My three-and-a-half year old daughter has mild autism. She can form sentences, follow commands and answers yes and no to questions. She is picky with food and we can’t go to anyone’s house as she is willing to eat only five items. What do I do to improve her food behaviour?
This is a struggle that many parents with children on the spectrum face. There are many studies which shows that kids with autism are five times more likely to have challenges during mealtimes. Here are some things you can look at:
- Rule out health issues – You daughter may be refusing certain food items due to a stomach issue. Gastrointestinal issues are common among kids with autism and she may not be able to describe it. Speak to her doctor to find out more.
- Don’t get angry – Many children are unwilling to explore new food items. Kids with autism may take longer. If your daughter keeps rejecting a certain food item after many attempts, she may not like it. Try a different food.
- Help your daughter explore a new food item by looking at it, or smelling it. You can mix a new food item with something she really likes, like curd or a fruit.
- Kids with autism are very sensitive to textures so she may not like how a food item feels in the mouth. Try chopping or blending such food items.