Autism Channel
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Treatment for Autism

Alternative Therapy

In an effort to do everything possible to help their children, many parents continually seek new treatments. Some autism treatments are developed by reputable therapists or by parents of a child with autism. Although an unproven treatment for autism may help one child, it may not prove beneficial to another. To be accepted as a proven treatment, the treatment should undergo clinical trials (preferably randomized, double-blind trials) that would allow for a comparison between treatment and no treatment. Following are some of the interventions that have been reported to have been helpful to some children but whose efficacy or safety has not been proven.
Dietary Interventions
Dietary interventions are based on the idea that:
If parents decide to try for a given period of time a special diet, they should be sure that the child's nutritional status is measured carefully.
Some parents have found a gluten-free, casein-free diet helpful to their autistic child. Gluten is a casein-like substance that is found in the seeds of various cereal plants -- wheat, oat, rye, and barley. Casein is the principal protein in milk. Because gluten and milk are found in many of the foods we eat, following a gluten-free, casein-free diet can be difficult.
Some people feel that vitamin B6 (taken with magnesium, which makes the vitamin more effective) is a beneficial supplement for an autistic child. The result of research studies is mixed; some children respond positively, some negatively, some not at all or very little.
In the search for autism treatment, there has been discussion about the use of secretin, a substance approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a single dose normally given to aid in diagnosis of a gastrointestinal problem. Anecdotal reports have shown improvement in autism symptoms, including sleep patterns, eye contact, language skills, and alertness. Several clinical trials conducted in the last few years have found no significant improvements in symptoms between patients who received secretin and those who received a placebo.
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