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Date of last update: 10/04/2017.

Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: Do autism and gastrointestinal problems go together?

 luvumason - Sat Jun 07, 2008 8:01 pm

Hi, I am the mother of a three year old little boy with autism. Every since my little boy was a year old, he has had very frequent and lose bowels. My little boy does drink alot but, I dilute any juices half and half and try to give him water as much as possible. He also has a limited diet of chicken nuggets, fries, fruit snacks, pizza, oatmeal, pb and J, bannanas, and waffles. I guess what I am trying to say is, he won't try anything new and he doesn't eat veggies and only bannanas for fruit. About once a week his bowels get pretty bad and during the school year the teacher had to call me a few times to bring more clothes. I read that children with autism often have gastro problems but, I talked to his pcp about it and she says it's problems with constapation and not diaherria that they usually have but, she is going to take some samples. I haven't had a chance to talk to his nuerologist about this because, we don't see her for another month. Is his pcp right because, for what I read she isn't?!?!? Also, he just got where he is only sleeping a few hours, what can I do to help him and I rest???
 Debbie Miller, RN - Tue Jul 08, 2008 6:15 pm

User avatar Hello,
There are lots of parents who report GI disturbances in their autistic children. You might benefit from being involved with some online or local support groups of parents for suggestions. Some children benefit from a gluten-free diet. It usually takes trial and error to determine what will help.

It is very common for these children to refuse anything but a very restrictive diet, such as your son has done. The best you can do for nutrition and bowel health is to try and find sneaky ways to add nutrients. Much of your cooking could benefit from adding extra ingredients such as wheat germ, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. You can puree or crush if that works best. Texture is sometimes an issue with these kids. Blending berries or vegetables, grinding nuts and grains before adding them can make it easier to disguise them in other foods. You can add to the waffle batter since he likes waffles. Even spinach can be blended into other foods for many people and that is loaded with nutrients.

Sometimes a hypnotic drug or tranquilizer such as trazodone is prescribed to help these kids calm down and sleep at night. Even a low dose can help so discuss the sleep issues with your neurologist or pediatrician at the next visit. Just because "most" children have constipation it doesn't mean your child will. Children do have a tendency to break such patterns and what is "usually" the case is not "always" the case. Even she said this so I suspect she is just reporting the typical situation and recognizes that not everyone is typical.

Good luck with this and keep us posted on your situation.

Best wishes.

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