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Common Health Issues for Children with Special Needs

Common Health Issues for Children with Special Needs

When you have a child with special needs, the number of trips you’ll take to the doctor can seem overwhelming. This is due to both genetic and societal factors. Just as a child may become differently abled due to chromosomal abnormalities, they may also deal with a few physical hardships for that same reason as well. Habitually, a child with special needs may also experience issues with poor diet and infrequent exercise. Here are some common health issues for children with special needs:

The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.


Constipation or irregular bowel movements are a fairly common problem for children and adults with special needs. This is usually due to a lack of fiber in their diets. Able-minded and -bodied children may also experience fiber deficiency, but this problem can be especially present in children with special needs as they have ritualistic eating behaviors.

It’s tough to get a special needs child to try new foods or change their eating routines. They may fixate on unhealthy snacks like chips or candy, which can fill them up but keep them from getting the fiber they need. Try replacing chips with popcorn or roasted chickpeas and candy with raspberries to increase their fiber intake.

Trouble Sleeping

Issues with falling and staying asleep impact many differently abled children, but this issue can be especially prevalent in children with Autism or ADHD. The latter two conditions may cause jitteriness and hyperactivity. Many of the day’s tasks will require sitting, so it’s rare that this energy is expelled before bedtime.

To help your child fall asleep, make sure they get active play during the day and have a soothing nighttime routine. You may also try some natural supplements like valerian root and melatonin.

Food Allergies

Many children with special needs will also deal with food allergies during their lives. The most common food allergies include:

  • Peanut and Pine Nut Allergies
  • Allergies to Red Dye #5
  • Lactose Intolerance
  • Gluten Intolerance

These allergies can go away over time or be overcome through the help of a licensed physician, but many allergies can last a lifetime. It’s best to be aware of these allergies to help your child avoid the side effects.

Nutrient Deficiencies

For the same reasons children with special needs often experience constipation, they will experience other nutrient deficiencies. Children may also be born with a genetic inability to maintain certain nutrient levels, so it’s important to keep track of the nutrients their getting during the day.

Some common nutrient deficiencies in children with special needs include:

  • B Vitamins (B1, B3, B5, B6, B12)
  • Vitamin C
  • Folic Acid
  • Biotin
  • Magnesium
  • Fat Soluble Vitamins (A, D, K, E)


Many children with special needs fall subject to sedentary lifestyles, but some special conditions directly impact a person’s weight. For example, Prader-Willi Syndrome can make your child incapable of knowing when he or she is full. To protect your child from obesity, help them maintain their target weight with frequent physical activities, smaller portions and healthier snacks.

Special Strong can help your child stay more active. Sign your child up private training sessions or a local boot camp today!


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