Diets and how they affect the Academic Performance of a Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Master's Thesis, 2021

108 Pages, Grade: Primary- Grade 2






Chapter 1: THE PROBLEM








1 Academic Performance of the Child in Four Subject Areas Before and After the Diet Program

2 Effects of Diet Program On Academic Performance


1 Schematic Diagram of the Theoretical Framework

2 Dietary Program for Tobi – Day 1

3 Dietary Program for Tobi – Day 2

4 Dietary Program for Tobi – Day 3

5 Dietary Program for Tobi – Day 4

6 Dietary Program for Tobi – Day 5

7 Dietary Program for Tobi – Day 6

8 Dietary Program for Tobi – Day 7

9 Dietary Program for Tobi – Day 8

10 Dietary Program for Tobi – Day 9

11 Dietary Program for Tobi – Day 10

12 Dietary Program for Tobi – Day 11

13 Dietary Program for Tobi – Day 12

14 Dietary Program for Tobi – Day 13

15 Dietary Program for Tobi – Day 14

16 Dietary Program for Tobi – Day 15

17 Dietary Program for Tobi – Day 16

18 Dietary Program for Tobi – Day 17

19 Dietary Program for Tobi – Day 18

20 Dietary Program for Tobi – Day 19

21 Dietary Program for Tobi – Day 20

22 Dietary Program for Tobi – Day 21

23 Dietary Program for Tobi – Day 22

24 Dietary Program for Tobi – Day 23

25 Dietary Program for Tobi – Day 24

26 Dietary Program for Tobi – Day 25

27 Dietary Program for Tobi – Day 26

28 Dietary Program for Tobi – Day 27

29 Dietary Program for Tobi – Day 28

30 Dietary Program for Tobi – Day 29

31 Dietary Program for Tobi – Day 30


H Interview Guide

I 30-Days Dietary Checklist for Tobi


This research study would not be possible without the unwavering support and encouragement of those who are working to make it a reality. I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to every one of you.

First and foremost, I'd like to express my heartfelt gratitude to my family, particularly my mother, Carmen Isabel, my older brother, Jay, and my older sister, Jasmin Stern, for their love, understanding, and financial support. Without you, I would never have achieved this level of success.

Second, I'd like to express my appreciation to my advisor, Dr. Marivic Manubag, for assisting me in obtaining contact information for people I should contact and for her ongoing support of my research study. Her advice assisted me in completing my research.

Third, I'd like to express my heartfelt gratitude to my committee members, particularly to Dr. Nerissa Lopez, who was instrumental in completing my study, as well as to Dr. Clarisa Quesio and to Mr. Jhon Mark Aroa, who provided patient advice and guidance throughout this research process.

Fourth, I would also thank my statistician Dr. Zosima Panares, for never giving up on me even when others rejected my data and gave me a negative thought. Although it took her a long time to interpret and analyze my data, it was well worth the wait because she provided me with an excellent result.

Fifth, I'd like to express my heartfelt gratitude to my dietitian, who worked tirelessly to create my subject's one-month dietary plan. She was the driving force behind this study on a child's diet with Autism.

Sixth, I'd like to express my heartfelt gratitude to my subject's teacher, Mrs. Debra Manubag, my subject, and her family. This research would be just a dream without them. In addition, I'd like to express my heartfelt appreciation to my classmate Joy Labrador for her words of encouragement. She reawakened my wits and desire to pursue my American dream.

I would like to express my gratitude to my brother-in-law, Philip Apong, and his family for inspiring me to publish this research study.

Last but not the least, I'd like to thank my girlfriend Glaiza Cuay for always cheering me up and pushing me to achieve my goals. She is my inspiration for making this research study a success.

The Researcher



Masterand, Graduate School of Education

University of the Visayas

Abstract. Dietary Plan is a basic requirement for the child with autism to have a normal life and an appropriate dietary plan can help reduce the symptoms of various mental disorders. This study determined the effects of diet on the academic performance of a child with autism spectrum disorder in Ozamiz Central Elementary School, Division of Ozamiz City during the school year 2020-2021. This study utilized a pre-experimental research design for a single case. The child undergoes a one-month dietary therapy prepared by a registered dietician nutritionist (RDN). The instruments used are the grades in record of the subject through his teacher and interview on the part of the parent. Statistical treatments utilized are weighted mean, standard deviation and Mcnemar’s test. Findings revealed that following a 30-dietary experiment, the child improved rapidly with a few off-tasks on his module and lessons, he can maintain his focus for at least 30 minutes. He can respond to and follow the conversation when asked. His fidgeting and wondering are reduced as well. There is an increase in the overall average of the four subjects and Filipino and Mathematics has only a minimal increase. It is then concluded that diet in autism has a big impact on the child’s academic performance. The study recommends that a dietary plan has to be strictly followed and monitored for continuous improvement. Furthermore, the child with autism who is low in subjects like Filipino and Mathematics have to find ways for the child to learn best.

Keywords: dietary plan, child with autism, effects on diet, academic performance, teaching skills



As the globe rotates so as the world develops, in today’s time a lot of changes and developments have happened in our world. Maybe in economics, education, health systems and a lot more, these developments have greatly affected people’s way of living. One factor that also contributes to the change of the ways of the people is the food that they consume. Food is very vital for people to survive and with the development that has happened in the world a lot of changes also occur in the food that people eat, and the way food is preserved. Foods nowadays are loaded with a lot of sugar, caffeine, preservatives, salts, and many more in which it greatly affects the young ones especially pupils with ASD. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a term being used to describe individuals having impairments in their communication skills, who have repetitive behaviors and highly restricted interests and sensory behaviors beginning early in life (Lord et al., 2020). The sole purpose of this study is to distinguish the effects of diet in relation to the academic performance of a child with ASD in Ozamiz Central School-Sped Center A.Y 2020-2021 as the basis for a dietary program and this will help pupils with ASD have a proper food intake. As of 2014, the number of individuals living with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in the Philippines and the other countries around the world has doubled and continues to rise over the last six years. According to the Philippine Star author, Jaymalin (2014), Erlinda Borromeo, president of the Autism Speaks Foundation in the Philippines, said that one in 68 children worldwide have autism, which amounted to an estimated increase in the number of autism cases in the Philippines from 500, 000 in 2008 to one million today. In Central Visayas, there were more than twenty-four out of more than 5,000 children tested positive for autism (Jaymalin, 2014).

While the world is advancing, a different diet comes along within the mainstream which pupils with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are in an exceedingly dilemma of staying healthy and academically active. Foods that are mostly consumed today have a lot of preservatives and many other chemicals making pupils with ASD sluggish, unfocused, hyperactive, jittery, and sick which greatly impact their academic performance. Despite these, children with ASD are still consuming and craving these kinds of foods unaware of the drawbacks they can get from them. Latest evidence indicates that diets with high levels of saturated fats potentially affect learning and memory (Chen, 2020). Sadly, foods containing saturated fats are also the most inexpensive and readily available in schools such as french-fried potatoes, sugary desserts, cheeseburgers, chicken nuggets, and other staples in the cafeteria are filling children with food that really lowers their brain capacity before returning them to school. In fact, Chen (2020) explains the link between saturated fats and brain power is the effects of glucose and sugars in the higher fat foods”.

Today, however, kids and adults with high-glucose diets undergo a post food “crash”, in which the consumption of glucose is so high that it absorbs all the food, and the body starts to close up. White and processed breads, fried foods, sugary sweets, and sodas are often common meals in children’s cafeterias; all of those meal choices trigger an implausible call for energy, resulting in a terrible drop in energy, concentration, and successful academic performance. A high-glucose daily diet can result in damage to the kidneys, eyes, blood vessels and nerves. And although these side effects are serious, elevated glucose causes irritability, lethargy, and loss of concentration.

Chen (2020) stated in their study that malnutrition can lead to long-term neurological disorders in the brain that can affect the child’s emotional reactions, stress reactions, learning disabilities, and other medical complications. Alindogan (2017) on the other hand discussed that there are an estimated seven million children in the Philippines nationwide who are suffering from severe malnutrition. She said this is due to the lack of access to nutritious foods, lack of nutrition education, poverty, poor health and sanitation services. She also explained that it severely hinders children’s focus and academic performance at school. In the study of Curtin et al., (2014) explains that another factor affecting ASD students’ academic performance is obesity. In developed and developing nations worldwide, the prevalence of childhood obesity is increasingly growing. Childhood obesity has become a major health issue, and over the past twenty years, the prevalence has tripled. Interestingly, multiple studies have shown that among children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the prevalence of obesity is substantially higher relative to the general population.

According to Dauncey (2009), nutrition can affect the brain over its life cycle with significant consequences for the psychological condition and infirmity of the brain. He also clarified that many aspects of nutrition, ranging from whole diets to specific nutrients, influence brain structure and efficiency. Finally, he said that the importance of dietary balance and nutrient interactions for brain health are considered to be important. Kuschner, et al., (2017) stated that selective eating (often referred to as “picky eating) is typical throughout the lifespan for children or people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Generally, selective eating refers to a limited variety (i.e. a narrow range of foods that one is willing to eat). Selective eating is commonly considered to be one of the behaviors that can fall within the spectrum of a food problem or disease if there is also a negative health or psychosocial sequelae. Ross (2010) emphasized that there are many factors modulating the impact of diet on brain health and academic performance. Proper nutrition is essential to optimizing brain activity and improving learning. Helping children develop healthy habits from a young age may help fulfill their optimum potential.

Recent studies have demonstrated that nutrition affects students’ thinking skills, behavior, and health, all factors that impact academic performance. The said concepts and studies have a big impact on this research. Most of the studies only focused on the various variables in this study such as ASD, diet and academic performance. None of which boiled the main purpose of connecting the variables to which is the objective of the study and from that, this makes the study unique. This study is intended to distinguish the effects of diet in relation to the academic performance of a child with ASD in Ozamiz Central School-Sped Center A.Y 2020-2021. By the use of this study, the researcher can come up with an idea how helpful diet is in developing one’s academic performance considering the present disorder of the child. In addition, this study also aims to know what is the best diet that can help improve the academic performance of pupils with ASD.

With the different foods that have been invented today most of it has a lot of chemicals that are being added and those foods are the ones that are mostly consumed by children because of its availability anywhere even in school canteens. Children with ASD do not know the effects of these foods that they eat on their body especially on their Academic performance. It is the hope of the researcher that the professionals who will read this research both seasoned service providers and newcomers to the field will gain a deeper sense of what is it like to learn that a dearly loved child has an ASD and a greater appreciation for the creativity and determination shown by many parents as they move beyond autism diagnosis to cope with the day-to-day experience of rearing a child with an ASD. In the future, this study aims to develop a dietary program that will suit the needs of a pupil with ASD. Through this, stakeholders alike will be given an idea on what diet is suitable for their child with ASD in relation to their academic performance and to their well-being. This will aid as a comprehensive solution to the existing problem of the study.

Theoretical Framework

This study is grounded on three theories, one theory proposes that autistic behaviour may be due to metabolic dysfunctions, specifically the ability to break down certain phenolic amine compounds. Another suggests that some severe candidiasis yeast infections can result in autistic symptoms and behaviours. A third is the opioid excess theory and its connection with gluten and casein proteins. Other suggested triggers include vaccines as well as antibiotic use, stress, mercury and other environmental toxic substances. These triggers may act on children who may have some genetic predisposition. Only theories relating to diet are discussed here.

The first theory that autistic behaviour is may be due to metabolic dysfunctions, specifically the ability to break down certain phenolic amine compounds. Phenolic amines are found in many foods that have been reported by parents to aggravate autistic behaviour, including wheat, corn, sugar, chocolate, bananas, apples and dairy products. A study published by the Society of Biological Psychiatry found that autistic children did have a decreased capacity to use certain sulphate compounds resulting in an inability to effectively metabolize certain phenolic amine compounds (Alberti, Pirrone, Elia, Waring and Romano,1999). The phenolic amine compounds normally serve as neurotransmitters (messengers to the brain). When these compounds are not properly metabolized, it is suggested, catecholamines (other chemicals in the brain) accumulate and lead to neurotoxic (and psychedelic) effects. Although this study found that autistic subjects had decreased capacity to use certain sulphate compounds, it should be noted that it was the first study of its kind. Its results have not yet been repeated by other researchers. When evaluating the literature, we must remember the many challenges associated with studying dietary influences and autism. One of the key limitations is that it is next to impossible to use a double blind intervention and control group to compare accurately possible results of the diet treatment. It is also challenging to find subject matches with the same intensity of symptoms and behaviours since autism is understood to span a spectrum. The challenges associated with the use of human subjects with limited ability to give informed consent remains an important ethical dilemma.

The second theory is that some severe candidiasis yeast infections can result in autistic symptoms and behaviours. It has been found that certain strains of candida yeast present in most people’s GI tract can overpopulate when antibiotics deplete our normal gut flora. It has been reported that a severe Candida albicans infection can lead a person to crave foods rich in yeast and carbohydrates, the foods which candida need to thrive. These same foods are reportedly often craved by autistic children. Some previous research has found that severe Candida albicans infections have resulted in symptoms resembling autism, including language impairment, social isolation and decreased eye contact (Adams and Conn, 1997). Dr Bernard Rimland, a prominent researcher in autism, is quoted for his views that there is no consensus regarding the relationship between candida infections and autism and that "it is highly probable that a small, but significant proportion of children diagnosed as autistic are in fact victims of a severe yeast infection, and that with treatment of the candida, a few individuals may show dramatic improvement." Prolonged yeast infections may cause damage to the GI tract and may even result in membrane pores leading from the GI tract into the bloodstream. This idea of a leaky gut, whereby foreign particles can enter the blood and travel to the brain may tie in with the next theory.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 1. Schematic Diagram of the Theoretical Framework

The third theory is the opioid excess theory and its connection with gluten and casein proteins. The opioid excess theory and the gluten‐free casein‐free diet provide yet another perspective on the possible link between diet and autism. The theory suggests that peptides derived from gluten and casein, which are normally broken down in the gut and excreted, actually slip through the gut membrane and travel to the nervous system where they interfere with the transmission of nervous signals. The GI membrane in many autistic people has been found to be unusually porous, allowing these peptides entrance into the blood. The gluten proteins found in wheat, oats, barley and rye and the casein proteins found in dairy have opioid activity in the peptide stage when they are not fully broken down. Previous studies have reported some cognitive and behavioural improvements in people with autism after removing gluten and casein from their diet completely. In a study conducted by Whiteley, Rodgers, Savery and Shattock (1999), 22 children with autism and associated spectrum disorders were placed on a gluten‐free diet for 5 months and compared with 5 autistic children undergoing a gluten challenge and 6 autistic control subjects. Following three months on the gluten‐free diet, improvements were reported in verbal and non‐verbal communication, affection seeking, motor skills, awareness of self and environment, attention, calmness, and sleeping patterns. There was less reported aggression. In the gluten challenge group, both parents and teachers agreed that there was a deterioration of verbal and non‐verbal communication. Some important limitations of this study include the small sample size, the fairly short duration, and the fact that the diet intervention could not be conducted double blind. However, the results are encouraging and suggest that, if one is able to implement a gluten‐free diet, there is a chance of finding some decline in autistic behaviours.

Guidance on Testing for Food Intolerances (NON IgE Reactions ONLY)

Before assuming that someone with Autism is intolerant of gluten and/or casein, s/he should be formally tested. Since intolerances to multiple foods are often associated with autism, a few foods elimination diet may be a helpful way to pinpoint problem areas. A few foods elimination diet requires a very high level of compliance in order to be worthwhile. Typically the patient removes all common potentially allergenic foods and eats only a few simple foods for approximately two weeks. During the two‐week period the patient must keep detailed food records and a diary of symptoms. After the two‐week period, foods will be added back one at a time as a challenge. This reintroduction of foods can take several weeks. This diet should only be conducted under the direction of a dietitian or physician. A health professional can assist with label reading, provide the list of allowed foods, and help to ensure that a person’s nutrient and energy needs are being met. If only one or two foods are questionable, then they can be removed from the diet for two weeks, and then one at a time reintroduced as a challenge on three separate occasions. Food diaries and symptom diaries should be kept, as they are valuable tools for tracking patterns and detecting questionable items.

Children with poor diets are reported to have more health and academic learning difficulties. Poor diet can cause illness or headaches and stomach problems that lead to school absenteeism (Brown, Beardslee, & Prothrow- Stith, 2008). Moreover, children who do not eat sufficient amounts of essential nutrients, including calcium, potassium and vitamin C, may not be able to function to their maximum potential at school, (Nabarro, et al., 2012). Thus, knowing more about what nutritional deficiencies can lead to in terms of learning, can encourage families to better feed their children with ASD to excel in their classroom. This indicates that diet is of vital importance to the academic performance of ASD students. Furthermore, various learning theories allow us to understand the importance of food on the process and the capacity of students to learn effectively. The schematic research diagram shows the analytical structure of this study.

This study supports the other theories. These two theories are the following: Theory of Planned Behavior and Social Cognitive Theory. The Theory of Planned Behavior was proposed by Icek Ajzen in 1985. In his article titled “From intentions to actions: A theory of planned behavior”, emphasized that there are necessary components that shape an individual, namely: attitude, norm and behavioral control. The theory was coined from the Theory of Reasoned Action by Martin Fishbein in 1980 whose intention was to evaluate the behavior of a person depending on suggested behavior, inherited with the people around them and the existing motivation and by that, they are more likely to do an activity or task. On the other hand, the Social Cognitive Theory was developed by Albert Bandura in 1986. Its unique feature primarily occurs when social influences are present and inherited with the dynamic and reciprocal interaction of a certain person, behavior and environment. The theory placed it on record that the past experiences of a person influences and is considered as a factor into which reinforcements, expectations and possible outcome will engage that person in the future time. This theory also assumes the changes of the person’s behavior that is solely affected by the environmental factors.

The proposal of Ajzen and Bandura has been applied all throughout the studies in relation along with values, behavioral observation and intention in numerous fields where it applies. In particular, these theories abundantly helped the health sector around the world by making predictions about the health-related behavioral intention given that this theory balanced the needs and wants of an individual. In relation to the study, this will give sufficient information of how parents encourage themselves to include a more healthy lifestyle with their children as what is applied in the area of Applied Nutrition Intervention. Further studies found out that the significant increase of improvement in parental behavior and children’s dietary behaviors has become divergent. This urges the dietitians to promote more of a work in making a prosperous routine of diet. Thus, by the use of these theories, the researcher can somehow determine the effects of diet in relation to the academic performance of a child with ASD and can evaluate the overall determinant of behavior of the subject.

Statement of Purpose

The main purpose of the study is to distinguish the effects of diet in relation to the academic performance of a child with ASD in Ozamiz Central School- Special Education Center for the school year 2020-2021 as the basis for a dietary program.

Specifically, this study answered the following questions:

1. What is the academic performance of the child before and after the dietary program has been implemented?
2. Is there a significant difference in the academic performance before and after the dietary program has been implemented?
3. Based on the findings of the study, what enhanced dietary program can be proposed?

Null Hypothesis

Ho1: There is no significant difference between the academic performance of the subject before and after the implementation of the dietary therapy.

Significance of the Study

This research study aims to investigate and examine the importance of diet and its impact on academic performance of a pupil with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Investigation can be used to help develop future measures that stakeholders and schools can take to ensure that their food system comply with the high expectations of the child nutrition recommendations that are focused on this research.

Child with Autism is the principal benefactor, for the sole purpose of the study is to determine effects of diet in relation to the academic performance of a child with ASD. Through this study, the researcher will be able to manage an enhanced dietary program to ensure a child's diet as he/she gets old.

Parents will also benefit from this study as this will serve as a reference for them to learn more advanced methods and ways of preparing the diet that they can provide to their child with ASD.

Caregivers will also benefit from this study because it will give them insights on how to provide a healthy diet to an ASD child and other autism spectrum disorders’ children.

Community will also benefit the study for they will obtain knowledge, in particular, about how to be respectful of and support people with ASD.

Administrators will also benefit from the study because this will serve as their basis for giving a better education to children within this spectrum and to provide the most appropriate approach to assess every situation.

Researcher will also benefit from the study because this will give enough understanding on the effects of diet on academic performance of a pupil with ASD and to be open-minded in dealing with people with ASD in general.

Future Researchers will also benefit the study for this will serve as their guide for their future research that is related to the study.

Definition of Terms ;

This part is significant for all researchers; it is where the important terms used in the research are defined and how the terms are utilized in the study.

Academic Performance. This refers to the measurement of a certain student’s achievement across various academic subjects. Usually, it is measured by adding all the grade of all the enrolled subjects. This refers to the performance of the respondent in the enrolled subject per academic year.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This refers to the developmental disorder characterized by repetitive behavior, cognitive, and communication impairments. This refers to the condition of the respondent in the study.

Effects of Diet. This refers to the outcome of dietary routine that will bring changes to a person's body figure, mental and social health. This refers to the effects to the dietary routine of the subject that will be evaluated at the peak of the study.

Enhanced Dietary Therapy. This refers to the practice done to specialize the taking of low carbohydrates food and traditional way of cooking it. It prevents contagious diseases, eliminates toxins and generally promotes wellness. This refers to the therapy that will be examined to the respondent in between the two sessions of answering the questionnaire.

Diet. This refers to a plan and cycle in which someone eats less food, or only particular foods to maintain healthy living. This refers to the eating routine or cycle done by the respondent in the study.

Profile of the Subject. This refers to the biographical data that is a combination of descriptions and information. This refers to the personal information of the subject such as name (optional), age, sex and etc.


This chapter examines the researcher’s work on the factors that are closely related towards the present study. The review of related literature and studies focuses on a synopsis of ASD and how diet impacts the academic performance and well-being of an individual with autism spectrum disorder.

Autism Spectrum Disorder

O’Brien and Daggett, (2006) stated in their study that Autism is a mystery. Like any mystery, it is fascinating, frustrating, and frightening all at once. Scientists like mysteries, and so they find it interesting to talk about autism. Researchers in many areas including neurobiology, genetics, pediatrics, cognitive science, and developmental psychology are working to understand autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a common term for a group of complicated mental function conditions. A certain child with autism disorder is different from a normal child. Many of the ASD children who are diagnosed have excellent abilities in math, arts, visual skills, and music.

On the other hand, Mayes et al. (2013) discussed in their study the with the publication of the DSM-5 Diagnostic Manual in May 2013, all autism disorders were integrated under one umbrella diagnosis of ASD. In comparison the word “spectrum” shows a broad variance in the test and intensity of each child with autism. Autism is the most prominent mark that appears to occur between 2 and 3 years of age. It may also be diagnosed in some cases as early as 18 months. Diagnosis by an experienced physician can be deemed very accurate by age 2 (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014) There is no clear single cause of autism, although it is widely agreed that it is caused by genetic susceptibility, environmental conditions, and psychological factors (Autism, Society Association, 2014). Any developmental delays related to autism may be detected and addressed much sooner. Parents are said to have to combat anxieties in order to pursue assessments without hesitation, as rapid action will enhance remediation.

Kopetz and Lee (2012) stated that autism is a disability that impacts people all over the world. They also cited and have measured and established the country’s estimated incidence rates of autism in children living in other countries around the world.

Posserud et al. (2010) states “News reports describing increases in the number of children with ASDs who are reaching school age and need special services frequently give the impression that the overall prevalence of ASDs is rising in the United States. Among physicians and scientists who study public health issues, the term prevalence refers to the total number of individuals diagnosed with a particular condition at any given point in time, whereas the term incidence is used for the number in whom the condition begins within a certain period. Thus, if children in a city of 1 million develop ASDs during a single year, the incidence rate that year is 50 in 1,000,000, or 1 in 20,000. However, if another 350 children had been diagnosed in previous years, the prevalence rate for ASDs would be expressed as 400 in 1, 000,000, or 1 in 2,500. Sometimes prevalence rates are expressed as the number per 10,000 population- in this case, 4 per 10,000.

In the study of O’Brien and Daggett, (2006), it talks about Autism is known to be one of the most serious disorders of early childhood. There are three main aspects when defining ASDs which are sometimes called “the triad”. These disorders are categorized in a number of degrees, including difficulties in cognitive skills, verbal and non-verbal interactions and repeated behavior (Autism Speaks, 2016). It was Leo Kanner (1943), first identified the diagnostic features of autism as a syndrome. These features include: ;extreme aloofness, avoidance of eye contact, lack of appropriate emotional responses, lack of visual and auditory responses, failure to use speech for purposes of communication, an obsessive need for maintaining sameness in the environment via stereotype behaviors, and marked facility with objects in contrast to under reaction to people and to language.

Corpus (1986) reported that Filipino children with autism are generally emotionally underdeveloped, delayed and or limited in language, cognitive, and psychological development, and have short attention span. They also lack the ability to relate to people as manifested in their failure to establish eye-to-eye contact and lack of empathy with others. They exhibit desire for order and routine where interruptions of such usually result in tantrums and aggressive behaviors.

Another study of O’Brien and Daggett (2006) states that Although there is a growing awareness of autism in the Philippines today, such disability has often been misdiagnosed, misunderstood and mismanaged. This is because of the complex nature of autism and the dearth of studies, literature and materials especially on intervention. The complexities and controversies surrounding the syndrome have turned the tasks of teaching and parenting children with autism into an extraordinary challenge. Despite this numbers, it is still not entirely clear whether the actual prevalence rate has increased dramatically or whether the apparent rise in cases of ASDs is due to the increased reporting.

Ansel (2020) explains that Diet plays a vital role in a child’s well-being. Subsequently, caring for an ASD child can be difficult at several stages, and healthy eating is no exception. A healthy balanced diet plan will make a difference to a child with ASD in his ability to learn, how he controls his feelings, and how he interprets information. Since a child with ASD often skips certain meals or has limits on what he consumes, as well as difficulties sitting during meal times, he does not get all the nutrition he needs.

According to Zelman (2005) in her study about one in five children with autism have a special diet. There is no particular ASD diet, but the removal of certain proteins can alleviate symptoms. The gluten-free, casein free (GFCF) diet is the most studied and one of the most popular dietary therapies. About 25% of patients experience relaxation and progress on this diet.

Boromeo (2016) in her study discussed that inadequate diet was also shown to be more prevalent among children with autism than those unaffected by the condition. In particular, an average low intake of calcium and protein was noticed. Calcium is crucial to the building of strong bones. Adequate protein is essential for growth, mental development, and health. Chronic eating disorders often raise the child’s risk of social disabilities and low academic performance, the researchers say. This could also raise the incidence of diet-related disorders such as obesity and cardiovascular disease in teenagers and adults.

Researchers at the Marcus Autism Center at Emory University School of medicine have examined and analyzed all documented peer-reviewed literature on eating issues and autism spectrum disorders (ASD). They found that children with ASD are five more times more likely to face meal-time problems such as tantrums, excessive food selectivity, and ritualistic feeding habits. There are several factors why this phenomenon occurred. One of the strongest reasons as to why this problem exists is due to diet. Children are faced a variety of food-related issues such as inadequate diet, obesity, and malnutrition.

In the study of Laake and Compart (2013) they stated that children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs), body chemistry may be dramatically altered in ways that require extra dietary assistance. Adequate foods, carbohydrates, fats, water, vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and other nutrient cofactors include substances the brain and body require for optimal function., explained problems that may interact with the attainment of optimum brain and body function include inadequate digestion, impaired cell utilization, food intolerances, yeast or bacterial toxins, allergy from histamine, susceptibility to toxins, and toxins created by the body’s own metabolic processes. Improvements in vocabulary, temperament, actions, concentration, memory, social interaction, metabolism, immunity, stamina, balance, and eye contact may be achieved by supplying certain elements that the body and the brain require and replacing those they do not need. In addition, for a child with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs), body chemistry can be significantly disrupted in ways that require additional nutritional support.

Jaymalin (2014) stated that the number of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the Philippines as well other countries around the world has almost doubled in the last six years and continues to increase. Eyamayola (2015) stated on their study that according to the Philippine Star author, Erlinda Borromeo, president of the Autism Speaks Foundation in the Philippines, said that one in 68 children worldwide have autism, which amounted to an estimated increase in the number of autism cases in the Philippines from 500 000 in 2008 to one million today. The news sparked a debate for health professionals and parents over a growing number of cases since certain regions in the Philippines have not yet been covered. The Autism Society of the Philippines said that half a million Filipinos had autism, 30% were aware of the condition, while only 2% got intervention. It happened in 2014. This shows how the number of Filipinos diagnosed with ASD continued to grow-what is more surprising is that the data obtained is not the real count. Many of the statistics obtained were from autistic children who were from the masses who contacted the health centers for diagnosis.

LeBreton (2001) stated in his study that the most popular dietary intervention is the free gluten-free casein (GFCF) diet. Removing gluten from the diet means eliminating all foods containing wheat, and removing casein means eliminating all foods containing dairy products. This is clearly complicated, time-consuming and costly for parents. In addition, it is potentially troublesome that most children with ASDs already consume a small range of foods due to lack of novelty and desire for consistency. However, the gluten-free, casein free (GFCF) diet is commonly used by families of kids with autism.

Whiteley and Shattock, (2002) discussed on their study that the GFCF diet is centered on the belief that gluten and casein contain compounds (peptides) in the intestine that are not properly absorbed by children with ASD and are thus transferred to the brain, leading to imbalances in neurotransmitters. Cermak et al. (2010) in their study have addressed the needs for parents to consider food selectivity and the importance of meeting the needs of children with ASD who show severe food selectivity since the issues of feeding are nuanced and often multifaceted.


Laake and Compart (2013) stated in their study that many children have limited appetites and poor food selection, which lead to them receiving an inadequate amount of nutrient. They said even children with healthy appetites, varied diets and excellent food intake may not have enough nutrients to their body’s specific needs. The aim is for all children to fulfill the basic dietary requirements of each child for optimum functions of the brain and body.

Varon et al. (2003) discussed in their study that Whether or not you find pleasure in eating food, the fact still remains that food is a basic human need. Good health is impossible without good nutrition. Interestingly, sick people today have food-related problems. Diet plays a significant role in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Diet is closely connected to the development of the brain and wellbeing. The saying you are what you eat has some merit.

Porter (2002) added that parent support for their child’s program is considered a crucial factor in its success. In order to meet the needs of all family members, including the child with additional challenges-parents must be able to remain in command of their family life, this means that interventions with the child must undermine parents. Parents might require a range of which you can supply directly and some of which you can help them to secure from elsewhere. Laake and Compart (2013) stated that food containing rich in proteins, especially those from milk (casein) and wheat (gluten), may be in completely digested to peptides and may enter the bloodstream from the intestine via the abnormally permeable intestinal lining referred to as the “leaky gut”. Besides, they said these partially digested protein peptides can theoretically cross the blood-brain, adversely influencing brain function, including by many pathways, leading to hyperactivity, mood, concentration, and behavior, disrupting neurotransmitter signal, producing gluten (gliadorphin), milk casein (casomorphin), and soy opioid-like doping symptoms, and causing brain inflammation.

Friedman (2018) stated that many experiments on mice with similar behaviors to persons with autism have produced positive findings. In these trials, researchers have shown that ketogenic diets can enhance and even reverse autism-like behaviors in mice. The findings were higher on a ketogenic diet, but there are a few considerations to know before all the carbohydrates are trashed in your kitchen.

According to Nelson (2019), there are six ways in which autism spectrum disorder can benefit from the keto diet. It stimulates good brain activity, enhances mood, enhances digestive health, decreases inflammation and autoimmunity, restores mitochondrial function and improves the health of mothers both before and during birth. Garrison et al. (2013) stated in their study that physical exercise strategies can be especially enticing, as many require too little to no advanced preparation (e.g. jogging or dancing) and work perfectly with the ecology of school days. This feasibility, combined with the added health and well-being impact (National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, (NCCDPHP) and the clear evidence that young children-particularly those with autism who are overweight and obese at higher rates that national averages.

Pitetti et al. (2007) stated in their study that a small sample of five young men with autism showed "a significant decrease in self-stimulatory behavior following physical exercise." In comparison, the study compared academic performance and on ;task behavior before and after exercise and concluded that all students performed better after exercise. Similar results have also been recorded in another study involving frequent treadmill exercise.

According to Bellisle (2004) that diet can influence intellectual capacity and conduct in youngsters and teenagers. Supplement synthesis and supper examples can apply quick or long haul, gainful or unfavorable impacts. Helpful impacts fundamentally result from the adjustment of poor healthful status. For instance, thiamin treatment turns around forcefulness in thiamin-lacking teenagers. Harmful social impacts have been recommended; for instance, sucrose and added substances were once suspected to instigate hyperactivity, yet these impacts have not been affirmed by thorough examinations. Disregarding powerful natural instruments that shield mind action from interruption, some intellectual capacities seem delicate to transient varieties of fuel (glucose) accessibility in certain cerebrum zones. A glucose load, for instance, intensely encourages mental execution, especially on requesting, long-term errands. The instrument of this frequently depicted impact isn't completely clear. One part of the diet that has evoked a lot of examination in youngsters is the admission/oversight of breakfast. This has clear significance to class execution. While impacts are conflicting in very much sustained kids, breakfast oversight crumbles mental execution in malnourished youngsters. Indeed, even insight scores can be improved by micronutrient supplementation in kids and young people with extremely helpless dietary status. Generally speaking, the writing proposes that great customary dietary propensities are the most ideal approach to guarantee ideal mental and social execution consistently. At that point, it stays disputable whether extra advantage can be picked up from intense dietary controls. Conversely, kids and youths with poor nourishing status are presented to adjustments of mental and additional conduct that can be revised, partly, by dietary measures.

Giugliano, Ceriello and Esposito (2006) mentioned that lessening the rate of coronary illness with diet is conceivable. The principle dietary procedures incorporate sufficient omega-3 unsaturated fats admission, decrease of soaked and trans-fats, and utilization of an eating routine high in natural products, vegetables, nuts, and entire grains and low in refined grains. Every one of these methodologies might be related to a lower age of aggravation. This audit analyzes the epidemiologic and clinical proof concerning diet and irritation. Dietary examples high in refined starches, sugar, and immersed and trans-unsaturated fats, poor in regular cell reinforcements and fiber from organic products, vegetables, and entire grains, and poor in omega-3 unsaturated fats may cause an enactment of the inborn resistant framework, in all probability by an exorbitant creation of pro inflammatory cytokines related with a decreased creation of calming cytokines. The entire eating regimen approach appears to be especially encouraging to decrease the aggravation related with the metabolic condition. The decision of sound wellsprings of sugar, fat, and protein, related with customary active work and shirking of smoking, is basic to battling the battle against persistent sickness. Western dietary examples warm up irritation, while reasonable dietary examples chill it off.

Despite the fact that the impacts of sustenance on wellbeing and school execution are frequently referred to, not many exploration considerations have inspected the impact of diet quality on the scholastic presentation of youngsters. This examination analyzes the relationship between in general eating regimen quality and scholarly performance. Across different pointers of diet quality, a relationship with scholastic execution was noticed. Understudies with diminished generally diet quality were fundamentally bound to perform ineffectively on the appraisal. Young ladies performed in a way that is better than young men as did kids from financially advantaged families. Kids going to better schools and living in well off areas additionally performed better. These discoveries show a relationship between diet quality and scholastic execution and recognize explicit dietary factors that add to this affiliation. Also, this exploration underpins the more extensive execution and interest in viable school sustenance programs that can possibly improve understudy admittance to solid food decisions, diet quality, scholarly execution, and, over the long haul, wellbeing as for Florence, Asbridge and Veugelers (2008).

In the study of Schoenthaler, Doraz and Wakefield (1986), they tested the impact of adjusting chosen wholesome approaches on scholarly execution, participation, and wrongdoing, by presenting an eating routine arrangement that brought down sucrose, engineered food tone/flavors, and 2 additives (BHA and BHT) more than 4 yrs in 803 New York City state funded schools. Results show that the change was trailed by a 15.7% expansion in mean scholastic percentile positioning over the remainder of the country's schools on similar state administered tests. Each school's scholastic exhibition positioning was contrarily connected with the level of Ss who ate school food preceding the eating regimen strategy changes. After the approach changes, the level of Ss who ate snacks and morning meals inside each school turned out to be emphatically connected with that school's pace of gain.

Nyaradi et al. (2016) investigated the relationship between early eating regimen and scholarly execution during youth. A higher (for example better quality) diet score at one year old was related with altogether higher scores in science, perusing, composing and spelling at the two evaluations five and seven. Affiliations were seen between a higher eating routine score at two years and scholarly scores for arithmetic, composing and spelling at grade seven. Higher dairy utilization at ages one, two and three, and higher natural product utilization at age one were related with higher ;academic scores at all ages. Nature of an early eating routine might be an indicator for later scholarly accomplishment.


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Diets and how they affect the Academic Performance of a Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Master of Arts in Education Major in Special Education
Primary- Grade 2
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diets, academic, performance, child, autism, spectrum, disorder
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Jason Tabalbag (Author), 2021, Diets and how they affect the Academic Performance of a Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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