my autistic daughter will not eat anything

Claire - posted on 11/29/2010 ( 18 moms have responded )

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i have 2 children both severely autistic my eldest son Billy has a half decent appitite, but my daughter ellies appitite has completely gone and we are starting to get worried, before she only ate 3 different meals at dinner time then and for breakfast ate weetabix but now its nothing apart from drinking milk and milkybar yogurts, we have tried to cut them out for a couple of days but she still will not eat anything else now, getting really desperate now, please help!

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Jessica - posted on 01/25/2012

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My almost 3 year old ASD son has had a lot of feeding issues (among hypothyroidism and now a possible growth hormone deficiency) and he is now losing weight. He's completely off the growth chart and his endocrinologist is very worried about it. We are supplementing with Carnation instant breakfast (not my first choice, but it works for now) and working with his OT's for possible solutions to his severe feeding issues. So, there is a point when it can become a real issue. Our son will only eat about 3 or 4 different foods- none of which are calorie dense or full of nutrition. I would work with any therapists to find solutions. It can be as simple as removing a distraction or changing the textures. Good luck to all!

Elizabeth - posted on 03/31/2011

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This might sound barbaric or weird. I thought it did at first too, but it really helps, I have 2 autistic kids, my oldest is a terrible eater. At one point, when he was around 2 1/2 all we could get him to eat was cheese sticks and tortilla chips, and we were terrified for his nutrition and so frustrated. So we took him to a psychiatrist, who is also the director of a school for autistic children. And he said he needed to get use to the texture in his mouth before he would eat it, and it might take 3 times each feeding for a while till he starts being ok with some of the textures and can handle to just take a bite, but this is what he said to do. Offer her a bite and if she wont take it, get it in her mouth so she gets the chance to feel it in her mouth, I mean don't give her spinach or something, but mac and cheese, or something she should like. If she is like my son she will spit it out the second I finally got it in his mouth and yell, but do it again only this time just put your palm under her jaw for 3 sec. just long enough to get the taste and texture in her mouth to know that it is ok, sometimes I actually have to try and make my son chew, but after the 3rd bite, usually they will just start taking bites without any fight or fuss. If after the third time they still are having a hard time with it, then stop and try something different later. This can sound really weird, but it has done wonders for our sons eating problems! Hope this helps! :)

Rachel - posted on 01/23/2012

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my A.S.D son refuses to eat when he knows the pressure is on to eat. And its hard to act like its no big deal for us mums when its important that they do eat. So i leave food laying around when he's being fussy and just let him eat when he wants to. He hasn't starved himself yet! He doesn't like being watched while he eats. hope this has helped. :)

Jessica - posted on 06/09/2011

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My son (2) went through a period of time where he limited his food to three things: applesauce, yogurt, waffles. We later found out that he had lost his oral motor skills (no prior feeding troubles). He limited his foods to the ones that he didn't need to chew or dissolved quickly in his mouth. I suggest a feeding clinic- or an occupational therapist who is familiar with feeding therapy.

Sara - posted on 03/31/2011

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I completely agree with Elizabeth. I was fearful to try that way of getting her to eat because I was worried that I was force feeding her but if you only try it a couple times and are gentle with them as you do it then it may help. My daughter is going to be 5 in August and has Autism along with global developmental delays. She has had eating issues for a very long time. At one point she literally lived on milk. At another time she wouldn't even drink milk at all. Now we have nearly eliminated milk out of her diet and she seems to be eating much better. We do still continue trying to get her used to the texture of new foods and she is taking it quite well. She now will pick up foods and eat them on her own after we have given her a few bites. Also, another thing to try would be asking your pediatrician if you should give your child nutritional supplement drinks such as pediasure. I had to do that with my daughter as well. Hope you are able to find something that works for you. Best of luck, Sara.

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Jennyliz - posted on 06/16/2013

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My daughter ally is 2 1/2 and has autism.she only likes about 5 different things now only because I say she "likes" doesn't mean she'll eat it all the time.theirs times I offer her all 5 things and she won't even look nor touch the food. She's non verbal so it makes it even harder she drinks all types of juices in her zippy cup and milk in her bottle BUT for the pAst 3 days shes been refusing her bottle.I'm freaking out because I at least would be content with knowing she had her 3-4 bottles per day. She'll take it take a little zip then throw it I tried putting it in a zippy but nothing I'm desperate

Teresa - posted on 09/25/2012

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Just wanted to say I'm sorry you're going through such a hard time with your son. I hope things get better, at least a little bit.

Teresa - posted on 09/25/2012

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Just wanted to say I'm sorry you're going through such a hard time with your son. I hope things get better, at least a little bit.

Pamela - posted on 09/17/2012

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I dunno. I've heard this before and now I am faced with watching whether or not it is true. My 14 yr old son with autism has lost his sight to acute atopic keratoconjunctivitis, (allergic conjunctivitis) which cause corneal ulcers and perforation of his cornea. Had two transplants thusfar in right eye. Since July 17th this year, he has lost 30 plus lbs. His diet was limited to begin with and now we are down to juice and about 1/2 apple a day maybe a few fig newtons. I am scared to death watching him waste away. I hope the no one will starve themselves thing is true.

Jeannie - posted on 08/30/2012

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My child has Autism. She is non verbal and will only eat very few things. To make sure she gets enough nourishment, we give her carnation instant breakfast. they come in powder packets or premade. We add a drop of POLY VI Soy. Infant drops . SHe keeps growing and her iron levels stay above 12. She has this 2 times a day.. Good luck. This is tough!

Dallas - posted on 12/29/2011

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No child even ASD will starve themselves...trust me. If there are foods You know She likes or may like put them out and make it clear that She has to try it or nothing else will be offered. It is manipulation as well on their part and the key is to stand your ground and not give into it. Offer things in small portions and use " First and Then "..First eat some of this and get some of what they want after.

Denise - posted on 12/20/2011

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Make a smorgasborg of food for meals. I know, I used to make 6 different meals and hope my son would eat anything. Eventually, he picked out what he wanted. Have a good selection of textures. I have found that to be the cause of being so picky. See what they like but try to go gluten-free, casein-free. There's alot to choose from out there now. Now my son eats raw peppers, mushrooms, celery, apples, rice, noodles, (and you can sneak alot of other stuff in as you go). But start off with taste. We learned he liked rice but wanted not plain rice, he was searching for taste, so we added soy sauce (gluten-free) and slowly added the meats he liked. He's still very picky but look at what they eat now and work from that. So they like milk, I give my son lactose-free milk with chocolate bunny syrup then secretly add tasteless peg powder (which is chemical for severe constipation) but it works. Then once they like the chocolate taste, add other stuff. If they like weetabix, empty a children's vitamin capsule into the milk if you are worried about vitamins. Or better yet, keep the containers of the things they ate before and replace it with something better but not too different and if they hesitate, just say, oh that's the new weetabix now and eventually switch the box.

Candace - posted on 12/04/2011

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Hi Claire... My son is 5yrs old and has never ever eating anything! I have been hearing abt something called ABA? So if u can help would me out i would greatly appreciate that also what doctors do I need to send him too?

Rachel - posted on 06/22/2011

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thats what Ive always done. I would get him to take one bite after a few tries he would eat it. but i had to hold my hand under his jaw to keep him from spitting it out right away.

Terrie - posted on 05/17/2011

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We used a little technique from Applied behavior analysis. It is called ABA and it is a reward system. First give her a bite of the food she doesn't want then give her a bite of what she likes. Make sure you feed her at a different time because she is going to put up a fight at first. While you are doing this, what ever it is that she likes to eat, let her have have it, but hold something back from her that you can use for a reward. My son was not an eater either and we thought we was going to have to do a feeding tube because he was so skinny but then someone told us about ABA. Unfortunately not everyone of their suggestions work as we are still dealing with toileting issues. My son is eleven now.

Terrie

Lisa - posted on 04/28/2011

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I have a ten yr old son with autism ( not really severe, but learning disabled. From birth he ate nothing....couple ounces of formula here and there, but he fell off the growth chart. I begged the doctors to do whatever he needed to be done. They placed a feed tube in at 4 mos old. He gained weight immediately. Test after test was done...until the age of five, we found out he had a spectrum disorder(autism)....not saying you should do it though, she just may need a medication that increases appetite. Risperdal does. I am not pushing medication but, my son was angry, depressed, aggressive and it was heartbreaking. Three years it took me to let them medicate him and it has helped in many ways. The aggression has lessened, eats constantly,matter of fact we had to change his medication from Risperdal to zoloft....it hopfully will help with the depression , anxiety , aggression as well as cut his appetite. You may want to try it to increase hers.

Tammi - posted on 03/01/2011

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I hear great things about the feeding clinics at the children's hospitals.I am not sure where you are but you can ask your doctor to give you a refer to one.Good luck

Heather - posted on 12/01/2010

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Hi Claire,

I know of someone who's child is severely autistic and would freeze everything in popsicle form. She would make things into a puree and freeze them. Even broccoli and her child would eat it! If you can get V8 Fusion (my son loves Peach/Mango) and make popsicles out of it, at least she may get her veggies and fruit that way. Good luck! I hope this helps!

:)

Heather

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