Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are among the most common neurodevelopmental conditions identified in children, and increasingly in adults too.
ASD is defined in terms of specific patterns of behaviour and social communication, but strengths and difficulties vary substantially between individuals with this diagnosis – partly owing to overlaps with other conditions affecting mood, behaviour and cognition (including ADHD, dyspraxia, dyslexia and anxiety disorders among many others).
Both dietary issues (such as restricted or selective eating and food allergies or intolerances) and gut and digestive difficulties are unusually common in ASD individuals. Ensuring good nutrition can sometimes be a challenge for these reasons, particularly if the individual’s needs and preferences may differ significantly from those of family, friends or peer groups, and the wider food environment.
The issue of whether dietary interventions (including supplements) can help in the management of ‘ASD symptoms’ as such remains a controversial one, despite increasing evidence for the profound interconnections between the gut, immune system and brain.
What is clear is that many dietary and nutritional issues are
relevant to the difficulties that many ASD individuals experience with mood, perception, cognition or behaviour - including stress management, anxiety and sleep.Webinar attendees will gain:
A summary of key findings from the latest research into how nutrition and diet are relevant to ASD and related conditions, covering issues such as
- the roles of sugar and dietary fibre - and therefore 'ultra-processed' foods - in mental and body health and development
- the negative effects of some common food additives in gut, immune and brain health;
- dietary fats, key vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients
- the potential benefits - and risks - of both common dietary patterns and specific nutritional interventions, including ‘exclusion diets’.
An understanding of how this evidence can be used in simple, practical and effective ways to improve diet and nutrition in children and adults with ASD.