Autism & Children: A Nutrition Guide

Autism is a neurobiological and a developmental disorder, which affects 1 in 160 children. Characterised by difficulties in social interactions and verbal and non-verbal communication, it also affects the child’s educational performance. Repetitive behaviour, difficulty in adapting to a changed routine, inability in learning different skills, anxiety, unusual responses to sensory changes, and sleep disorder can be seen in children suffering from autism.

How does it impact the overall health?

Autism adversely affects the health of the child especially if they follow unhealthy eating habits. Inclination to junk food or over consumption of energy dense food and sugary things leads to weight gain and further to metabolic disorders. Children with autism suffer mostly of nutrition depletion due to their behavioural changes and feeding related issues. Poor nutrition leads to the risk of developing different metabolic diseases in the later years of their life. Calcium and protein deficiencies can easily be seen in these children, which further affects their cognitive development and physical growth.

Food allergies are also common in children, allergies with sea food, eggs, peanut, gluten, casein, tree nuts, soy and fish are common. In case of a food allergy, the particular item shouldn’t be part of their diet, but their nutritional content must be replaced with some other equally nutrient rich food item. A proper meal plan is very important for a child with autism.

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