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Picky eaters in Autism: Ways to expand your child’s food interests.

Autism Spectrum Disorder Anaheim

Thanksgiving is about food for most of us … a lot! Yet anybody with a kid will warn you that it would definitely be
a struggle to get them to try fresh or varied foods. We like to call them Picky Eaters, but is completely okay and normal for children to be picky. Ask the parent of a kid with autism and they’ll tell you such
struggles tend to intensify. Luckily, there are a couple of techniques that will help!

Come prepared first!

If you child tends to be in the “picky eaters” category, carry the child’s snacks they enjoy. It is important to have something they’re going to eat, whether it’s goldfish
crackers, bacon, or a tub full of cheese balls. When following our next tip, it can also come in handy!

Use a First & Then Strategy

This next technique, a First & Then Strategy deal, is one you might have read of. In effect, you are telling your kid
with autism to do what they don’t want to do, to do something they really want to do. This technique is used in a
number of cases, but with helping food aversions and picky eaters, it can be very powerful. The “First” will always
be the food that the kid with autism does not want by using this food technique and the “Then” will be a meal that
they really enjoy. Your child may enjoy pecan pie, but he doesn’t want to come close to vegetables. We will ask them
to eat a small portion of vegetables using a First & Then Strategy and whenever they do, they would get a bite of
the pecan pie they enjoy so much. It’s that fast, hopefully. But, what if my children refuse to take even a small
bite?

Consider what matters the most

The last solution may sound simple, but we get so focused on the end result and lose sight of the big picture
occasionally. The safest technique is always to “choose your fights” and decide when to let go of them. Yeah, we may
want our kid with autism to try the casserole that we worked very hard on, but are they or you worth upsetting?
Perhaps they have been doing a wonderful job sitting at the table and eating some other type of food you made them
tried before. It is also more useful to actually accept the positive things they’ve been doing and for another
moment quit seeking fresh foods.
Kids With Autism

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