Being a parent of an autistic child is everything but an easy job given that it comes with an array of challenges often very hard to overcome.  The majority of children on the autism spectrum engage in different forms of self-injurious behavior and have a wide range of issues that are extremely concerning for their parents.

Here is what every parent with a child diagnosed with ASD should know.

Self-Harming Behavior

The main reason why children with autism are headbanging is their need to self soothe. Despite what many parents think, the latter is not always caused by physical pain, often being a reaction to the inability to communicate or express their feelings. According to research studies published at, it is also a common way to seek attention, that’s why it is very important to provide your child with positive reinforcement and appropriate activities. Whether it is a vibrating pillow, weighted blanket, rocking chair, or simply gentle touch, you will need to find your own recipe to help your child.

While it can be really terrifying watching your child hitting himself or herself in the head, there is a range of measures that can help you protect your son or daughter from potential self-harm. It is highly recommended to speak with your pediatrician first and together try to find the best solutions. A choice of popular alternatives is pretty wide, from using sensory clothing to creating a dedicated space tailored to the needs of your child.

Picky Eating

Children with autism are known for being very food selective and many parents opt for taking the path of least resistance, giving them only food they want to eat. Well, excluding certain foods from the daily diet can be harmful as limiting a child’s intake of some important nutrients can affect his or her health.

Nowadays, we witness a mushrooming…

…of „magic“ diets that promise great results if only you (or your child) refrain from a particular product or ingredient. Exclusion diets that are pretty popular among parents are gluten-free, casein-free, salicylate-free, yeast-free to cite just a few.

Even though they all can be very useful for people who are intolerant to the aforementioned proteins and chemicals, they can cause harm to a kid that is still growing and developing. For instance, if you follow a casein-free diet that provides for eliminating all milk products, it can seriously affect your child’s bone health. 

Consult a pediatrician or nutrition expert to get advice on how to incorporate essential food into your child’s diet in the case he or she refuses to eat certain fruits, vegetables, or meats. And do not change the nutrition of your child just because you’ve heard about the new all-mighty eating plan.

Digestive Issues

The majority of children diagnosed with ASD suffer from chronic digestive issues, with leaky gut and constipation being the most common. While their gut bacteria are out of balance, it is crucial to increase the intake of food rich in soluble fiber, which is found in a variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as in some nuts, seeds, and beans.

Another important benefit of soluble fiber is that by supporting gut health, it also can improve mood and behavior. Include in your child’s menu raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries – you can sprinkle them on the yogurt or add to cereal. Instead of chocolate and other sugar-packed stuff, give your child almonds, pecans, or walnuts, which are not less delicious but much healthier and incredibly rich in fiber. Universally beloved popcorn is also a good choice.

Sleeping Problems

At least half of the children with autism have problems with sleep. The spectrum of issues is vast: some need hours to fall asleep, some wake a dozen times per night, others seek infinite cradling or bouncing. No wonder, parents feel exhausted, defeated, and hopeless. If you have already tried melatonin, weighted blanket, and a heck of a lot of supplements and essential oils, try something less sophisticated yet efficient.

Help your child to develop a healthy sleep routine. Start with getting your son or daughter to bed earlier, around 7-8 p.m. if you have a toddler and not later than 10 p.m. if you have an older teen. From the very outset, teach your kid to sleep on his/her own and make sure to eliminate screens and strong light at least one hour before bed.It’s crucial to understandthe nature of all the issues that make your parenting so complicated. Only when you know the reasons and triggers of self-harming behavior or sleeping problems, you can help your child and get the life you deserve.