A Qualitative Study on Feeding Practices Among Caregivers of Malay Children and Adolescents with Autism

YEE XING YOU, AMIRAH AQILAH ABD RAHIM, DALILA ABDUL TALIB, NUR HANA HAMZAID, ZAHARA ABDUL MANAF

Abstract


Atypical dietary behaviour of children and adolescents with autism make it challenging for their parents to feed a balance diet to them. This qualitative study aims to explore food practices and source of information regarding food practices among caregivers of Malay children and adolescent with autism. A total of 19 caregivers (aged 35-53 years) of Malay children and adolescents with autism (aged 7-18 years) participated in focus group discussions. Respondents were selected using purposive sampling method from three selected special children's educational centers in Selangor and Negeri Sembilan areas. This focus group discussion was transcribed verbatim and analyzed with the assisted qualitative software (NVivo version 11), which several themes were formed. This study found that majority of respondents offered their children sunnah food, Omega-3 supplements and vitamin and mineral supplements, omitted food additives, gluten and casein, seafood, egg and legumes as they thought these may help in improving their children’s behavior and health. The main sources of information regarding these food practices were Autism Club Malaysia, internet, doctor and religious teacher. Majority of respondents had never consulted both dietitians or nutritionists. Nutritionists or dietitians should provide scientific evidence information on nutritional practices through autism association and internet to ensure that caregivers can manage their children’s nutritional problems more effectively.


Keywords


amalan pemberian makanan, autisme, kajian kualitatif

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