If you are a family member has Autism or Sensory Processing Disorder you know that diet is really important. I have a child myself who has Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and another one who has ADHD and I know from experience that their diet matters. In most kids you can definitely see behavioral impacts of things like sugar or high carb diet. You will notice your child is either bouncing off the wall or extremely lethargic and you might say something like they should eat better. Most people have heard from one source or another that a healthy diet can be used to cure anything from asthma to cancer. I will not pretend to be a doctor but I have testimony for my own life and my friends of healthy eating helping build a healthier immune system.
When my daughter was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder I started to think about her diet. A lot of kids with Autism are Sensory Processing Disorder struggle with eating certain types of food due to anything from the way they look to how the texture feels in their mouth. Food therapy is a lot of times use in occupational therapy to help these kids branch out and increase the amount of different foods that they will eat. Getting my child to eat healthy foods was a nightmare first. I realized when to pick my battles. You can’t just cut off a child who has been eating mostly sugar and carbs cold turkey. So what should you focus on if you find yourself in a situation. Here are three things that I would do:
- Smoothies – A smoothie is an excellent way to get your child to eat healthy foods without the big fit. Someone who has sensory processing or Autism needs a lot of omega-3. What I do is I make a smoothie for my daughter every morning that’s high in fruits and vegetables with whey protein and flaxseed. This way she is getting servings of vegetables, fruits, protein and omega-3’s in the morning which will give her a better start to her day.
- Focus on the foods your child likes and branch out within those food groups – If your child likes carrots then offer them carrots with hummus or carrots cut in a different way. And then maybe have them try them cut a different way instead of having them try something completely foreign to them. For a child with sensory processing that can be really scary. Stick to what they like and branch out over time.
- Gluten-free – If you can make the change a gluten-free diet can really help a child with autism or Sensory Processing Disorder. if you can cut out a lot of the gluten your child is eating you may notice that they are less irritable. Try it for a couple weeks and see if there are any changes in your child’s behavior.
In closing it is important when you have a child that is diagnosed with a condition like Sensory Processing Disorder, autism are ADHD to not just think about therapy but to also think about altering their diet. There’s lots of other information on diets available for these kids online.