March 15, 2019
Autism can create a variety of challenges both for your child and your family as a whole. Speech and communication difficulties can be frustrating for everyone, as well as holding your child back both socially and academically. Meanwhile, food selectivity and eating problems can make you concerned about the health of your child while making every mealtime a stressful, battle of wills.
Fortunately, you don’t have to cope alone. Feeding therapy can help you find new and effective ways to manage these challenges and provide appropriate support to your young person.
Feeding therapy for autism
Picky eating is a fairly common occurrence among all children at one time or another. However, children with autism are often found to have eating habits that extend beyond fussiness and are prolonged beyond just a few days or weeks. Children with autism may be extremely selective about what food they will eat, or they may even refuse food altogether. Being presented with foods that they are unwilling to try can cause strong a strong physical and emotional response including gagging and vomiting, panic attacks and even violent outbursts.
The impact of a child’s severe anxiety around food can be huge, both on the child and the entire family. Power struggles, stressful mealtimes and feelings of guilt on the part of the parents are entirely normal. Sometimes the health of the child can also suffer, with many experiencing gastrointestinal issues such as constipation and reflux as a result of their poor diet.
How can feeding therapy help my child who has autism?
Feeding therapy focuses on identifying and resolving as many of the child’s issues with food as possible. In addition to observing your child’s ability to chew and swallow, your speech and language pathologist will do an assessment of the types of food that your child eats successfully and those foods that he/she rejects in order to determine how to help your child.
Some of the elements of feeding therapy that can support your child in becoming less anxious about eating include:
Preparing the child’s sensory system for learning about new foods
Introducing new foods through play
Involvement in preparing the food that they will eat
Helping the child feel confident about exploring new foods
Our team of speech-language pathologists have more than 45 years of combined experience in helping children and their families with speech and eating disorders. If you are concerned about your child and would like to consult with us, please do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give us a call.