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How Can Kids with Autism Get the Nutrition They Need?

May 08, 2013

Healthy eating is crucially important to a child’s development. This is true for children with and without autism. The trouble is, kids with autism sometimes have sensory issues that can interfere with eating healthy food. Parents know how hard it is to convince a child with autism to try a new type of food or eat the foods needed for good health. Read on to learn how you can ensure your child with autism gets the nutrition he or she needs.


Ensure your child with autism gets needed nutrition.

Here are a few ways you can introduce new foods to your child with autism and get your child to actually eat the food.

– Discuss new foods with your child; let him or her see and recognize different foods. Then set an example by eating the foods yourself.

– Allow your child to encounter the food. This means setting the food on the table, then sitting it on your child’s plate. Next, let your child hold the food. Note: Don’t get discouraged if this phase of the process takes some time.

– If your child has sensory issues, we understand that getting him or her to even touch certain foods can be a major issue. Perhaps your child can get used to the smell and feel of the food before actually tasting it.

– Gently encourage your child to taste the food. This might happen in small stages, but keep in mind that the goal is to get the child to chew and swallow the food.

What should you do if your child won’t eat?

If your child with autism will not eat hardly anything, or will not eat a sufficient amount of healthy food, speak to his or her occupational therapist or other health care professional as soon as possible. Occupational therapists usually understand sensory problems and how they can interfere with eating and nutrition. There may be supplemental drinks, etc., that your child can ingest to help him or her get vital nutrition.

Parents, share your tips.

Does your son or daughter have autism? Is he or she a picky eater as a result? If so, we want to hear from you. Leave a comment on this Disability Living blog post and let us know how you ensure your child gets the nutrition he or she needs. Thank you for your feedback!

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