Autism is described as a developmental disorder that has a collection of symptoms in three major areas such as, social interaction, language and behavior. But not every child is exactly alike with some showing signs in infancy and others in the first few years of life.
The Mayo Clinic has given some more specific symptoms:
- Fails to respond to his or her name
- Has poor eye contact
- Appears not to hear you at times
- Resists cuddling and holding
- Appears unaware of others’ feelings
- Seems to prefer playing alone — retreats into his or her own world
- Doesn’t ask for help or request things
- Doesn’t speak or has delayed speech
- Loses previously acquired ability to say words or sentences
- Doesn’t make eye contact when making requests
- Speaks with an abnormal tone or rhythm — may use a singsong voice or robot-like speech
- Can’t start a conversation or keep one going
- May repeat words or phrases verbatim, but doesn’t understand how to use them
- Doesn’t appear to understand simple questions or direction
- Performs repetitive movements, such as rocking, spinning or hand-flapping
- Develops specific routines or rituals and becomes disturbed at the slightest change
- Moves constantly
- May be fascinated by details of an object, such as the spinning wheels of a toy car, but doesn’t understand the “big picture” of the subject
- May be unusually sensitive to light, sound and touch, and yet oblivious to pain
- Does not engage in imitative or make-believe play
- May have odd food preferences, such as eating only a few foods, or craving items that are not food, such as chalk or dirt
- May perform activities that could cause self-harm, such as headbanging
Since there is no one cause of autism, and no single treatment, making some changes in the diet might help with a few behavioral or developmental challenges! Try to remove gluten, milk products, sugars, soy and artificial flavorings and coloring from his or her diet. Remember that protein, fiber and good fats are needed to stabilize blood sugars .. which is critical in autistic children.
SO WHAT DO WE DO?
First of all, STAY AWAY FROM SODAS! Instead try giving your child water or diluted juices, vegetable juices or seltzer water.
PASS THE PROTEIN, PLEASE! Try chicken, turkey, meat, eggs, beans, or seeds.
REMEMBER SOME FIBER! How about some high fiber options such as fruits, beans nuts or seeds.
ALWAYS CHOOSE ORGANIC! If it’s USDA Organic, then it has been produced without the use of harmful pesticides, artificial fertilizers, growth hormones or antibiotics and other nasty’s that shouldn’t be in our food anyway.
SOME IDEAS TO PACK IN YOUR CHILD’S LUNCHBOX!
- carrot sticks and hummus
- fresh fruit or fruit salad
- hard boiled eggs
- gluten-free crackers with nut butter
- rice cakes and tuna or chicken salad
- gluten-free spaghetti noodles and meatballs
- chicken drumettes or wings with boiled potatoes
- apple slices with nut or seed butter
Avoid plastic wraps for sandwiches and opt for wax paper or parchment paper. Let your child help you pick out their lunch container and remember to keep it fun. Use a cookie cutter for unique shapes for sandwiches! Make it interesting and remove all the stress out of lunch or dinner time. Most schools give the kids 20-30 minutes for lunch so pack what is healthy yet in small bites and focus on healthier options.