Food selectivity, or a specific phobia of certain foods, occurs in at least half of children with this disorder.
It is not uncommon for children to have dietary restrictions in childhood. When they are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), this condition becomes more common and can represent a complicating factor in development.
According to a review of studies published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders in 2021, food selectivity or even a specific phobia of certain foods occurs in at least half of children with autism spectrum disorder. Sometimes consistency is the pattern of rejection. In other cases, colors matter.
Nutritional therapy, the general name given to methods that use nutrition as part of the treatment of neurodevelopmental conditions, can be an ally for patients and their families. The treatment consists of adjusting the diet, providing greater familiarity with the child with autism spectrum disorder and food, so that the menu and the nutrients are varied.
The nutritionist Bruno Redondo, a specialist in ASD, points out that a poor diet makes it difficult for patients to interact socially. Another consequence is inflammation in the body that causes, among other things, constipation and irritability. He states that “many children arrive at the clinic with completely inflamed intestines, precisely because they are not following an adequate diet.”
Nutritional therapy seeks to develop the child’s curiosity to accept food. In therapy, the dietician invites the patient to touch and smell food before eating it. According to a dietitian, the process can be slow, but the benefits of a balanced diet are innumerable. “There are cases where patients reduce the amount of medication after diversifying their diet,” says Bruno.
The Role of Officials
For the child to be curious to try the food, it is important to cook with him, leave the food in sight and diversify the way it is served. It can be crushed, chopped or boiled.
The dietitian explains that there is no specific type of food that is beneficial for people with autism. The dedicated professional seeks to discover the patient’s tastes to help him diversify her preferences. Only after that, a proper list is drawn up.
The patient’s family plays an important role in nutritional therapy. It is important that the practices carried out in the office are replicated at home. An additional benefit is that the parent-child relationship is also strengthened during the procedure, which improves daily coexistence.
There are still some scientific studies on how a balanced diet affects autism, but there have been some studies that highlight the importance of a varied diet for the health of the digestive system of this group of patients.