Autism is a life long developmental disorder that emerges in early childhood and results in significant lifelong disability. The goal of treatment is to promote the child’s social and language development and minimize behaviors that interfere with the child’s functioning and learning. This study evaluated the impact of casein and gluten free diet among selected autistic children.
Three private special schools in Salem District, Tamilnadu, India were selected. A total number of 50 autistic children 10 from SIMEC, 10 from MMIC and 30 from CSI comprised the study sample. Background information, clinical history and nutritional status, dietary pattern were collected from the 50 selected autistic children. Out of 50 autistic children 30 autistic children were selected for the dietary intervention. Diet counseling regarding casein free diet was imparted to Group I (n=10), gluten free diet to Group II (n=10) and both casein and gluten free diet for Group III (n=10). The diet was followed for a period of 2 months. The efficacy of the dietary exclusion of casein and gluten was evaluated using a food and behavior diary on a day to day basis, using observation method.
Results about Group I autistic children who followed dietary exclusion of casein free diet showed that the mean scores before and after casein free dietary intervention depiticted these improvements as, 1 to 1.2 for attention, 2.8 to 2.9 for sleep, 1.1 to 1.3 for hyperactivity, 1.1 to 1.2 for anxiety/compulsion. For Group II autistic children who followed dietary exclusion of gluten free diet showed the improvements as 1.1 to 1.4 for attention 2.5 to 3 for sleep, 1.7 to 1.9 for hyperactivity, 1.1 to 1.2 for anxiety/compulsion. About Group III autistic children who followed dietary exclusion of both casein and gluten free diet showed the improvements as 1.1 to 1.3 for attention, 2.5 to 2.7 for sleep, 1.3 to 1.7 for hyperactivity, and 1.1 to 1.2 for anxiety/compulsion.
The impact of dietary intervention made using dietary guide books found to be useful to reduce various behavior symptoms among the selected autistic children.
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