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Does your gifted child have eating issues?

(24 Posts)
airhostess Tue 22-Mar-16 19:21:13

My DS is 4yrs, intense and school have said that's his super intelligent but gifted in certain subjects. He's a stickler for routine, gets overwhelmed if it's a non uniform day etc. He's funny, gets on well with other children and has a group of friends.
He's had 'issues' with food since about 2. Texture, appearance, taste. Won't try new things and is almost scared. Never tried a sweet, ice cream and will only drink water ( counting my blessing there). He will only eat certain chocolate because of the brand he recognises.
I took him to see a pediatrician and he said that he is potentially Austisic but to give him a chance in main stream school and see how he develops. He's happy with the interaction he gives, we haven't gone for testing as just waiting to see how he develops at my request.
Is anyone else in this position? I can deal with the tantrums, the quirks etc, I'm just finding the 'food' thing hard. He's seen a dietician and she said that he's not fussy but he has an anxiety towards food.
Who can I see to help him, the NHS only offer help to children that have Autism so the dietician said and as we aren't going down that route yet, who would you suggest I see?
Please be kind, I've tried everything a Mum can.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Tue 22-Mar-16 19:26:41

Very much like mine.
Just how limited is his range of foods? Because honestly, if you can get a roughly balanced diet into him, it's not worth wasting angst on the fact that he doesn't eat as much variety as some. If you have stuff from all the food groups you can get into him, just let him eat those and you may well be able to gradually widen it out as he gets older.

lljkk Tue 22-Mar-16 19:31:49

See meat, Stab, Devour, is DD's style. She's the one who might count as G. Eats most things but squawks at courgette, parsnip or aubergine.

Sorry. Fussiest about food is my youngest & least bright child.
Eventually (7yo) FussBot started eating a few specific veg because I offer pudding for those who eat veg.
Still won't touch fruit. Slowly getting more adventurous with time.

HackAttack Tue 22-Mar-16 19:38:19

Yep, I'm dealing with it by offering a portion of what we are eating alongside some stuff I know he'll eat. On a good day he'll try the odd little bit, on a bad day I accept a picky platter of his favourites is all that will work. It is exhausting but there has been slow improvement.

irvine101 Tue 22-Mar-16 19:48:28

Yes my ds definitely have issue. He always had problem with texture and temperature. He never tries anything new. He only drinks apple juice and chocolate milk. And it's even worse because he has lots of allergies.
My ds doesn't mind veggie as long as it's all chopped up, so I put lots of different vegs in sauces. He likes ice cream now, but it took forever to make him even try it. He doesn't eat anything hot/warm. He need food to be cooled down completely. He hasn't been diagnosed, but always had traits of ASD.

Ambroxide Tue 22-Mar-16 21:02:33

DD is pretty good really. There are things she doesn't like but she'll always give something new a try. She hasn't been really properly fussy since she was about four.

opioneers Wed 23-Mar-16 08:47:43

There's a book that has recently come out - First Bite by Bee Wilson - which is about how children develop taste. A lot of it isn't relevant, but it gives a detailed description of a programme for getting children to try more foods with a really high success rate. I'd tell you more, except that my copy came from the library and it's gone back. But it's definitely worth a look.

TheCunkOfPhilomena Wed 23-Mar-16 09:20:29

Yes, my DS(5) has terrible anxiety towards food. He has a very limited diet and will not (and has never, even when weaning) eaten fruit unless it's dried.

He really does want to 'please' and will put something near his mouth or even attempt to chew something but gags and melts down. It's so sad to see and I've now reached the point of just giving him what he's comfortable with until I'm given professional advice.

As he's now in reception I've gone through the school to find help and have the SENCO involved now. We are seeing the school nursing team and hoping for a referral to OT. I also need help with his sleeping <yawn> and other sensory issues.

Cuttheraisins Thu 24-Mar-16 19:23:17

Ok I am a bit worried about your post, op. Did a paediatrician really say that he is 'potentially autistic'? Why do you not want to follow this up with further assessments? How did the school assess him to be gifted in certain areas? I don't want to question what you are stating but in my experience, someone in a medical profession cannot state that a child is potentially autistic without having carried out some tests. Having said that, issues with food can be a characteristic of a child on the autistic spectrum but you might have better answers if you post on the Special needs board. Ds was both on the SEN register at school and G & T, it's not that unusual. Ds had a speech disorder but he is also G&T in maths. Hasn't got issues with food sorry I can't help on that front.

airhostess Sat 26-Mar-16 19:32:24

Thank you all for taking the time to reply.
Has anyone read any really good books regarding helping with the eating issues?

BombadierFritz Sat 26-Mar-16 19:45:04

I'd chase up that autism referral. Its better to have early intervention if it is. Otherwise, personally, i would make contact with local sn support groups for aspergers/autism. Our local group has quite a few members whose kids are not diagnosed but benefit from the networks/socials/days out. They do day and longer courses for kids on issues like anxiety and are really good

airhostess Sat 26-Mar-16 19:47:51

Thank you for such constructive feedback.

irvine101 Sat 26-Mar-16 21:15:28

You said you see a dietician, right?
We used to see dietician, and I used to list everything he ate and show it to dietician when we met her. She checked nutritional values and she was quite happy about what he had. So I stopped to try too hard and he now has a quite fixed diet. But I know he is getting enough of everything and growing. Life seems a lot easier.

Hoppinggreen Sat 26-Mar-16 21:21:02

My DD is 11 and age was at her worst with food between about 2 and 9. She is very gifted but she shows no autistic traits at all and a couple of Docs we have seen about her eating/related health issues have said she shows no signs of autism at all .
She does not like to try new foods, although occasionally she will see something and ask to try it. She can't eat anything with fat on and prefers food not to touch. She will also change cutlery between eating the different ( non touching) foods on her plate and does not like eating with her hands. She has a general disgust for left over food and for example can't load the dishwasher due to the dirty items in it.
However, she does now eat a relatively healthy diet with a reasonable range whereas she was limits to about 6 or 7 very specific items at one point. We went through a lot to get to this stage, many people don't understand and think a child won't starve themselves but that's not actually true. The thing that worked for us was taking a huge step backwards and relaxing about the whole issue. For example why worry that she won't eat spag Bol when she will eat broccoli?
I hadn't considered a link between being gifted and food issues before but from reading other posts on here maybe there is one

irvine101 Sat 26-Mar-16 21:31:47

Hoppinggreen, my ds is the same about cutlery! He needs different one for different thing on the plate. Used to drive me insane, but now I got used to it.

tartanterror Sat 26-Mar-16 23:16:06

Seek out the Facebook Group called Mealtime Hostage - you'll find yourself in good company with people from across the world struggling with this. Your DC sounds like our DS and if it's a sensory based good aversion get set for a long haul. Be kind to yourself - somehow you need to keep opportunities open for change without going mad. Sensory food aversion needs long term exposure to new foods to get change at a glacial pace but it CAN happen (very very very slowly). Google Division of Responsibility by Ellyn Satter. We've been doing it for over 2 years and it is (mainly) a sanity saver. We are also now pursuing an assessment for aspergers/semantic & pragmatic disorder/non verbal learning disorder for his communication issues. School haven't noticed any problems like that but a switched on SALT we saw for feeding issues did and helped get a referral organised. Can you self refer to Speech & language's Feeding Team in your area? They can help rule out behavioural and mechanical issues while also screening communication skills. Might be worth seeking out for help on all fronts. If you want a book "Extreme Fussy Eating" by Katja Rowell is worth a look. Good luck

tartanterror Sat 26-Mar-16 23:19:11

CAMHS have cleared us for mental health issues recently and have suggested we look at Sensory Integration so (excuse the hijack) but if anyone knows about that I'm "all ears"!

SkyWasMadeOfAmethyst Sat 26-Mar-16 23:21:39

Occupational therapy might help. You can ask the school to refer you and the OT will assess for sensory processing disorder.

notagiraffe Sat 26-Mar-16 23:28:07

Yes DS2 is very academic and had massive eating issues. He's Aspergic as it turns out. Very wary of new textures and refuses certain textures. He lived for about six years on bread, cheddar and apples.
Ignore all advice on how to get neurotypical children to try new foods. it doesn't work. They say you have to introduce something 20 times. With HFA/ASD you have to introduce it about 300 times (no exaggeration) before it is familiar enough for them to include in their diet. Which is what we did.
The other thing we did was to introduce microscopic changes to things he loved and then increase the change. So, if they'll eat spag bol sauce, add a tiny quantity of a new veg, pureed into it, then increase the quantity by minute amounts until it's substantial.
As previous posters have said, it really doesn't matter at all if their diet is limited, so long as they can manage something from each food group at each meal. The upside of them being bright is they understand about 5 a day and 4 main food groups (grains, dairy, protein, fresh veg and fruit) so you can explain this and give them control over what they want to choose from each group.

GiddyOnZackHunt Sat 26-Mar-16 23:28:29

My DD has ASD. Gifted in several areas, has some friends, is quirky, strong willed, funny and coping in mainstream with support.
And my god does she have sensory issues about food (and other stuff).
We agreed new food days. Twice a month she has a taste of something slightly different. We have got her to eat a reasonable diet of limited foods. The range doesn't matter if the right food groups and nutrients are going in.

notagiraffe Sat 26-Mar-16 23:32:48

And, to give a positive update, DS went from being off the centimes he was so skinny due to food refusal for the first four years of his life, to now being a very good weight. And went from hating food, every meal being torture (for all of us0 to loving it and cooking for us. he's a bit of a foodie now - he loves curry and Chinese crispy duck and sushi. But it took years and years of patience. It wasn't until I completely stopped fretting that we made any progress. So best advice is: as long as he has a nutritionally balanced diet, don't worry, but do keep offering and explaining and familiarising him with stuff, even if he won't eat it for the first four years that it appears on his plate!

notagiraffe Sat 26-Mar-16 23:33:13

centiles not centimes - auto correct gone mad.

JerryFerry Sat 26-Mar-16 23:37:08

I second the advice to see an occupational therapist. Look for one who specialises in paedeatrics. It does sound like sensory processing dosorder (SPD) ...maybe google the symptoms. This can go hand in hand with ASD, giftedness... Also, it may be nothing to do with being (or not being) gifted.

triballeader Tue 29-Mar-16 13:41:26

My younger son is G&T and also has aspergers and ADHD. He only slept 4 hours in 24 as a baby and is the only teen I know who has ever pulled bright and breezy and raring to go again after three hours sleep. Things got eaiser as he grew older as he began to work out safe things to do with his waking time.

Its worth asking the CDC to hang onto him if there is a question about aspergers. That tends to help if you need to go via the statementing route and allows the school to bring in outside support. Food was and still is a big thing. Even at 19 he will not allow one food to touch another, hates all sauces, has views over mixing ingreadiants together. His diet is boring, bland features about 11 items but it is balanced and he is the one who is eating it not me.

My son had a peadiatric dietician at the local children's. A pead at the local CDC and a Consultant Psych and SALT via the regional CAHMS cantre. He also had input at school from an occupational therapist during infants to help with fine motor control. It can be a pain to fight for the extra support such kids need when they start school but its worth it long term. IPSEA may be able to help if you need support to get his educational needs meet. As my son went through the school system the support he needed became less. He started in a special school nursary at 2, moved to mainstream by 5. He has had support for his SEN and G&T needs thanks to the input of the CDC and I think that really made a differeance for him. He is now working full time, earning silly money in a Higher Apprenticeship and being paid by his employer to study a degree.

Good luck!

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