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Wednesday 22 Nov 2017

Health and Wellness in the Autism Community


March is National Nutrition Month, so we are going to be focusing on health and wellness which can be a big concern in the autism community. Feeding, sleeping, toileting, exercise and medical issues are all at the core of health and wellness so we will be discussing intervention techniques, research, and teaching strategies to help parents and professionals.

Feeding issues are relatively common with individuals with autism. Problems range from selective eating to overeating and everything in between. Making sure kids are getting a balanced diet and meeting all their nutritional needs is necessary so their bodies and brains are ready for learning. Eating problems can also impact kids and families socially because it may limit opportunity for community inclusion if there are problem behaviors around eating routines. If there are specific problems you’re having with your child, please let us know so we can address your specific concerns!

Many individuals with autism have sleep problems including going to bed independently, falling asleep and staying asleep. There are things that can be done to help families with these issues ranging from behavioral interventions to supplements depending on your child’s specific needs. Adequate sleep is essential for proper brain and body function, so this is something which should be addressed for any child who is having problems.

Toileting issues such as not being able to use the bathroom or initiate independently, can hinder a child’s ability to be included in the community. Most, if not all, children with Autism are capable of being toilet trained and learning to initiate. That being said, it is not always an easy process. There are many things you can do to address the specific problem you’re facing which is supported by research and practice.

Obesity is prevalent in our society. Sadly, it is even more prevalent in the autism community. In addition to nutritional interventions, individuals need to engage in exercise programs which will help them maintain a healthy weight and body composition. This can include activities like dance, sports, yoga or hiking. Challenges include choosing the activities and then getting your child to independently participate in these activities.

Medical issues in the autism community can not be ignored. Your child may be suffering from a medical condition but may not be able to communicate that they are in pain or uncomfortable. It is always advisable to seek medical testing to ensure your child is not suffering from a medically treatable condition.

If you have experienced, or are currently experiencing, any issue around these matters of health and wellness let us know what you’ve experienced, what interventions you’ve tried, what problems you’re having, and what questions you have. Together we can make a difference.

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