Research indicates that more than half of children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have at least one food related issue. Children with autism are far more likely to be overly selective in what they will or will not eat, leading to lower nutritional variety in their diets than typically developing children.
Food issues can be a significant worry to parents with concerns over the impact on their child’s long term health and wellbeing. Fear of new foods, tastes and textures, eating in public and outright food refusal are common concerns.
ASD Nutritional Food Programme – May 2018
We have been working with pupils at an independent Outdoor Learning Centre for children and young people with autism. The pupil’s have a wide range of complex food related issues including:
- Highly processed, repetitive, self-restricting diets
- Difficulty eating in public
- Food control issues
- Sensory processing difficulties
- Reliance on ultra processed foods
We worked with students for one week, changing their foods to tasty organic whole foods, that were free from gluten, sugar, refined oils and additives.
The Food Week was a great experience, with positive differences in pupils noted, including:
- Increased and sustained energy
- More stable, positive and upbeat mood
- Trying new foods where previously would not