Food Sensitivities in Children With Autism

Sensitivities

Does your child have sensitivity to the texture, flavour, aroma, or colour of food? Have you noticed that your child avoid certain foods and not ready to try new foods? Does your child gag when they see or smell certain foods? These are some common signs of food sensitivities in kids. Many children with autism are dealing with variety of sensory issues. Among them, food sensitivity issues are one of the major concern. Keep reading to understand more about food sensitivities in children as well as the tips and foods that can help to manage it. 

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Food sensitivities in children

Children are exposed to a variety of foods, flavours, and sensations during their early years. Kids who refuse to taste or consume certain foods are frequently referred to as “picky eaters”. However, this picky eating habit is prevalent in kids, it can be more intense and also lasts in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Additionally, studies show that many children with autism have high preferences for processed foods and carbs while avoiding fruits and veggies. Moreover, it can cause nutritional deficits and also obesity, especially if exercise is restricted.

Also check, Autism and Sound sensitivity

Causes of food sensitivities

Sensory processing disorder

Sensory integration dysfunction is the inability of the brain to process the signals and information it receives from the sense organs. Due to this, the child becomes extraordinarily sensitive to things like normal sounds, touch, and food texture. Some kids experience extreme sensitivities for the smell or flavour of the food. This can result in nausea, vomiting or spitting out the food. Health professionals think that sensory processing disorder may also manifest on its own, despite the fact that its symptoms are frequently linked to other developmental issues like autism spectrum disorder.

Also check, Autism and Sensory sensitivity

Oral motor issues

Oral motor refers to the way our mouth’s muscles are used. The tongue, lips, cheeks, and jaw are all included in this. All of them are components of our mouth that are connected to numerous muscles; like all muscles, they can be strong or weak.   To speak, eat, or drink through a straw, we require oral motor skills. Children who face difficulty chewing are unable to handle food and they will reject it. So, the foods that need little oral-motor skill can be chosen by kids as that can be  eaten easily.

Also check, Oral motor exercises

Other reasons

Some coexisting conditions like food allergy, stress or anxiety, Genetic Disorder, abnormal brain activity/ lack of proper brain activity, other medical conditions can cause food sensitivities in kids.

Also check, How to handle anxiety in kids?

Symptoms of food sensitivities

Children who may have food sensitivities to food texture, taste, smell or temperature may exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Rejection of some foods
  • Irregular eating habits
  • Not willing to try new foods
  • Meals-related outbursts or meltdowns

Treatment for Food sensitivities

1.Therapies

Children can develop coping mechanisms through therapies. The therapist will assist you in teaching your kids how to manage the problem. The child’s sessions will depend on whether they are oversensitive, undersensitive, or a combination of both.

Types of Therapy:

  1. Sensory integration therapy (SI): It is based on fun activities that help the child to manage the situation without getting overwhelmed by environmental factors.
  2. Sensory routine/ diet:  These are the list of activities given to children that help to stay focused and organised in control.
  3. Occupational therapy:  It helps to develop good motor skills and cope with everyday activities.

Also check, Types of therapies for autism

2.Oral motor exercises

Oral motor mouth exercises indeed help in strengthening the oral muscles and also aid in chewing and eating actions.

Types of exercises

  1. Tongue exercises: Stimulates the tongue movements.
  2. Lips and cheek exercises: Strengthens the cheek muscles
  3. Jaw exercises:  Improves the jaw muscle movement.

Also check, Techniques to develop fine motor skills

tips that can help children with food sensitivities

Here are some tips and tricks that can help your children to cope up with food sensitivities:

1.Look into the reason

The first task is to investigate why a kid has food sensitivities. Asking your children questions that clarify their feelings and difficulties while eating can be quite helpful. Once the food has been identified, you can determine whether your child dislikes that specific food alone or a set of foods as a whole. This can make it easier for you to comprehend why the kid doesn’t enjoy it.

Also check, Tips to improve concentration

2. Change your strategy

In some cases, what a child eats can be more crucial than how they eat. Occasionally only a change in strategy is required. Accept your child’s desire to avoid particular meals. Present the same food in a different way. It is efficient to introduce a new food that is nutrient-dense yet still has the desired texture. For example, if your kid enjoys munchy or crunchy foods like chips, give him/her beetroot chips instead of potato chips.

Also check, Tips to develop healthy eating food habits in kids

3.Introduce new foods

Gradually, introduce new meals. Don’t force your kid. You can start by asking your child to simply sniff or lick the meal when served for the first time or you can use the “try one bite” method. In addition to any new introductions, include one or two old favourites in every meal.

Also check, Types of foods that help for ADHD

4. Sensory food games

Toddlers typically develop coping skills through play. Playing with food that has a sensory component can help your kid become more used to sensory stimuli. Every child will respond differently to food, so the strategy needs to be tailored. One strategy that works well is to put food in plastic bags and write letters or shapes on them. This can help your child to touch the foods without hesitating and improves the sensory skills.

Also check, Benefits of sensory bins

Nutrients required to alleviate food sensitivities in children

According to experts, anything that is good for the brain is likely to be good for autism and food sensitivities . Below is a list of the essential nutrients and ingredients recommended as part of a healthy ASD diet.

1.ASHWAGANDHA:

It is a small woody plant native to India and North Africa. Ashwagandha has a strong affinity for GABA receptors. Ashwagandha is used to treat Autism symptoms such as sensory issues, memory loss, anxiety, and attention deficit.

2.BRAHMI:

Brahmi is a brain superfood. It sharpens the brain by protecting cells and increasing chemicals involved in learning and memory. It acts on the CNS, where it improves grasping power, eye contact, memory, intellect, and speech, as well as correcting sensory sensitivity, emotional, mood, and personality aberrations in an individual.

3.SHANKHAPUSHPI:

In order to improve brain functioning, shankhapushpi is an old remedy. The powerful antioxidants and flavonoids present in it improve the memory capacity, focus, concentration, calmness, alertness of an individual. Since it is a brain tonic and stimulator, people taking shankhapushpi have improved autism features like sensory issues, memory, reasoning, problem-solving, and other cognitive abilities.

4.PROTEIN:

Protein is an essential component of a healthy diet. It helps to build, maintain, and repair body tissues. It is also necessary for brain health and plays an important role in neurotransmitter production (brain chemical).

Also check, How to get a protein-rich diet?

5. OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS:

There is a link between omega 3 fatty acids and early childhood brain development, according to research. These healthy fats have incredible brain-boosting properties, additionally play an important role in improving autism features like sensory sensitivity, memory, and attention span. Fish and walnuts are excellent sources of omega 3.

Also check, Why is Omega 3 important for your kids?

6.MAGNESIUM:

Magnesium is responsible for nerve transmission and nerve-muscle coordination in our bodies. In other words, it guards against a child’s excessive excitement (which can be traumatic). It also increases the effectiveness of vitamin B. This is important in the production of enzymes in the brain. It  may improve sensory sensitivity and reduce behavioral issues.

Also check, what are some disorders in which magnesium can help?

7. ZINC:

Zinc is a mineral that our bodies require in trace amounts. Because our bodies do not store zinc, we must consume small amounts of it on a regular basis to maintain our health. Zinc helps in proper brain development and function, immune function, protein synthesis, and wound healing.

Also check, How can zinc help with hair and skin health?

8. NUTS:

All nuts, including almonds, walnuts, cashews, peanuts, and hazelnuts, are high in vitamin E and aid in memory enhancement. They are also antioxidants that protect cells from damage. Walnuts are high in omega 3 fatty acids and are beneficial to sensory sensitivity, brain function, memory, and cognitive abilities. This fatty acid is also beneficial to cognitive functions.

Also check,Best nuts for protein

9.SEEDS:

Aside from nuts, seeds such as flax, chia, melon, sesame, and pumpkins contain potent antioxidants such as vitamin E, which protect the brain from free radical damage. Sunflower seeds are brain-boosting snack. It have an effect on overall mood and mental processing abilities. Pumpkin seeds contain more magnesium, copper, and zinc than other seeds, which aid in eye contact, concentration, and memory. One of the simplest brain-boosting foods for children to consume.

10.COCOA POWDER:

Pure Cocoa powder (unsweetened) contains brain-boosting components. It is packed with a large number of antioxidants molecules, the main is epicatechin improves cognition. Hence, cocoa powder is also an important brain development food for children.

Also check, More benefits of cocoa powder


products

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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in Children

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Does your child have an extreme obsession with dirt and germs?  Did your child spend a lot of time counting, organising, or touching things? Does your child extremely focus on one thing for a long time? Does your kid have the urge of washing his/her hands frequently? These are some of the strong signs of obsessive compulsive disorder. According to a study, 0.25-4% of children are dealing with obsessive compulsive disorder. Keep reading to understand more about the causes, symptoms, treatments and tips to cope with obsessive compulsive disorder.

WHATSAPP for concerns like Speech Delay, Low Weight, Frequent Illness, Hyperactivity, Low Concentration, Weak Eyesight, Improper Sleep, Pigmentation, Pores, Face Marks, Fine Lines , Lactation etc.

What is obsessive compulsive disorder?

Every child has worries and questions. However, despite their best efforts, children with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) frequently cannot stop worrying. Those concerns usually push them to repeat the same behaviours. Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is typically categorised as an anxiety disorder since this condition leads to obsessive thinking that can produce extremely stressful situations. These habits or compulsive behaviours are usually an approach to alleviate stress.

Boys are more likely to experience childhood OCD and are more susceptible to motor tics. The obsessions are uncomfortable for a kid and frequently lead to a considerable level of fear, stress, and also discomfort. Compulsions are activities that a child feels they “must perform” in order to cope with the distressing emotions and anxieties brought on by their obsessions. Also, OCD symptoms can consume a lot of effort and interfere with essential activities like schooling, family responsibilities, extracurricular activities, making friends, and taking care of oneself.

Also check, Types of Autism spectrum disorder

Symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive disorder

Here are some typical obsession behaviours:

  • Worry about dirt or microbes
  • Spend more time for organising, counting or getting accuracy
  • Fear of getting sick or doing something bad to oneself or loved ones
  • They have a feeling that something must be “exactly right”
  • Excessive anxiety of negative events occuring, making mistakes, or lying

Here are some typical compulsive behaviours:

  • Counting everything repeatedly
  • Placing or moving things in a specific order
  • Constantly asking family and friends for reassurance
  • Spending more time for bathing, tooth brushing, washing hands or dressing up
  • They follow a routine in the same manner.

Also check, Common behavioural disorders in kids

Causes of Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

Children are more likely to deal with OCD when they have personally experienced childhood trauma or stressful incidents or when any of their family members have a history of anxiety. Rarely, signs may occur overnight with a sudden shift in attitude and behaviour. Maybe an illness, like strep throat, can also trigger the kid’s immune system to target the brain rather than the infection, leading to this condition.

Also check,Asperger’s syndrome

Link between OCD and Autism

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) can coexist with autism. According to surveys, 17% of autistic individuals also deal with OCD. According to researchers, the caudate nuclei (CN) is a part of the brain associated with OCD and autism which have more grey matter than normal people. The CN is linked to restrictive and repetitive actions. Despite having certain similarities, autism and OCD are two very different disorders. But they do have some things in common. Here are some similarities of OCD and autism:

1.Repetitive actions

OCD and autism both exhibit repetitive actions. While repetitive activities in autistic people are most frequently associated with stimming, it can also be seen in children with OCD.

Common stimming behaviours may involve:

  • Tapping of pencil on the bench
  • Breaking of knuckles
  • Hair twirling around the fingers
  • Whistling
  • Biting the nails
  • Drumming your fingers

Also check, Vocal stimming in kids

2. Obsessions

Kids with both OCD and autism engage in obsessions in addition to repetitive actions. Children and adults with autism are highly focused in activities and become experts in their field of interest. This specialised skill may aid in academic and career development. But this is not favourable all the time. It may take over their mind, disturb their relationships, and also cause problems at work or school. In the case of OCD, unpleasant and disturbing thoughts can take over one’s mind. These thoughts can make them uncontrollable and push them to act in socially unacceptable ways. Although the form of obsessions in OCD and autism differs, both conditions can cause problems with concentration, thinking and overall well being.

Also check, Pica in kids

3.Anxiety

Anxiety is also a feature shared by many kids and adults with OCD and autism. The mental and emotional health of both children and adults can be harmed by such severe worry, which can also damage their self-esteem and confidence.

Anxiety in Autism may cause:

  • Sensory issues
  • Frequently get irritated
  • Crying often and clingy nature
  • Wake up many times during night
  • Horrible or bad dreams
  • Poor eating habits 
  • Negativity of mind
  • Decreased confidence
  • Less socialisation
  • Tantrums /angry outbursts.

Anxiety in OCD may cause:

  • Undesirable and disturbing thoughts
  • Always worry about bad events
  • Not following the routine

Also check, Tips for personality development

Treatments and therapies

Certain medications that raise the serotonin levels can be used for OCD treatment. It enhances the mood, memory and other physiological processes. Also, therapies can help to cope up with OCD.

DIALECTICAL/COGNITIVE BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY

DBT is a kind of cognitive-behavioural therapy that seeks to alter behaviour by helping people acknowledge and embrace their emotions. It seeks to alter their behaviour by acknowledging and accepting their current emotions and providing tools that can help with regulating their emotions and improving tolerance and mindfulness. This cognitive behavioural therapy has been adapted to accommodate the unique needs of children. Its main goals are teaching coping mechanisms, identifying problematic thought patterns, and regulating intense emotions.

Also check, Benefits of behavioural therapies

FAMILY COUNSELLING

Family counselling includes mom, dad, siblings and other family members to take part in the therapy session. It can aid in improving family communication and teaching parents some tactics for resolving conflicts with their children to make it safer in the family. In some cases, strengthening the bond between parents and children can enhance family dynamics.

Also check, Tips for personality development

Tips that help to cope Obsessive compulsive disorder in Children

Although raising children with OCD can be difficult, there are several techniques to manage it. Here are some coping strategies that can help your kid to reduce their anxiety levels:

1.Talk with them:

Talk nicely, pay attention, and express your love. Tell your child about OCD and make them understand that it might cause stress. Tell your child that a doctor’s examination is necessary to determine whether this is the case. Also, remind your child that things will improve and you are there to support them.

Also check, Fun and Engaging activities for kids

2.Maintain a journal

Find the triggers first and note it down in a journal. Keep the journal with you all the time and write down what happens when your kid finishes that compulsive action.

Also check, Sensory activities for kids

3.Set limits

Even though it hurts to see your kid in agony, but if you don’t create boundaries, it will be more challenging for them to overcome their OCD. When you begin to set boundaries  regularly, your child may have a meltdown or tantrums, but they will also get adjusted to your constancy. Setting boundaries can eventually aid in your child’s anxiety reduction.

Also check, Focus and attention building activities

4. Rewards

Obsessive compulsive disorder in children is difficult to manage. Rewards can encourage kids to resist some of their OCD tendencies. It’s important to reward your youngster for their attempts and dedication to overcome OCD. Appreciate them in the form of a short, sweet, and straightforward sentence like, “I’m incredibly proud of what you did. You did a fantastic job dealing with your OCD”.

Also check, How to manage tantrums in Kids? 


Products

It’s no SECRET that following an Ayurvedic lifestyle has numerous advantages. This unique collection of Kids Ayurvedic Brain Booster is also an easy solution to feed daily nutrition for Brain development to kids without any fuss. Made with Proven Ingredients. No Preservatives or Artificial Colour or Flavour. No Side Effects. Trusted by 20000+ Parents and Practitioners. To know more about kid’s ayurvedic foods – SHOP HERE

India’s First Tasty Kids Nutrition fortified with Ayurvedic herbs.

For Kids with OCD, Autism, Lack of Concentration or Focus give Kids & Teens Brain Booster Chocolate/ Savoury Spread | 0% preservatives | 0% refined sugar | 0% palm oil | Fortified with SHANKHAPUSHPI, ASHWAGANDHA, BRAHMI | Contains OMEGA 3, PROTEIN | ORDER |


CHECK MORE PRODUCTS FOR:

Immunity, Gut health, Digestion, Weight, Brain development, Speech delay, Epilepsy, Eye health, Hormones, Sleep, Hyperactivity, Bones and Overall growth

what is the down's syndrome

Read more blogs