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by Jamie Pearson, PhD

During the webinar “Yuck! I don’t eat that!” we addressed a number of questions and misconceptions about diets and eating habits among young children with autism. We asked Dr. Seema Agrawal to share her expertise in addressing some of these misconceptions.  In the video below Dr. Agrawal answers the following questions:

  1. What trends have you noticed over the years in the increased diagnosis of autism and how that relates to diet and nutrition?
  2. Have you seen parents that are more in tune to what their children are eating and has that impacted diet and behavior for children on the spectrum?
  3. Can you explain what gluten-free, casein-free, and dairy-free diets might look like? From your experience and research, what impacts might these types of diets have for children and their families?
  4. What would you say to a parent if they have a child who is struggling with trying new foods and engaging in tantrum behaviors during mealtime? What recommendations might you provide for those parents?
  5. What would you say to parents if their child complains of a tummy-ache or if they’re not feeling well when they’ve tried a new food?
  6. How would you respond to questions about limited diet in children?  For example, “My child only wants to eat chips, white rice, and pasta! What do I do about this?”
  7. Do you have any specific suggestions that we can provide for military families who are supporting children on the spectrum?
  8. What final advice would you give to parents?

Dr. Seema Agrawal is a registered dietitian and has more than twenty years of clinical experience in the field of nutrition. Her areas of research include the quality of life in individuals with disabilities. She is passionate about nutrition and feeding concerns for children with autism because her daughter was diagnosed with autism at the age of two and due her sensory needs, found it difficult to eat food.