Feeding Difficulties

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-29-2006
Feeding Difficulties
Tue, 04-08-2008 - 11:18am

I posted this on the ASD/PDD boards and thought I would get your thoughts here as well too since we know that at least part of the problem is a sensory issue.

My daughter is three, has been diagnosed with autism, and has decided in the past six months to completely quit eating anything even slightly nutritious for her.

She has a history of feeding difficulties from birth and the problems have always varied. We knew she had some sensory preferences and some foods have always been off limits for her. However, in the past six months, she has stopped eating even the preferred foods. First, it was dinner she refused to eat - no matter what I served. Then, it was lunches that were refused in the past month and now she's beginning to do it with breakfasts.

Her expressive communication is limited - while she is chatty, she isn't able to explain why she won't or can't eat.

We have tried EVERYTHING that is usually recommended. We do everything we are "supposed" to do to encourage healthy eating habits. We have seen two psychologists and several speech and occupational therapists and no one seems to be able to pin down anything concrete that will actually help.

My daughter likes novelty (I know, not typically autistic behavior). She likes the newness of a situation or strategy or even food. Then, she wises up, lets herself really feel what she thinks of the situation and does away with the person, the situation, the food, the strategy, the schedule, you name it, almost never to return to it with any effect again.

Has anyone experienced this? How do I find a specialist that can look at my daughter as an individual and not a diagnosis? For example, she has very specific behaviors that are both atypical to autism and to typical development. She doesn't fit the book no matter which box you try to put her in and I need help. I'm really getting frustrated and feel like I'm at the point where I cannot see this with an objective eye anymore and need someone to work with my daughter regularly, not just hand off a list of suggestions I could have found on the internet for picky eaters. Ok, that was a bit of a rant. But, does this sound familiar to anyone?

As a side note, there aren't any medical reasons that have been discovered for this behavior. All the "usuals" have been ruled out and the medical world is saying it's behavioral.

Isabella 1-4-05
Bryan 12-9-06

Laura Isabella 1-4-05 Bryan 12-9-06
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-2003
Tue, 04-08-2008 - 11:59am
I'm so sorry you are having a hard time with this. The only thing I can think of is to switch up what she does like with a healthier organic version. Ei, if she will eat PopTarts, there is an organic one called Nature's Path (the cherry pomegran is SO yummy!). Perhaps she can help you shop and pick what she will like to eat (make sure you make her pick at least one thing from fruit, vegetable, etc so she's still making a healthy choice).
I know this is probably repetative advice, but it's all I could think of. I hope you can find some good answers soon.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-19-2006
Tue, 04-08-2008 - 9:17pm
The ladies here have some great tips for this and I'm sure u will get lots of help. I'm sorry feeding isn't my best issue to have ideas for :(



iVillage Member
Registered: 07-18-2007
Thu, 04-10-2008 - 1:09pm

My son has feeding problems so we have been through alot of different methods. When he was your daughter's age I worked with a registered dietician (we got a referral through First Steps so it was free). Despite my doctor saying there was no problem, the dietician really helped and recognized that my son was very underweight and needed help. She worked with the foods he did eat (which were very limited) and devised ways to add calories and nutritional value to those foods. We used heavy whipping cream instead of milk, and actually developed a fat shake made from heavy whipping cream, whole milk, soy protein powder and a liquid vitamin that did wonders for him. I am actually about to start giving him the shake again since he is losing weight and needs a calorie boost.

We have also done food therapy targeted for picky eaters through his OT, but it actually made his problems worse. They play with food in a group setting and encourage