It’s very common for a child with ASD to also have gastrointestinal (GI) problems. Their bowel habits can be varied and irregular compared to their typically developed peers. From this stems the need to modify food intake to prevent discomfort and promote optimal GI functioning.
For these children, gluten-free diets, and in some cases casein-free as well, can be a godsend, helping to control symptoms and thus decreasing undesirable behaviors. Approximately 50 percent of children diagnosed with ASD respond favorably to these or similarly limited diets with cognitive and/or behavior improvements.
Experts agree that early intervention is key to treating ASD symptoms. Keeping that in mind, nutrition plays a large part in healthy brain development. Even a child that is eating adequate calories can still be deficient in key nutrients, that although by itself may not lead to extinguishing behaviors, will help ensure that the child’s brain develops to its fullest.
A good high-quality multivitamin, adequate protein intake and omega-3 supplements are recommended to promote optimal brain development.