Mothers’ Perspectives of Nutritional Status of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in Saudi Arabia

Faihan Alotaibi, Mudi Alharbi


Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects children’s neurological development, which in turn affects the digestive system and can cause distressing gastrointestinal symptoms. This often means that children with ASD develop different eating habits. This study examined mothers’ perceptions of eating behaviours in children with ASD. The study involved 70 mothers whose children were registered in autism clinics in various centres across Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. The findings of the study indicate that mothers were getting their nutrition information from different sources and many of them agreed that some of the sources are not credible. Accordingly, mothers of children with ASD were less confident about their nutritional knowledge. The study also found that mothers had different perceptions about their children’s nutrition. Similarly, the majority of mothers were worried about their children’s feeding behaviour. The research concludes that mothers with children with ASD experience many challenges in feeding their children, but nonetheless they still try to offer their children the best diet possible.  Accordingly, this study recommends that mothers should get information on nutrition for their children from credible and reliable sources, including their children’s dietitian and physicians.

Keywords: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD, Mothers, nutrition information and feeding behaviour.

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