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J Hum Nutr Diet. 2002 Apr;15(2):141-4.

An audit of referrals of children with autistic spectrum disorder to the dietetic service.

Author information

1
Llanfrechfa Grange Hospital, Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust, Cwmbran, UK. sue.cullen@gwent.wales.nhs.uk

Abstract

Autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developing area for dietetic referrals. There is little published data on current dietetic practice. Some children with ASD are referred for gluten/casein free diet. The theory is that abnormal metabolites in the urine may be a result of incomplete breakdown of gluten and casein in the gut. There are some published open studies that support the efficiency of such a diet [Knivsberg et al. (1995) Scand. J. Educ. Res.39: 223; Lucarelli et al. (1995) Panminerva Med.37: 137; Whiteley et al. (1999) Int. J. Res. Practice 3: 45] and also that there are many anecdotal reports that the diet helps some children.

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES:

This study aimed to audit the types of referral made to the dietetic service to identify key dietetic issues and to describe factors which may influence outcome/disease management.

METHODS:

Dietetic records were used to audit the referrals to the dietetic service over a 3-month period. Seven-day diet histories were assessed using computer food composition tables and topics of interest recorded against a draft protocol agreed within the profession.

RESULTS:

Requests for gluten-free and casein-free dietetic advice, and/or the management of food selectivity and dysfunctional feeding behaviour constituted the majority of referrals. In many cases, child's environment was rarely simple.

CONCLUSIONS:

Despite the limitations of this small study, the findings suggest that the management of these referrals is highly complex. A dietitian's input should ensure that the nutritional adequacy of the diet is maintained or restored.

PMID:
11972743
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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