Determination of Knowledge of Caregivers about Dietary Practices of Autistic Children

Maryam Yaseen, Bahisht Rizwan, Iqra Gulzar, Ramsha Khalid, Sheza Tanveer, Zoya Abid, Sana Farooq
and Objective: Autism belongs to a complex neurodevelopmental disorder. The lack of knowledge about dietary practices of autistic caregivers is perceived as the triggering factor of 'Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In this particular 'Knowledge, Attitude and Practice (KAP) Survey' the knowledge (K) of nutrition, attitude (A) of children towards such nutrition and dietary practices (P) among the caregivers of autistic children. The pre-testing and post-testing for knowledge has been observed.
more » ... he knowledge questionnaire was designed to facilitate the caregivers to determine their knowledge regarding the dietary patterns of autistic children. Methods: This quasi-experimental study comprised of 50 caregivers (particularly mothers, and fathers in a few instances) of autistic children enrolled at Amin Maktab Center for Special Education Lahore. The nutrition education program was developed and participants were enrolled. Analysis of the change in knowledge, attitude and practice of autistic caregivers through pre-testing and post-testing at a gap of four months was carried out using statistical tests. Results: The pre-testing and post-testing phase of the study revealed significant improvement in (a) basic knowledge about nutritional needs of autistic children (22% vs. 100%), (b) practicing patient-tailored special diet (34% vs. 92%) and (c) resolution of food allergies (62% vs. 16%) in autistic children. The most important benchmark in this regard was Body Mass Index (BMI) of children where deranged BMI improved significantly (p = 0.000) to normal BMI in pre-and post-testing phases. Conclusions: Lack of knowledge is higher among aforementioned caregivers of concerned autistic children. Adoption of nutrition education programs by anutistic caregivers helps in creating optimal knowledge, attitude and practices regarding nutritional needs of autistic children for effective targeted behavior and management.
doi:10.51441/biomedica/5-155 fatcat:et47wfg4czeuddrdtns6zye5o4