Autism is a complex neurological disorder that has seen an increase in diagnosis over the last decade. In particular, parents and healthcare professionals are beginning to recognize signs of autism even in very young children. One way that early-onset autism can be detected is through food habits or dietary preferences. Let’s take a look at what research shows us about this connection between food habits and autism.
The Possibility of Early Detection
A 2014 study conducted by researchers from the University of Texas looked into whether food habits could be an indicator of autism. The study included a group of one-year-old children, half of whom had been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Both groups were observed for their food habits and preferences. The results showed that the ASD group preferred more bland foods such as crackers, toast, and cereal than the control group who preferred sweeter foods like fruit or yogurt. Additionally, this same group was more likely to insist on having certain foods present at every meal.
Although these results suggest that there may be a link between food habits and early-onset autism, they do not necessarily mean that if your child prefers certain types of foods or insists on having certain items present at meals they are necessarily autistic. However, it may be worth talking to a healthcare professional if you notice any concerning behaviors related to their eating habits or dietary preferences so that they can assess whether further testing is necessary.
Other Symptoms Associated with ASD
Apart from food habits, there are other symptoms associated with ASD which can help indicate whether your child is autistic or not. These include difficulty in communicating verbally as well as nonverbally; difficulty in forming relationships; repetitive behaviors; difficulty transitioning from one activity to another; lack of interest in social activities; difficulty understanding emotions; and obsessive behavior towards certain interests and activities. If you observe any of these symptoms then it’s important to seek help from a healthcare provider who can assess your child for any underlying conditions such as ASD or other neurological disorders.
Although there are many different factors which can indicate whether your child might have autism spectrum disorder (ASD), one factor which has recently become more widely recognized is food habits or dietary preferences. Research suggests that children with ASD tend to prefer bland foods such as crackers, toast, and cereal rather than sweet foods like fruit or yogurt and also tend to insist on having certain items present at every mealtime. While these signs alone do not necessarily mean that your child is autistic, it may be worth consulting with a healthcare professional if you observe any concerning behaviors related to their eating habits or dietary preferences so that they can assess whether further testing is necessary. Ultimately, understanding the potential connection between food habits and autism can help parents detect signs earlier on so they can get the necessary support for their child sooner rather than later.