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Calling all ASD parents!(21 Posts)
I am training to be a chef and as part of a project for my course, I am trying to gather information about children with ASD who have issues with food and eating.
This could be anything, for example, my DS2 dislikes certain textures and refuses to eat anything squishy or wet (like mashed potato) but really likes strong flavours like chilli.
If your child has any similar experiences, doesn't like certain flavours, colours, textures, smells, anything at all that makes feeding them a healthy diet possible please let me know!
Parents of other children who also have food issues (not necessarily ASD) are more than welcome to contribute your experiences too, the more the merrier!
Hope you're going to make smearable food, with smearing tables....
Good luck with your training.
My DS likes plain bland food. I call it the beige diet. He doesn't like food that is hot and wet (gravy, soup, stews, curries, etc) and he doesn't like strong flavours or seasoning (herbs, salt, spices, pepper).
TBH I view his diet as way down my list of worries as he does eat from each food group.
Two of mine are veggie. For years ds didn't eat pasta or rice. Now he'll eat penne and macaroni, but the other pastas have the 'wrong' texture.
Dd2 will not eat anything green other than spinach. She likes strongly flavoured curries and spanish food.
Dd1 eats meat, but only if it doesn't look like meat, eg.bolognaise sauce. However, it needs to be as bland as possible.
Husband can tell the difference between linguine and spaghetti, I ran out of spaghetti one night, thought he wouldn't notice. He doesn't eat veg unless heavily disguised, and then, only onions, peppers and courgette. Onions and courgettes have to be grated!
DS' food has to blow your head off - he eats curries that cause my eyes to water.
Loves a good chilli.
Give him something like chicken nuggets etc he'll tell you that it is bland and has no flavour.
Food has been a lifelong issue for ds. He currently eats a certain Birds Eye Beefburger, McDonalds plain hamburger, occasional fries,on a rare occasion dry cornflakes and dry toast and he did eat Cadbury's Dairy Milk but has now stopped again!
He inspects everything that passes his lips and if it doesn't look right (ie too well done) then he doesn't eat it.
Ds1 used to eat fewer than 10 items of food. He ate no meat, fish, eggs (unless hidden), fruit or veg. He would eat gluten free cheese pizzas and buckwheat panckakes (and then crap- sweets etc).
School did a sort of sensory programme, so they started with a crisp and put a tiny piece of baked bean sauce on it. When he was eating that they broke the crips into quarters and made a crisp sandwich (one baked bean between two bits of crisp), when he was eating that they gave a crisp with some mashed potato on it. It took about a year but by the end of the year he was eating casseroles and stews. Not he eats absolutely everything - well nearly, is still a bit fussy about fruit but eats apples until you hide them.
I keep thinking I must try that with Ds2 Jimjams - he loves crisps and it getting a bit better about trying some new foods (bites but then spits out), so think it might work.
Anyway, DS2 (severe ASD, 8.11) - likes anything fried/roasted until brown and crispy, so I hide quite a wide variety of meat, fish and veg, processed into oblivion, in burger shaped cakes. He won't touch the ingredients separately though, apart from potato which he eats in any form, except mash. Loves salty food. Eats a load of gluten free bread, rice cakes and far too many crisps (plain). Strangely, likes hummous. Likes grapes and bananas, with the very occasional blueberry/strawberry. Up to this year wouldnt touch meat that hadnt been minced but have just got him eating chicken or turkey strips, coated in polenta and fried. Will eat anything sweet, whatever colour or texture, if he can get his hands on it - DS1 nearly got him to eat a blackberry the other day because I think he thought it was a Haribo .
Knows what foods he is allowed (sensitive to gluten, allergic to dairy,eggs, nuts and intolerant to soya, corn, MSG, aspartame etc) and will hover his hand above something he wants, while looking at me enquiringly. Incredibly good about accepting he's not allowed certain foods (I always offer an alternative).
DS3 will eat anything except chilli: but mainly pasta. Plate after plate of it.
DS1 is funny about smells- he will try many thing unless the smell is offputting, not necessarily what you might expect- he will eat mussels for example. onions are teh big killer for him and he can detect them in anything byu sniffing the food.
DS4 only likes plain beige food, he is my little stereotype. Plain toast, cereal bars, waffles, fisgcakes, crips, and oh no that's it. Smoothies in packets are a lifesaver as he can't see the colour. If the apcket is bent or scratched though- argh! World ends.
Textures are also a problem here: a lump in potato, a slightly chewy bit in porridge, gristle- one encounter and a food is rejected for ever.
Oh and ds1 hates drinking: still have to enforce it daily but at one stage, on a hot day after a school fun run, he was passing out and NHS Direct ahd am ambulance on stanby and he was still refusing....
ds3 won;t touch water- ever. To teh extent we had it written in his statement as the only way to 'breech' healthy schools policy.
And of course plenty of kids with ASD have extra allergies or special management diets- so we have that to consider as well (no casein here and ds1 reacts to cherries badly)
ds2 has a pretty varied diet now but is still fussy about how the food is presented.
The basic rules are, nothing must touch & no surprises.
So sausage mash & beans must be seperate, under no curcumstances must the beans run in to the mash or on to the sausages.
A cheese & tomato pizza should be just that, so no added herbs (yuk green bits!)and if a menu has pictures on it please make sure the food looks exactly like the picture or he'll send it back
DS1 (8 tomorrow!) has ASD. He eats most things, but loves plain pasta the most. Sometimes likes it with butter and parmesan, but only out of one of Nonna's pasta bowls !
He hates mushrooms and courgettes though. I think it's the texture. Tonight he picked out all the tiny bits of courgette from his tea with his fingers (yuk!) but then ate the rest of his tea happily (cous cous and ratatouille).
My middle one (5) has no ASD but loads of food difficulties. He refuses to eat pasta, most greens, rice...in fact, he only likes bread and honey, fish and chips and cake! He always has a lovely delicious tea put in front of him, though, and he usually manages to force it down so he can have pudding!
DS3 (4) eats anything and everything (except mushrooms!) and usually has seconds while waiting for DS2 to finish! He's just asked me if he can have a school dinner, not because he's seen them and thinks they look nice, but to 'see what it's like'!
Pasta is a hit here too and pizza. For main meals that's about it. Toast is good too.
Raffle it is if it's the right shade and dry here anyway, oh and if it's made with a particular loaf of bread
My DS eats the same food day in day out.
He limits his choices to pretty bland food and doesn't like "bits" in his food.
He likes soft food and will reject anything too crunchy so I am a master of the slightly undercooked fishfinger.
He loves sugar and sweet things.
My youngest doesn't like food touching other food so a segmented plate would be a good idea!
He likes plain stuff. So pasta with nothing - nothing at all.
I'd suggest sauces not on the food, but at the table instead.
GF / CF range. You'd be amazed how many children with autism are on / should be on either a GF, CF or both diet.
Don't make it too fancy, colourful or highly scented.
Oh, forgot to say my oldest, otoh, is a dustbin who will eat anything
Until DS was 18 months he ate anything - and I do mean anything - then from 18 mths he started rejecting foods, whittling it down to his current (short) list. I would love to know why this happened?
But in case that isn't in the scope of your project ... pasta has to be spirals or it isn't pasta, and then rejected. He's always liked fishfingers so we were able to introduce a similar colour of breaded chicken recently, but he won't eat 'normal' chicken.
And no fruit, we have to still give him purees (well, we don't have to but it's the only way to get some fruit down him and they cost 2 bloody quid for four sachets, grrr)
Bread (no butter), cheerios (no milk) so no mixed textures or anything that will alter the texture.
Grapes and chicken nuggets (in 5's, although he always leaves 1) so numbers are important in his food. Chocolate spread (but only in school, he wont eat this at home) so different environments are important. Chips (have to 'skinny' and have salt on) Crisps (plain)
Thats about all that ds eats, he wont eat outdoors or at anyone elses house, he likes crunchy, sweet or salty food, no food is allowed to touch, he wont touch or go near food that he doesnt eat. As someone has already mentioned he seems to favour 'beige' food. No 'imperfections' in food are allowed (no pointy edges on chips or discolouration)
My DS is 8 yrs old and has Aspergers. He is very sensitive to smell so anything that 'doesn't smell right' is a no go. He likes bland food that is not hard to chew, and will not eat anything with visible 'green bits' - herbs. He doesn't like meat that is chewy and fibrous (e.g roast lamb, beef) as he can't tolerate things that get stuck in his teeth (although interstingly he spends a lot of time chewing his clothes!). He refuses to eat any vegetables other than peas (although I think that this is not unusual for a child his age) and rejects fruit if it's over-ripe or soft (grapes) or has a mark on it like a banana. In fact, he will only eat bananas if they are green and unripe. Hope this helps, good luck!
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