how to help an autistic child with severe digestive problems?
i have a 5 yr old son whose behaviour directly depends on his foods.if he eats soft digestable foods he is at his best and if he eats gassy veggies and hard to digest foods he is at his worst with his behaviour hitting,throwing stuff,fussy,crying for everything etc.any tips as to how to tailor his diet?
Even though there is no consensus, many autistic children have digestive problems that are a puzzle to the parents and medical professionals. When my autistic spectrum son was young, we had a lot of difficulties with his diet. Trying to make him eat certain foods, like veggies, was nearly impossible. Other foods produced reactions, such as you describe.
I ended up noting which foods produced a reaction and eliminating them from his diet. It did him no harm not to eat brocolli or salad. I made sure he had some vegetables in a form he could tolerate, but pretty much taylored his diet according to what he would willingly eat with no harmful side effects.
First, eliminate the foods you know he is sensetive to. Then, when he eats something and has an unexpected reaction, make a list of the foods he has recently eaten and use process of elimination to figure out which one caused it. Finally, make sure he has a well-rounded diet by going back in and adding foods to take the place of those eliminated. For example, if your son had difficulty with milk, eliminate the milk but add in another source of calcium, such as soy milk. Just make sure he has foods from every category. When he is more mature, you can go back and slowly expose him to foods to increase his tolerance, if you choose.
Last of all, turn a blind eye to those around you who may criticize you for not forcing him to eat foods he cannot tolerate. Many well-meaning parents have the "whatever you serve for dinner is what he should eat" mentality. That may work for some children, but most of the parents who will tell you this have never had to deal with autistic melt-downs on a daily basis.
Consider that you are seeking reasons for digestive upsets, which may have little or nothing to do with Autism itself.
What I mean here is that your beautiful son appears to have a 'physical'/behavioural response to discomfort associated with how his body is managing the digestion of his food. He may not be understanding why he feels this way and is responding with some adverse behaviour.
When the body is having difficulty with the components and digestion of certain foods, it can cause discomfort. A child with Autism may communicate such discomfort with altered behaviours (outbursts for example).
He may have some sensitivities to certain foods, which you can determine by a process of elimination or consult a trusted and understanding medical professional (perhaps a dietition, paediatrician...) to help ascertain which foods are bothering him or his body is having a reaction to.
Sometimes children with Autism have a definite (occaisionally obsessive) preference for texture, colour, smell, size (portions) etc., because of sensorial challenges or just personal desires too.
Every child on the Spectrum is as unique as the next person. Our bodily chemistry and issues are just as uniquely individual.
Hope that helps
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