Eating problems in Autistic children.

Carron - posted on 01/28/2009 ( 69 moms have responded )

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Hi there, can anyone give me some ideas on how to introduce new food groups to an Autistic child?

I have a 6 year old boy who was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 2. He is an extremely bad eater who has only a variety of about 3 foods that he will eat. He gags at the sight of food sometimes and trying to introduce a new food type usually ends up in a full blown episode of crying, shaking and uncontrollable tantrums. He was still eating mashed food at 3 and even then it was a struggle. He has sensory issues as well. And there are certain colours in food he will not go near. He is a big dairy food eater and loves cheese. Does anyone have some advice for me?

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Lauren - posted on 01/06/2013

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I HAVE THE ANSWER.
NO fruit juice, no cakes, no candies, NO SNACKS. Water to drink only! The chid may have milk ONLY after he eats his meal (If not on a dairy free diet, which my son is so he drinks almond milk). If the meal has not been eaten, water only!
Kids love sugar!! Do not let them eat anything sweet except fruit!! If they want juice, tell them that you don't have any and offer them fruit. And by that I mean do not lie to them, because you should not store juice in your house anymore. Don't buy any more snacks. Fruit is the snack. End of story. You do not want them to fill up on any other thing before a meal. Snack should be offered halfway between meals. Don't exceed 30 minutes of snack time.
You have to be stern and firm with these children at all times, but lovingly and in a matter-of-fact way. Trust me, it will be extremely difficult for these kids to give up their favorite foods, but it is of utmost importance for their health. I've been through it!! You HAVE to suffer the tantrums, I can't stress this enough! If they tantrum, send them to their room for a few minutes. And continue this cycle over and over again. No means no. They will not allow themselves to starve. Autistic children are very smart and peculiar, they know how to get what they want when they want it. You have to be the controller!! They probably wont eat anything you offer them at first but I can assure you at the end of the day they will be so hungry they will eat whatever you offer them.
As for them not eating things because it is a certain color, texture or something is hanging off of it, tell them that is what they get. That is the way it was presented, so that is how it will be eaten. No pureeing fruit, no cutting up pizza. My son always wanted me to cut up cheese pizza, and he would be upset if it was too big or too small and throw a tantrum. So I said, "That's It!" If he's going to throw a tantrum even when I am doing it the way he wants, then I am just going to give up and make him eat it the way we all eat pizza. I had enough of the tantrums! He sure threw a grand tantrum after that, but I told him, "What you see is what you get." Then I offered bounds and bounds of encouragement and demonstration. FINALLY he did it! He took a whole bite of his pizza, by himself! Then I praised him for the huge milestone he just completed. Trials, then praise; trials, then praise. Then repeat. Pizza is a once in a while treat. :)
Autistic children do not have to be picky eaters! When all we offer them is juice, mac n cheese, chicken nuggets, and pizza (bread, juice and diary diet?), no wonder they want only that! I do also highly suggest a gfcf diet, it has done wonders for my son, and we follow it pretty loosly. It CAN be done on a budget. Every meal offer them a meat, starch and veggie. Fruit for snack, water to drink. No chemicals, No dyes, No preservatives; ALL natural. Milk (or almond milk, etc.) AFTER they eat most of their meal. If they don't want milk, tell them you'll reward them with fruit if they eat it all. They will eat it no doubt. If they only want to eat the starch during mealtime, tell them they have to eat their meat first. If they only want the meat, let them eat it but tell them they must eat some veggies before they can have their milk or fruit. And if they just outright refuse, tell them in a loving, matter-of-fact way that they can just simply not eat then. IF they do not eat their meal, DO NOT give them a snack later. They must eat their meal first!! And if they tantrum, let them do it in their room! If they are hungry later they can either eat their unfinished meal, or wait until the next meal.
Discipline and consistancy and structure! Think Grandma! And I don't mean milk-and-cookies Grandma, I mean circa 1930s Pre WW2 Grandma! :) We could all use a little more discipline and structure! You can do it! ♥

Coleman - posted on 04/25/2014

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Is the highest rated post directed for autistic children, because it just seems like she doesn't get the real issue here. Talk to a doctor, not some mom that only lets their children eat fruit. I felt pretty gross reading that long post, that really was directed towards a child that is just stuborn not autistic...

Thea - posted on 04/08/2012

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I totally understand you and your situation. My 5 year old autistic son eats a handful of things and thats the way he has been for a very long time. My advice is to try to hide healthy foods in what he eats. For example, my son eats sausages so for the last 3 years I have been blending steamed vegies to a pulp and mixing the vegies into his sausage. The sausage meat flavour is so strong it is very easy to mask hidden vegies. I have now got it down to 2/3 sausage and 1/3 vegies mix. He has no idea and he just eats the sausage happily. I also add vitamins to his milk and when I think he is feeling poorly I may add a spoon of a vanilla protein drink suppliment to his milk so I know he is getting his calories. These kids can be very rigid and you can't force anything into them until they are ready. Once I decided to bite the bullet and make him drink water from a cup instead of milk from a sports sipper. We ended up in the emergency ward with him being dehydrated and low blood sugar. Choose your battles wisely. I hope this helps you in some way. :-)

Jennie - posted on 04/03/2012

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My son is 9 years old and diagnosed with aspergers and adhd. He's a very picky eater too. His pickiness started at about age 3. He will not try anything new. I feed him what he will eat. He has sensory issues too. He only eats plain hamburgers from mcdonalds and if the bun looks different forget it. Also he loves Oreo cookies but if it's in a different package he won't eat it. He use to love yogurt but the packaging changed so he won't eat it. He will only drink out of certain cups. He loves vegetables. I just feed him what he will eat. Food isn't a battle I choose to fight. There are other battles I will fight such as homework. My son is wonderful and thinks out of the box. I find him so interesting and he looks at things differently. The brain is a powerful thing.

Marie - posted on 01/26/2014

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my own son is almost nine, also autistic, terrible eater who cuts out huge food groups. he only likes white bland foods
He stopped eating at school for six whole months, we assumed he was being awkward, but was avoiding eating so that he didn't have to go to the noisy dinner hall. noise sensitivity had never come up before. i have aspergers myself and my eating habits got better with adulthood btw, so fingers crossed.
also i have shown him images of what can happen to your body of you do not look after it- the next day he asked me for strawberries, he only nibbled them, but i am sure any of you with autistic problem eaters will understand my elation when he asked to try fruit!

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Carrie - posted on 05/21/2014

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I think it's only fair to gage each person as individuals. None of us are the same! There are many things I do not like but I am able to verbalize it for everyone to understand. Please know a lot of sensory, oral issues and misunderstandings are behind eating.
Watch what types of foods go into your child, are they eating crunchy foods, cold, warm, soft, bitter, bland, acidy, etc... Try frozen fruits, warm veggies, cold veggies. It's not easy conforming to everyone's norm!

Gillian - posted on 01/18/2014

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Hi Carron,
My daughter is 42, autistic, and still has eating issues. When she was two years old she would climb up in a chair, look in the pan I was cooking in, say "yuk," and go to bed. So I get your frustration. I found out, though, that autistic children can have issues with eating due to the textures feeling different in their mouths. They can be hyper-sensitive even to the way it "looks." Strangely, though, my daughter will drink vegetable drinks that are green. Go figure! She only eats certain pieces of lettuce, and squirts out the juice from tomatoes. So what to do? I gave my daughter choices. We would go to the grocery store, and I would say, "Pick out a vegetable you like, and we will cook it together." She would oblige, and actually at least try the vegetable. At home I would say, "Do you want chicken tonight or grilled cheese sandwich?" That way she felt in control when actually I was the one guiding her choices. Hope this helps.

Mike - posted on 11/14/2013

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Has anybody made any progress???
7 yr old ASD, only eats toast and almond milk.
Just stopped eating toast and almond milk, said it made him sick.
I tried to force it a bit and he threw up on the table.
7 days of just water now, dont know what to do!
Dr's clueless. We have been to 3 feeding classes at the hospital and ot for 5 years.
I dont know what to do other that go to the hospital for a feeding tube.
Hes gone from 50 to 41 lbs. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Jacoba - posted on 11/12/2013

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Hi, I am going thru the same thing.
I have two children on the spectrum and I swear I cook three meals a night.
One is 11 and the 7 so thus has been going on for a long time . My youngest was recommended for CHOP feeding clinic, but our insurance won't pay for it.
Everyday is a struggle with food. Bacon,pizza,Pb&J,yogurt,bread. We really need some answers to how to do this alone . It is costly and I am worried a out my children's long term health . Any suggestions?

Gina Marie - posted on 08/13/2013

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I have a 13 year old son. He is a very picky eater. The only meat he will eat is bacon and it has to be just the right texture; crispy , or he will not eat it. He will eat chicken nuggets only at McDonald's, but he will only eat around the edges, the crispy part. He only eats certain foods. I get so frustrated. I have 3 other children, and I feel like a short order cook all the time. I never know what to cook anymore. It seems like my whole family has picked up on my sons eating habits. I'm Italian and I grew up eating everything, now I only can make certain foods, and it seems like the same thing every night. "Boring". Even when our family goes out to dinner, I have to bring a peanut butter sandwich for my son, so he will eat. I've confronted my pediatrician since he was little and all I got was that he was a picky eater and that he will out grow it. They thought because he liked milk, yogurt, bread and peanut butter, he was getting all of his food groups.

Please help!!!

Brooke Leight Newman - posted on 03/11/2013

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Ok Moms I have a 6 yrs old daughter diagnosed at two, sh was a "normal" child walked ontime spoke mama dada and ate everything. to at two getting tubes in ears three times and shots to not talking as much and from drinking juice in a cup to back to a sippy cup, she is still in diapers she will let you knowafter she poops or pees and wants a diaper change. She got really sick in dec 2012 with strp and she stopped all together feeding herself she now only eats icecream and she has to be in a car seat strapped up to eat wierd i know but it worked. i need her to eat a variety of food she went two month s\of only pbj sandwiches ,now were down to icecream and reese cups.

Caroline - posted on 02/03/2013

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My son is 8 and has had terrible problems. Ate mainly mashed foods til 5 yrs of age and would only drink milk from a bottle til 6 yrs. Anaphylaxis to a number of foods as well.
First thing is don't beat yourself up. Mine loves cheese as well. Trick is to try and serve it up differently each time; grated cheese, cheese cut into sticks, melted cheese on toast, cheese on crackers, cottage cheese on cruskets. Trick is to make sure one day he isn't so sick of it he never eats it again. Gradual changes, eg tomato paste and cheese only on a pizza, then introduce ham separately then put some ham on the pizza. Also just keep trying. It took my son up to 20 tries sometimes to accept things. Your boy sounds like he enjoys smooth textures? Try custard, ice cream, jelly, avocado, mashed banana, Spanish cream.dont give up. Kind regards.

Christina - posted on 01/28/2013

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Girl i got two Girls with autism in let me tell u my girls hit bit scream hit them self in cry for nothing in some times sad for no reason in my girls love cheese to in i can't get them to eat noyhing but meet cheese soups so i know what ur going through

Mike - posted on 12/20/2012

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I couldn't open the link to your post of the eating disorders. If I give you my direct e-mail can you send it to me. Our biggest concern is about going to the bathroom. I think it is diet related and I really don't want to have him go through a battery of tests, not at age 7. He will not go on the bowl. He will pee in the bowl at home and school but not a bowel movement. He has been in school for 5 years and has never gone to the bathroom at school. He has only had one accident. We live in NJ and as things work out after 20 years at one place my company went out of business, so I started my own business from home and I take care of my son going back and forth to school. Like others, I lived in a nice town and moved after 40 years because the public school system here is great. Private schools were looking at 95-100K a year, which is outrageous. Who could afford that. The school after trying many things suggested the food clinic at a hospital. They observed our son and they implimented a program that did not work.
We actually had a meeting with his teacher today and they now have him eating fruit cups of pears and apples. They are trying to introduce new foods to him but it is a very slow process. My direct e-mail is (zanez28@gmail.com) Thank you and I am glad I came to this sight. It is great to read stories of what other parents are going through. I know each kid is a special case but they all seem to have some things in common.Sharing thoughts is a great way to maybe pick something up that you don't kno. Thanks again, Mike

Jennie - posted on 12/19/2012

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My son is very picky too. Even with junk food like candy bars only will eat 2 kinds and it can't be king size. Only will eat certain brands and if I try to trick him he knows. He can tell just be looking at it and know it's different. Only will drink dr. Pepper from mc donalds and no where else. The food he eats is very limited. I don't make a battle over it. He told me he wishes he wasn't so picky. I get frustrated when I buy him a hamburger from mc donalds and he won't eat it because it has too much pepper.. Or the bun has an indent...or something else is wrong with the way it looks. I know he feels bad about it so I try not to get upset. When I hear about parents putting their kids on special diets I think I can't even get my kid to eat regular kid food. My son loves chocolate chip cookies but will only eat the ones I make at home from scratch. He won't eat a chips ahoy cookie and one time I made the choc chip cookies with light brown sugar and he wouldn't eat them. Then a few days later I made them with my usual dark brown sugar and now he tells me it looks like there's too many choc chips in it. Really? I use the same amount everytime so now I just put a little extra batter on top to covet the choc chips. I know how frustrating it is for sure!!! I wouldn't suggest holding a child down and forcing them to eat. I wouldn't want that done to me and I'm an adult no one would like that. I feed my son whatever he will eat. Am I doing it wrong? I don't know. What I do know is my son trusts me and is healthy. Good luck and hang in there.

Mike - posted on 12/19/2012

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I have been reading alot of the posts on eating problems with autistic children and I see alot of the same problems I am gouing through with my seven year old son. He used to eat alot of things and about age 3 he just stopped. It was either pizza, hot dogs or chicken and fries, then he stopeed eating hot dogs. He loves most chips but eats no other junk food. no chocolate, cookies, ice cream. He like soda but only coke. He eats chicken fries but they must be a certain brand. He also has sensory issues and if it smells different he pushes it away. We must have tried tens of pizza places until he found a place that he liked. Some may have too much garlic or not enough cheese. Anything different. He also will not eat a slice of pizza if the cheese is hanging off, like when you separate the slices. He is takes the little pieces off or he will not eat it. He has no conversational language but he can speak and has an amazing memory. Like others there are so many issues that we try not to make eating another issue but his constipation is something we must keep an eye on. You cannot even give him vitamins that are the same flavor as his juice drink(cran-grape) Somehow he smells it and refuses to drink it. We can only give him tasteless fiber and some minearl oil. Any suggestions. The food clinic at the hospital said the last step is just holding him down and forcing him to eat things , which my wife and I are totally against.

Mike - posted on 12/19/2012

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My son is seven years old. He eats for dinner two things. Either pizza or chicked fries and french fries and they have to be a certain kind. For lunch he eats yogurt, jello, peaches, pringles and has two juices. We mix the juice with water and we also give him fiber in his juice to try and help the situation We have tried food clinics but he will not eat anything different. He either pushes it away or spits it out. He also has constipation problems. He goes to the bathroom maybe twice a week and we must use a ducalax suppository. They are trying to implement different foods in school but the therapists are at a loss because he won't eat anything different. Has anyone else had a similar problem.

Dominique - posted on 04/11/2012

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Have you tried to put your son on the CFGF diet? I ask because my son is the same way. As you know autistic children need routine. It is through repetition they find peace. I have Cameron on a semi CFGF diet as it is extremely hard to remove gluten completely. Cameron used to want oatmeal and only oatmeal but I decided to give the CFGF diet a try. Within a month or so he began to show signs of improvement. He hadn't spoken or even pointed up to this point and he was almost 3. He started talking, and interacting with others almost instantly.
With his diet changing I knew what to give him and what not to give him. The more gluten free and casin free foods I offered him the more he ate. On occasion I will allow him to have an ice cream cone or a bowl of oatmeal. This of course means I have to be prepared for what that brings. Moodiness, extreme irritation with sound, lots of crying. But ultimately it helps him feel like he isnt singled out all the time. Cameron is big on textures. If the texture feels off to him he wont eat it. My suggestion would be to try the CFGF diet and see if that helps, then pay attention to how your son reacts to different foods. Introduce them subtly. Small portions. Make it something fun to try. If you have other children in the home get him to see them eating it. My son doesn't like to eat things that are broken, misshapen, or out of order in some manner. The way I combat that is by making my food look the same way. If I give him a bun that perhaps a piece has broken off, I will mimic that same thing with my own bun. Then I show him that it doesn't change the food I am eating and I eat it as if it is still just as good. It helps to calm him enough to try to eat his own. Your son loving dairy is not a good thing if you are going to try the CFGF diet. Dairy has to be removed. I give my son lactose free milk which also has no casin in it. I can always tell when he's had whole regular milk as the above listed symptoms come out. My suggestion is to read about the effects Casin and Gluten have on autistic people it may help you as it helped me and a great many others. I hope I have helped in some way and not rambled on too much.

Joanne - posted on 04/08/2012

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My daughter is 13 and she has a limited variety of foods she will eat. Chicken, turkey, tuna and pork (must be basic nothing saucy). As far as side dishes, it's mashed potatoes, carrots (raw not cooked) salad (no dressing), corn and rice. She will eat mac and cheese and eggs as well. I try to find different ways to prepare the poultry. For example, chicken will be breaded and cut into strips, next time it will be baked. Pork chops one day and then the pork will be boneless prepared with the Shake in Bake mix. I recently introduced the Shake in Bake and she was put off at first. I asked her to help me prepare by putting the pork into the bag to shake it around. She was willing to help and became curious of the end result. It made her feel proud she prepared it (feeling grown up) and, even better, liking what she made.

Coral - posted on 03/29/2012

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hi my son is 6yrs old he went from eating a lot now he hardly eats anything a moans when i give him food can anyone help plz x

Julie - posted on 05/28/2011

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My son is 8 and was diagnosed with AHDH and language disorder when he was in kindergarten and since been diagnosed with SID and just recently with Autism. My son use to eat everything we gave him up until about 2 1/2 to 3 then he started refusing to eat most foods. He will eat some of his foods mixed together like hotdogs mashed potatoes and cheese but will not eat hotdogs by themselves but will the cheese or the mashed potatoes. He will eat mac and cheese, and chicken nuggets but the way things look and the packaging are just as important. When he was little he liked having a little Hershey chocolate bar but if it wasn't in that plain brown wrapper forget it. Even if you showed him the chocolate he wouldn't eat it. Now as long as somewhere in a package you can show him it is Hershey milk chocolate he will eat it. He will also eat plain yellow chedder cheese, the puffy Cheetos, ruffled potoato chips,
and his favorite chocolate birthday cake. He will eat Popsicle but not ice cream he doesn't like stuff too hot or to cold and he likes all drinks room temperature and when he does get some pop prefers it warm without ice.
I have tried to talk to my son about food but he just tells me he is too scared to try new foods. He asked me if I was scared to try new food and I said no because I might miss out on something I might really like. If I try something and I don't like it I just don't eat anymore of it.
I was really proud of him the other day. My husband took him on a job for work and afterwards they stopped at a restaurant. My son usually never eats anything unless it is McDonald's chicken nuggets or french fries but my husband got him some mac & cheese and he ate it and like it but was still hungry so got him some chicken nuggets later at McDonald's.
Any idea's of how to help him from being so afraid of trying new foods? I was told by the speech pathologist at school that i should imagine his brain with little compartments in it and he has a compartment for all the foods he considers safe the ones he likes because he knows what to do with them.. But when he comes across a new food he doesn't know what to do with he gets scared and doesn't really know what to do. She said he is very rule based and if you don't follow his rules he gets very frustrated because he isn't sure what to do next.
Sound familiar to anyone?

Ginger - posted on 04/09/2009

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Both of my boys are the same.  The younger boy chooses food based on texture. I just try to keep the consistency of that texture and reward for at least trying a small bite. He has never eaten vegetables so he has trouble with his bowels moving. I got him to try the V8 juice that taste like fruit that way he is getting a serving of both fruit and vegetales. Sometimes it may not work but if we give up we will never know when they were reading to try something new. And being creative is always the key but not the easiest thing in the world to do. Since he likes dairy, there are all kinds of different types of yogurts that you can try. From the danimals,  to the drinkable yogurts, to the regular yogurts. Get all different kinds based on flavors he may like and colors he can work with. You may try speech therapy which helps with texture issues and they may be able to help creative ways to introduce new things as well. I hope this may of helped at least a little bit.

Nerys - posted on 04/09/2009

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my son is nearly 16 and still fussy with his food, the only things he will eat is pot noodles or supernoodles and crips but not only one packet but as much as he can get his hands on, he has been tested now for p.w syndrome, he will plaster his food with tomoto ketchup no matter what it is! he does not eat  a lot of food in a day but he is obesse and thats why he was tested,

Kelly - posted on 04/08/2009

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Hi, My son is 4 and he suffers from autism, as with everyone else sensory is the issue, when we have tea I let my son ask for things on other ppls plate and try it, even if he spits it out we give him major praise and then all of a sudden he will get onto something new, we where at a party the other day and my son asked for a piece of salami, which i thought he would not eat, he ate the little bit and asked for more, we now have another new food, he always seems to go back to pasta and APPLES, lots of APPLES and some rice, hope that helps

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My daughter is nine and just started coming to the table to taste food. I am a public speaker about autism and feel that when they have the ability to be reasoned with,( like with Emily she can follow simple directions and the word no) then you can say "just one bite" and only make them taste the food even though they may spit it out. Bring them tot he table every night and tell them they are expected to try one bite. Autistic have something called sensory integration dysfunction. It is where the senses work properly but when the imput reaches the brain it scrambles and is send back to the senses wrong. If a bowl of spaghetti looked like a bowl of worms you would not eat it either. I fed my daughter Pediasure until she was eight and she is healthy and vibrant. Please go to my website at artizzm.com and read my bio. If you have any questions that I can help you with I will do my best to answer or contact via facebook. Good luck and take care of yourself.

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Hi Laura, i just joined this group and eventhough you post was in Jan...I can relate. My son of 7 and AS is the same. We adopted the same route as you and good news....it does wonders!! I can do it most of time - casseroles are still out but he still eating A LOT more than he used to. He went to be a couple of times without supper and I think he got the point....Be Strong!

Jodi - posted on 04/05/2009

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My son was diagnosed with autism at 22 months. One of the first things we did was take him to a dietician who specializes in working with autistic kids to find out if he needed to be on the gluten free/casein free diet. They did some tests and he is intolerant to dairy, gluten and eggs. He also said that usually the things you like the most are the things you should stay away from. Just thought of that as reading your post that your kid loves dairy. Might not be the best thing for him to be eating.



My son loves dipping things in ketchup. don't know if that helps, but he's not a very picky eater which is good since he can't have several things. But I do know he wouldn't eat some things unless he could dip them in ketchup or bbq sauce. Just a thought. I dunno! :) Good luck.

Yvonne - posted on 03/31/2009

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Correction!!



The "Unlocking Autism" special is on the Discovery HEALTH Channel, April 6th @8pm...sorry for the confusion!

April - posted on 03/30/2009

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Oh how I feel your pain! You say he gags, does he ever vomit? My little guy is 5 and just as extreme as yours but he actually vomits at smells or even the thought of trying something new. I knew there was a problem at a very young age, as a baby he would gag and spit anything you put in his mouth out, even the yummy baby food desserts. He survived on milk for such a long period of time until he discovered crunchy. And now 5 yrs later he still only eats crunchy-potatoe chips,tortilla chips, the ocassional chocolate chip cookie, and crispy bacon. No dairy, meat,fruit or vegetables-I mean NONE! Thank god her will take his vitamins, I don't know why, but it must be a gift from God! We go to Ot for some other things but they have tried to work with him on textures in his mouth, we have been to a food therapy group, dietician. Nothing has worked for us, in fact I'm afraid it is making his iew on food more negative by trying to push him into it. It breaks my heart everytime he vomits b/c he really can't help it. I totally think it's a psychological issue. So after years of trying all of these things I've decided to leave it alone for awhile and hope that he will understand as he gets alittle older the serious need for nutrition. Good luck with your little guy!

Yvonne - posted on 03/29/2009

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Did everybody see the add for the "Unlocking Autism" special on TV?



I think it`s going to be on the Discovery Channel April 6, maybe it will offer us all some additional insights!!

Dori - posted on 03/28/2009

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I highly suggest you get  the book  Unraveling the Mystery of Autism and Pervasive Development Disorder   by Karyn Seroussi.     I have an 8 year old autisitc step-son and am currently reading the book.  I am learning about kids self limiting themselves to certain foods, such as your son seems to limit himself to dairy.  The foods eaten are not correctly ingested and results in peptides.  The peptides enter the bloodstream and goes to the brain receptors creating a drugged like state.  The children crave these feelings like a drug addict craves drugs.  I highly, highly recommend this book to you.   It is helping me out tremendously. Good luck to you!

Judy - posted on 03/28/2009

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Quoting Suzette:

I have a 7 yr old son, Dylan, with Autism Spectrum Disorder............he will only eat certain foods and that is it. He eats chicken nuggets, Mash Potatoes W/Gravy (from KFC), some peas and green beans and french fries and applesauce; Pringles potato chips (sour cream and onion) and he likes grape jelly and Jiff Peanut Butter but only on individual spoons and NO BREAD, NO Hot dogs or hamburgers and absolutely no ketchup, mustard, mayonaise, salt, pepper.........I just can't get him to try new things. I am still having a real problem with potty training......especially Number 2..............Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My older son was completely potty trained at 3yrs old with no problems.



I feel your pain.  My daughter was not potty trained (neither 1 nor 2) until 4.5 yrs old. I thought we'd be starting kindergarten in diapers. I have found that once the ASD kids "get" something, it really sticks.  Keep trying.  The video that helped my daughter was "it's potty time". It's about a birthday party and a magician (both of which she is crazy for) and they have a potty party.  I think if you can find a potty theme with something your kid obsesses over a bit (such as birthday parties) you may have some luck. TV basically has taught my kid how to talk, go potty, and have some social skills, so don't knock it.  There are LOTS of choices out there

Cassandra - posted on 03/28/2009

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I have a 3 year old son, named Jayden, he is on the autism spectrum, but we have no formal diagnosis just yet, still waiting to get back to the doctor, his ST says that its aspergers sydrome, but dont know yet.  he has already been diagnosed with a feeding disorder and sensory disorder.  The food part is the worst, he ONLY eats chicken nuggets and fries from mcdonalds no where else, i have tried everything that i can think of as well as all of his therapists, like putting chicken nuggets that i have made in the mcdonalds box but nothing works, he has to have pediasure on a daily basis to get the nutrients that he needs, but i dont want it to be that way forever HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! he has ate nothing but chicken nuggets and fries for over a year and a half, he will literally go days and not eat if i were to not get his mcdonalds, i dont know what to do.  Any suggestions????????

Suzette - posted on 03/26/2009

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I have a 7 yr old son, Dylan, with Autism Spectrum Disorder............he will only eat certain foods and that is it. He eats chicken nuggets, Mash Potatoes W/Gravy (from KFC), some peas and green beans and french fries and applesauce; Pringles potato chips (sour cream and onion) and he likes grape jelly and Jiff Peanut Butter but only on individual spoons and NO BREAD, NO Hot dogs or hamburgers and absolutely no ketchup, mustard, mayonaise, salt, pepper.........I just can't get him to try new things. I am still having a real problem with potty training......especially Number 2..............Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My older son was completely potty trained at 3yrs old with no problems.

Earline - posted on 03/26/2009

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Thanks for the ideas you guys!!! I have a 10 yr old step-daughter with aspergers... her diet consists of chicken nuggets, fishstix, pizza and plain hamburgers. She is starting to put on the typical pre-puberty weight, but I worry about the junk food diet. I never thought about the fact that textures or colors of foods may be a factor. Thanks for giving me "food for thought" lol on ways to introduce new foods to her! ")

Charlie - posted on 03/26/2009

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Whooops!! I obviously meant just DON'T give up!!! (my office days are long gone and the typing has suffered!)



Fruit smoothies are worth a try too, and my little one loves the Actimel drinks you get - yoghurt based with live good bacteria stuff in them...



As others have mentioned, watching family/other children eat things is always good..



Good luck!

Yvonne - posted on 03/25/2009

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Our two year old was diagnosed with (moderate) Autism last May, and he has ALWAYS had eating issues! We discovered last year he had a gluten intolerance(apparently VERY common with a diagnosis), and "just" changing his diet relieved almost 50-75% of our trouble with snack & mealtimes, I think because he wasn`t relating eating with feeling so awful, and could finally ENJOY food, instead of trying to AVOID it(at ALL costs ;). That being said, its almost a year on the diet, and he WILL add and (entirely)drop things from his diet, and avoid most things mashed (potatoes, applesauce, etc) and anything that is liquid-ush in texture(yogurt, oatmeal, puddings, etc.)-basically anything that should be eaten with a spoon or fork, he completely refuses :( Some choices that DO work for us are....



-Waffles(buckwheat/berry or apple) with peanut butter(instead of syrup)



-Shredded cheese/cut up cheese sticks    -fresh berries  -dried fruit    -(gluten free)chicken nuggets or fish sticks     



-adding soy flour to his baked goods  -zucchini bread   -V8 or apple and eve veggie/fruit juice(in container or juice box)



-veggie or pirates booty snacks(health food section)   -dry cereals    -cereal bars



Hope this helps, hang in there & good luck!!!

Charlie - posted on 03/25/2009

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My son is the same - (Aspergers with sensory issues, age 5) - he'll only eat "dry" food - bread, biscuits, crackers, crisps etc.. he's just started on the crusts of pizza, and he loves stong flavours - chilli, garlic, curry, gerkhins/pickles!! He will only eat chips and bread if we go to a restaurant, or MacDonalds chicken nuggets - he's just tried a cheeseburger because he saw mine had pickle in it! We just keep trying and if he ever shows any kind of interest in things he gets them right away.. he's just tried rice crispies (no milk) and the bars they make too - as for fruit and veggies, he never touches them - sometimes he'll eat dried fruit or fruit bars - fruit winders have just made a hit, or jelly "worms" with real fruit juice are the closest he'll get... I know how you feel - just give up!! It's really hard, but they're worth it because they're ours!! xxx

Jennifer - posted on 03/25/2009

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I feel your pain! My son is on the spectrum and stopped eating all solids at 10 months of age and through feeding therapy just started crunching foods this past July, he is now 4 years old. We still have issues with new foods and he will gag sometimes as well. One of the things the feeding therapist told us was to keep offering new but start with something he likes too. Also start with slow steps like touching it to the lips, then the next step is licking it then taking a bite. These may not all happen in one sitting though. I use food he likes as a reward too, if you taste that you can have more of this. Best wishes to you.

Andrea - posted on 03/20/2009

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wow-this sounds EXACTLY like my Noah.  same age/diagnosis age/food likes(he survives on milk to this day). we gradually added fruity pebbles to his very neutral rice krispies-for the different look issue.  we still have no chewing capabilities-but we are working on it.  one thing we've done is find his achilles heal. Noah loves to be outside. he will literally do anything to go outside.  we started with holding a new food for 2 seconds then he gets to go outside for 5 min.  now he will like and put things -by himself-to his tongue and mouth-for his reward(he never cared about M&M or candy)was going outside.  it has been 3 years since the neurologist told us that Noah would probably never talk and today he requests most things w/o prompting.  keep looking for those rewards that don't come in a package-god gave these kids to us for a reason.



good luck-keep in touch if you have any more challenges -i have a feeling we'll be skating on the same ice for a while.



Andrea Williams

Sasha - posted on 03/20/2009

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i agree the whole 'don't feed them' idea is less likly to work than with a lot of other kids. There are a range of sensory with our kids that most parents do not have to deal with, and irrational fears is another big problem. The more that you don't react to the object of the fear the sooner the child will understand. Says the women who's son went wild every time he saw a ballon till he was 7.

Judy - posted on 03/19/2009

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PS. there is a great book out there called "Just take a bite" that has some really good tips

Judy - posted on 03/19/2009

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Oh, Lord... Give me patience! My daughter is 8, and we have few foods she will eat. Macaroni and cheese, cheese pizza, quesadillas, rice krispies, and honey nut cheerios.  She will eat some junk foods, but no candy, juice, pop etc.  When she was a baby, she ate anything I gave her!  I have huge guilt over this, but just keep trying to try her out on new things. We've seen a psychiatrist, doctors, therapists.  Basically, I just keep trying the one bite method hoping that maybe it will kick in one day to not fear food.  I've come to the conclusion that it's mostly a control issue.  Keep trying!  I can guarantee that people who don't have autistic kids will absolutely NOT understand.  I love the suggestion " just dont feed them, when they are hungry enough, they will eat anything!"  Ha!

Cindy - posted on 03/19/2009

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My son is also a very basd eater and usually only eats shite and brown foods. I almost jumped through the roof when he caid he wanted to taste his sisters strawberry pops. Earlier he wouldn't have touched it. I give him a lot of nutritional supplements, and he is growing very well, not under or over weight. He is six, and it drives me crazy that he won't eat his veggies. But at least he is still healthy

Sasha - posted on 03/18/2009

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As always, remember that no two kids are the same. My son was big at birth, and a very hungry baby. As a result of this he weaned very early, and has always eaten anything. He does periodicaly develop temporary sensory difficulties. At present he is finding many foods 'sour' in taste. He has had problems with constipation but at 16 he has done well. The best advise is not to make a big deal of it. Always let your child see you eat a normal range of foods. Why should a child be expected to eat things their parents don't. This is one battle and sooner or later it will be over. Try to protect your own mental health. This is a long road, and while nutrition is important putting a lot of stress and energy into it will cause both you and your child unnessesary grief when there are bigger issues to adress, like the routine and obsesional behaviour both of which are likely to get worse without a great deal of help.

Find an outlet for your stress, and try and picture where you want to end up and try to steer a course towards it from as early as possible. If you get stuck at any point steer around the blockage. There are always more than one way to get there.

All the best
sasha

Venetia - posted on 03/18/2009

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My son is also the same way. Thank goodness he loves fruit and dairy products. I was going to try those diets but he would just push them off to the side and walk away from the table. My suggestion would be work with what he likes an extend on it. Personally I am happy that my son is eating.  Try making some things healthy. Make homemade chicken nuggets or strips. Make pb&j with whole wheat bread. Cut up fruit and make a homemade fruit salad!! Be creative. Make some homemade smoothies, something my son loves!! It has both fruit, yogurt and maybe add some protien powder or another powder supplement he may need.

Karen - posted on 03/17/2009

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Autistic children (espically Aspergers) have a limited amount of foods they will eat....usually chicken nuggets.....introduce 1 new item 10 times, even if it's just sitting on his plate......don't force him......be careful with giving him too much cheese......constipation makes anyone cranky.......avoid strawberries also.....your son may like apples with penut butter or carmel.



 



Good luck =)

Karen - posted on 03/16/2009

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Hi, My son with Autism had the same problems when he was younger. (He is 15 now) He litterly would only eat ham and cheese sandwiches with nothing on it for about one year. Then he decided only Ramin noodles would do. The doctors had me see a nutrionist (ha ha) who would tell me what i should be feeding him, but she could not understand that he just wouldn't eat anything else. We would talk him into having one bite of what we were eating before he could have his sandwich. Finally he seemed to get better about food when he got to be about 11 or 12. He has made up for lost time and eats us out of house and home. At the last yearly doctor visit he had gained 40 lbs. !!! (He always was way under weight) The doctor talked to him about watching what he eats!!

Jodie - posted on 03/15/2009

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have you had him checked for acid reflex.. my son is 4 but i have another son who had acid reflux he has asbergers.. my 4 year old is another story he is the same way he only eats so many things ... but i give him whatever he wants i figure he is eating. but you might want to have him checked for that anyways.

Marie - posted on 01/30/2009

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My son is three has had the same issues it sounds like. He was seeing an OT and they were working on the eating issue for months. At the end of the day, the best thing she told me was that I would have to put a new food on his plate (along with a food he would already eat) On average this new food would have to be introduced 10 times before the child would touch it or try it. I was so completely frustrated with this~ I wanted to prove her wrong, so I tried with broccolli. (My son has sensory issues too and HATED broccoli) I think it was about a month, he would watch me eat it, and I would put one little piece on his plate. Now he loves it. We are still having a lot of trouble with meat, he doesn't seem to want to chew it. Slowly but surely, I have seen some progress. Its just slooooow

Kerry - posted on 01/30/2009

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How about egg based things, does he or will he try things like a quiche/impossible pie? lots of nutrition in that.  I have a recipe somewhere for an impossible pie that is fab, i add extra grated veges so ti makes it a huge vegetable whammy.  It has cheese bacon pieces zuchinii oniion so i add grated carrot and even pumpkin.  This one i usually have to make so i get my veges at least once a week, it cooks lovely and its easy (nu mucking with pastry) one bowl mix and cook.  The kids like it with tomato sauce on it. 



If they have been really slack with the veges through the week i will make lots of vege pie and leave it in the fridge until they eat all of it, I make a big batch so then everytime they whine about being hungry thats what there is and i dont do anything else until it is gone.  It would probably be around a cup of veges per slice if you do it the way i make it.  It would be nice if the kids liked it and we used it as their vegetable with their dinner steak or somethin.

Michelle - posted on 01/30/2009

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I haven't tried the dried fruit yet, good idea; he likes gummy-like candy, so he might actually try it. Thanks!

Laura - posted on 01/30/2009

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if your worried about the whole 5 a day thing try dried fruits, thomas loves them. apricots and pineapple being his favourite.

Laura - posted on 01/30/2009

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michelle if your son eats it when he doesn't know it's there then he does like it. it's the same with my son and i spent a long time faffing on grating corgettes, carrots and alsorts. in the end i thought there is no way in hell i'm carrying on like this for the rest of the forseeable future so i decided to just stop hiding it and put it on his plate as i would the rest of the family. he will try it now.

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