To stay healthy, people with disability need the same basic health care as everyone else. They need to eat well, exercise, get enough rest, drink plenty of water, access to healthcare etc. It is important to find health care providers (e.g. GP and Dentists ) that are comfortable with people with ASD.
It is worth noting that when people with a disability have a behavioural change or issue, it may be because they have a medical problem they cannot describe. For e.g. head banging could be related to a disability, or it may be due to a headache or a toothache. It is important to find out if there is a physical problem before making changes to a person’s treatment or therapy plan.
With regards to nutrition, children with ASD can be picky eaters, and even if you can get them to eat, it can be hard to get them to eat the right foods. Children with ASD may have a negative reaction to food with certain texture, smells and colour. If your child refuses to eat outside a list of restricted foods and “hiding” foods in meals doesn’t work, vitamin supplements can be an ideal way to ensure your child’s requirements are met. Many parents report that simply getting their child to eat at all is a huge achievement and this should remind us that nutrition should be approached on a step by step basis and that every “small victory” should be celebrated in full.
Strategies for dealing with picky eaters and an overview of popular diets for the “treatment” of ASD and their findings are outlined here: https://www.indi.ie/diseases,-allergies-and-medical-conditions/disability/491-autism-spectrum-disorders-and-diet-in-children.html
- Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute www.indi.ie
- Eating for Autism: The 10-Step Nutrition Plan to Help Treat Your Child's Autism, Asperger's, or ADHD, by Elizabeth Strickland