Feeding a child on the spectrum is never an easy task. Kicking, biting, and even meltdowns are common during meal times.
For most parents on the spectrum, it can be hard to find proper ways to expand their children‘s diet. However, it‘s common to hear that after a while of trying, with no results, many parents fall into these feeding mistakes that can affect their child‘s relationship with food.
Today, we will share the top 3 feeding mistakes, as well as tips to help you spend less time stressing about food, and more time doing the things you love together.
Top 3 Autism Feeding Mistakes
Mistake # 1: Giving Your Child Only Foods He/She Loves
Children with autism are five times more likely to struggle with eating issues compared to neurotypical children. It‘s common to hear that some children on the spectrum just won`t eat until they get served what they like.
This challenge can make parents to offer them only what they like (nuggets, cookies, etc.) to avoid them from skipping meals or simply quit eating.
The solution: According to ASD nutritionist Jenny Friedman, autistic children need to try new food at least a dozen times before they like it. However, the key to expanding your child`s diet is offering only one new food per meal. For example, if your child loves chicken nuggets and fries, try offering them the same just with a little side of broccoli. Remember, children need multiple exposures to foods before they like them so don‘t be discouraged if they skip them at the beginning. Food is a process!
Mistake # 2: Stepping Ahead Too Fast
Parents tend to move ahead too quickly when they see that their child is responding to new meals. Therefore, they may offer them many new foods too fast, causing their child to react negatively, sometimes even in eating regression.
The solution: One new food at a time. If your child is already eating broccoli fantastic! Stay there and let him/her enjoy broccoli for a couple of weeks before radically changing the diet. Keep in mind that picky eaters need time to adjust so even if you are noticing progress, hold yourself and allow your child to process the new meals.
Mistake # 3: Jumping Into Restrictive Diets
We are strong advocates of the Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Diet. However, if your child is already in a very restricted diet (due to sensory issues, and picky eating) we highly recommend you to solve those first before jumping into any other diet.
We understand that expanding ASD diets is complicated, nonetheless, it is necessary to cover your son’s/daughter’s nutritional needs. Imagine that you are fully jumping into a casein-free diet and your son only eats grill cheese and quesadillas. This would bring probably more harm than good.
The solution: Starting a specific diet only when your child has a comfortably diverse diet and you have overcome some issues with veggies and fruits.
We understand that the road to help your child eat more diverse food can be challenging, however, with the right tools and a lot of patience it is possible to expand his/her diet.
Remember, strong and steady wins the race, be patient and you will harvest amazing results!
At WSCC, we offer support for autistic families and their children with Stem Cell Therapy treatments that can transform autistic conditions by healing the gut, decreasing inflammation and improving brain function. We also created an on Facebook that is destined to offer support and companionship for ASD parents and their families on their journey.
Remember, you are not alone!