Mal J Nutr 21(1): 105 - 119, 2015

Spectrum of Feeding Problems and Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Scoping Review
Noor Safiza MN1 Sr Le Couteur A2


Introduction: Managing feeding problems and gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is a challenging process for professionals and parents especially if they become persistent and longstanding. The aim of the study was to assess the evidence on feeding problems and GI symptoms among primary school children with ASD.
Methods: A scoping review using electronic journal databases, published reports and other types of publication in the last 10 years was conducted. Key terms were defined in the searches and a scoping review framework was used to chart the evidence on feeding problems and GI symptoms in children with ASD. Eighty three articles met the inclusion criteria and 50 articles were used in the review.
Results: There is emerging literature reporting consistently on a wide spectrum of feeding problems and GI symptoms among children with ASD. In addition, there is little published literature reporting or investigating the impact of these problems in children with ASD which include financial, social and stress impact on parents, children and their families. This review indicates that many school-aged children with ASD can experience several types of feeding problems and GI symptoms.
Conclusion: It is important for professionals working in the community or public health, and educational settings to be able to identify these issues at an early stage, so that professionals could support parents with appropriate information and advice. A specific tool is needed to assess feeding problems and GI symptoms in children with ASD.

Keywords: Autism Spectrum Disorders, feeding problems, gastrointestinal symptoms

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