all the information readily available (and done in your own time) for the discussion.
I’m grateful for the fact that they cover How Is Autism Diagnosed? Most families are confused on how the process begins. This covers the screening and assessment, along with the new DSM-5 Assessment Standards and a full Guide to ASD Screening Tools. This helps so much. There are many times teachers or doctors will talk about certain forms, procedures, etc. and it can become very confusing. This way if someone mentions the DISCO (Diagnostic Interview for Social and Communication Disorders), you’ll know it means the interview to evaluate social interaction, communication, imagination and repetitive behaviors. There is also information on the kinds of associated motor delays and different syndromes (like Fragile X).
Although no one can say for sure what causes Autism, the What Causes Autism section covers some questions/answers for families based on different theories: genetic mutations, environment, hormones, brain imprinting and gastrointestinal issues to name a few. It also has a small section for Food Sensitivities, Intolerance and Allergies.
Managing Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Standard Treatments
- Feeding Therapy
Standard Treatment covers the standards and guidelines for care of a person with ASD. It covers sections on stress and different therapies, including: Behavioral, Speech & Language, Parent/Child Interactive, Sensory, Communication and Alternative therapies/medicines.
Feeding Therapy has its own section as this book is mostly attributed to dietary intervention. It covers different types of dietary therapies, common eating problems and food issues. There is an entire section devoted to Hypersensitive or Hyposensitive Sensorimotor Behaviors. These are behaviors that can disrupt a child’s eating habits.
At the end of the chapter there is a lot of Food Fun! Fun ways to make dips, salads and snacks to help children with their food sensitivities!
- The Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Diet Program
- Eight Steps for Implementing the GFCF Diet Program
The last section, Dietary Therapy, covers mostly the GFCF Diet Program exclusively. It talks about the principals, food sensitivities and how to begin eliminating foods and reintroducing them (or interchangeable products). They also cover the Risks & Benefits to trying the GFCF Diet as well as a Safe Foods to Include/Foods to Avoid Guide.
If a family wants to begin trying the GFCF Dietary Therapy, it shows how to go about this in 8 steps for success.
The Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Cookbook
- Baby Food and Kids Fare
- Breads and Muffins
- Appetizers, Dips and Sauces
- Soups and Salads
- Meatless Mains
- Seafood and Meaty Mains
- Side Dishes
- Snacks and Beverages
What I like about this cookbook is the fact that it gives many meal plan options based on sensitivities. Whether families are looking for Soft Low-Texture Meal Plans, High Crunchy-Texture Meal Plans or just Regular ones, it has options for everyone.
Overall, I think it’s a great book if you are looking into or have decided to go with a GFCF Diet Therapy or want a general overlook on various theories, practices and techniques for therapy. It gets technical in some spots, but mostly is a good practical guide to ASD with its stronger points in the nutritional aspects in regards to behavior and sensitivities.
If you’d like to find out more information about ASD the Complete Autism Spectrum Disorder Health & Diet Guide or pick up a copy, you can grab it at Amazon for $19.05 in paperback.