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I have a nephew who is severely autistic, so this subject hits close to home. I decided to add this section on autism to my website because I have been reading about the possibility that some autistic kids may improve when placed on a gluten-free, casein-free diet.

What Causes Autism?

There are a number of theories on the causes of autism. Current research is exploring the possibility of a combination of genetic risk factors and exposure to environmental triggers. Chemical exposure is being investigated as a possible trigger, along with childhood infections and vaccinations.

Early Clues to Autism

All children develop at different rates, so this information is to be considered a very general guide only; parents with questions should see their pediatrician.

At around 18 months a child with normal hearing and development should show an interest other people. The child should respond when his or her name is called, and when spoken to he should look at you and make eye contact.

The child should display imitation behaviors and "pretend play", for example, imitating your actions if you pick up a toy and put it in a box, or pretending to make a toy dog "run".

The child should also share things that catch his or her interest by pointing at them (or bringing them to you), and should follow your gaze to locate things at which you are pointing.

Early diagnosis and intervention are critical in treating autism.


Autism Information

See my Autism and Diet webpage for information about how a gluten-free, casein-free diet has helped some autistic kids (the diet has also helped with PDD and ADHD).

My Autism Resources page has information about stores in the Sacramento and San Francisco Bay areas that sell gluten-free foods and flours; books with general information about autism; and cookbooks with gluten-free and casein-free recipes specially formulated for autistic/PDD kids.

Check out my Autism Website Links page for links to websites with general information about autism, the gluten/casein-free diet, gluten-free shopping and cooking, and much more.

Autism and Vaccinations

I have also posted my thoughts on the possible connection between autism and vaccinations on the Autism Resources webpage.


The autism spectrum disorder information on my website is not intended to be medical advice, or used as diagnostic tools.

Only a health care professional can make an official diagnosis of autism or PDD. Parents or other family members with concerns or questions should see their doctor.

Parents considering a dietary intervention should consult their child's doctor and a nutritionist.


Recent News About Autism

University of Missouri researchers are studying 3-D imaging to reveal correlations in the facial features and brain structures of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), hoping to develop a formula for earlier detection. Click on the link for this August 2008 ASA article.

The University of Texas at Huston at is conducting a double-blind clinical study on whether a gluten-free, casein-free diet helps autistic kids. Click on the link for the August 2008 article on the Autisim Society of America website.

A Yale University study has scientifically confirmed that children with autism make less eye contact than normally developing children. Click on the link for the August 2008 article on the Autisim Society of America website.

The U.C. Davis MIND Institute posted this January 2008 press release about recent findings regarding the higher rate of expression of particular genes in autistic kids.

The Baltimore Sun newspaper published an article in July 2007 about improvements in early diagnosis of autism, and the importance of early interventions in mitigating the effects of autism on development.

The California Dept. of Public Health released this July 2007 press release about the possible link between fetal exposure to agricultural pesticides and autism.

One theory of autism is that autistic people have a problem with their "mirror neuron system", which affects their ability to mentally "mirror" others, impacting learning. See this June 2007 article from the University of Calgary, Autism theory put to the test with new technology

The Arizona State University Autism/Asperger's Research Program posted an article in June 2007, titled, "Summary of Biomedical Treatments for Autism" , by ASU Professor Dr. James B. Adams.

Discover Magazine published an excellent article in April 2007, titled, "Autism: It's Not Just In The Head".

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