A new study has found that picky eating may be an early sign of autism.
These findings may come as a relief to some parents, since autism generally isn't diagnosed until after the age of 2, when a child begins to talk.
Over the course of the study, researchers found that at the age of one month, the children who were later diagnosed with autism were already 35% more likely to be slow eaters. By their first birthday, their diets were significantly less varied than their peers. The autistic children ate fewer fruits and vegetables, but they also consumed less sweets and carbonated beverages- a silver lining for parents who are struggling to get their child to eat healthy.
So how does picky eating possibly link to autism? Researchers think it may have to do with the physical symptoms of the disorder. For example, young children who have difficulty chewing or swallowing may find eating a frustrating challenge, and therefore try to avoid it.
For others, sensory issues might play a part. A child who finds certain textures or smells unpleasant will likely avoid foods that possess them.
It's important to know that researchers don't think that picky eating is a sufficient enough symptom to use it to diagnose autism. But, for a disorder that takes a few years to diagnose, it can be a blessing to parents.
Are you a parent of an autistic child? Did he or she show signs of finicky eating before the age of two? Weigh in now with whether or not you think picky eating might be an early sign of autism.