Notes from the Treating Autism conference 2016

Last weekend I attended my second Treating Autism event. Treating Autism is a parent-led charity which arranges large education events for parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). They seem to have an alternative nutrition and alternative therapy leaning but this year’s line up caught my eye as it included some respected published researchers and medics. Here are some of the key messages I got from attending day 2 of this conference.  Continue reading “Notes from the Treating Autism conference 2016”

What’s up with the GAPS diet? 

GAPS diet book cover

GAPS – which stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome – is the invention of Natasha Campbell-McBride – a nutritional therapist based in Cambridge, UK. Her book first came out in 2004 and this is a photo of my copy of the revised version, published in 2011.

I don’t normally write these types of debunking posts but at the time of writing a number of high profile celebrities seem to be backing its use, so I wanted to add my professional critique of GAPS to the information out there about it!

So what is GAPS, what does it involve and how does it rate nutritionally?

It’s difficult to write briefly about GAPS as it is quite a complicated ‘regimen’. The book is wordy and doesn’t really set out any of the steps in a way that is easy to unpick – even for a dietitian. Continue reading “What’s up with the GAPS diet? “

2013 Autism for Dietitians Master Class in Birmingham

Following the success of our study day last year, myself and Elaine Mealey are working hard on adding to and refining the content for our new 2-day Master Class.

To read more about it and book a place  –

Over 2 days we will try to help dietitians have an in depth understanding of the dietary issues faced by individuals on the spectrum. Key to this (I think) is to try to put yourselves in the shoes of an individual.  To enjoy eating you need to have had positive experiences of food, to understand what a food is and how to eat it, to enjoy the taste, smell, feel  and sound of the food as you eat it, and to be free from pain that puts you off eating.

We also believe that you shouldn’t really holding a course about autism without involving an individual on the spectrum.  We are therefore really excited to have Rob Parton, an inspiring young man from Swansea, talk about how his autism affects his experience of the world.  Check out his Facebook page here and a YouTube clip of him speaking here.  His mum Anna (a fellow dietitian) will also talk about what things helped him from being a troubled and non-verbal child who only ate a handful of foods to now being a surfer, professional speaker and a lover of good food.

If you know anyone who would be interested in attending please let them know – we expect the event to sell out.

Weighing up the evidence – autism and diet

Here are two resources that I would recommend if you are a parent of a child with autism or an individual on the spectrum trying to make your mind up whether dietary changes would help.

Firstly the Wales Autism Research Centre has put together a leaflet “Information to guide you when choosing an intervention” – you can read it here.

Secondly here is a guide written by Dave Rex, an experienced and well-respected dietitian working in the Highlands of Scotland.  He has kindly given me the permission to share it here.  To download it click An evidence based common sense approach to diet and ASD or ADHD – Dave Rex RD 2010.

Zoe Connor RD