Good nutrition is crucial for a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder. A healthy, balanced diet can make a world of difference in their ability to learn, how they manage their emotions and how they process information. Though some studies indicate that a gluten- or casein-free diet may be effective for certain children, more research is needed. Calcium and protein are extremely important for development. Be sure to include a variety of fruits and vegetables at every meal. Many parents find their child's sensitivity to tastes, colors, smells and textures to be the biggest barriers to a balanced diet. Keep trying new foods.Take your children to the supermarket and let them choose a new food to experiment with. When you get home, research it together to learn how and where it grows. Then, decide together how to prepare it. When you're done, don't worry if your child doesn't want to eat it. Simply becoming familiar with new foods in a low-pressure way can eventually help your child become a more flexible eater.
Make meals as predictable and routine as possible.
Serving meals at the same time every day is one of the simplest ways to
reduce stress. Let them sit in their favorite chair, dim bright lights and turn down the noise; television should be turned off.
Seek guidance when you're raising a child with special needs. Consult with a Registered Dietitian before making any drastic changes in your child's diet. Work with your health care team and other parents who have had success with food interventions.
~ Karen Ansel, MS, RD, 2014