Nutritional therapy for children with autism may help to reduce symptoms such as hypersensitivity, poor concentration, unstable moods, violence, sleep difficulty and etc.
Scientific studies have shown that many children with autism have difficulty breaking down certain proteins. It is believed that these partially digested peptides can act as morphine-like substances in the brain, which may cause chronic damages to the central nervous system and therefore contribute to undesirable symptoms of autism.
Studies looking at nutritional therapy for autism found that it is more effective if given to autistic children at a young age. Some parents observed improvements to their child’s symptoms in the third week after starting nutritional therapy; other parents reported that improvements in behavior, attention, and communication were more obvious 6-12 months after carefully implementing the special diet.
Nutritional therapy for autistic children involves
- Assessing nutritional intake and requirements;
- Identifying dietary and nutritional problems;
- Establishing good eating patterns and habits;
- Removing food or food ingredients that may have caused undesirable symptoms from the diet, especially the ones causing obvious gastrointestinal and behavioral problems.
- Prescribing special food, diet or supplements as required.
Although nutritional therapy may not work for everyone, it may work for your child. As parents, we want the best for our children! Since autistic children have certain difficulties with communications and they may feel more comfortable sticking to old habits and routines, it sometimes takes more time than expected to get results from nutritional therapy, just like other treatments and training.
Therefore, parents have to be very patient in following the dietitian’s guidance while giving their child lots of support with some flexibility. As the therapy continues, parents will gradually see improvements in their child’s emotion, concentration, behaviour, and development, which can be very rewarding.