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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.

Executive Summary

Conducted May 2018 by Claire McDonnell Liu and Justin Liu

Introduction

Report on the small observational nutrition pilot commissioned by Woodside Lodge Outdoor Learning Centre, Leicestershire. The purpose of the pilot was to assess if changing pupil’s daily food intake for 5 school days would have a positive impact on any of the student’s behaviours, mood, energy, actions or any other observational benefits.

Pilot Implementation

Duration: 5 days (all meals including snacks and drinks)
Participants: 4 (ageing from 13 to 17)
Diagnosis: Autistic Spectrum Disorder

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