There is always a special diet charts and routines to deal with different kinds of diseases and chronic conditions. Even when a child is going through a medical condition such as jaundice, they need to intake certain nutrients so their immune system can cope up. Similarly, children with autism also need to intake specific nutrients, as suggested by their dietician. You do not need to put your autistic children on a special diet all the time since it could be expensive and hard to follow. However, you will have to feed them nutritious food. Furthermore, autistic children often have limited food preferences; so if you put them on a special diet, it might result to a higher risk of nutrient deficiency.
Autistic children and their food preference
Autism is a term used to describe a group of disorders which affects a part of the brain. It is one of the most common mental disorders affecting children. In the United States, almost 1 out of 65 children has autism. Autistic children have a completely different immune system and nutritional needs compared to other children. They need special mental and physical support to overcome the difficulties they face in daily life. Mostly, it has been seen that people in the autism spectrum are not much interested in eating food and neither do they have uncommon food preferences.
Therefore, to deal with this, you will have to experiment with different types of food in order to give them the right nutrients, as well as make them love their food.
What kind of nutritional challenges are faced by autistic children?
The most common symptoms faced by autistic children may include abdominal distensions, chronic diarrhoea, GERD, excessive gas, faecal impaction, discomfort and bloating, leaky gut syndrome, etc. Food intolerance and food allergies are some other common symptoms.
What kind of nutrients and diets are best for autistic children?
As autistic children have uncommon food preferences or limited food preferences, they may break down fats differently. This often results in nutrient deficiencies in some children. In order to fulfil these nutrient deficiencies, some dieticians suggest giving supplements to the kids.
Now let’s take a look at the specific food that can help with children in the autism spectrum. Though there are no specific diets set for people with ASD, removing certain proteins might relieve a few symptoms. Among the different kinds of diets researched until presently, the gluten- and casein-free diet is the most common dietary intervention.
Important vitamins and minerals required for autistic children
Iron. Most children with autism are low in iron as most autistic children very picky with their food. Visiting a pediatrician and having your child’s iron levels checked makes sure you know whether or not your child requires iron supplements. If the iron level is really low, you can give your child iron supplements but only as suggested by your doctor.
Multivitamins. Multivitamins help improve sleep and digestive problems. In case your child is not eating a balanced diet, multivitamin intake might be helpful.
Gluten- and casein-free diet. A gluten- and casein-free diet means, basically, a diet free from gluten and casein. The main protein absorbed from wheat and other grains like kamut, barley, rye, spelt, etc., is known as gluten. The main protein from dairy products is known as casein. Cutting down on gluten and casein helps improve the behaviour in many autistic children. According to research, it has been found that when some children were not fed with gluten- and casein-rich food, it has resulted in abated autistic behaviour. However, you always need to speak to your pediatrician before following this dietary routine for your autistic child.
Omega-3 fats. Children in the autism spectrum might have a low level of omega-3 fats. So try to feed your child with good-quality seafood that is rich in omega-3. Giving omega-3 supplements to your child might result in hyperactivity, so it’s better if you feed them natural nutrients from natural sources.
Is there a special common diet for autistic children? The answer is definitely no. Autistic children have different food preferences and different physical needs. Some nutrients can be helpful for them, but it’s highly recommended you speak to your child’s doctor before changing their diet, which also means you need to speak to the doctor first if you are thinking of giving your child supplements. They will help you find the right choices for your kid and lower the side effects caused by these supplements.