In fact, children with autism may have trouble digesting proteins like gluten and casein which are widely found in oat and milk products. The gluten and casein can leak into the gut and attach to the opiate receptors of the autistic's brain, affecting brain functions. So, in the 1999 DAN (Defeat Autism Now) conference, there were many companies that have provided gluten-free and casein-free diet for parents.
Some now may ask what are gluten and casein exactly. Well, gluten is a protein fraction found in all wheat, rye, barley, and most oat products, but not in rice and potatoes. After having gluten-free diet for 6-12 months, most of the autistic children get a obvious improvement; Casein is a protein fraction found in all dairy products, such as milk, butter, cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, etc. Researchers had found that casein free diet is doing very well for autistic kids between 2-4 yr old.
The gluten-free, casein-free diet is challenging, but it can make a big difference for children with autism. It is important not to withdraw gluten/casein food products at once from a child's diet, as there can be withdrawal symptoms.