Archive for the 'Diet for Children with Aspergers' Category

How to overcome diet concerns for a child with Aspergers.

Child with Aspergers refusing to eat

Recently someone wrote to me with a dietary concern about their child who has Aspergers.  Their child is 9 years old and, like many Aspergers sufferers will only eat a very strict diet that the child controls.  Their child was outright refusing to eat any vegetables, Pasta or fruit and would only eat Cheese, bread, chicken, milk, hamburgers, eggs and mashed potatoes.  Occasionally they would eat crisps but this was a rarity and chocolate was a no go.

The parent’s main concern was that their child was not getting enough nutrients from the food they were eating and they were concerned that this could lead to further issues down the line which is a very valid concern.

 

So what is the answer for a child with Aspergers who will only eat selected foods?

Asperger’s eating habits very often concern those around them, the Syndrome itself can cause unusual reactions to new foods as this is a change to the routine which is so important to an Aspergers sufferer.  They will outright refuse change on levels far beyond the food offered to them and this can result in uncontrollable tantrums if not managed carefully.  To a child with Aspergers things can often taste too salty or bitter and they can often refuse food that ‘smells bad’ to them.  One of the biggest problems though can be the texture of the food which can cause a gagging reflex to kick in which will make the food off limits.  As regular readers will know, I don’t suffer from Aspergers however flaky fish kicks in my gagging reflex so I can relate to an Aspergers sufferer on this level as I think we all have experienced some food which can do this to us.  And, like a child, any food which does this to us, we generally stay away from.

The diet of the writers’ child isn’t as bad as it could be, (I saw on TV quite recently an Aspergers child who would eat nothing but biscuits).  Their child is getting protein from the eggs, milk, cheese, chicken and hamburgers.  They are getting fibre from the bread and hamburger buns.  Other vitamins and minerals come from the potatoes and crisps.  So all in all the diet could be a lot worse… In fact their diet is not that far from a typical childs intake of nutrients.

However, the diet can be made much better with fruits & veg. What they could try is rather than buying ready-made burgers, make them at home. When making burgers you normally need a binder so you could liquefy vegetables into the burger mix and they will be none the wiser.

They could blend in some cauliflower into the mashed potatoes too

Most importantly though, never give up trying new foods with them.  Whilst most Children with Aspergers will refuse after smelling, they may try some.  If you are having something different to your child then offer them some of yours at every meal time.  If you are able to get into your child’s routine that they have a single mouthful of your food before starting theirs you may be able to discover other foods that they will eat.

If your child suffers from Aspergers then remember that you must never make a big deal about what he does and doesn’t eat. If you do it will increase the Asperger’s eating problems.  It is about picking the battles you can win as nothing will be gained from a constant argument. Keep serving new foods along with the old ones and avoid junk food so that they do not fixate on it.

If you can, include a multivitamin with any medication your child is taking.  If they do not take any then introducing a chewable multivitamin sweet may be the way forward.

I hope this gives you some insightful tips when it comes to eating habits and your child with Aspergers.