Many kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder also have food aversions and sensibilities related to what they consume. In fact, parents of these children may even see a direct correlation between what the child eats and their behavior daily.
Some scientific studies have now agreed on two things: the importance of healthy eating habits in kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder and the nutritional deficiencies that are associated with autism, which, unfortunately, are very common nowadays.
Many parents dread mealtime because they know their child will either have a tantrum, will display some food selectivity, or will even have a ritual whenever they sit down to eat their food.
So, how important are the dietary adjustments for kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder? Continue reading, and you’ll find out:
What do scientific studies say about this?
There’s a lot of available research on this topic. One study suggests that more children with autism are affected by a lack of proper nutrition that will meet their basic needs, in comparison to those children unaffected by the Spectrum.
Other research suggests that children on the Spectrum often have a low intake of protein and calcium. Therefore, their mental development and their overall health may have been affected negatively by this.
A third scientific study places a direct correlation between eating disorders and a child’s problem to understand how the society, and sometimes it can also affect how they behave socially and academically.
Parents are always looking out for more information
Many parents have noticed an improvement whenever their child stops eating something (dairy or gluten, for example). In contrast, other parents see how their child improves whenever they consume more protein (such as grass-fed and organic beef).
However, you should always work alongside a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who specializes in children who are on the Spectrum, if possible. This help will give you a different outlook on how you can work towards obtaining your child’s nutritional needs.
Dietary adjustments should be treated individually
One diet cannot and should not fit all, especially when dealing with children on the Autism Spectrum Disorder. What works for one individual may not necessarily work for another individual; thus, each case should be carefully studied to give nutritional advice.
You should also keep a food diary and see what may trigger your child’s behavior. For example, if one day they ate a look of sugar (in whatever form), they may be more irritable than ever before. Or perhaps they didn’t eat a lot during the day, and when night time comes, they want to eat everything that’s inside the fridge.
You could also try having a meal routine with your child, or make the meals very predictable yet enjoyable and appeal for them, this way you will get their attention without stressing them out.
Ultimately, the most important thing is to try to implement healthy eating habits in your child, and for you to do this, you should also do it, as they will learn by the example they are seeing.