Parents often have difficulty in feeding their children, kids with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) or those without the disorder. Well, if you think that you’re the only one experiencing this problem, then, you’re in luck. Almost all parents have this issue and more so on families who have a child with ASD. They are not just “picky eaters”. Children with autism have certain behaviors during meal time like rituals, tantrums regarding the food and food selection.
However, there are ways to ease the behavior (maybe control the anger issues that come with it) and stretch the “picky” diet style of your ASD children, according to Dr. Emily Kuschner, a psychologist from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. (For more info on anger issues, check BetterHelp.)
Check Your ASD Child For Medical Complications.
Some children with ASD manifest medical complications associated with eating in various ways like shutting their mouth during meal time when being fed a certain food. It’s not that they don’t want to eat it or they don’t like the taste of that food. It could be that their stomachs get hurt as they eat that particular food. This is possible. Children with ASD have delicate digestive systems and it could be causing great discomfort and pain. Talk to your doctor about this so that he can thoroughly check if there are foods which can pose allergies or sensitivities to your ASD child.
Remain Composed Always When Dealing With Your ASD Child.
You have to be patient when feeding your ASD child especially if you are going to introduce new food. They will make a fuss about it, for sure, but we all know that they are much more sensitive than other kids when it comes to all aspects – eating included. The only way to find out what type of food he likes to eat is to offer him new meals each time so he can get a taste of it all.
Bear In Mind That An ASD Child Reacts To The Texture Of The Food.
They will touch the food. Lick it. Kiss it. Poke it. Smell it. They will do a bunch of things with it before they decide to have a bite and swallow the food. If they don’t like how it “feels” in their mouth, most likely, they will spit it out. Find ways to overcome that so your child will eat. Some parents mash the food or blend it so that it will be smooth.
It May Sound Weird, But Let Your ASD Child Play With His Food.
Let him use his pasta sauce as paint (on the plate, of course!). Make him create his own pizza by using vegetables that he himself picked out and formed. Give him cookie cutters to shape his sandwiches. In the end, your child will try these foods for himself and decide if he likes it or not – at least, meal time won’t be a source of distress by doing that.
Give Him Choices And Let Your ASD Child Take Control Of His Meal Time.
Instead of pushing him to eat that dish of kale and broccoli, why not put 4 to 5 veggie dishes in front of him and let him choose what he likes best? If he is in control of the food he eats, he will be less likely to act out may actually find something he likes to munch on. And so, provide a choice of veggies, fruits, protein, carbs and etc. Let him pick his food.