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How can I help my 3yo boy with ASD eat more/different foods?

(30 Posts)
crokky Thu 05-Nov-09 13:39:00

My DS is 3.8 and I am sure he has an ASD. My brothers have (diganosed) Aspergers and although my DS does not yet have a diagnosis, I am almost certain and so is my mum. I believe from a thread I posted on MN that the ASD is the cause of his poor eating and I don't know how to help him with it. I wondered if anyone had successfully helped a young child with ASD eat more stuff.

He will usually eat: cheese sandwich, marmite sandwich, cheese alone, ham alone, juice, water, crackers, innocent smoothie, banana, apple, organix baby snacks, chocolate and mcD chips (nothing else from mcD), toast and marmite

He will sometimes eat: milk, yoghurt, grapes, cucumber, carrot (raw), cake

So it appears that he will not eat hot or wet food, with the exception of McD chips and yoghurt.

He goes to a mainstream school nursery and has refused every single hot school dinner this term and last term so he is offered large amounts of food that he will not eat. The nursery is very good with him (also believe him to have ASD) and sits him between 2 boys who eat very well every day to try and help him.

I don't know how to help him, I just want him to eat and would be really grateful if anyone has any suggestions for me.

waitingforgodot Thu 05-Nov-09 15:37:24

You could make an appointment to see the dietician? He/She can make suggestions

sarah293 Thu 05-Nov-09 16:32:43

Message withdrawn

crokky Thu 05-Nov-09 17:13:23

Riven - at what age did it expand for your DS1? For one of my brothers, it expanded at age 19 shock and although I don't want to wait that long, I don't want to force the issue too much as I know my brothers remember being forced to eat food that they really did not want to.

What sort of referral (if any) do you have to get in order to see a dietition? HV/doc/self referral?

sarah293 Thu 05-Nov-09 17:20:33

Message withdrawn

waitingforgodot Thu 05-Nov-09 17:40:47

we asked our HV for a referral to dietician

allaboutme Thu 05-Nov-09 17:47:49

Could you go with the not wet or hot theme and try and expand what you think he might eat?
Things like peppers, lettuce, rice cakes, mushrooms etc... I will try and think of more!

My Ds has a limited diet in that he will only eat things not 'mixed up' so I go with it and try to get him to try as many things as I can that are not mixed (some days he ends up eating only bread and butter, but overall he eats a fairly balanced diet i think)

As a side question - my dS is a similar age to yours and I think he has ASpergers too, but not diagnosed yet. My brother has it also.
What signs does your DS show at this age if you dont mind me asking??

Marne Thu 05-Nov-09 17:49:02

Dd1 has AS and will eat:

cheese sandwiches (without crusts)
Fruit (only berries)
Yoghurt
Pizza
Sausage
McDonald chips grin
Chocolate
Biscuits

Sometimes she will try a fish finger or a chicken nugget, mainly she eats junk, no veg but some fruit.

Dd1 seems healthy so i have never spoken to a Dieticion. She's thin but as long as she's healthy then i don't mind what she eats. All you can do is keep offering them other foods in hope that one day they will try them and like them.

crokky Thu 05-Nov-09 18:38:22

allaboutme - my DS's signs of ASD are quite subtle. I have 2 DBs with Aspergers (and another brother without it) and their signs were more far more marked than my DS at this age. Obviously I am carrying genetic material causing ASD - I probably have ASD myself, although not as "much" of an ASD as Aspergers like my brothers have.

The biggest thing is actually this food issue.

Other than that, all the signs that I can see are so mild that they could actually each belong to a NT child. Put together, however, they do really indicate a mild ASD. For example:

-very much enjoying the company of adults (eg nursery teachers), ie at least as much as enjoying the company of other 3yos. So when asked to name his friends, he would include the teachers and perhaps actually name them first.
-abnormal speech development. Although it is not particularly "delayed" and is OK for his age (3.8), the way the language has been developing is not normal - I can't really describe it better than that.
-socially, although children do generally like him, he is "naive" compared to similarly aged children. He will have no idea when someone is being mean to him/laughing at him - he will still be friendly back.
-he will be timid re trying new things. He will generally do things if another child does it first. He will not try something unless a child shows him.
-he is obsessed with Thomas, although plenty of NTs are as well I suppose
-His memory is quite stunning in comparison to similarly aged peers (according to nursery teacher)

His traits are quite subtle - he makes good eye contact, smiles at people and interacts happily generally. He has no sensory "overloads" apart from this food issue. My brothers have some physical awkwardness associated with Aspergers, although my DS has none and is quite sporty. He will however "hand flap" like children with more pronounced autism, although not that often.

crokky Thu 05-Nov-09 18:42:10

Marne, I am lol at your DD1 liking McD chips. It is so strange that they are the only hot food DS will touch. I am thinking of trying to get him to try chicken nuggets as well. I was going to put them in the mcD chip box grin.

allaboutme Thu 05-Nov-09 18:48:10

Thanks for that, its really helpful to compare!
Are you hopeful for a diagnosis?
My DS is just turned 4. He is seeing the paediatrician in 3 weeks time. He saw him last time 6 months ago and he had a 'wait and see' approach then.
Since then DS has started speech therapy, so we also have a report from the SALT to add to the mix.
I am convinced DS is ASD, but am so worried that the paed will say this time that he is absolutely fine and discharge him as like you, all the signs are quite mild but they all add up to quite a lot imo!

I've spent today writing down all my thought on DS to tell the paed and have ended up with 3 A4 pages of typed info LOL

Have you tried your DS on fishfingers? Thats a winner with my DS. and brocolli? in fact could try brocolli and cauliflower and all sorts of veg raw with some kind of dip he would like.. cream cheese or ketchup even?

sickofsocalledexperts Thu 05-Nov-09 19:06:28

My DS who is autistic also had a very limited diet but I would give him a fave meal and add one tiny bit of carrot, and basically force him to eat the tiniest bit of the carrot before he got to the good stuff. At first he screamed, but the strange thing now is that really likes carrots, peas, sweetcorn (though NOT cucumber, tomatoes). I think sometimes you just have to give them the taste of it, then keep on doing that, till one day they pick it up and eat it unprompted as they realise it's not that awful after all. Also, he eats a ton of tomato ketchup with chips and everything I read suggests that this is in fact a great way of getting lycopene, which is the healthy bit of a tomato! Baked beans are also a "superfood" if you can get them down him. My boy will eat fishfingers but only if quite crisply cooked and drenched in tom ketchup!

Marne Thu 05-Nov-09 19:15:33

We still have to buy the chicken nuggets at McDonalds so she can get a toy but she never eats them grin.

Her sister has ASD and will eat anything (including plants and dog food).

crokky Thu 05-Nov-09 19:27:53

allaboutme - I don't know whether I am hopeful for a diagnosis. Not sure how your brother gets on as an adult with Aspergers, but my brothers have had to lie on job application forms (ie say they have no SN) so really for them, it is more the knowledge that they have aspergers that is personally useful, rather than the actual diagnosis which carries no benefits as an adult. For children, I understand that the diagnosis is the route to getting the appropriate help so I am a bit torn as to what to do.

sickofsocalledexperts - I will try the tomato ketchup. Again, I think the best route to this is via McD!! - I will show him the mini cartons of it and try and get him to eat it on his chips. Then I could get some to have at home and try dipping other foods in it.

asteroids Thu 05-Nov-09 19:46:09

Crokky,
I think your DS has quite a varied diet so I wouldn't think it's too much of a problem at the moment.
One question: will he eat cold cooked food such as cold potatoes, sausages etc?
I would imagine the best way to encourage him to try more foods is to just make small amounts available alongside his ordinary food but not try to force feed him.
I expect it is linked to ASD and he will probably increase his diet when he's ready....perhaps when he's 19

allaboutme Thu 05-Nov-09 19:54:25

My brother has just turned 15 so still at school and not come across the job hunting issues yet!
TBH he is still struggling with his ASD and has other issues as well.
I think what I worry about most is that if my DS does not get diagnosed then he will not get on as well at school and that could affect his whole future.
I already have MIL and friends (well meaning) saying 'oh theres nothing wrong with him!' trying to reassure but actually quite annoying as I am quite convinced there IS something wrong!

thederkinsdame Thu 05-Nov-09 20:31:21

I've found that offering one piece of a new food, on the plate, but away from the otehr stuff (TIP = you might have to start with a picture of a plate with the new food on, beside his own plate if he baulks at new food on his plate with his meal IYSWIM)
I do this with my DS, who would live on cheese, bread and bananas (notice the yellow theme?!) if we let him. I don't pass comment, I don't even acknowledge it's there. Sometimes he'll ignore it, sometimes he'll sniff it, or lick it, other times he'll try it. With many things I have had to put them on the plate several times before he'll touch it etc, but it has worked for us... HTH a little

Marioandluigi Fri 06-Nov-09 17:22:59

Do you make a big issue out of food?

I posted on your other thread with the things my son will eat, and its very limited.

I was a big stickler for family meals, but over time I have learned to relax it. I have found that I can get my DS, who is 2.8 to eat some things if he is watching ITNG (his favourite show)because he doesnt really seem to realise he is eating. He much more of a grazer than an eater, but it works for us. He still wont try new things and at the moment he is off banana so he is living on grapes and raisins at the moment

good luck with whatever you try.

crokky Fri 06-Nov-09 19:23:20

Marioandluigi - I remember your post, I wondered how old your DS was, I can see he is 2.8 from this thread.

I don't think I have ever made a big issue of it, I would certainly never ever make a scene at the dinner table over it as I remember my dad making a scene repeatedly when my brothers wouldn't eat things as children.

My DS is 3.8 and this has been going on since he was around 1.5 ish and I have let it go for all this time, but it is beginning to stress me out a bit. I think a NT fussy toddler would start eating around 4yo (read this on MN), but an ASD toddler, if allowed to continue with their eating habits, would continue until age 16-19 like my brothers. Then, aged 19, they'd have a lightbulb moment when they realised that the stuff they'd been avoiding their whole life was actaully really nice. I want this lightbulb moment for my DS quite soon grin. I've tried the TV to help him, I've also tried letting him help me cook stuff. He's happy to cut stuff up and put it on a pizza or whatever, but will still not eat the end product. I am def going to go for the tomato ketchup this wkend!

Marioandluigi Fri 06-Nov-09 19:34:59

Good luck with the ketchup

logi Fri 06-Nov-09 19:58:41

My son is almost 6 (ASD) and his diet is awful he has recently had a blood test for anaemia and been refered to a paed. as they are very concerned about his health due to his diet,ive feel ive tried everything he only eats chips,waffle,breadsticks,chocolate(but not alot),some haribo sweets and he drinks lots of milk and its because of the amount of milk that they are particuarly worried,not much advice but we try not to make an issue of food and we hope the paed. has some good advice for us.

5inthebed Fri 06-Nov-09 20:09:34

DS2 (4 + ASD) used to be really bad with food, still is quite picky, but not as bad. He will at least eat bananas and strawberries, but has stopped eating broccoli, which was the only veg he would eat. He also likes McDonald chip.

I also used to get really worked up about what he was eating, and hated having to cook him something different to everyone else. But I have changed my attitude after the advice I was given on here. smile

Anyway, sorry I'm blabbering on, DS2 eats a few new things now, and the way we have gotten him to try different foods, is not to put it on his plate, but to lick something we are eating (obviously not eating it after he has licked it). It takes a while for this to progress, licking leads to tiny little nibbles, then a proper mouthful, then a tiny amount on his plate, growing bigger an eventually he has liked a couple of new things. Like strawberries. That took all summer holidays!

I also found that giving him an option with food (ie, crisps or sandwich), gives you the chance to introduce new things into their diet without it looking like you are forcing them to.

waitingforgodot Sat 07-Nov-09 08:41:21

Do any of you ladies know if MacDonalds chips are gluten free?

5inthebed Sat 07-Nov-09 10:44:00

JUst looked on the McDonalds website, and they are infact 100% gluten free

PipinJo Sat 07-Nov-09 11:30:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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