A study from the US has shown that over one in five autistic children are being managed with complementary therapies and special diets.
Most commonly, the diets are either gluten-free or casein-free.
"Complementary medicine is used for all sorts of things such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) so to see it being used for children on the spectrum is pretty much expected," says Dr Daniel Coury, medical director of the Autism Treatment Network.
Dr Coury explains that families may turn to complementary treatments when they feel traditional medicines are not working for their child. Many also try special diets and there is some anecdotal evidence that these can improve symptoms for some.
However, parents are warned that it's important that they make doctors aware of what alternative therapies they may be using, as they may have side effects.
See more info on the signs and symptoms of autism.