Autism, Food & Eating

See also:    Behavior   

Internet Resources

Cup drinking increased with positive and negative reinforcement, both alone and in combination (without escape extinction), indicating that treatment of food refusal can establish some foods as appetitive stimuli whereas others remain aversive.
Michael Kelley, Cathleen Piazza, Wayne Fisher, Amanda Oberdorff
Common problems are the unwillingness to try new foods, the mouthing of objects, and eating rituals. Other problems include licking objects, smelling and throwing food, and eating non edibles.
Hope Winston
Approximately half of the participants exhibited patterns of food acceptance, indicating selectivity by food category or food texture. Others consistently accepted or rejected items across food categories.
W.H. Ahearn et al
The consumption of nonfood items (i. e., pica) frequently occurs in persons with developmental disabilities. Pica may result in the puncture or blockage of the digestive tract, infestation by gastrointestinal parasites, and can interfere with an individual's daily learning, occupational performance, and quality of life. Twenty-six published studies have examined the efficacy of behavioral-intervention packages (e. g., differential reinforcement of other behavior, noncontingent attention, or overcorrection) on the pica of persons with developmental disabilities. This article reviews those studies and discusses the effectiveness, generality, and acceptability of the various intervention packages used to reduce pica. Additionally, this article highlights the recent clinical advancements that have been made in the treatment of the pica of persons with developmental disabilities.
David B. McAdam et al
I was told to cut the tip of the nipple and increase the size of the opening little by little. Each time the enlarged opening of the nipple should be maintained for a few days or so till the child gets habituated, before being cut some more again.
Jayati Ghosh
Eating a very limited diet, difficult behavior during mealtimes, having to be fed, not sitting to eat, eating only junk food and eating untidily; all these are only some of the challenges that parents and caregivers have to face
Sandra Dawson
We can teach them to enjoy eating, and eat appropriately, despite the difficulties they have or the social pressure we feel to have well-fed children.
Sandra Dawson
Introducing a varied diet and dealing with undesirable eating habits such as eating inedibles, eating only junk food, eating too fast, and overeating.
Sandra Dawson
Autistic children have been described as having bizarre eating habits, which may lead to situations of clinical or subclinical malnutrition. It is well recognized that dietary factors play an important role in maintaining immune defences. Thus, immunocompetence has been recently shown to be a sensitive and functional measure of the nutritional status. Since, autistic children have been reported to be exceptionally free from infectious diseases, and because of the literature is scarce about the relationships between nutritional status and immunocompetence in this syndrome, the purpose of this work was to find out the nutritional assessment of autistic children by evaluating their immunocompetence. The results were compared to those obtained from a control group. The study involved 20 autistic children ranging in ages from 4 to 12 years, who were diagnosed according to DSM IV (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). The patients were divided into two groups: 1) with eating disorders (EDA) (n=9) and 2) without eating disorders (NEDA) (n=11). Control subjects included 11 healthy children (brothers of the patients) matched by age and sex, who were free of medical, psychiatric, and neurological conditions. Leukocyte and lymphocyte counts were tested. Lymphocyte subsets: CD2, CD3, CD4, CD8, CD19 and CD57 were determined by flow cytometry. No modifications were found in lymphocyte subsets between all the autistic children (n=20) and the control group, but both total number and percentage of CD19 cells were higher in the autistic children. However, when the three groups were compared each other, surprisingly the highest values for CD2, NK and CD19 cells were found in the EDA group. The results suggest that contrary to what was expected, neither EDA nor NEDA show signs of malnutrition, having the highest values of lymphocyte subsets the autistic group with eating disorders. Therefore, there might be some defence mechanisms involved where neurotransmitters could play an important role.
A. Marcos et al
Our behavioral study can only provide thorough indications on neurotransmitters and neuropeptides involved in autism; however, a clear involvement of different systems is evident and it is difficult to ascribe to only one of them a primary role.
R. Ferri
This disorder is known for many problems eating different textures of food. Sometimes with autism also comes preference to color and smell of food. These children self-limit what they will eat and how much they will eat.
Some of the types of feeding problems commonly reported as persisting with children with autism may not be exclusively the result of the behavioural characteristics of autism.They may also be the result of certain abnormal biochemical processes involved in the digestion and absorption of specific foods.
Paul Whiteley et al
Unlike the typical preschooler, Noah's hyperlexia-related sensitivities to smells, temperature, textures and tastes, tendency toward phobias and difficulty grasping verbal negotiation has made meals more challenging.
Janyce Lastman
This presentation is put together from the point of view that we like what we like, and that education in nutrition, food preparation, and phobia extinction will increase our ability to feed ourselves in a nutritionally good way.
Patricia Clark
These results suggested that the analogue functional analysis described by Iwata et al. may be useful in identifying the environmental events that playa role in feeding disorders
Cathleen Piazza, Wayne Fisher, Kimberly Brown, Bridget Shore, Meta R. Patel, Richard Katz, Bart Sevin, Charles Gulotta, Audrey Blakely-Smith
This article discusses what chewing skills to look for before changing the texture of food and how to encourage and teach your child with Down syndrome to chew different foods.
I would like to see the lunch time expanded to a full thirty minutes at schools. This would allow the children to digest their food and not rush through an important meal time. The pace for learning in schools is fast, yet we all need to slow down and take our time to enjoy the food we are consuming.... We also need to take into account the children that are bused into school that arrive late for breakfast, which then rushes another mealtime, if they are even offered this or it is available at the late time. I noticed quite often classmates in Matthew's special education class at his old school arriving late. An aide would have to get into the cafeteria to get their breakfasts and they would eat them in the classroom.
Bonnie Sayers
Let him play with the food; offer one bite only of a food; brush therapy and joint compression; let him have more control over what he eats; grind real foods for him; offer distraction; offer oral stimulation; branch out from similar foods.
Developmental delays and picky eating frequently occur together. Although picky eating can be interpreted as a behavioral issue and treated with behavioral modification, it frequently has nutritional causes.
Kelly Dorfman
Four participants with mild dyspraxia were chosen... for their self-defined coping ability in the area of food management... Three distinct levels of coping strategy were defined practical food management strategies, general life skills and positive approaches to life.
Kim Thomas
Many children with ASD have peculiar eating habits, such as eating large amounts of marmite, sucking whole lemons and even drenching their food with vinegar - without a show of facial grimace!
Sally-Ann Taylor
The present study was undertaken in order to determine whether a set of clinical features, which are not included in the DSM-IV or ICD-10 for Asperger Syndrome (AS), are associated with AS in particular or whether they are merely a familial trait that is not related to the diagnosis... An aberrant processing of sensory information appears to be a common feature in AS. The impact of these and other clinical features that are not incorporated in the ICD-10 and DSM-IV on our understanding of AS may hitherto have been underestimated. These associated clinical traits may well be reflected by the behavioural characteristics of these individuals.
Taina Nieminen-von Wendt et al
A child who displays tactile defensiveness might miss out on special holiday foods such as Aunt Susie's red Jello salad. Here are ideas to overcome the Jello jitters.
Lynn Moore, Suite
Feeding difficulties for infants with tactile defensiveness may include a hyperactive gag reflex that makes it uncomfortable for the baby to draw the nipple deeply enough into his mouth to breasted effectively, and poor sucking quality and rhythmicity.
Catherine Watson Genna
This study assessed the utility of a Social Story intervention to improve the lunchtime eating behaviors of an adolescent diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. Using an ABAB design, the Social Story program appeared to result in a decrease in the number of food and drink spills and an increase in the frequency of appropriate mouth- wiping during lunch at school.
Rebecca Bledsoe et al
SungWoo Kahng, James Boscoe, Shannon Byrne

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