Autism and Feeding Problems

Melissa - posted on 09/07/2010 ( 59 moms have responded )

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My son is 6 years old and he was diagnosed with autism and ADHD.
He is an extremely picky eater, he doesn't want to eat anything besides
chicken nuggets or pizza. We have been seeing the feeding at our local
children's hospital, but I don't feel that we are making progress. My son has
gone days without eating. The advice that we have been given by the feeding team is to
just let him starve to the point that he will eat anything. Unfortunately, for me, that doesn't
work. I am luckly if I can get him to eat one meal a day or anything for that matter.
He will not take vitamins of any kind. I have tried the gummy one, flintstones,
and the liquid vitamins. I have even tried to to hide the vitamins in his food and drink.
If he notices that his food or drink looks any bit different, he will refuse it. I am
at a loss of what to do for him. At this point, none of his doctors have done any bloodwork
to see what/if any mineral/vitamin deficiencies he may have. My son barely weights 39 pounds, he is nothing but skin and bones. He seems to bruise easily, everyday he seems to have a new bruise that he didn't have the day before. I did manage to get an appointment to see his pediatrician for this Friday, hopefully, he will be of some help. I really just need ideas on how to get my son to eat.

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Jenifer - posted on 09/08/2010

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Fun times!
Kids with autism can have real difficulties with textures... if it feels funny, they won't touch it. And since their senses can be even more sensitive than other people, they're pickier too. And if something feels funny it can send them into more stress than you or I.

Does your son get cared for by anyone other than yourself?
One of my prior students (whose Mom expressed similar issues about him when he was younger) wouldn't try new food for his parents... but at school we were able to get him to try new foods, which we would do the one bite thing and not force it down his throat but just encourage him. It seemed to broaden his repetoire at home as well. His mom was shocked when he ate a bite of tomato at home!

I think most kids will try more foods for people who aren't their parents... mine and my sister's included and none of them have autism.
Another student had parents who were divorsed... he refused to eat any fruit or veggies for Mom, and needed his set lunch the same every day. He would also refuse the school made lunch food he wouldn't eat for Mom when he stayed with her (we have a program where our students make their lunch at school once a week). When with Dad he would have different lunches with TWO fruits and smaller more healthy sellections.

The whole starving them thing may not even work for a kid with autism... they can be stubborn people, and if something causes them distress they are very likely to stick to their guns.

Good luck and hang in there!

Annie - posted on 10/08/2010

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Stick with the pizza and chicken nuggets! My son is like that also nd everyone tells me to stick with it and try to introduce new things every now and then.

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I work with Autisitc kids and many of them are picky eaters. we have had great success in getting the children to eat through the use of a reinforcer such as a sweet or toy. everytime they take a bite of food you give him a sweet and then u slowly increase to every second mouthful etc. It may help. All the best xx

Danielle - posted on 09/10/2010

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I am a behavior specialist for children who have developmental disabilities. I can tell you that the best way that found to get a child to eat new things is to choose one or two things to add to his diet at a time. Be realistic and really smart about it. This is your chance to give him something that is close to what he likes, but healthy (ie. sweet potato fries, fried green beans, a semi crunchy veggie on his pizza). Introduce it to him at every possible meal; you can even speak to the school cafeteria. I find that they are very understanding in these types of situations and will often make something extra if they are provided with the food from the parents. He should do trials with the food, also. One example of this would be to have him touch it to his mouth. after he does that, try to get him to take a bite of it, then a bigger portion, etc. It would be like " First touch the fry to your tongue then, you can have a cracker" etc. The item that you give to him after the trials should be something that he ONLY gets to eat then or it could be an activity. It should be highly preferred, but not his most preferred. Don't use chicken nuggets or pizza, as that is all that you can get him to eat at this time and you DO NOT want to try the starvation method...he can probably go forever without eating! I hope that this is helpful...it may take awhile, but it hasn't failed yet. Make sure that your whole family is eating the food item on a daily basis, too. I worked with a boy once who finally ate an ice cream cone after 2 months of work. He went right over to his sister's cone and licked it. she was mad, but we were so happy. We got him his own, and he ate it all up!!

Sarah - posted on 09/08/2010

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Food does have a lot to do with the autisim and how they act. Stay away from dairy products, as to how to get him to eat...My best advice is to make a game of it. My step son is 18 and was diagnosed with autisim at 2. I will pray for you.

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Jennie - posted on 04/01/2011

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My son is 40 lbs and is 8 yrs old. He is super picky. Dr said just feed him what he will eat. He has ADHD. He is being tested for other things. He has a lot of autistic characteristics and sensory integration. He's weighed the same for over 3 yrs. He's been on medication for 2 yrs and I know it decreases his appetite but even before medication he hardly ate. He has an appointment with a nutritionist in 2 weeks. He loves fruit and veggies but doesn't gain weight eating it. He will only eat plain hamburgers from mcdonalds only and if the bun looks different he won't eat it. He use to love mcdonalds chocolate shakes but he won't drink one anymore because they changed their cups. It's still the same thing but not to him. He loves thoses little Debbie chocolate donuts but now I find some of them in the trash....he says it's because it doesn't have a hole all the way through. He will also eat spaghetti but only if me or his dad make it. The only other stuff he eats is junk food but that's a challenge too because if it's in a different package or a different brand he will not eat it. He's been like this since he was about 2 1/2 years old. He use to eat other food but it seems that after he turned 2 1/2 all his foods changed. I just feed him what he will eat but it sure does get frustrating.

Sharon - posted on 03/21/2011

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Ensure has helped out my son a lot. He just turned 4 and is VERY picky! I have leaned a few tips on how to get his to eat.

Tell him you will turn off the TV in 5...4...3...2...1...*Off*
You bet he will put that food in mouth before it hits 1... :o)

Also, try useing honey as a dipping sauce to your fruits. Nathan loves bananas and honey and Popcorn chicken with honey.

Debbie - posted on 03/21/2011

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i at this stage as well he dont eat he has a feeding tub and asds and global developmental delays but r n therapy he will go day dont care if he dont eat and lose weight really fast im soooo tried at times...

Jo - posted on 03/15/2011

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Letting a child starve is barbaric, and I don't know any mom who would actually follow through on that. Especially knowing your child will literally go days without eating.

This is the best advice I have, and I share it with every parent I know that has this issue. Hope it helps!

My daughter is 5 and really loves science. We pretend we are Scientists and go through a series of sensory exercises to integrate the foods into her "rolodex" of knowledge. First we look at it, this is the easiest to do because it really doesn't require much on the part of the child. Have your child describe what it looks like to them and validate that opinion. Next move on to listening to the food, smelling the food, and touching the food. Doing it in this order slowly builds closer contact with the food, and helps to eliminate some of the "scariness" that surrounds the food. In our house, most foods smell like cotton candy (though my daughter hates cotton candy). Macaroni and cheese smells like flowers though. Make it fun, if your child has a "rolodex" of knowledge like my daughter, that first experience is vital to how they perceive it every other time in the future. Don't get frustrated if your child has a fit the first few times. My daughter has them almost every time, but I can get her through the first three senses pretty well, once I can get her to hold the fork. Often, for us, thats the biggest part of the battle. After touching, have your child taste it. Make sure you ask them to describe it to you after each sense. It helps them put into words what they are experiencing, even if it doesn't make sense to you (I mean does Mac & Cheese really smell like flowers? I doubt it. But it does look "cheesy"). Keep your voice calm the whole time, my daughter gets worked up and anxious if you raise your voice. Remember to keep it fun, and if your child simply licks the food that first time, make a big deal about it! Have them call Grandma, or Auntie and get really excited about them licking whatever it was. It will reinforce the behavior and make it much easier to try that food again in the future. Flood them with the new food (one at a time) after they've tried it. My daughter still wont eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (because jelly is sticky and touches the peanut butter), but will eat a spoonful of Mac & Cheese now. That was a huge step for her since her tactile issue often keep her from even looking at food when its (cheesy, wet, has sauce, etc). She calls spaghetti sauce "mud" lol

Just remember to have fun. Be excited, don't discourage, and try, try again. It can take up to 15 tries for neurotypical children to develop an interest in a particular food. Imagine how hard it is for our kids.

Good Luck!

Sandra - posted on 10/09/2010

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Hi all.
I go through similar eating habits. We do have my son on a restricted gluten intake because he acts up if he has too much. I would never listen to the feeding team and they seem nuts. I try to reason with my son first and then stay with it, some times we are at the kitchen table, away from the family and we try new things. Most times he tells me that it makes him sick but after awhile he will try it. There was once that we were having tacos and he eats hamburgers, cheese and chips, what is the difference. He said it wasn't the same. For 45 minutes of crying, tantrum and carrying on, he tried it and turned to me and said mommy I like it. After that you need to keep it up or they will slide back down.
For those who haven't tried gluten free, I am a firm believer that it works. When my son is at his dad's and eats all that gluten, he comes home angry, tantruming and burst into tears easily. Once while he was completely gluten free for several months, he asked why he couldn't eat bread. I asked him if he felt like crying or hurting people and he said no. He then related the feeling of that before he was gluten free. Now he knows not to eat it so much but I can't get his dad to cooperate.
Other tips: Tell him the doctors said that he has to eat one green vegetable and he gets to try them to see which one he likes. My son picked peas, and agreed to eat them. We learned that broccoli is very good for your brains, so my son request that be his Tuesday vegetable. Hiding good things in something that he will eat sometimes helps. Chicken nuggets using gluten free bread crumbs, mash potatoes can hide califlower and corn. Have the child help prepare the food, too. Empower him to feel like he / she is incharge of good eating.

Diane - posted on 09/28/2010

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We implemented a new foods program in our son's home ABA program many years ago, targeting only foods we thought he would love if he only took a bite. It was extremely successful, and within a few weeks he added 5 or 6 new food options to his menu plan, including hot dogs, scrambled eggs, and muffins. Muffins were huge, because that opened up a huge new world of food options since so much can be hidden in muffins, like finely shredded zucchini, squash, carrots, protein powders, some powdered supplements that can be cooked, etc.

MICHELLE - posted on 09/22/2010

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my on was the same way now he just does not ant his food to touch i used a muffin tin or let him help me make some thing new and ave himty it make like muffin meals like takea egg muffin and make things on them to make and melt differnt things lik a pizza of different sorts with like chicken or other things on it tohave him make his ownto eat tell him that he is fxing dinner tonight and gve the items to him like chicken pieces and ham adoher thinsg that you want him to eat i make it a contest t make him want to do it make it fun to do
look in family magizine to get ideas of finger foods to have him help make at thisage thy love to help out well son did give it a try hope this works if you need more i am here

Janis - posted on 09/21/2010

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Just know you are not alone as a Mom of picky eaters. I have two sons with high functioning autism, ADHD and one w/ tic disorder, ages 9 and 11. It is an ongoing battle to figure out what they will eat at restaurants and relative or friends houses, let alone what to pack them for lunch at school. My older son has digestive issues which made us really push some veggies on him when all he wanted was chicken nuggets. He now eats a little bigger menu of foods, but not big enough to be considered "normal". My younger son is even harder. All he wants is buttered noodles with parmasean cheese, or mac & cheese, or chicken nuggets or tacos. It is hard to know what to make him for his school lunches as when I pack other things, he will eat nothing. He does try a bite of new foods when encouraged, and involving him in cooking helps to encourage him to try a bite. Both my boys have private occupational therapy which includes making and trying new foods. Keep feeding your child, don't starve him. Keep encouraging him to take a bite of new foods too.

Heather - posted on 09/21/2010

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I say feed him what he likes, my son will go for weeks and want the same thing, as long as it is not terrible for him let him eat what he wants. Have you tried mixing the vitamins in what he drinks. I agree sty away from dairy products if you can it really does make a difference. I hope this helps and good luck. Keep on the doctors, sometime i find that they are a little lazy and just want to give out the prescriptions and sometimes the best thing for the children in certain kinds of therapy. Good Luck and push those Doctors to help you!!!!

Diane - posted on 09/21/2010

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By the way, both chicken nuggets and pizza can be made gluten free and dairy free, and there are yummy recipes that your child may not be able to tell the difference. Email me privately and I would be happy to share GF/CF recipes. gallantdiane at yahoo dot com

FRANCES - posted on 09/19/2010

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Dear Melissa,
We too have the same eating problems with our 5 year old who was diagnoses with Autism when he was 2. He only likes to eat chicken nuggets and pizza as well, but slowly he trying a few other things like spaghetti, and he loves cereal. I too try to get him to at least try a taste but if he insists that he does not want it, than I won't push it. Sensory is the issue and he too can smell and taste things we can not, because he is on the low end of the senory chart as well. He does love ketchup a lot, maybe to mask the food not really sure, but I would just let him eat what he likes and just take it one day at a time. I finally got my son to take the gummy vitamins which is a big step and he is now 46 lbs which is also great for him, he was always just skin and bones. It's a lot to have to take in and by no means will I tell you what to do, Just simply tell you what works for us. He is seeing a occupational therapist and slowing introducing new things as he tends to gag on foods as well and I have yet to figure out what all works so we do need to keep on eye on him when he does try something new, but It was a great idea to try what Carol has suggested, I plan to and see where we go from there. You just never know what textures and all they can tolerate, because one texture may seem the same with some foods yet not to them. He will ask me if he likes certain foods and I simply just say, well we can try and see if you like it and sometimes he will other times he will not. Autism IS very strange and different and we just have to try our best and not let it beat us. Good luck and I hope you find something that works and gets your little one healthy.

Jane - posted on 09/18/2010

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My son is the exact same way, also diagnosed Asperger's/ADHD. He is 9 and can swallow pills, so I break a Centrum in half and give it to him every day. He won't eat anything that's not processed! LOL I know it's not funny, but if I don't laugh I'll cry. If you can get your son to swallow a pill, give it a try. We also spoke to his Psychiatrist about supplements at our last appointment, and she recommended giving him Fish Oil too. The pills are really big, but it does come in liquid form. That doesn't really work for a kid who doesn't eat though. I bought the smallest ones I could find and he takes that too. All I can say is good luck!

Stephanie - posted on 09/18/2010

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MY DAUGHTER IS NOW 10 AND SHE HAS ASPERGER'S,WE WENT THROUGH THE NOT EATING UNTIL I ASK HER DOCTOR ABOUT REMERON......A PRESCRIPTION MEDICINE THAT WORKS WONDERFUL ON HER....SHE IS NOW UP TO 72LBS......

Diane - posted on 09/17/2010

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Hey Donna, my son as been GF/CF for nine years, and the cheese problem is SOLVED. Daiya cheddar or mozzarella style shredded cheese substitute www.daiya.com is dairy, lactose, casein, and even soy FREE. It tastes amazing, melts, and better yet, has a long refrigerator shelf life. The package I bought mid Summer expires end of October (but it will never last that long as our son LOVES this cheese. He is in Middle School, has been on the diet since age 3, and loves daiya cheese because now he can enjoy the yummy foods his friends rave about too, like patty melts (on Udi bread - another new product in health food store freezers that tastes like the real thing.)

Lots of diet tips and help on the TACA website at www.tacanow.org

diane in TN

Trudie - posted on 09/17/2010

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hi, my name is trudie and my son is 3 1/2 yrs old and is in the middle of all these appointments. he want eat anything healthy but; yoghurt must be natural with no fruit or flavouring. junk food - biscuits, mac donalds chips and fairy bread. Unfortunatly with autist children, everything is on their terms or god help us all. my son has to have the entire bag of bisciuts, 5 nuggets, 5 slices if bread with no crust and butter and 100's and 1000's sprinkled all over no gaps. he has autism clinic appointment at end of month for full assessment..diagnoses. all specialists and pediatrician think high functioning autism.

Madeline - posted on 09/17/2010

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My son only ate three things - yoghourt, Goldfish crackers and milk [yes milk is a food!] until he was seven. But since he was about 3 we've been working with a book called 'Just Take a Bite' [it's very expensive but you might be able to get a copy from your therapist or the library] Now he eats a full diet [doesn't enjoy it] but we're well on the way.

Sherri - posted on 09/16/2010

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My son stopped eating at 17 months old. He is now 6.5 years old. I have taken him from doctor to doctor (15 in all) and no one said, he might have autism. My son was just diagnosed with autism and has the low end on the scale for sensory. Which means, he decides what to put in his mouth to eat. My son prefers the gold fish crackers, pringles and salt free potato chips. These 3 things are all he has ever eaten since he was 3 years old. As soon as my son stopped eating and I could not find a doctor to help me. I started allowing my son to drink organic chocolate milk. We would go through cartons and cartons of organic chocolate milk. It's his really only source of nutrition.
I have seen a feeding specialist. Several other doctors who have said, oh it's just a phase (the reason my son didn't eat) I just had to take matters into my own hands and decided to fill him up with organic chocolate milk. The feeding specialist told me the same thing, wait until he is hungry then he will eat. That is NOT the answer. My son would go days with out eating, so I no longer listen to these people who know nothing about my son.
I really feel for you. I have become a closet eater because for so many years my son has not eaten and I could not eat in-front of him anymore. I have lost sleep, stressed myself out and have worried about his own growth and health.
I would ask your doctor for all the blood work possible and see if his levels are with in normal range. If the results come back that he is not with in normal range. Try the organic chocolate milk and then wait a month and have new blood work taken again. If they improve then continue on with the organic chocolate milk. If there is no change, then I would call an allergist in your area and see if your son has food allergies, on top of being autistic and having ADHD he might have food allergies and this is why he isn't eating or is very picky.
You could also ask your doctor that you would like to find out on the "sensory" level if your son is on the low end of the chart for sensory related issues. Low end means picky eater, can smell things that normally would not bother anyone else, can hear things that would normally not bother anyone else and so on and so forth. My son is low on the sensory chart, so he can smell things in the air miles away. He has super sonic hearing and can hear things miles away. He controls what he will put in his mouth.
Hope this helps,
Blessings to you,
Sherri

Rachel - posted on 09/16/2010

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Hi. I think that by the number of responses one can easily tell that kids on the spectrum have major issues with foods/eating. I think that the reasons vary for many kids (sensory issues--smells, temps, textures to gut/digestive reasons to both and more). I do think that it helps if you can decipher the cause--is it sensory related? Are there underlying digestive causes? The approach to getting him to eat will vary depending on the cause. For us, it was both for our son.

We do an ABA approach to eating. We went to a feeding clinic that was part of an autism center. We did a very inclusive food preference list, and then we slowly linked highly preferred foods to more tolerable foods. If he took bites of the lesser preferrred foods, he gets the favorite foods. It is slow, and it can be hard, but it worked wonders for us. He has gone from only eating crackers and mayonaise or waffles and mustard to a widely varied diet. He is still very small, still at the feeding clinic, but he is eating.

You would not need to use such a specialized program. It can be done on your own. Do not make it a battle, and link the foods you want him to try to the foods he loves. Tons of tasl-specific praise for each attempt at eating new foods. Gradually increase what he is expected to eat before the preferred foods.

As an aside, we do GF/CF. It helped greatly, but AA helped so much more. It is scary to remove foods when you are desperately trying to get them to eat. However, we have found that he ate so much more and was more willing to try more foods a few weeks after GF/CF.

Good luck!

Lynette - posted on 09/15/2010

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I had seen this lunch box menu in a sobeys cookbook an thought it might help moms with nuero typical kids an for kids with autism,aspergers,pss-nos,add or adhd an picky eaters alike..


MONDAY:


FRUIT AN CHEESE BURRITOtortillia wrap,fruit flavour cream cheese,fresh sliced fruit (instead of cream cheese you can substitute with a non dairy spread.+VEGETABLE TRAY WITH DIP+BAKED CHIPS WITH SALSA+WATER,MILK OR NATURAL FRUIT JUICE.(AVOID JUICES AN FOODS WITH SYNTHETIC DYES)


TUESDAY:


ALL NATURAL SANDWICHuse leftover chicken or salmon for a protien based sandwich+FRUIT TRAY WITH DIP+HOMEMADE GLUTEN FREE COOKIESred barn has a gf chocholate chip cookie mix+water,milk an juice


WEDNESDAY:


JUNIOR NIBBLERcontains cheese,meat,crackers an grapes+CUP OF BERRIES+POPCORN+WATER,JUICE OR MILK(CAN SUB WITH SOY MILK OR LACTOSE FREE MILK)


THURSDAY:


PEA AN PASTA SALAD frozen peas(you could also use cauliflor or broccoli or some other veggie,cooked rice flour pasta (gf),cheese,ham /eggs,dressing+VEGGIE TRAY WITH DIP+VANILLA YOGURT WITH FRUIT+MILK,NATURAL JUICE,MILK


FRIDAY


SWEET POTATO FRENCH TOAST WHOLE WHEAT OR GLUTEN FREE BREAD,PUREED SWEET POTATO,EGGS,SUGAR,CINNAMON+APPLESAUCE+CRACKERS AND HUMUS(MAKE SURE SESAME PASTE IS OK IN A PEANUT FREE ZONE to make humus use 1 tin chick peas,1/4cup of sesame seed paste(tahini),1tbsp lemon juice,1tsp cumin spice,1tsp salt or less,1 tbsp oil,3 fresh cloves of garlic minced.blend together with either a hand blender or potato masher.you can also substitute crackers with pita bread.+WATER,NATURAL JUICE,MILK

hope this helps.after i commented before i saw this an typed it up cause i though it would be good to share.

Kisayne - posted on 09/15/2010

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My son was the same, then i tried him on raw milk and that has changed his appetite forever he always pick at his food never seemed hungry and only ate a few things, but now he actually wants to eat and asks for food!!!! I have also started to make all my own pizza dough and bread and put in oils that will have vitamins in like avocado oil and so on.

hope this helps, it may be tough to find a farm that can get you raw milk but if you can go for it, the enzymes in the milk are amazing, rather than the dead milk you buy in the shops!!! GOOD LUCK!!!

Samantha - posted on 09/15/2010

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is he on med sfor the adhd
as some med surrpres there appitite so you might what to look at his meds

Lilia - posted on 09/15/2010

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Dear Melissa, youare not the only one with this probleem. :-( My son is now 14 and has dieet without gluten and milk (any sort of). He didn't eat anything besides chiken nuggets (McDonalds) and chocomilk. And after eating this he didn't feel ok, or became sick. He never sleeps at night. When we found out about his allergie to gluten and milk he get a special diet, things became more easy for us and him. Now he eat everything from his diet and we give him some supplements (op advise from KIRKMAN) . We never succeded in any hospital to help our son, only in autistic center they understand what was our problem. May be you can try this also?

Lynette - posted on 09/14/2010

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has he been checked for diabetes or luekemia? not a nice thought but i would investigate it.abou foods is it the texture of other foods or the taste?can he verbally tell you what it is he don't like.my 4year has autism an adhd so we have him on a gluten free.sodium and sugar reduced diet which helps with his behaviour but he is picky too because he gags on red meat an won`t touch or eat foods with a gooey or wet texture an prefers dryer foods like pizza with some kids who have asd have sensory or texture issues with food..what if he was on a liquid diet? do you have a juicer or a blender what if you made shakes an smoothies with fruits and veggies an throw in protien powder mix once in a while to build up bulk an muscle or give him a protien bar ?also google the juice plus site they have supplements for this situation.I have a recipe an info sharing group on face book called ``Recipe's for parents of children with Autism & other sensory disorders`` for some recipe`s under the disscission tab.hope this helps.

Adri - posted on 09/14/2010

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Hi there I saw your post ……. Trust me with patience and perseverance they grow out of it. It is a slow and painful process but they do eventually start to try new things. My son Tyler has Add/hd and possible Aspergers syndrome. When he was a baby he ate everything up to 2 years and then is was just mince and potato …… and only that. He refused to eat veggies or other meats even fruit he refused to eat. So my Dr said we should leave him he will eat when he is hungry. Tyler was drinking juice and the dr said that one juice is equal to a bunch of fruit and it fills them up. So we left it not that we saw any improvements.
So slowly I started forcing him to taste things even one teaspoon full . I told him if he doesn’t like it he doesn’t have to eat more but every time I make stuff I made sure he tasted it if I made pumpkin 3 times in a row he had to taste each mealtime and slowly he started eating things like beans and broccoli and now even spinach. But please don’t be fooled kids need some encouragement and don’t try to lie about things they are sharper then we think try make pumpkin fritters or carrot muffins, kids will eat anything that looks like junk food. I would also suggest you make his pizza yourself and put healthy things in it. Pizza don’t always need to be unhealthy you can even use whole wheat flower when making the dough. If you make the pizza sauce you can even put a bit of carrot it and puree it. There is this book out called deceptively delicious it is resipes for kids like our that don’t want to eat veggies its very good. Does he eat yogurt? If he does you get vitamin powder at most health stores. You can mix it into the yogurt.
Well long story short Tyler is now 9 and he eats almost all veggies and meat with little protest but I only found out recently way this is. Some kids with Autism have dislikes now the food issues are caused by the textures or even the taste (when your child’s tastes ate developed so strongly they can’t process the taste) in the food like Tyler does not like mushie food or runny food so instead of giving him just pumpkin I make him pumpkin fritters.
Don’t despair they do come around it just takes time and patience and a mothers creativity !!!! Good Luck your welcome to mail me if you want !:)
Ta Adri

Carol - posted on 09/13/2010

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Dear Melissa, I am a veteran of Autism. I am not here to self promote, or have a professional agenda. I have skimmed all of the responses previous to mine, and remember how confusing all of the help was 20 years ago. Its still overwhelming to read today! I applaud all the good hearts willing and able to respond! There is one problem...no one ever said take it all in and spend some time digesting it! I will be that one! Autism is a strange and different animal, one that doesnt respond to things we know and understand, so we have as a group found unusual understanding of different parts of it in our own way. With helpers who guide us in their own understanding. In my own experience, I have found one particular way to survive autism, and in fact recovered my son. I have been at this for 20 years, but am happy to say my husband and I are still happily together and in love! Our son with autism is recovered, and our other sons are relatively unaware of their brothers affliction. I say all this to qualify my answer to your food dilemma. Food is a HUGE sensory issue having to do with all of the 5 senses. I suggest that all the food he WILL eat seems to be warm, soft, and devoid of



After 20 years getting to know autism, I must tell you when it comes to food, all five senses are in play. think about each sense, and recognize which ones he eats. Soft, warm, gentle texture, little color, narrow it down. if cold is a toleration, blend the goodies into a popsicle. If scrambled eggs are tolerated, put the goodies into the eggs! find your base food and work from there. Its always the senses, and its always one way or the other. I would also have to add that cow dairy never did us any good. Neither did sugar in any form, but sugar never hurt as much as dairy.
Experiment, and find the sense/senses you are dealing with. That will help you a LONG long way!

Summer - posted on 09/13/2010

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i dnt know if this will help but my son loves catsup and ranch and the only way he will eat is if it has one of those on it if you son likes either one of them mabey u can try putting that on his food to try new things

Denise - posted on 09/13/2010

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my son is 11yrs old and just last year started eating meat,he is only 51lbs and very short,i just kept on offering what we had,besides his favorite(pasta) this went on for several years,then last year he went to a friends house and he ate what they had for dinner,don't panic just be greatful for what he does eat and drink atleast he is eating something,of course see a dr. make sure nothing else is wrong,some kids just like routine and if you stear of course the protest!

Jessica - posted on 09/13/2010

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Just let the kid have his nuggets! My 5 yr old is the same way. He is autistic and thinks that nuggets and pizza and chips are the only way to live. But at least he will take the gummy vitamins. If he is under weight though he needs his nuggets back. We also tried the B12 shots last month. That seemed to help with the behavior/school issues. Just hang in there though. He needs to eat.

Julie - posted on 09/11/2010

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Will he eat for other people? Sometimes others could get my son to try something different. Try doing the reversal thing and saying, "oh I bet you won't like this". Or make a game out of it. As far as vitamins go. . .some of them have a strong flavor to them and my son didn't like alot of them. We did find that centrum kids had a milder flavor chewable that he could tolerate. Don't give up!! My son was 7 before he ever ate and ice cream cone! He tried it because my dad had a strawberry ice cream cone and he adored his grandpa and wanted to be just like him! He was an extremely picky eater as well! Some of it had to do with the texture of those foods, he preferred crunchy foods. Have you taken him to an occupational therapist? They worked with my son on many things including different textiles and helping him feel more comfortable with different textures. Just remembering some things we tried. good luck

Madeline - posted on 09/11/2010

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My son only ate three food - goldfish crackers, cheerios and milk [yes, milk is a food around here] until he was 7. I read 'Just Take a Bite' [it's very expensive] but it helps change how we think about food and so helps me change my approach to the whole issue. Now he's nearly ten and eats a full mixed diet [it's taken a long time and he still screams and complains but the spoon is in his hand and he puts the food in his own mouth.]

Debbie - posted on 09/11/2010

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Our son has Aspergers and at 23 still has eating issues. It's not that he doesn't want to eat, but for years it was a texture issue and then as a young adult it became a stress issue as well as food bothering his digestive system. The Dr. says he is seriously underweight and can't fight off colds etc. He did drink Boost for a while when he was sick. He has found that gluten free products are better on his system (gluten seems to be a common issue with children with Autism). He also has a protein powder that is unflavored and he mixes it in with things he eats (like pancakes or something similar). Our son survives on pizza a lot too. Keep asking questions and don't settle until your spirit feels settled. It took us 10 years to get the diagnosis of Aspergers after everything from we were crazy to he was crazy. Amazingly after continuing to push and ask and go from Dr. To Dr. we found a neurologist that gave us the most help. I feel this is a life time battle for him and for us but there is hope as they learn what they are battling. Our son looks like a giraffe (he's over 6' and was excited the other day because he broke 135lb finally!!).

La - posted on 09/10/2010

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My daughter mostly prefers formula or liquid meals. She has a few foods that she will almost always eat such as crackers,cheese puffs, and watermelon, but her eating of solid foods is really inconsistent. If she does eat, it has to have a lot of flavor. She likes fatty meats such as ox tail and kielbasa and she likes anything tomato based such as stews or chilis. Not a fan of cheese and won't drink milk at all. Only likes citrus and tropical juices specifically the V8 fruit/veggie peach mango. She never ate baby food as an infant because she didn't like the consistency of it. I used to get annoyed that she was so picky and would rather starve than eat something she didn't want but I learned to pick my battles. I would rather her eat something than nothing.

Kathy - posted on 09/10/2010

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feed him pizza and chicken nuggets and don't fight this battle now...it can wait...there was a study just done that early poor eating does NOT cause all the problems that can happen later. ASD kids often do not realize that they are hungry after a certain point in their hunger and don't want to eat after that point and go on to have the iritabilty, headache, mental fuzzyness, etc. of not eating.

Marge - posted on 09/10/2010

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i gave my son a multi B vitamins eveyday, the chewable one like Flintstone.....

WJ - posted on 09/10/2010

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been there, done that!. texture is important, some kids need everything mushy, others crunchy. try a divided plate (the kind you use for fondues) so that nothing touches on the plate. i never make a special meal for my son, but i always make sure that there is something he will eat at each meal. i don't worry about getting all the food groups in each day, but i do try to get them all in over a course of a week. i've become a fan of kraft dinner that actually has a serving of veggies in it. I also mash a little bit of cooked cauliflower into my mashed potatoes, you can't see it or taste it.

it will get easier. my son has become more willing to try new foods as he gets older. hope my suggestions help you.

Lisa - posted on 09/09/2010

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Hey melissa, what a brave couragous mum you are. I have son that has ADHD and Sensory Integration Disorder ( it is on the austism spectrum) meal times and food are our biggest struggles with our son. I cook a lot of my own meal make my own nuggets my own pizza and manage to squeeze vegies into them with out any of my kids knowing (my blender is my best friend)!!! My son is now 10 and will venture a little with his food, it takes persistants, encouragement patience and try a little imagination, white suce can be made with a whole cauliflower, choc chip cookies can be made with fresh pureed beetroot G/F flour, I found Jessica Sienfeld's book helpful and have branched out further so that my son gets all the nutrition he needs and has no idea he is getting it.. Smoothie's are a life saver I can put all sorts of fruit some juice a little organic yogurt some ground nuts and he has no idea that it is a super food, good luck, it is a challenging time but I am confident that all our children will adjust to this world that we live in!!!

Sharon - posted on 09/09/2010

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Our son also has ADHD and is autistic. He is now 9 years old,. He was a very picky eater when he hit the age of 3 or 4 until the last year or so. When he was a baby, he wasn't so much that way. We found by giving our son things that he could dip in ketchup or ranch dressing, that he'd eat alot more foods. He, still to this day, uses ketchup for most everything.



When our son was picky and wouldn't eat much, we were told both by the specialist who diagnosed him and his pediatrician to feed him whatever he wanted to help him gain weight but to stay away from as many "sweets" as possible. When he hit 4 or 5, he would eat chicken nuggets, hamburgers, pizza and a few breakfast foods. So we just kept feeding him what he'd like but trying to introduce new foods to him but not getting upset if he didn't always try them. We'd also give him ketchup or ranch dressing and let him dip his foods in it. He won't eat sausage without ketchup.



Now he eats tacos (his favorite food so he says), hot dogs, soups, sandwiches, macaroni/cheese, potatoes, cheese, spaghetti (as long as there are meatballs in it), lasagna, and he loves most any kind of meat, as long as he has his ketchup. He likes green beans now as well as corn. We grow alot of our own veggies, as well as have alot of fruit trees, and he has learn to eat most of the things we grow. There are still some that he doesn't like. Even if you can't grow it yourself, you can buy fresh fruits and veggies in the store. He will eat certain fresh veggies as long as he can dip it in ranch dressing.



Our son is still slender but he runs off most of his because he doesn't sit still for long periods.



Our son, now, will try most anything that we put in front of him but he still has to smell it and some times touch it. Something I notice that autistic children do.



I'm not sure I agree to the 'starving' part of it, but I would keep trying to introduce new foods along with the old foods as much as possible.



Good luck and hope it all works out for you. Raising a child with both diagnosis, autism and ADHD is very hard. I know, I am in the same shoes.

Donna - posted on 09/09/2010

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My son is also ADHD and Autisic I have been down that very road it is hard to see your son look like a bag bones I thought I never see the day he put on weight. he is 14 now and I finally see him feeling out. some of the stuff that has helped is the ensure drinks he only liked one kind but every now and then i pick him up some for after school snack. having ice cream before going to bed. eggs and protine. my yougest hated eggs and any meat. My youngest is very much pickie too and he was harder. but I have to say the best advise would be that really helped me with my two. bring them in the kitchen let them cook twice week I know he only 6 but we worked our way up the boys helping prepare and choose some of the menue helped a great deal. they cook and then make each other taste test their food finding some other foods they would eat. I hope this helps

Connie - posted on 09/09/2010

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To clarify that the GF/CF diet "works" on children who are on a part of the spectrum that makes it possible to have a logical conversation with your child, to "force" them to eat things that they don't want (I believe this to be abusive) and the scientific evidence shows simply that it cleans out their system and allows better absorption of the nutrients that any child would need. I feed organic foods to my children and we all eat pretty much the same stuff - with the exception that my little guy does not eat hot foods. We all do what works for our kids, but keeping things as close to its natural form is the best. My child has classic autism - he doesn't understand a lot of what is said to him and I am NOT in the business of starving my child to make a point. JMHO - whatever people choose to do and teach their children is their perogative.

Donna - posted on 09/09/2010

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The gf/cf diet doesn't have to be "scientifically proven" to the thousands upon thousands of children it has helped. True that it doesn't help every child, but if changing a diet makes a huge difference in a lot of kids, why wouldn't you want to at least give it a try????? If he loves chicken nuggets, you can buy gf/cf chicken nuggets or you can make them yourself just by dredging the chicken in beaten egg yolk and then corn meal or coconut flour, he won't know the difference, You can start replacing your regular pasta with Quinoa, it take's exactly the same as reguluar pasta, but has twice the protein and is a great source of fiber. I'd have to say that my only challenge is finding a subsitute for cheese, but really that's the only drawback for me. Sams carries an entire line of gluten free lunch meats, Lays potatoe chips are on the list. I find that my youngest will spit out a food at least 25 times of trying before he accepts a new texture or flavor. I don't make a big deal about it, when I'm intruducing something new, I first tell him what it is, then I put it in his mouth and tell him to chew it up, he usually spits it out a couple of times and I just put it back in and prompt him to chew it up again and I would say 75% of the time, I am successful in getting to eat at least a few bites of it. I just reintroduce it a lot in that week until he readily accepts it. He's almost 8 now and readily eats almost anything he's offered and has even learned to say to others "he can't have that, it has gluten in it" so cute, but he knows other foods with gluten or caseine will make his stomach hurt.

Katie - posted on 09/09/2010

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I know you dont like the idea but how long have you tried to go without giving him any food? yes it does seem crule but we had to do it with our son at a year old he was diganosed with autism and what a diffrence it made when we removed dairy and wheat products from his diet WOW totally diffrent kid he functions now! We started out with books and info from jenny mcarthy they really helped us. She explains that the dairy and wheat act as a opiate in the system of kids with autism and they will go through withdrawls just like someone addicted to drugs would. they will do anything to get a fix of dairy or wheat. when we read this I thought ok, this lady is nuts!!! but I can truly say it was the truth once we removed everything within two days "presto" our son who never talked, or payed any attention to us was giving us eye contact and counted to 5. at first if theres a crumb of a cracker on the floor he knew it was there or dog food that had wheat in it he would go crazy but its not so bad now. if your son likes chicken nuggets try chicken breasts rolled in lays potato chips theres always a way around changing the food. If you put your foot down hes not going to starve himself it might take a few days but if you think about it, when kids are sick with the flu do they really eat? not really they can go for days without eating much. As long as you can get fluids into him because lack of fluids to the body are dangerous. He will eventually eat! Good Luck

Connie - posted on 09/09/2010

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We go to a feeding clinic one a month and make sure that my son is growing. He is now in the 70th percentile - he is seven. He only eats cold food...sandwiches, PB. GF/CF diet has not been scientifically proven so it is entirely up to you if you want to try it. I give my son whatever he will eat and then for vitamins there are a couple of options - ensure - one can before bed or there are some things that you can buy online. We are currently trying Vemma for kids. He likes it - he gets a shot a day and so far so good. He has "shot up" about an inch in the last month so we will see what happens. It may be a coincidence. Anyway...my point is that if he is happy, energetic, sleeping well and growing then he is doing ok. You may want to get some things in place for support when he starts puberty as he will be hungry then and a completely different set of considerations. Everything that we do now is to prepare for that time.

Cheryl - posted on 09/09/2010

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My son (12 years old - autism) has 5 core foods. Chicken fingers are the major food. Two years ago he stopped eating anything...he dropped 20 pounds in a couple of months. Any advice that would tell you to let him starve needs to be ignored. These kids will literally starve themselves to death. If your son will eat pizza and chicken nuggets...let him. Three meals a day. Offer other foods always, but don't expect miracles. My son is unable to chew any food that isn't crunchy - he is not just being stubborn - he is literally unable. There is simply no connection telling his mouth what to do. Will your son drink milk? Juice? Pediasure?

Donna - posted on 09/09/2010

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I have three children on the autism spectrum, one very high functioning, one who is high functioning but who also has ADHD and is bi polar, and one who is classically autistic. The very first thing I would do is go to the library and check out the books on the gluten free casiene free diet. This diet saved our lives. Before switching to gf/cf, my kids were all very unhappy kids. My younges would also not eat anything but chicken nuggets and french fries. This is not a quick fix and it requires total committment to the diet, it may take up to six months to see the diffence, but I promise you it will be so worth it! Another resource in Jean Ganet with Bionetics, to some it may sound too far fetched, but as soon as our son started listening to Jeans CD's he started sleeping through the night, and talking way more. If you purchase the CD's, you will have access to an online support group who are a group of seasoned parents and some medical experts who will lead you through the journey of healing your child. The support group is worth it's weight in gold as far as I'm concerned. Just google Jena Ganet/bionetics

Heather - posted on 09/09/2010

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Have you tried scare tactics? See if the hospital near you has any patients on feeding tubes. Talk to an administrator there and explain you son's problem and ask if you can take him around to see people with feedin gtubes. Explain to him that this is how they are fed and that if he doesn't eat, he will get really sick and they may have to put him in the hospital and give him a tube of his own. Ask him if he would like being in the hospital away from his mom and dad. Ask him how he thinks the feeding tube might feel in his tummy or in his throat,(you do not have to explain that the give pain meds or numbing agents). Let he get a real good look. My son sometimes needed very graffic explainatioins to get him to understand.

LINDY - posted on 09/09/2010

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hi my son has autism and sensory problems he will only eat peanut butter sandwiches everything dipped in barbecue sauce and diet cordial with apple blackcurrant juice he is 5 and is still having a bottle cos that only way i can get meds into him when he is sick my dr said that as long as he is having the bread with vitamins(you can get special bread with vitamins) in it and juice and peanut or cheese (macs cheese only ) or egg yolk on toast or sandwich then its ok he doesnt eat meat or veg or fruit my dr said if you muck around with their food to much they will get more fussy i get my son to lick things first and then its not a big battle to try new things sometimes lol go with what you think you know your son best good luck

Karen - posted on 09/08/2010

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my son is 8yr old he doesnot eat a hole lot noodles corn dogs cheese puffs mac&cheese and does eat some at school he doesnot like to go out much loves to play game loves car trucks he loves his dad i hope you make out with the doctors good luck

Janine - posted on 09/08/2010

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I've just been on the phone with a lady who has really helped me. My son has ADHD & Aspergers and Its so frustrating. Have you read the book "Out of Sync kids can have fun", she told me it will answer a lot of questions. As for the vitamins, My kids love the ones I have for them. They are all natural and 11 times better then flinstones and 85% more absorbable. Email me so I can tell you more about them. I feel your pain! nene_sisca@yahoo.com

Tami - posted on 09/08/2010

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I have 2 Grandchildren who have Aspergers who have sensory issues with food too. I can't find much that works either to get them to eat different foods. What they will eat we give them as often as they want it. Good luck!

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