New Approach To Autism
"Now we're learning that the brain and body can influence each other," she said.
Autistic children are increasingly being seen as "oversensitized," meaning "things may bother them that don't bother other people," she said. "We need to pay attention to this."
Treating a child's health should be the first step in addressing autism, Herbert said, rather than solely focusing on behavioural therapy, currently a mainline approach.
"Behaviour therapy is certainly important. But the child's health controls the bandwidth that the child has for being able to benefit from behavioural therapy. If a child is sick, they won't be able to focus."
Parents should watch their children closely to determine what foods trigger reactions and to consider removing those triggers, she said.
Herbert strongly advocates a balanced diet, consisting of all food groups, not just "bread and cheese."
"If you have foods that child is sensitive to in their immune system, that can set up processes that can impact brain function, and it can do so in a negative way. And if you remove those foods, that negative impact can stop."