There is often a link between Aspergers and eating problems. Children with Aspergers sometimes have very limited food choices, as well as oral aversions due to sensory issues. Many children with Aspergers do not think of food emotionally, so they only eat when they are very hungry, and the actual feeling of hunger can be influenced by a child’s sensory integration dysfunction.
Due to the severity of eating problems a child with Aspergers may experience, medical care is often needed. Good basic nutrition is so important to a young child’s development. Sometimes working with young children in a professional environment can improve the child’s eating issues. Here are some of the treatment options that may be available to you.
• Speech therapy covers many areas other than articulation. Speech therapists work also work on social skills, alternatives to speech like PECS communication and sign language, and oral aversion issues.
• Feeding therapy is performed by speech therapists. It is often a good idea to consult with a speech therapist that specializes in feeding therapy to form a feeding therapy program.
• Feeding therapy clinics are a good resource and in-home private feeding therapy is often extremely effective for children with feeding problems.
• Sensory therapy can help some children with eating issues. A hypersensitivity to smells, along with an oral aversion and/or under-sensitive mouth cavity, can add up to serious eating problems. Much of this can be addressed over time with sensory therapy provided by a speech therapist with a feeding therapy expertise.
• Some parents of children with Aspergers eating problems choose to either avoid private or public school therapies, or have no access to these therapies. But a skilled feeding therapist can advise and support you on your home program. Here are some things you can do at home.
• Allow favorites after trying new things. Perhaps this sounds like bribery, but there is no harm in rewarding your child when he tries something new. For every bite of the new food, offer a bite of his favorite.
• Speech and feeding therapy can be reinforced at home in with the help of written curriculum guides and advice from your feeding therapist. Systematic directions enable parents to implement successful therapies at home. “Improving Speech and Eating Skills in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders-An Oral Motor Program for Home and School”, by Maureen A. Flanagan, is one such book.
• Sneak nutritional purees into the child’s favorite foods to boost nutrition. You can find cookbooks that show you which fruit and vegetable purees work best with which foods. For instance, you can add pureed carrots to macaroni and cheese and it is undetectable.
• Supplement with protein drinks can be used to up the nutritional value and calorie input of your child’s diet. You can find protein drinks and nutritional supplemental drinks geared directly to your child’s needs and taste preferences.
With a little support and planning, parents can successfully tackle a child with Aspergers eating issues at home.
If your child might benefit from a feeding therapy screening or evaluation by a speech and feeding therapist, and you would like a professional opinion, contact Karen George at Chicago Feeding Therapy by calling 312-399-0370 or by clicking on the button at the upper-right section of this page. Chicago Feeding Therapy responds to all inquiries.
Chicago Feeding Therapy is a renowned, in-home feeding therapy clinic founded by speech-language pathologist and feeding therapy expert Karen George. Karen started Chicago Feeding Therapy to address the unmet needs of families who desire in-home, private feeding therapy in Chicago. Karen and her team address feeding issues with children as young as a few months up through school-aged children. Karen is the author of several booklets including one specifically addressing feeding therapy.