Objectives: To examine the use of CAM therapy in a group of families of children with ASD and to assess the relationship of CAM with feeding, gastrointestinal, sleeping and behavioral problems and parent stress.
Methods: Cross sectional study with structured interview in 50 children with ASD and 50 children with other developmental disabilities(DD), matched by age and gender. Interview included: CAM questionnaire, Gastrointestinal (GI) Questionnaire, Child's Sleep Habits Questionnaire, Aberrant Behavior Checklist and Parenting Stress Index. Statistical analysis included chi-square, t test, and Logistic Regression.
Results: To date we have recruited 50 children with ASD and 30 children with other DD, 15% White, 44% Hispanic and 24% African American, mean age 8+/-3 yr. CAM use was reported in 67% of the ASD group including supplements (44%) and gluten-casein free diet (29%). The number of CAM therapies used ranged from 0 to 8. CAM usage was more prevalent in families of children with ASD (67% vs.28% p=0.001) and these families used more types of CAM (2+/-
Conclusions: Families of children with ASD were more likely to utilize CAM than families of children with other DD. Hispanic families used fewer types of CAM therapies. CAM use seems to be related to child irritability and parental stress.