My daughter has eating issues and I need professional help — Scope | Disability forum
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My daughter has eating issues and I need professional help

ritakaur Community member Posts: 3 Listener
Hi, I am new to this community. My daughter is 3 years old and has suspected Autism currently on the waiting list for a diagnosis. She is a very fussy eater and will only eat brown/ beige foods. No wet foods like soup or baked beans. She doesn't eat potatoes or any veg and only eats bananas. She won't mix foods on her plate. She puts all sorts of non-edible items in her mouth. She will lick anything then put it in her mouth then spit it out then put it back in her mouth over and over again. She has episodes of diarrhoea every few weeks and sometimes doesn't eat at all throughout the day. She is very sensory and I get this but I am worried she is not getting the nutrients she needs. My worry is that she is very hypersensitive to food and I want to help her but I don't know how. I don't want to put her on a gluten free or cassein free diet without professional help. Who can I reach out to for support on tackling an autistic child with eating issues?


  • LouiseH
    LouiseH Community member Posts: 96 Courageous
    Hi @ritakaur
    Welcome to the community. It sounds challenging dealing with your daughter's eating issues, but it's great that you're reaching out for help. 

    I've included a link below from the National Autistic society
    website which talks about eating habits, keeping a food diary to help work out some causes of the eating issues and which professionals to turn to for help. I've also included a second link which is for a small book which is more of a general help and advice guide for autism.

    Getting the diagnosis is the important thing for moving forward, (but I'm sure you already know that) :smile:

    Hopefully this information might help you somewhat. 

    @Adrian_Scope is there anything else which you may be able to suggest here?
    Best wishes,


    Louise Hesketh
    Community Champion
  • Kev2020
    Kev2020 Community member Posts: 38 Connected
    Hi Kev here sorry to hear about this  
    I have worked extensively with children and young people with issues with eating.
    As we well as the above links Your GP can refer you to a specialist

    Some day to day advice would be :
    Make eating fun .. don't worry about someone not eating 
    Plate divers have been the best thing I have ever seen and I even use them.
    You can decide your plate into areas you don't want to touch eachother.. easily done with foil 
    Make a menu together
    Shop together 
    Cook or prepare together 
    Eat with friends 

    Let us know how you get on 
    Always happy to give more tips but running out of space ..?

  • ritakaur
    ritakaur Community member Posts: 3 Listener
    Thank you everyone. My GP has written to my daughter's Paediatrician to get a referral for a dietician. It's not going to happen overnight and can be a long waiting process. I have a food diary which I started beginning of Feb. Kev those tips sound very good. She is 3 and non verbal so I am finding it hard to understand her emotions and feelings about food. It either goes on the floor or she pushes it away and then she just won't eat or it becomes sensory messy play. It's so heart breaking as a parent when your child doesn't eat or sleep properly and has frequent diarrhoea episodes. She can't even tell me if her tummy is hurting. It's a big worry for me. 
  • Kev2020
    Kev2020 Community member Posts: 38 Connected
    It's good that things are moving .. in my experience the pediatric team do get things done quite quick as in two or three weeks.

    I know from experience it's sad to see a child not eat. But things do get better 3 is a very difficult time for children and is the start of the 'showing off years' ( some people say they never get over this !! ?)

    Are you familiar with communation cards and makaton symbols ? 
    I'm not sure I can share links as it's considered commercial but I'll find out.. 
  • Adrian_Scope
    Adrian_Scope Testing team Posts: 10,600 Scope online community team
    Sorry, I didn't get a notification for the tag above.
    It looks like all the advice given here is good, unless @SparkleSheffieldAutismAdvisors have any suggestions to make? Please let us know how you get on @ritakaur. :smile:
    Community Manager
  • Kev2020
    Kev2020 Community member Posts: 38 Connected
    Hi here's a useful link to make a pizza using symbols

    Please share your results I'll keep my thinking cap on !
  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Posts: 10,586 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @ritakaur and a very warm welcome to the community. Just wanted to check in and see how you and your daughter were doing. :)

  • ritakaur
    ritakaur Community member Posts: 3 Listener
    Hi @Kev2020, thank you for the links. I am attending a Makaton course next week and will be introducing this to my daughter. Portage and SALT are looking to introduce PECS so I am very excited to try the links you have sent me. Thank you for sending them through. @Chloe_Scope we are getting on ok. I keep trying to introduce new foods and it still turns into sensory play rather than a sit down meal. I still have problems with her sleep but I guess it's just waiting for professional advice. Any more ideas would be very helpful. 
  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Posts: 10,586 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @ritakaur, I'm glad things are going okay with food. Have you seen Scope's Sleep Right service?
    Sleep Right is a face to face service that helps parents and carers of disabled children to improve their child's sleep. The service is available in East and West London, Leeds, Northamptonshire and Peterborough.
    Please do let us know how you get on. :)

  • anisty
    anisty Community member Posts: 354 Pioneering
    Hi sorry i cant add extra help in getting your daughter to extend her range of foods but i hope i can offer some re assurance that your daughter might manage better than you imagine on her narrow range of nutrients.

    My son is asd and learning difficulties and was also non verbal at 3 like your daughter (he can use full sentences now at 21yrs)

    Currently he lives on a diet of sausage rolls, home made macaroni cheese and batchelors super noodles. He does eat chocolate, and choc cake. He does drink milk. That is it. Not veg or fruit at all. Now i dont know how it is possible but he never ails a thing. Never a sniffle. We were all quite ill over christmas with very bad colds. Except him. 

    When he was 3 he ate a bit more variety but less quantity. He used to eat tinned sardines at 3. When he was older, he found out sardines were fish. And he doesnt like fish. So he never touched sardines again. He also liked the ambrosia semolina and rice pudding.

    He was off scale under weight right through childhood (its these sausage rolls that have put a bit of weight on!) The paediatrician kept him under review and the oT said he was to eat what he liked and we werent to worry about veg. He ate baked beans, and still does. And golden syrup porridge.

    But he always kept well with regard to coughs colds etc. Biggest problem was constipation. That is another story i wont go into here.

    He used to have the innocent fruit drinks too. Not the smoothie, he hated the texture of those. But the thin juice ones, and he managed a straw so by passed the teeth with all that sugar.

    It isnt easy for sure. Maybe a vitamin supplement could help? They say playing with messy substances (even like mushed up fruit or cooked slimy pasta) can help but my son would never touch anything like that. He did put a fresh strawberry in his mouth once when we had been strawberry picking. Luckily we had come home first as his reaction was extreme. As soon as it was in his mouth, it triggered a very violent gag reflex and he was sick!!!
    Rest assured though, your daughter will continue to grow even if she is on the thin side and she might well keep surprisingly healthy on a very narrow food range.

    All the very best. 


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