Experts Establish Guideline for Nutrition Management in Autism


A panel of experts has established guidelines for dealing with gastrointestinal symptoms in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

The guideline is designed to offer doctors and clinicians a framework to deal with issues including food selectivity, alternative diets and nutritional deficits.

"Children with autism are at increased risk for feeding and gastrointestinal (GI) concerns compared with peers and both of these issues involve nutrition management. We viewed the lack of an evidence-based guideline regarding nutrition management of GI symptoms in children with ASD as unacceptable," said co-author William Sharp, PhD, director of the Pediatric Feeding Disorders program at Marcus Autism Center and assistant professor of pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine. "Our goal was to establish a standard manual of care for nutrition management which clinicians around the world could refer to."

The guideline features a decision-making flowchart, detailed description of intervention steps, and management examples of two GI concerns managed by nutritional intervention: constipation and eosinophilic esophagitis (a chronic allergic inflammatory disease).

According to the guideline, in cases of severe food selectivity, nutrition therapy should take place at the same time as feeding therapy, and it offers advice on nutritional supplements or liquid formulas.

"A key take home message from this guideline is that nutrition management in ASD should play a central role in a child's overall plan of care, ideally from the time of diagnosis," added Sharp.

The guideline was published online by the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (JAND).

Source: JAND

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