IBS and Special Needs Kids

What is the connection between IBS and special needs kids? I have a son with special needs. He is speech delayed, has auditory processing disorder, and learning disabilities. For many years, my son would have loose stools, gas and bloating for no real reason that we could pinpoint.

Since scientists are discovering that there is a definite brain-gut connection with IBS, it only makes sense that those with special needs many times experience IBS symptoms. Yes, kids get IBS, but special needs kids have digestive problems more than most kids.

There is an excellent book called “Gut and Psychology Syndrome” by Natasha Campbell-McBride, that discusses the reasons behind some digestive problems with special kids. It discusses how to improve their diet, which, in turn, will help with learning and behavior.

I do not completely agree with some of the diet restrictions in the book. But since avoiding wheat and sugar, adding a probiotic and a supplement of fish oil, my son's gut has improved 100%. When he does get too many wheat products because we get too busy to focus on it, or we are a party with cake, cookies, pizza, crackers, I notice a change in his behavior. Most kids, of course, when exposed to too many junk foods, will exhibit bad behavior. Special needs kids, however, seem to get hit extra hard when their digestive systems have been assaulted with too much sugar and processed food.

My son's speech delay does not allow him to always be able to verbalize to me if his stomach is feeling bad, or if he feels constipated, but then again, there are not too many 8 year olds that will verbalize this to you anyway. Many times a child will just not feel quite right, and it will exhibit itself in bad behavior.

It is certainly worth trying some diet modifications to see if this helps your child. If you would like a more professional evaluation of your special needs child and his diet, the best course of action is to seek out a Holistic Pediatrician or even a DAN (Defeat Autism Now!) doctor. Even if your child has not been diagnosed with Autism, a DAN doctor can do a number of tests to help determine why your special needs child may be having digestive problems and how to help him or her. Your regular pediatrician will not be able to perform the extensive testing that a holistic pediatrician or DAN doctor can.

The following is a great website that can help you locate a DAN Doctor in your area.

Back to IBSSOS home from Special Needs Kids and IBS