Autism -How to deal with a restricted and picky eater
Created by Koyeli Sengupta Updated on Sep 21, 2020
One of the challenges that parents with children on the autism spectrum face is the struggle to provide the right nutrition to their child. Sensory issues in autism restrict and limit choices for many children. Some children on the autism spectrum are unable to tolerate food that is soft, semi-solid or wet. According to Dr. Koyeli Sengupta, a Developmental Pediatrician from UMMEED Child development center Mumbai, she has encountered children who only like to eat chips and milk, or children who will only rotis and leave out the vegetables. This becomes a cause of major worry for parents who are constantly trying to figure out ways to provide adequate nutrition to their child. According to Koyeli, it is important to know what would motivate the child to eat food that he usually would not, and broaden the choices of his food. She also advises against forcing the child to eat something that he has revulsion for. She recommends pairing a food item that the child likes with a food item the child has an aversion to. Koyeli suggests using the' first this, then that 'strategy. For instance if you want your child to eat dal chawal, you can pair it with a crunchy papad. You can ask him to eat a small spoon of dal-chawal followed by a bite of the papad.
Secondly, if the child is a very restricted and picky eater, and you are worried about the nutritional value of his food intake, Koyeli recommends consulting a pediatrician and getting some supplements that can be administered to your child to prevent any form of nutritional deficiency.