To relieve the symptoms of ASDs, some parents and health care professionals use treatments that are outside of what is typically recommended by the doctor. These types of treatments are known as complementary and alternative treatments (CAM). They might include special diets, chelation (a treatment to remove heavy metals like lead from the body), biologicals (e.g., secretin), or body-based systems (like deep pressure.
These types of treatments are very controversial. Current research shows that as many as one third of parents of children with an ASD may have tried complementary or alternative medicine treatments, and up to 10% may be using a potentially dangerous treatment. Before starting such a treatment, check it out carefully and talk to your child’s doctor.
Some dietary treatments have been developed by reliable therapists. But many of these treatments do not have the scientific support needed for widespread recommendation. An unproven treatment might help one child, but may not help another.
Many biomedical interventions call for changes in diet. Such changes include removing certain types of foods from a child’s diet and using vitamin or mineral supplements. Dietary treatments are based on the idea that food allergies or lack of vitamins and minerals cause symptoms of ASD. Some parents feel that dietary changes make a difference in how their child acts or feels.
If you are thinking about changing your child’s diet, or trying an alternative approach, talk to your doctor or with a dietician to be sure your child is getting important vitamins and minerals.