Autism and eating

Mealtime frustrations in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Feeding difficulties is something that families with autistic toddlers deal with daily. The vast majority of kids on the autism spectrum have feeding challenges and in most instances these feeding challenges are attributed to one of two things:

  • behaviour challenges
  • sensory integration difficulties

Sure enough, these two challenges are common reasons for food fussiness BUT they are by no means the only reasons for mealtime challenges.

Paediatric feeding disorders (PFD’s) and the medical issues associated with these disorders can easily be overlooked because of a child’s behavioural and/or sensory challenges.

Feeding difficulties are complicated! Feeding and swallowing disorders can lead to a variety of problems which can include general health and wellness problems, social / emotional challenges and even learning difficulties.

Problems with feeding would include problems with sucking, chewing food, drinking from cups, eating from spoons whilst swallowing disorders (dysphasia) would mean that your child has problems moving their food /liquids from the mouth, throat or oesophagus to the stomach.

In some instances feeding and swallowing disorders can be related to other medical conditions and we therefor recommend that parents seek the help of a medical professional when they suspect a problem. A good Speech-language pathologist or SLP that is training is feeding is a good place to start!

Ilse Kilian-Ross

Ilse Kilian-Ross is the owner of Amazing K, a registered ECD and Partial Care Facility in Johannesburg. Amazing K is a private adhd school, autism school and therapy centre for children from age 2 - 6 years where learners receive the best of both the schooling and therapy world. The autism school offers Individualized Education Programs, Speech- and Augmentive Alternative Communication (AAC) therapy as well as a full and adapted Academic Curriculum.