Answer: The Gluten-Free/Casein Free (GF/CF) diet involves removing all food items that contain gluten or dairy. Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, barley and rye so any products made from these items will have gluten in them. Casein is a protein found in milk. Dairy products such as yogurt, cheese, butter, and sour cream will have casein in them.
I attended an excellent seminar last night sponsored by the Autism Calgary Association. The guest speaker was Penny Gill, President of the Autism/PDD Family Alliance in Southern Ontario. Her presentation, Overcoming the Challenges: Teaching Someone with Autism Spectrum Disorder to Cook Really Well, showed us that you can teach someone with an ASD the important life skill of cooking provided the challenges are understood and the right supports are in place. Penny runs a cooking school out of her home for people with ASD ages 18 and over. Her eight week sessions work on more than just cooking; her students work on social skills, sensory issues, motor challenges and food aversions.
Feeding a child on the autism spectrum can be a great challenge for parents. Creating healthy meals, eating a variety of foods, eating too little or too much food, focusing on only one texture or food presentation, and gut/digestive issues are just some of the worries parents have when feeding their children. Here are a few helpful hints that I have learned as a mother of two children with autism who are both on specialized diets and struggle with eating.