“Picky eating” is often normal in early childhood period but if persist with extreme behaviours even after 2 years of age to normal food habits appropriate to the culture and country then it is a notable area to intervene by special professionals or in special methods.
Children with Autism Spectrum disorder often come with problem in food selectivity where it never subsided even after the early childhood period. Parents of these children are usually worried of their food, where they already being restricted to food on Diet program but their kids don’t adopt to the food of safer zones.
Usually, children with ASD and those with sensory problems often show difficulty to adopt taste/texture. They show restrictive patterns in taking up food based on taste/texture sensitivity. Sometimes smell sensitivity or tactile sensitivity by hands to touch too has a role for selectivity of limited foods by these children.
The problem behaviors of those children could be any of the following:
- Eating only selected foods (following patterns like idli, dosa with specific sambar,etc.. A pattern of similar always)
- Excessive intake of few foods out of their interest and sensitivity (Chocolates, chips)
- Limited taking food with carbohydrates
- Limiting to peculiar food and avoiding others due to taste/texture sensitivity. Usually a child with sensitivity problems may gag/spit out/cry on looking or kept a piece in their mouth for a particular food
- Might have difficulty in taking vegetables, fruits or rice with curry items.
Tips for dealing children with picky eating behavior:
- Start by introducing healthy elements into food that your child already likes.
- Ask your child to help you while preparing the food.
- Follow a routine for snack time and meals.
- Associate food with fun.
- If child shows extreme/uncontrollable behaviours, leave that temporarily and try on other fine day/time.
- Use lot of distractive session with toys/ activities, if child can be worked well with behaviour techniques. .
- Include some dislike foods mixed with preferred foods in between.
- Encourage independent feeding from one to a few mouthfuls in between your feeding time– increasing this slowly over other meal-times for as long as it takes