Halloween can become stickier than a trick-or-treater’s hands for a child with autism and sensory issues. The deviation from routine combined with noises, smells, crowds, decorations, costumes, and new foods can overwhelm a sensitive child. If a traditional Halloween isn’t in your plans this year, foregoing candy, crowds, and trick-or-treating doesn’t mean your child needs to miss the Halloween fun all together.
Although autism is primarily a developmental disorder that affects communication and behavior, some studies suggest there is an inflammatory component of the condition. While there is no strong evidence to support any one particular diet for treating or curing autism, diet can have a significant impact on the body’s inflammation.
Many kids with autism eat lunches that are gluten-free, casein/dairy-free, and also nut-free. I recommend that children on the spectrum eat as many real whole foods as possible and limit processed foods with tons of added ingredients and chemicals. Many children also feel better avoiding foods like soy. These lunch ideas check all of those boxes.
Bone broth is one of the foods that may help autism symptoms and is worth considering incorporating into your child’s diet.
Despite the plethora of anecdotal success stories of alternative diets for autism, scientific research is unable to support many of the claims we hear. That doesn’t mean diets like gluten-free and casein-free won’t help your child’s symptoms. What it does mean is that there is no guarantee these diets help. Every child has a different response to food just as every child’s autism experience is different.
Because of the uncertainty associated with special elimination diets for autism, I suggest looking to easier diet modifications to first.