Latest Evidence and Best Practice for Dietary Approaches to Autistic Spectrum Disorders with Dr Alexandra Richardson - Food for the Brain
28 Jan

Latest Evidence and Best Practice for Dietary Approaches to Autistic Spectrum Disorders with Dr Alexandra Richardson

Date: 28 January 2021
Time: 6:30pm to 7:30pm

Attend virtually:

Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are among the most common neurodevelopmental conditions identified in children, and increasingly in adults too.  ASD is defined in terms of specific patterns of behaviour and social communication, but strengths and difficulties vary substantially between individuals with this diagnosis – partly owing to overlaps with other conditions affecting mood, behaviour and cognition (including ADHD, dyspraxia, dyslexia and anxiety disorders among many others).

Both dietary issues (such as restricted or selective eating and food allergies or intolerances) and gut and digestive difficulties are unusually common in ASD individuals. Ensuring good nutrition can sometimes be a challenge for these reasons, particularly if the individual’s needs and preferences may differ significantly from those of family, friends or peer groups, and the wider food environment.   

The issue of whether dietary interventions (including supplements) can help in the management of ‘ASD symptoms’ as such remains a controversial one, despite increasing evidence for the profound interconnections between the gut, immune system and brain. What is clear is that many dietary and nutritional issues are relevant to difficulties that many ASD individuals experience with mood, perception, cognition or behaviour – including stress management, anxiety and sleep.

Webinar attendees will gain: 

  • A summary of key findings from the latest research into how nutrition and diet are relevant to ASD and related conditions (covering issues such as the roles of sugar, dietary fibre and some food additives in gut, immune and brain health; dietary fats, key vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients), outlining the potential benefits – and risks – of both common dietary patterns and specific nutritional interventions, including ‘exclusion diets’.
  • An understanding of how this evidence can be used in simple, practical and effective ways to improve diet and nutrition in children and adults with ASD and related difficulties with mood, behaviour or learning – at home, in schools and in the workplace.

About the speaker:

Alex is internationally known for her pioneering research into the role of nutrition (especially dietary fats) on brain development and function, and its implications for ADHD and related conditions affecting behaviour, learning and mood. Her academic publications include experimental, epidemiological, genetic and brain imaging studies; the first controlled treatment trials investigating effects of omega-3 (and omega-6) fatty acids in ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia and related conditions; and the earliest case reports of potential benefits from similar nutritional interventions for depression and schizophrenia.

Alex is also a highly experienced teacher and speaker for public and professional as well as academic audiences, and a frequent contributor for the media. Her book for parents and professionals – ‘They Are What You Feed Them’ – is dedicated to FAB Research, the charity she founded to raise awareness of the links between diet and mental health, wellbeing and performance; and to support the translation of the best research evidence into policy and practice.