Autistic children tend to respond well with immediate feedback and support, so the next time you’re frustrated with your child during a meal, take a look at your own actions. Are you visibly stressed? Are you eating alongside your child? Do you show him that you enjoy eating? You want to be a positive role model and cheerleader for your child.
A child’s food preferences may seem totally random and fickle - one day it’s this, the next day it’s that. And while some of this is just the nature of feeding a child, there are strategies you can use to can prevent food jags from developing.
“First this...then that” is a behavioral technique that can be very effective for autistic kids. It’s very clear and can help with other behaviors at home or in the classroom. It can even be helpful for managing mealtime behaviors.
Sensory food aversions and texture preferences are common barriers to eating a balanced diet for many kids on with autism. Research suggests that anywhere from 30 to over 50% of autistic kids refuse food due to texture.
I wasn’t surprised when an autism mom came to me recently with this question: “My 4-year-old will only eat dry food. How can I incorporate wet foods and sauces/dips?”
How can you help your picky eater with autism try new foods? There are many ways to help your picky one gain interest in eating new foods. One of my favorites is bringing them into the kitchen and encouraging them to get down and dirty with food.