Search This Site

Showing posts sorted by relevance for query diet. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query diet. Sort by date Show all posts

Aspergers and Picky Eating

Question

My nephew (10 yrs ) has aspergers and eats very little variety of food. How can his parents change this? He is quite thin and not healthy. He is low to moderate on the spectrum.

Answer

Because of their sensitivity to smell, temperature, taste and texture, kids with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism are often "picky" eaters. Some develop fetishes such as only eating beige-colored foods or foods with creamy textures. They often like very sour or very spicy tastes. Some develop chewing fetishes and as a result, they constantly suck on pens, pencils or times of clothing.

These kids also sometimes have issues with developing gastric problems such as acid reflux, hiccups, diarrhea, vomiting, or constipation. They are susceptible to celiac disease, which is caused by poor absorption of certain nutrients. The danger is that celiac disease damages the digestive system. Aspergers children frequently suffer from Dermatitis herpetiformis, which causes skin rashes and tissue damage in the intestine. It has also been shown that gluten can aggravate behavioral symptoms in those with Aspergers that are sensitive to these foods.

It becomes a challenge for moms and dads to make sure their Aspergers child gets proper nutrition. One trick that works for many moms and dads is to change the texture of a despised food. If your youngster will not eat peas, try serving pea soup. If she refuses orange juice, try orange slices. Most clinicians believe that the less you indulge food fetishes, the less entrenched they become. If an Aspergers child creates a rule that "no foods can touch on my plate," it can easily become a lifelong rule if moms and dads do not intervene.

One promising food therapy is the "Gluten-Free Casein-Free Diet" or GFCF diet. The theory behind it is that a youngster with Aspergers cannot digest casein (found in dairy) or gluten (found in grains). It is true that undigested molecules of these substances frequently show up in their urine samples. These amino acid chains (called peptides) affect neurological function and can worsen a youngster's symptoms. Peptides may have an opiate effect on some kids.

Moms and dads begin the diet by first eliminating either the casein or the gluten food group. No gluten means no bread, barley, rye, oats, pasta, all kinds of flour, food starch, biscuits, cereals, cakes, donuts, pie, pretzels, pizza, croutons, and even crumbs stuck in the toaster. You can substitute gluten-free products. Next, you eliminate all dairy products including milk, cheese, goat's milk and cheese, ice cream, yogurt, most margarines, puddings, and so forth. If you eliminate the dairy group, you may have to give your youngster calcium supplements. You also need to cut out "trigger foods" including chocolate, food colorings, caffeine, and peanut butter. The GFCF Diet website offers all kinds of resources for moms and dads such as cookbooks, food products, and DVDs.

Many moms and dads believe that the GFCF diet really helps their kids. In an unscientific survey of over 2000 moms and dads who tried it, most saw significant improvement and five reported "miracles."

Research into diet and vitamin therapy for kids with Aspergers is very sketchy at this point. Nevertheless, many moms and dads try them. One scientific study of alternative therapies found that over half of all moms and dads of kids with autism spectrum disorders have tried diets, herbs or vitamin therapy and 72% felt they were worthwhile. Many moms and dads swear by the GFCF diet, others prefer the Feingold diet or megavitamin therapy. You can buy supplements of herbs and vitamins specifically made for kids with Aspergers. Such supplements often include calcium, fish oil, omega -3 -6 or -9, vitamin B-6, HNI enzymes and DMG or dimethylglycine. If you use these diets and therapies, the best thing to do is to keep written records of how often your youngster tantrums or exhibits other behaviors. This way you can tell if the therapy is working.

There have been a few scientific studies of the GFCF diet. In one three-month study of fifteen kids ages two to 15 years old, there was no difference between the kids who followed the diet and those who did not. However, researchers at the Loma Linda Medical Institute in California concluded that the diet was mostly helpful and improved nonverbal cognition, but that more double blind studies are needed.

Many moms and dads have tried the GFCF or Feingold diets and found that they were not worth the effort. These diets make it extremely hard to buy regular grocery foods or to eat in restaurants. If there are other kids, you end up cooking different meals for them. Trying to keep to the diets causes parental burnout and that may not be worth their benefits.

My Aspergers Child: How to Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums

The Gluten-free Casein-free Diet: Does It Really Work?

A gluten-free, casein-free diet is definitely recommended for children with Aspergers and High Functioning Autism. Here’s why:

The molecular structure of partially undigested proteins, called peptides, resembles opiates. These peptides have an effect much like opiates (i.e., morphine, heroin) in the brain and nervous system. Long-term exposure to these opiate peptides can have many damaging effects on the developing brain and also affects behavior, just as any narcotic would. The opioid peptides involved are identified as casomorphines from casein, and gluten exorphines and gliadorphin from gluten.

Children with Aspergers and High Functioning Autism usually have gastrointestinal problems (e.g., reflux, constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, hiccups, etc.). Proteins found in wheat, rye, oats, barley and dairy products (gluten and casein) aren't completely broken down in the Aspergers child’s digestion process. These undigested proteins can leak into the bloodstream, potentially interfering with neurological processes by having an opiate-like effect upon their systems. These undigested proteins (peptides) can reach toxic levels, with the youngster seeming to "crave" milk and wheat products.

The results produced by the diet vary – but you can expect to see some result. Parents report a variety of outcomes such as:
  • improved fine motor skills
  • improved focus and attention span
  • improved intestinal function
  • improved personal hygiene habits
  • improved sleep patterns
  • improved social skills
  • improved speech and communication
  • increase in affection shown
  • reduction of tantrums and irritability

With results like this, why would you NOT want to try it! A gluten-free, casein-free diet is definitely worth considering. You don't have to feel overwhelmed by the restrictive nature of the diet. Simply start slowly and eliminate one group (either gluten or casein) at a time. Once you're comfortable without wheat or dairy products, then you can tackle the next element. If you see a desirable result from eliminating one component, you may decide not to go any further. Simply substituting gluten-free flour in all recipes can be a highly effective action.

Many parents worry about removing wheat and dairy because these foods are the only ones their child will eat, and because prevailing attitudes in Western culture consider them an essential staple. However, Aspergers children who eat mostly wheat and dairy products may show remarkable improvement once a gluten-free, casein-free diet is implemented. Many families have found from experience that their children's menu options actually increase after the effects of eating gluten and casein have subsided.

A gluten-free, casein free diet usually has a detoxifying effect – not only on Aspergers children – but on the entire family. The benefits will be obvious. Some Aspergers children experience immediate improvement (although it may take as long as six months for gluten to clear out of the system - and one month for casein to clear). Advocates of the diet recommend trying it for at least a year, because it can take this long for some children to show improvement. The diet tends to make changes in the body at a cellular level and promote healing of the stomach and intestinal lining, both of which can take time.

The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook

Taste Aversions in Children on the Autism Spectrum

“Why does my HFA daughter adamantly refuse to eat any new foods? Her diet is severely limited and she literally becomes ill (or does a great job a faking it) if I force her to eat something not on her VERY small list of favorites.”

“Taste aversions” can occur both consciously and unconsciously. In many cases, children with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism (HFA) may be completely unaware of the underlying reasons for their dislike of a type of food.

Taste aversions are a great example of some of the fundamental mechanics of classical conditioning. The previously neutral stimulus (e.g., green beans) is paired with an unconditioned stimulus (e.g., dislike of the color green), which leads to an unconditioned response (feeling ill). After this one-time pairing, the previously neutral stimulus (in this example, green beans) is now a conditioned stimulus that elicits a conditioned response (avoiding green beans as well as any other green colored food).

Because of their sensitivity to smell, temperature, taste and texture, kids with Aspergers and HFA are often "picky" eaters. Some even develop strong fetishes, for example:
  • they like to suck on pens, pencils or clothing
  • they only like beige-colored foods
  • they only like foods with creamy textures
  • they only like foods with a very sour or very spicy taste

Aspergers and HFA kids also sometimes have issues with developing gastric problems (e.g., acid reflux, hiccups, diarrhea, vomiting, and constipation). They are susceptible to celiac disease, which is caused by poor absorption of certain nutrients. The danger is that celiac disease damages the digestive system. These young people often suffer from Dermatitis herpetiformis, which causes skin rashes and tissue damage in the intestine. It has also been shown that gluten can aggravate behavioral symptoms in those kids who are sensitive to these foods.

It becomes a real challenge for moms and dads to make sure their “special needs” child gets proper nutrition. One trick that has worked for some parents is to change the texture of a despised food. If your youngster will not eat peas, try serving pea soup. If she refuses orange juice, try orange slices. Most therapists believe that the less you indulge food fetishes, the less entrenched they become. If a youngster creates a rule that "no foods can touch on my plate," it can easily become a lifelong rule if mom or dad fail to intervene.

One promising food therapy is the "Gluten-Free Casein-Free Diet" or GFCF diet. The theory behind it is that a youngster with Aspergers or HFA can’t digest casein (found in dairy) or gluten (found in grains). It is true that undigested molecules of these substances frequently show up in their urine samples. These amino acid chains (called peptides) affect neurological function and can worsen a youngster's symptoms. Peptides may have an opiate effect on some kids.

Parents can begin the diet by first eliminating either the casein or the gluten food group. No gluten means avoiding the following (just to name a few):
  • all kinds of flour
  • barley
  • biscuits
  • bread
  • cakes
  • cereals
  • croutons
  • donuts
  • food starch
  • oats
  • pasta
  • pie
  • pizza
  • pretzels
  • rye

Parents can substitute gluten-free products. Next, eliminate all dairy products (e.g., milk, cheese, goat's milk, goat cheese, ice cream, yogurt, most margarines, puddings, etc.). If parents eliminate the dairy group, they may have to give their youngster calcium supplements. They also need to cut out "trigger foods" (e.g., chocolate, food colorings, caffeine, or peanut butter).

Many mothers and fathers believe that the GFCF diet really helps their kids. In one survey of over 2000 parents who tried it, most saw significant improvement – and five reported "miracles."

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

Research into diet and vitamin therapy for kids with Aspergers and HFA is very sketchy at this point. Nevertheless, many parents try them. One scientific study of alternative therapies found that over half of all parents of Aspergers kids have tried diets, herbs or vitamin therapy – and 72% felt they were worthwhile. Many mothers and fathers swear by the GFCF diet. Other parents prefer the Feingold diet or megavitamin therapy.

Parents can buy supplements of herbs and vitamins specifically made for young people on the spectrum. Such supplements often include calcium, fish oil, omega -3 -6 or -9, vitamin B-6, HNI enzymes and DMG or dimethylglycine. If parents use these diets and therapies, they should keep written records of how often their youngster experiences temper tantrums or exhibits other behaviors. In this way, parents can tell if the therapy is working.

There have been a few scientific studies of the GFCF diet. In a study of 15 ASD kids (2 – 15 years of age), there was no difference between the kids who followed the diet and those who did not. However, researchers at the Loma Linda Medical Institute in California concluded that the diet was mostly helpful and improved nonverbal cognition, but that more double blind studies are needed.

Many moms and dads have tried the GFCF or Feingold diets and found that they were not worth the effort. These diets make it extremely hard to buy regular groceries or to eat in restaurants. If there are siblings involved, parents end up cooking different meals for them. Also, trying to stick to the diets may cause parental burnout, which then causes the disadvantages to outweigh the advantages.




 ==> Is your child a picky eater? Click here for more ideas...



More resources for parents of children and teens with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's:

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book


==> Parenting System that Reduces Problematic Behavior in Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism


 COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said... For my kiddo, it's a sensory thing..... Mashed potatoes, peas, peanut butter etc. all have a thick, somewhat sticky texture that makes her wretch. Having that history makes her reluctant to even taste things like pudding, custard or soups with a thicker texture..... If it LOOKS like it might have the wrong texture, it's not gonna happen.
•    Anonymous said... Forcing is counterproductive .... Sometimes " planting the seed" and wording or demonstrating the benefits are a slower but more lasting lesson at home we have the rule of at least touching or smelling the food and if I feel there is a strong possibility he will like it, I ask that he just lick or put some on his tongue - always with the promise that a genuine dislike will be accepted that time. There are definite things he will still not and probably never eat but this approach has increased his diet greatly.
•    Anonymous said... Give him time, and don't force the issue if he truly dislikes something. I learned that the hard way and cleaned up alot of messes because of it. My son was the same way for most of his childhood but in the last year (he's about to turn 13) he has grown out of alot of it. He still refuses to eat certain things (bananas being at the top of the list) but he will now at least try to eat a cooked potato or carrot in very small quantities where before they would trigger immediate gag reflexes and he is also finally eating at a healthy level.
•    Anonymous said... Hang in there. Texture smell & taste can be overwhelming 2aspie kids. I have always introduced different food 2my daughter w/the attitude 'try 1bite, the worst that will happen is u dont like it!'
•    Anonymous said... How True!
•    Anonymous said... I have come to understand that this is the ONE thing my child feels he is in control of. If you try to change it he gets very upset. He will sometimes eat other foods, but when it comes right down to it, this is the way he wants it (same foods, limited menu), because he is in control of it. We will work on change in that area once we are comfortable with the progress we're making in other areas. One step at a time.
•    Anonymous said... My 5 year old is the same way. I've gotten him to try maybe 2 things since he was diagnosed a year ago. I think my son will eat maybe 5 things that is it! So I do a lot of vitamins to give him what he needs
•    Anonymous said... My son is the same way! I have tried to introduce new things to him, but he refuses to go out of his comfort zone of having only 10 things that he will actually eat. He always has to smell everything too. I have noticed, that he will find something he really likes, such as a plain ketchup sandwich, and eat it for weeks, then he goes to something else. I have to make him a separate meal every night, because he refuses to eat anything we are having.
•    Anonymous said... Same problem here.
•    Anonymous said... sometimes she will try it sometimes she wont. When she does like it i usually have 2remind her she liked it last time & 2try it again. I let her decide 2try it, but i keep presenting different things all the time. Slowly we have expanded her diet! Just keep encouraging her 2try!
•    Anonymous said... That is one battle I don't fight.
•    Anonymous said... The food thing is the one immovable object with my son. He does everything else I ask. If he could do it (eat more foods) I know he would as he loves to make me happy.
•    Anonymous said... We have been SO lucky with our son, he loves his veggies... but only raw. He really hates cooked veg. My hunch is that this is two fold. We have a garden that we let the boys just run free and munch whatever they want from there, so it gets to be "their idea". That has seemed to help the older one relate to what is on his plate a little better. Also, we tend to do food in courses. It's just easier to get the boys to sit down and plop a few bowls of cut carrots, celery, broccoli etc. and dip and let them graze on that first (again, their choice as to what they eat), then we tend to serve the meat/protein next and the starches last.
•    Anonymous said... We start oral ot this week, i wonder how its going to go for my 6 yod who has spd. Has anyone here done the oral ot?
•    Anonymous said... Why? Sensory issues, smell, texture and the way it feels in the mouth or hands, taste, the way it looks, there's a lot going on with sensory and food and why and what we eat.
•    Anonymous said... Wow! I'm so glad I'm not the only one! My son is 8 and JUST decided he would take 1 no thank you bite, of what we are eating as a family, but he has to try it... He smells everything, and most things he tries will instantly make him gag. He puts ranch on EVERYTHING. He does willingly try it because he knows we expect him to and its ok if he gags, just drink it down quick with water.
 

Add your comment below...

Picky Eating in Children on the Autism Spectrum: Tips for Parents

"Our 8-year-old boy (newly diagnosed with high functioning autism) refuses to eat anything ...and I mean 'anything' ...other than chicken tenders, mac n' cheese, and watermelon. On rare occasion, he might nibble on an apple (emphasis on 'nibble'). We are at our wits end and so tired of arguing that we have simply given in to his limited food preferences just to avoid conflict. It's much easier that way. Any advice on this frustrating issue would be greatly appreciated!!!"

Because of their sensitivity to smell, temperature, taste and texture, kids with High-Functioning Autism (HFA) and Asperger's are often "picky" eaters. Some develop fetishes, such as only eating beige-colored foods or foods with creamy textures. They often like very sour or very spicy tastes. Some develop chewing fetishes and as a result, they constantly suck on pens, pencils or times of clothing.

These young people also sometimes have issues with developing gastric problems, such as acid reflux, hiccups, diarrhea, vomiting, or constipation. They are susceptible to celiac disease, which is caused by poor absorption of certain nutrients. The danger is that celiac disease damages the digestive system.

Kids on the autism spectrum frequently suffer from Dermatitis herpetiformis, which causes skin rashes and tissue damage in the intestine. It has also been shown that gluten can aggravate behavioral symptoms in those who are sensitive to these foods.
 
It becomes a challenge for moms & dads to make sure their youngster gets proper nutrition. One trick that works for some parents is to change the texture of a despised food. For example, if your youngster will not eat peas, try serving pea soup. If she refuses orange juice, try orange slices. Most clinicians believe that the less you indulge food fetishes, the less entrenched they become. If the child creates a rule that "no foods can touch on my plate," it can easily become a lifelong rule if moms & dads do not intervene.

One promising food therapy is the "Gluten-Free Casein-Free Diet" or GFCF diet. The theory behind it is that a youngster with HFA or Asperger's can't digest casein (found in dairy) or gluten (found in grains). It is true that undigested molecules of these substances frequently show up in their urine samples. These amino acid chains (called peptides) affect neurological function and can worsen a youngster's symptoms. Peptides may have an opiate effect on some kids.

Moms & dads begin the diet by first eliminating either the casein or the gluten food group. No gluten means no bread, barley, rye, oats, pasta, all kinds of flour, food starch, biscuits, cereals, cakes, donuts, pie, pretzels, pizza, croutons, and even crumbs stuck in the toaster. You can substitute gluten-free products.

Next, you eliminate all dairy products including milk, cheese, goat's milk and cheese, ice cream, yogurt, most margarines, puddings, and so forth. If you eliminate the dairy group, you may have to give your youngster calcium supplements. You also need to cut out "trigger foods" including chocolate, food colorings, caffeine, and peanut butter. The GFCF Diet website offers all kinds of resources for moms & dads such as cookbooks, food products, and DVDs.

Many parents discover that the GFCF diet really helps their youngster. In an unscientific survey of over 2000 moms & dads who tried it, most saw significant improvement and 5 reported "miracles."

Research into diet and vitamin therapy for kids on the spectrum is very sketchy at this point. Nevertheless, many moms & dads try them. One scientific study of alternative therapies found that over half of all parents of kids with autism spectrum disorders have tried diets, herbs or vitamin therapy - and 72% felt they were worthwhile. Many parents swear by the GFCF diet, while others prefer the Feingold diet or megavitamin therapy.

You can buy supplements of herbs and vitamins specifically made for children with HFA or Asperger's. Such supplements often include calcium, fish oil, omega -3 -6 or -9, vitamin B-6, HNI enzymes and DMG or dimethylglycine. If you use these diets and therapies, the best thing to do is to keep written records of how often your youngster tantrums or exhibits other behaviors. This way you can tell if the therapy is working.

There have been a few scientific studies of the GFCF diet. In one three-month study of fifteen kids ages two to 15 years old, there was no difference between the kids who followed the diet and those who did not. However, researchers at the Loma Linda Medical Institute in California concluded that the diet was mostly helpful and improved nonverbal cognition, but that more double blind studies are needed.

Many moms & dads have tried the GFCF or Feingold diets and found that they were not worth the effort. These diets make it extremely hard to buy regular grocery foods or to eat in restaurants. If there are other kids, you end up cooking different meals for them. Trying to keep to the diets causes parental burnout and that may not be worth their benefits.


Can a Gluten-Free Diet Really Help?

A gluten-free, casein free diet is recommended for autistic kids - and grown-ups.

Often parents feel rather overwhelmed with such a restrictive diet, and only opt to embrace it as a last resort. The results produced by the diet varies markedly - but the keyword here is RESULT. You can expect some result.

Kids with autistic spectrum disorders usually have gastrointestinal problems as well, such as reflux, constipation, diarrhea, vomiting and hiccups. It is know that the proteins found in wheat, rye, oats, barley and dairy products (gluten and casein) aren't completely broken down in kids with Autistic Spectrum Disorders. These undigested proteins can leak into the bloodstream, potentially interfering with neurological processes by having an opiate-like effect upon their systems.
 
It's suggested that these undigested proteins (peptides) can reach toxic levels, with the youngster seeming to "crave" milk and wheat products. Symptoms of gluten/casein intolerance include red cheeks and ears, dry skin, runny nose, headaches, hyperactivity, tantrums and malformed bowel movements. Does this sound familiar?

So what results can the diet produce? Parents report a variety of outcomes, including improved sleep patterns, improved speech and communication, improved focus or attention span, improved social skills, improved personal hygiene habits, improved fine motor skills, improved intestinal function, increase in affection shown, and a reduction of tantrums and irritability.

So, a gluten-free, casein-free diet is definitely worth considering for your HFA son. You don't have to feel overwhelmed by the restrictive nature of the diet. I suggest simply starting slowly and eliminating one group (either gluten or casein) at a time. Once you're comfortable without wheat or dairy products, then you can tackle the next element. If you see a desirable result from eliminating one component, you may decide not to go any further.

One mother of an HFA son who is a picky eater states:

"For our family simply substituting gluten-free flour in all recipes I used was a simple but highly effective action. I'm a home-baker, so in any cakes, biscuits, slices and desserts I just substituted gluten-free flour in my usual recipes. I didn't add any extras like Xantham gum, and didn't have any failures.

Finding an alternative to bread was our biggest obstacle. The gluten-free varieties just weren't the same, so instead we excluded bread altogether. The gluten-free pastas on the market are excellent, but do tend to cook slightly quicker.

I suggest you email all the major distributors of snack foods, such as muesli bars and fruit slices and ask for a list of their gluten-free products. This helps with easy identification at the store.

Eating out is difficult at first, but if you mention you're gluten-free most restaurant or cafe chefs will gladly prepare something gluten-free. (Of course, this rules out the fast food chains who aren't so obliging!)

For our family the diet finally eliminated all our son's known trigger foods such as peanut butter, chocolate and caffeine in sodas. We stayed on the diet strictly for 10 months before gradually reintroducing gluten. We have seen no return of the eliminated characteristics in our son . We have continued to use gluten-free pasta and flour in our cooking.

I believe that the gluten-free diet had a detoxifying effect not only on our son, but on all of us, and the benefits have been obvious. So be adventurous and try a gluten-free/casein-free diet for your Aspergers child ....you may be nicely surprised!"

 
More resources for parents of children and teens with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's:
 
==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book

==> Parenting System that Reduces Problematic Behavior in Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism


COMMENTS FROM PARENTS:

Anonymous said...
This is so true, my son is 8 and will only eat with his hands and only processed foods n is a VERY fussy eater, he also still has a dummy, well 3 actually plus he has to have 3 rags which he cuddles constantly at home!

Anonymous said...
GOOD INFO. BUT I DEFINATELY THINK THE MORE PARENTS ROLL OVER WHEN A KID SAYS THEY DON'T LIKE SOMETHING, IT BECOMES A SLIPPERY SLOPE. AND AN UPHILL BATTLE WHEN YOU COME TO YOUR SENSES AND REALIZE THE KID IS IN CHARGE.

Anonymous said...
My 19 year old eats a specific Subway sandwich five days a week. At least he gets lettuce on it!

Anonymous said...
my sons were extremely picky before going gluten and dairy free. we did this due to food intolerances but it did work in our case. my boys now eat a better variety of food but still not as much of variety as i would like. we do alot of pureeing fruits and veges here!

Anonymous said...
I used to think the same thing, until I realized my daughter might actually starve herself because I was too hard-headed to comply with her simple requests. "Rolling over" isnt the preferred path but it keeps the kiddos content at least for a little bit. Thats what we're in it for anyways, isnt it?

Anonymous said...
my 7 year old son will only eat cereal for breakfast lunch and dinner and its starting to scare me. he will actually starve his self before he will eat anything else. he has always been tiny but his eating habits arnt helping. i have tried everything i can to get him to eat other things nothing works...i buy the gummy bear vitamins and he takes them fine thats all i can do

Anonymous said...
My son is still a picky eater, but has come a LONG way. He will eat foods from all food groups. He received ABA therapy and I remember how hard it was to get him to eat one pea (it took almost a week and two trained therapists!) To this day he still hates peas but will eat green beans like crazy! He has become more willing to try new things in the past year and that's a huge accomplishment for him. He announced last summer that he wanted to try grilled corn and brocolli and we were speechless! I hesitate to try the gluten free thing unless it is proven to be medically necessary for his condition, but I'm certainly not putting down anyone who has had success with it.

Anonymous said...
I put adam on school dinners its helped Adam he still as a thing he has to smell the food first diary products he hates have to get milk down in a milk shake

Anonymous said...
our 13 yr old aspergers son has just been diagnosed as coeliac(proven with a biopsy). He has always been sensitive to taste and texture of food usually only having one brand of the few foods he does eat. his fav foods are toast, biscuits and nuggets(all contain gluten) Does anyone have any suggestions in how we get him to at least try other foods or gluten free varieties? I know we have to get him off gluten but he has a meltdown over any new food.

Anonymous said...
My son craves carbs (breads, cereals) and sweets. We had to put him in OT when he was three because he wouldn't eat but maybe three things. He would literally gag and throw up at a pizza commercial or if I served certain foods for dinner. It is def a texture thing, but also anything the color of green he won't eat. It's very frustrating to have to make two different meals all the time (one for the family and one just for our son). OT helped with the food issue and he slowly began to increase the different types of food he would eat.

Anonymous said...
We tried the gluten-free route and did not see much of a difference, other than the outrageous cost to make gluten-free food. It was overwhelming to go grocery shopping and all that cooking only for our son to turn his nose up to the food anyway. We just try to make sure he is eating a healthy balance and encourage him to try new foods.

Anonymous said...
Really good to hear it from his point of view!

Anonymous said...
Great to listen from this perspective!! TY

Anonymous said...
Yep, this story is all too familiar to me. My son is quite a challenge to feed! And when we visit a friend or relative, I always have to advise: The best bet is to keep it plain and simple. Don't add alot of seasonings, don't smother it with any sort of sauce, don't mix foods together, don't cut such and such this way or that, I know what food battles to fight and which are completely futile. Some say if he gets hungry enough he'll eat it....but my son WILL hold out on you and you can watch him get ill doing so. He has always refused rice and all legumes except for CREAMY peanut butter. He won't eat crunchy nuts or salad or uncooked carrots. Forget pie or any other desert that has a mixture of flavors or textures. Yep, he's a plain vanilla man! I know just how to prepare what fruits, vegetables, and meats he will eat. I make sure he eats a nutritionally balanced diet on a daily basis, so at some special occasion where I'm not in charge of the food I just ease up and let him get whatever (at least there is usually some plain bread he will eat) so everybody can have a nice time. As a parent sometimes you just have to adapt and work with it just a tad. For example, my son is famous for not liking Mexican food. But I have discovered that he will eat plain chicken fajita meat ordered a la carte and some plain flour tortillas. So when we go to a Mexican restaurant that is always what he gets....and everybody is happy. The way I view it is that nobody is standing over me forcing me to eat something I can't stand, so, while I do try to encourage my son to branch out a bit, I know when to give him slack.

Anonymous said...
i don't even like my foods touching :) my son had portion rules- as he grew to 6 ft tall, he wasn't eating more to accommodate his growth spurt. it took many months to help him adjust to the proper caloric intake- he was skin and bones in the meantime.

Anonymous said...
my son has always been like this hes 14 now and getting a little better..but can totally relate

Anonymous said...
My son will only eat crunchy foods or foods that are pureed. I learned early on how to make smoothies with veggies. :) And yes I know all about him "holding out". He would rather starve and be sick then eat something with a weird texture. Sometimes at restaurants he just doesn't eat. I'm okay with that but some family members would rather give in and buy him a milkshake which is SO irritating. I turn my back for a second and he's holding an ice cream cone. Please, if you are reading this and you are a family member that under minds the mothers' wishes, PLEASE STOP you are not helping....done ranting now. :)

Anonymous said...
I love reading or hearing from other more verbal teens. My son has a hard time getting what is in his head out of his mouth - but he loves it when i find these little nuggets of asperger wisdom...It makes sense to me that he can only think of the taste of one food a time. I can't wait to ask him if that is what it is like for him, we are very sucessful at comimg up with plans once we know what his brain is saying and what his desires are saying. I might get a hug for this one! I am so thankful that everyone shares their experiences, so that other families can benefit.

Anonymous said...
My son would go rather starve too than eat foods that are mushy.

Anonymous said...
My daughter is 5 and she would rather starve than eat just about anything. She won't even drink milk-shakes or smothies. Basically she survives on pediasure!


Anonymous said...
Yes that's basically all they eat....we quit fighting it...he is ten and only eats burritos,Mac cheese and nuggets and pizza and hot dogs sometimes if they look right.he was eating Lil pepperoni pizzas and picked Pepperoni's off so we bought same ones n cheese but he won't eat them because they look nasty...we can't give him chips with his food or he won't eat the burritos or main food...nothings changed just food...if we buy somethn n a different pkg he may never eat it again.his aunt gave him Mac and cheese n a blue box and he would never eat it again lol its very frustrating and challenging.we just gave up and give him vitamins...and if u try to make a good meal like say he likes green beans,,chic nuggets,Mac cheese and biscuits and I'm so happy cuz he loves those he can only eat one of them...so Dont knock yourself out trying I've done it for years just be happy he eats the one thing....good luck

Anonymous said...
Vitamins, and a good fish oil supplement.

Anonymous said...
My son is 8 and we dont treat him any different, but then again we never did. Both our boys eat what we eat. If they dont like it then they can go hungry. Yes he complains most of the time but he eats his diner. We keep our 8 year old on a very tight leash, he knows where the boundaries are what is not exceptionable behavior. Because he is so smart many times if we show him videos and let him research why its so important to say eat healthy he gets right on board and sometimes takes it to an extreme. My don LOVES burritos and would eat them all day every day. As a parent you cant coddle them just because they have a diagnoses. When he has a melt down I know its because its because of his "issues" but he MUST learn how to cope with this and learn to not let it cripple him. Its so hard as a parent and it breaks my heart to see him struggle but I also see how he is learning to cope and grow.

Anonymous said...
My very picky eater is now almost 10. For the last few years, I have had the few healthy foods that he eats on hand all the time. Finally, we went to a doctor who said that he has to cut out white carbs and sugar. He is old enough now to understand that healthy foods make an impact on his health and on how long he will live. Sometimes waiting it out really works well.

Anonymous said...
That's all they eat, plain cheese pizza, nuggets, chips, chicken strips, no fruit or veg, it's hard but the more you push and argue the more they back into a corner. It's the only control a child has is food intake. Coke and cordial too. I feel for you xx. He will come right later on but it's going to be a very long time. Also if it doesn't look right they won't even try it or not cooked by the right person. It's really tough but just no control at all. The hardest years are between 12 - 17

Anonymous said...
I am grateful that I introduced my son to healthy food very early in his life, I always felt that something was wrong with him because of his meltdowns and obsessions when I spoke to the pediatrician she suggested that he had asperger, and she was right, right now I am learning to cope with the tantrums and the never ending questions but I am glad that may son eats healthy with lots of vegetables even though he craves for oily food and from time to time i would let him eat pizza or chicken nuggets

Anonymous said...
My son is now 12 and started out eating like all others their fruits and veggies early in life...however very quickly started showing his dislike for food if it were to chunky or over or under cooked, or not the right temperature...or brand...he only eats about 5 things no matter how I try..Janes chicken nuggets, spaghetti with red sauce no meat, pancakes with raspberries, delissio thin crust cheese pizza, and if I'm lucky yogurt....vanilla....at one point I even had to heat his yogurt to get him to eat it. I resort to vitamins ! This is a sensory issue and if anyone tells you it's behavioural they are 100% wrong!

Anonymous said...
i think intruducing healthy food very early makes a big difference but there many things that can be done. I recommend mixing the good with the bad steam veg and rice with chicken nuggets you have to try it wont be easy but not impossible. I do not recommend forcing the child it doent work with my son so i wont work with your child either

Anonymous said...
Yep! My 9 yr old basically eats carbs and that's it. We rely on Carnation breakfast milk and vitamins for nutrition at the moment.

Anonymous said...
My 13 yr daughter only eats a handful of 'healthy" foods so i just rotate these meals around. You would think it would be boring but she likes the predictability. It wasnt worth the stress of the tantrums of force feeding when she was younger...... my mum.says i am too soft but at least meal times are quality family time over trauma time. Her blood tests for iron, vit D etc always come back good which surprises me. I had to think smart, be crrative at times and accept reality to stay sane.....
The hardest thing is dealing with judgement from others..... but i know I am doing the best I am and she certainly isnt malnourished or starving...Good to hear from others with the same issues and that I am not alone. ... and that its NOT my fault.....
X

Anonymous said...
Occupational therapy can help tremendously with decreasing oral sensitivities (when they won't eat certain foods because of how they feel) and expanding picky diets beyond chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, etc. It is costly if insurance doesn't cover it though. I agree that it is sensory (not behavioral) and the focus should be on desensitizing the child to texture, smell, and even sight of foods in order for them to attempt to expand their food choices.

Anonymous said...
Maybe try social stories about children trying a new food and liking it?

Anonymous said...
Don't under estimate milk and bread. I know it's not perfect but you are doing your best.....I know you are!!!! Xx

Anonymous said...
Mine is sixteen and it's chicken, cheeseburgers or pizza

Anonymous said...
As a wee one mine ate everything now my son is 14 and I'm totally jealous that your kids eat pizza and burgers. Mine wants to try pizza but it takes a long time to work up to it and if you open the box and he sees it. That's game over. I feel badly for our kids with the stresses they go through and the things they are missing out on.

Anonymous said...
Yes my 6 year old would never try pizza, or any 'meal'...just bread, milkshakes and some fruit.

Anonymous said...
My 9-year-old is super picky also. His diet was limited but he would eat a couple vegetables and fruits. About a year ago though he felt bad all the time and after a million tests, we found out he had very low iron and needed iron drops. These drops tasted so awful that he swore up and down he would eat better if he could stop taking them and he made an actual real effort to try new things. Now he will eat more of a variety and even though he doesn't love these foods I just remind him that it's that or the drops and it motivates him. His iron levels have been good every since. It's still a chore. Everything has to be so plain. No foods mixed together. No spice.

Anonymous said...
My 9 year olds diet is very limited. Dry bread, milk, beef burgers and cheese pizza. I got myself into a state thinking I needed him to try other foods and so many people saying ' he should eat what he is given or go hungry' and making me feel bad about his diet. When I saw his dr he had lost weight, the dr told me not too worry and feed him what he likes so he is getting the calories needed. I am so glad I listened, he is a much calmer child at mealtimes without being challenged, he put back on the weight he had lost. He has also started to ask to try new foods , he recently ate an apple ( I wanted to cry!!!) he also asked for me to blend 1/2 a banana in his milk, it wasn't a hit but he still tried something! My advice to anyone having a hard time or worrying is too ignore all the people giving their 'perfect parent' advice and just let your child eat what they like and come to you when they are ready for change x x x

Anonymous said...
My son has always been very picky too, and it got down to him only eating rice crackers. He lost a great deal of weight and as it turns out he has ulcerative colitis, diagnosed at 8 years. Once i sorted his flares and he takes probiotics and magnesium, his appetite is now much better. He's almost 14. I juice a combo of fruit and veg every morning now, and if it's got pineapple in it, and beetroot or purple carrot in it to make it pink, he enjoys drinking it.

Anonymous said...
I have heard a gluten free diet helps with Asperger's. Have u tried that?

Anonymous said...
I know from experience that this is frustrating! I have heard and tried it all from having them help shop, help cook, grow it! And so far nothing works... but, your son is eating and although it is repetitious, it is relatively well rounded. Protein, grain, dairy, fruit. One thing that has helped is sneaking veggie puree into the mac and cheese (cauliflower, carrots, etc...) but that had to be done with care as not to alter the flavor too much! I also slowly added whole grain pasta so that it .


Anonymous said...
Because my 7 year old son is such a picky eater, and was underweight, his doctor recommended V8 Fusion. This way he can still be picky, but at the same time get his daily recommended amount of fruit and vegetables. I give him 8 oz in the morning with breakfast and 8 oz in the evening with dinner. We have also had the my food can't touch issue in our house. It was to the point where there was typically multiple small plates (one for each food) on the table. On Monday my son said "Mom, I think it's time I have all of my food on one plate." I was floored! After the initial shock, we were doing a victory dance in celebration. Wohoo!
 

Post your comment below...


Sensory Diet for Children on the Autism Spectrum

BrainWorks: The Sensory Diet Creator Tool

Just as youngsters with Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism need food throughout the day, their need for sensory input must also be met. A “sensory diet” is a personalized activity plan that provides the sensory input “special needs” children must have in order to stay focused and organized throughout the day. Children and teens with mild to severe sensory issues can all benefit from a personalized sensory diet.



Each Asperger’s or HFA youngster has a unique set of sensory needs. Generally, a youngster who is more lethargic or tired needs more arousing input, while a youngster whose nervous system is energetic or hyper needs more calming input. Occupational therapists can use their training and evaluation skills to develop a sensory diet for the youngster on the autism spectrum, but it’s up to parents and the youngster to implement it throughout the day.

Effects of a sensory diet are usually immediate and cumulative. In other words, activities that stimulate the youngster or soothe her are not only effective in the moment – they help to restructure the youngster’s nervous system over time so that she is better able to handle transitions with less stress, limit sensory seeking and sensory avoiding behaviors, regulate her alertness and increase attention span, and tolerate sensations and situations she finds challenging.

Each Asperger’s and HFA youngster is different and has unique requirements. But if parents take a close look at what their child is doing, he is telling his parents in the only way he knows how (with his behavior) what he needs. Parents can take what their child is already doing and make it safer and more appropriate. That's the beginning of a good sensory diet.

BrainWorks simplifies the process of creating sensory diets and teaches self-modulation through its use.  Click here to join BrainWorks.




Brainworks Is The Premier Sensory Diet Creation Tool. Sensory Diets Are Designed Primarily For Those With Autism And Other Sensory Processing Disorders.

Misbehavior or Food Allergy? Tips for Parents of Kids on the Autism Spectrum

Is your Aspergers (AS) or high functioning autistic (HFA) child "acting-out"?  If so, the behavioral problems may be symptomatic of a deeper issue...

Digestive function is the key to physical and emotional health. If your youngster has gluten intolerance and/or autistic symptoms, chances are he has something called “leaky gut syndrome.” In a youngster with leaky gut, the stomach lining is more porous than it should be, allowing protein molecules to slip through the gut and enter the blood stream where it causes an autoimmune and behavioral response.

The most common causes of leaky gut are parasites, low stomach acid, prolonged chronic antibiotic use and food additives and preservatives. Gluten is the protein found in wheat, barley, rye and oats. AS and HFA kids with undiagnosed and untreated gluten intolerance commonly show these symptoms:

1. Difficulty in group games or sports: Your youngster may appear to be “cheating” on a board game or sport when, in fact, he can’t figure out the rules despite repeated explanations.

2. Inability to read tones of voice and body language: Your youngster doesn’t seem to “get it” until you’ve reached the end of your rope and begin yelling or punishing. This is because he is not picking up on your more subtle attempts at correction. After your repeated reprimands have been ignored, you finally yell to get through to your child.

3. Non-sense talk: Your child’s attempt to communicate with you comes out in a string of unintelligible sentences, causing frustration and anger in both the youngster and parent.

4. Obsessions: Your youngster may go on and on and on about the same subject for hours.

5. Physical symptoms: Stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation, chronic burping and/or passing of gas, chronic nasal congestion and/or postnasal drip, allergies and or “vague” or “drugged” look in the eyes are all common symptoms in a youngster with food allergies.

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

6. Poor coordination: Your youngster may bump into and/or break things, but when this is pointed out, he insists he didn’t do it. This is true for your youngster as he may lack body awareness due to the brain fog caused by gluten allergy. He literally doesn’t notice his arm or leg hitting that priceless vase that is now smashed to pieces on the floor.

7. Self-destructive behavior: Frustration with being misunderstood and/or not understanding others may cause the youngster to hit or cut himself.

8. Social difficulties (e.g., lack of eye contact, inability to read social cues, nonsense talk, etc.) can be symptoms of gluten intolerance.

9. Staring off into space: Gluten has an “opiate” effect on the system of an allergic or intolerant person causing open-mouthed staring and disassociation. You may notice this is especially true a couple of hours after eating.

10. Trouble communicating: Your youngster may become frustrated when he can’t find the right words to describe something and needs to resort to pointing to an object he is talking about.

How your child's doctor can test for food allergies:

I. Obtain a detailed history and perform a complete physical examination

A. Formulate suspicion of food allergy based on history and physical findings
B. Rule out other causes of symptoms

II. Evaluate for IgE-mediated food allergy with skin prick-puncture tests or radioallergosorbent tests

A. Test are negative

1. Reintroduce the food to the diet
2. If the child has a history of significant reaction or a non¬IgE-mediated reaction is suspected, reintroduce the food to the diet in a physician-supervised or challenge setting

B. Tests are positive

1. Eliminate food
2. If the child has multiple sensitivities or an unclear history, perform open or single-blind food challenges
a. If the challenge test is negative, reintroduce food
b. If the challenge test is positive, challenge

1. Eliminate foods (if only a few foods)
2. If multiple foods are implicated, consider double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenges
a. If the challenge is positive, eliminate food
b. If the challenge is negative, reintroduce food

III. Diagnosis established

A. Educate parents about treatment and avoidance
B. Re-evaluate at appropriate intervals if tolerance is likely


How parents can eliminate the cause:

Get your youngster on an elimination diet. An elimination diet is an easy method of figuring out what foods your youngster is reacting to.

For one week, serve only:
  • Bottled or distilled water
  • Brown rice (not enriched white rice which has wheat flour in it), Quinoa or Amaranth
  • Fresh fruit (excluding citrus and any fruit that is eaten more than twice per week)
  • Fresh vegetables (excluding corn, peas and beans)
  • Organic chicken and turkey

For one week, avoid:
  • All dairy products (use rice milk instead)
  • All processed foods
  • Bacon, sausages, tuna and any “prepared meat”
  • Caffeine in any form
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus fruit
  • Eggs
  • Food colorings and dyes
  • MSG
  • Nuts
  • Peas, beans and corn
  • Soda or cola
  • Sugar and sugar substitutes of any kind
  • Wheat, oats, rye or barley

It is very important that there is no “cheating” during this one-week period. The culprit food has to be completely eliminated from the body and chances are, if your youngster has a compromised digestive system, it will take longer for allergens to fully exit the body so you’re left with a “clean slate” on which to reintroduce foods.

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

The best way to find the foods that will get you through this challenging diet change is to consult your local health-food store. Most specialize in gluten-free diets and will prove most helpful in this process. Once the one-week period is over, you’ll want to reintroduce foods. Remember to do this one at a time.

Continue to follow the elimination diet but now, reintroduce a food such as cheese and make a list of any symptoms your youngster has exhibited. If none, good deal! Two days later, introduce another food, say, wheat and note the reaction, if any. Then, try eggs. A couple of days later try nuts and so on. When you find the problem food, you’ll KNOW. The symptoms will return with a vengeance.

Just remember, your youngster may be allergic or intolerant to several different foods so when you notice a reaction, remove that food from the diet, wait a day or two more and reintroduce the next food. The most common food allergies/intolerances are wheat/gluten, diary, eggs, soy, nuts, citrus, sulfites and fish so you may want to reintroduce those foods first.

The elimination of food proteins is a difficult task. In a milk-free diet, for example, parents must be instructed not only to avoid all obvious milk products, but also to read food product ingredient labels for key words that may indicate the presence of cow's-milk protein, including "casein," "whey," "lactalbumin," "caramel color" and "nougat." When vague terms such as "high protein flavor" or "natural flavorings" are used, it may be necessary to call the manufacturer to determine if the offending protein, such as milk protein, is an ingredient.

Parents must also be made aware that the food protein, as opposed to sugar or fat, is the ingredient being eliminated. For example, lactose-free milk contains cow's milk-protein, and many egg substitutes contain chicken-egg proteins. Conversely, peanut oil and soy oil generally do not contain the food protein unless the processing method is one in which the protein is not completely eliminated (as with cold-pressed or "extruded" oil).

Elimination of a particular food can be tricky. For example, a spatula used to serve cookies both with and without peanut butter can contaminate the peanut-free cookie with enough protein to cause a reaction. Similarly, contamination can occur when chocolate candies without peanuts are processed on the same equipment used for making peanut-containing candy. Hidden ingredients can also cause a problem. For example, egg white may be used to glaze pretzels, or peanut butter may be used to seal the ends of egg rolls.

Fortunately, kids on the autism spectrum often lose their sensitivity to most of the common allergenic foods (egg, milk, wheat, soy) in a few years, particularly with avoidance of the foods. However, positive skin tests may persist despite the development of clinical tolerance. Serial diagnostic food challenges over time are often helpful in managing these food-allergic kids. Unfortunately, sensitivity to certain foods, such as peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish, is rarely lost, and sensitivity persists into adulthood.

More resources for parents of children and teens with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's:

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book

==> Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism


Comments:

•    Anonymous said... I am a firm believer that diet affects our Aspies. I have had mine on a low- gluten diet for 2 months now & he is a very different child!!! He is happy, more attentive & is interacting well w/ peers. Temper is also MUCH better & easier to control. I opted for low-gluten because he is only 6, and ADHD med he is on decreases his appetite already, making him very small for his age. Even this small change in his diet has helped tremendously!!
 
•    Anonymous said... I am still stuck on how to get my child to eat...anything. He gags on both textures and tastes. He has the classic beige diet going, but even that is very limited (and so very unhealthy, as I am painfully aware!) pizza, chicken nuggets (of any variety), cheerios, yogurt, mac n cheese is about all my child will eat. He has never liked vegies/fruit (gagged as an infant even) thus I have him drinking v8 fushion (out of desperation). I know the "what" of gluten-casein free, but how does one go about the "how"? advise welcome =)
 
•    Anonymous said... My sister has full custody of her children (4 total, 2 of which are out of the house and married) the issues are with the younger 2 (Boy 13) and (Girl 16). We will start with the older one who is in need of help but not as much as her younger brother. The 16 year old was expelled from school the first week due to a drug related issue, she has since been enrolled in PASS and goes to school every day and is showing signs of understanding the repercussions of her actions. She is not fully there yet but I think she has grown up a lot over the past 2 months and accepts her punishment from a “school” perspective. At home on the other hand my sister struggles with maintaining boundaries and enforcing her discipline decisions. My niece was suppose to have certain privileges revoked for a period of time as part of the consequence of this action however that only lasted one day as my niece has the uncanny ability to wear my sister down into submission. My question for her is if I were to purchase your program would if provide my sister the tools she needs to stand behind her own convictions and/or point her in a direction that will help her to be successful? Next is my Nephew. He has been in either ISS or suspended for 42 of the 60 days school has been in session this year. Not only is he rebelling at school by being defiant and throwing temper tantrums he is pulling pranks like letting off stink bombs in the lunchroom which resulted in a 10 day suspension. He also struggles outside of school as he has been caught shoplifting by me and forced to return the items to the store. His attitude during this is not remorseful for being caught it is anger and frustration. He tells my sister he hates living in Missouri and wants to go back home to Michigan (they moved here 3 years ago) where his dad is. He has become increasingly violent recently and has been challenging my sister by getting into her personal space and asking her “what are you going to do?”. He also does things like grabbing knives and banging his head against walls. I do not fear for the safety of my sister so I want to make sure I do not paint that picture but I do see it getting worse. The kicker is they live with me and I have 3 small children of my own which I get to see 2 days a week and every other weekend as I was divorced earlier this year. My Nephews father and my sister have both asked that I step in to control him however I do not see that fixing the problem. My opinion is that my sister needs the tools to be able to do this on her own and as for me I need to focus my attention on my own children. So I guess after writing all this the questions are the same, if I were to purchase your program would if provide her the tools she needs to correct these behavioral issues.
 
•    Anonymous said... Hi all, I am looking for some insight from those of you who have survived the preschool years...my son with AS is 4 and attends a typical preschool 3 mornings a week. He has ongoing problems with hitting the other kids, but now he has targeted one little girl whom he has decided is a "troublemaker". He has been going out of his way to hit her, push her down, and throw sand on her - completely unprovoked, by his own account. I seriously doubt that this girl is really a troublemaker (and of course we have told our son that enforcing rules is the teacher's job, not his), but really the facts don't matter, because he has decided that she is. He makes up a lot of rules in his head (like he says that if he is mad, the rule is he has to hit), and they are really hard to break him of. There was a similar problem at preschool last year, when my son decided that another child was a "bad boy" (no one could ever figure out why he thought that) and spent the whole year hitting and kicking him. The only thing that stopped it was the school year ending, and now that my son and his target from last year are in different classes, they are actually getting along very well on the playground. I certainly do not want my son to keep targeting this little girl until school ends next May - to make matters worse, she is the smallest child in his class, really tiny for her age, and of course it bothers me that he is picking on a girl. Before this started with this particular girl, my son's teachers had already asked us to start picking him up a little early because the end of day playground time is the hardest for him and that is when he hits the most. Today when we went to pick him up, the director of the preschool was sitting with my son outside of the playground, because his behavior towards the little girl had been so bad he needed to be removed. Any suggestions on how to deal with an Asperger's child targeting a kid they think is bad would be very helpful!
 
•    Anonymous said... I feel your pain! My 10-yr old aspie has also chosen through the years to "pick on" one particular individual each school year. Looking back, I regret that I did not nip this in the bud earlier. I'm not exactly sure why it occurs, but it seems to work as a defense mechanism of some sort. At the preschool level, administrators are more likely to treat it as a normal stage of development and with a certain degree of tolerance for the diagnosis. As they get older, however, this becomes more difficult for them to do. We are facing possible expulsion and are now taking this very seriously. My advice is to NOT WAIT. Make sure you protect your child by documenting the diagnosis and including a behavior plan to address this issue specifically. Looking back, I wish I would have scheduled supervised play dates (consider it a social group) with the particular child in question. Never leave the children alone, and try to moderate the play to find common interests. One of my son's targets from Kindergarten became one of his closest friends in second grade! This happened all by itself when they discovered a common interest in Pokemon. There's often no telling what set them off...This particular kid smushed a bug, something that my son adores! Don't wait....make it a priority and make sure you communicate openly with the teachers at his school. It might also help to inform and educate the other parents of his diagnosis. We waited until third grade to describe and explain his diagnosis to the class, but it was by far the best thing we ever did.

Post your comment below…

Dietary & Therapeutic Considerations for High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

High-Functioning Autism (HFA) is a neurobiological disorder that has no known cause or cure. For this reason, a number of alternative therapies have been tried to improve the symptoms of HFA and other autistic spectrum disorders.

Much has been made about the gluten-free and casein-free diet. This includes a diet virtually void of wheat, oat, rye and barley foods as well as any dairy foods that generally contain casein. Many parents have noted significant improvement in the behavioral symptoms of their child. Such a diet can be difficult to arrange, but there are web sites that sell products free of casein and gluten, and a few week's trial of the diet may make a difference that no medication can do.


Other alternative therapies include chelation therapy (rids the body of heavy metals which may be contributing to the symptoms), cranio-sacral therapy, auditory integration therapy, sensory integration therapy and music therapy. Some of these alternative therapies have gone past being “alternative” and have reached mainstream medical therapies.

A natural supplement found to be helpful in HFA is called L-Carnosine, a supplement that is a protein combination of alanine and histadine. In several studies, it has been shown to improve the auditory processing skills, socialization, speech production, fine motor skills and language skills of children with autism spectrum disorders.

Certain digestive enzymes have been developed for kids with HFA and related disorders. It is felt that the enzymes reduce the amount of undigested food that unhealthy gut bacteria thrive on.

Some researchers believe that kids with HFA are deficient in glutathione. Some companies now manufacture what is called liposome-enclosed glutathione. Glutathione is an antioxidant that also helps rid the body of toxins, including heavy metals.





Electrolyte solutions containing minerals are used to prevent dehydration and add valuable minerals to the child’s diet. In addition, phosphatidyl serine is used because it is known to regenerate damaged nerve cells and improve memory, learning and concentration.

There is much less research on dietary supplements and dietary changes in children with HFA and related disorders. Any research done is often done on extremely small numbers of children, so they can’t be widely recommended; however, none of these therapies are harmful to the body, so they may be tried safely in families looking to optimize their youngster’s level of functioning. As an example, numerous parents have reported wonderful results when giving their child melatonin for sleep issues.




  IMPORTANT COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said... Avoiding dyes, ESP red 40. The frustrating thing is that most kids antibiotics are pink and have red 40
•    Anonymous said... omega 3 fish oil capsules/oil of evening primrose capsules/good multi vitamin and mineral supplement,
•    Anonymous said... So, is it possible it's the GMOs that are in almost all wheat, soy and corn causing the problems and not the actual gluten? Why after thousands of years are people all of a sudden reacting to gluten? Organic foods are GMO free!
•    Anonymous said... We removed all artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives and saw a HUGE difference in about a week. It's worth a try for a week to see if it will help your child. We saw huge improvements in stimming, focus, hyperactivity, and meltdowns decreased. It worked better than any medications we have tried.
On a side note, most of the colors/flavors/preservatives are banned in other countries as a known health hazard for human consumption. Yet our government allows it. I'll let you do the research if you choose
•    Anonymous said... We've been doing the GAPS diet for 4+ months. We've seen huge gains (among the most impressive have been the initiation of pretend play -- there was zero before -- vanishing of rough play, and excellent growth in social and verbal skills). GAPS (similar to and based on SCD) removes all processed foods, grains, sugars (except in fruit and honey) and starches, and is designed to heal and seal the gut lining. It's a commitment, but it has been totally worth the effort and expense. Also, it has changed my super-picky eater into the kid who asks for vegetables for snack and plain fruit as dessert!
•    Anonymous said... when we look that he GF/CF diet, there was a lot of referring to gluten and casein being changed into a type of morphine in the brain and this is why these kids crave for these foods, it's like a drug addiction. When we change our son's diet, we had it rough for about 5 weeks and it was apparently his body going thru withdraws. We have taken additives out and added omega 3,6 and 9 which contains evening primrose oil and it has worked really well, a different kid.
•    Anonymous said... With my son we have to avoid dyes and colorants along with a lot of sugar. But he craves dairy and salt. Not sure why yet.

More comments below…

Is There a Link Between GI Problems and High-Functioning Autism?

“Is there a link between GI problems and high-functioning autism? Our son has frequent constipation, and we’re wondering if this has something to do with the disorder.”

Gastrointestinal (GI) disorders do occur in some children with High-Functioning Autism (HFA) and Asperger’s (e.g., chronic constipation, diarrhea, irritable and inflammatory bowel conditions). However, the link between GI issues and autism is up for debate.

One study from the Mayo Clinic found no apparent overall link between the two, although the researchers did find that some individual GI problems are more common in kids on the autism spectrum as compared to their “typical” (i.e., non-autistic) peers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that kids on the autism spectrum are 3.5 times more likely to experience chronic diarrhea or constipation than their typical peers. Some researchers propose that toxins produced by abnormal gut bacteria may trigger or worsen the symptoms associated with the disorder.

Furthermore, researchers report that the GI activity of some young people on the spectrum differs from that of typical children in two major ways: 1) their intestines are home to abnormal amounts of certain digestive bacteria, and 2) their intestinal cells show abnormalities in how they break down and transport carbohydrates. In addition, it has been suggested that some of these children have abnormal levels of certain bacteria. Bacteria play an important role in normal digestion, and abnormal levels have been associated with intestinal inflammation and digestive problems.

==> Preventing Meltdowns and Tantrums in Asperger's and HFA Children

We also know that alterations in how intestinal cells break down carbohydrates can affect the amount and type of nutrients that these cells offer to intestinal bacteria. Such alterations may negatively impact the makeup of the intestine’s normal community of digestive bacteria. These findings may explain why some parents of kids on the autism spectrum report that special diets and probiotics improve both their child’s digestion and his or her behavior.

Treating GI Disorders in Kids on the Autism Spectrum—

1. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): Behavioral modifications include avoiding food near bedtime, eating smaller meals, avoiding foods that tend to trigger symptoms, and elevating the head during sleep. Also, medications can be implemented (e.g., antacids, Pepcid, Zantac, Nexium, Priolosec).

2. Chronic diarrhea: Treatment will depend on the cause. For example, if diarrhea is due to food allergies, lactose intolerance or celiac disease, it’s usually treated with dietary restrictions. Also, medications may be warranted in certain circumstances.

3. Chronic constipation: This condition is often addressed using behavioral management, which includes dietary changes (e.g., increasing fiber, eliminating constipating foods), and management of toileting behaviors (e.g., teaching a child to sit on the toilet after meals). In addition, supplements can be used to alleviate constipation (e.g., soluble fiber, laxatives such as mineral oil, magnesium hydroxide or sorbitol).

4. Casein- and gluten-free diets: Many moms and dads of kids on the spectrum report that behavior improves when their youngster eats a diet free of the proteins gluten (found mostly in wheat, barley and rye) and casein (found in dairy products).

5. Probiotics: In addition to eliminating casein and gluten from their child’s diet, many parents have reported that probiotics (i.e., the "good" bacteria) help lessen gastrointestinal distress.



How Parents Can Help—

You may want to consider consulting with a dietary counselor (e.g., a nutritionist or dietician). If so, bring the counselor a 3 - 5 day “dietary history” by writing down what was eaten and how much. The counselor will review the history to determine whether there is a risk for nutritional deficiency. He or she can then work with you to add foods or supplements that address potential gaps in nutrition.

==> Preventing Meltdowns and Tantrums in Asperger's and HFA Children

In addition to providing a history of what was eaten and how much, create a list of the specific symptoms and behaviors that you would like to work on (e.g., your child’s tantrums, meltdowns, shutdowns, inability to sit quietly during class, problems sleeping at night, etc.).

Recruit the assistance of teachers, babysitters, and others outside the family to help you accurately monitor targeted symptoms and behaviors – and verify your awareness of changes. If a consensus is reached that improvements are indeed occurring, then continuing the dietary changes will be worth the cost and effort.

Note that improvements may be due to the removal of just one of the aforementioned proteins (i.e., gluten or casein) from the diet. Some parents report improvement with a gluten-free diet alone, while others report improvements with just a casein-free diet. In addition, improvement may be due to dietary changes other than the removal of casein or gluten (e.g., the new diet replaces processed foods high in sugar and fat with healthier foods like fruits and vegetables).

Also note that a strict casein-gluten free diet requires hard work and can be costly (e.g., parents will be faced with the task of sending or bringing special meals and treats whenever their child eats away from home, it may be difficult to eat from the menus in a restaurant or school cafeteria, birthday parties may present a challenge, etc.).

==> More information on diet and children with ASD can be found here...

My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the ASD child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually.

Click here to read the full article…

How to Prevent Meltdowns in Children on the Spectrum

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's or HFA child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and your child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

Click here for the full article...

Parenting Defiant Teens on the Spectrum

Although Aspergers [high-functioning autism] is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager on the spectrum are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

Click here to read the full article…

Older Teens and Young Adult Children with ASD Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with ASD face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

Click here to read the full article…

Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

Two traits often found in kids with High-Functioning Autism are “mind-blindness” (i.e., the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others) and “alexithymia” (i.e., the inability to identify and interpret emotional signals in others). These two traits reduce the youngster’s ability to empathize with peers. As a result, he or she may be perceived by adults and other children as selfish, insensitive and uncaring.

Click here
to read the full article...

Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and HFA

Become an expert in helping your child cope with his or her “out-of-control” emotions, inability to make and keep friends, stress, anger, thinking errors, and resistance to change.

Click here for the full article...

My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content