Eating difficulties with autistic children

Being a picky or fussy eater is not uncommon in typically developing children. But far more likely in children diagnosed with ASD (autistic spectrum disorders).


For most typically developing children picky eating is outgrown, but for children diagnosed with ASD their eating difficulties are often carried into adulthood.

Because eating difficulties with autistic children are quite often multi factorial it is advised that parents consult a dietician as well using other techniques to help encourage their autistic child to eat healthily and adopt better eating habits.


Many parents and dieticians use techniques such as social stories to help encourage positive eating habits in children with autism. Social skills stories are generally written by experts in autism and are used to help teach and encourage positive behaviours.

Social skills stories can encourage positive eating habits in children with autism by providing the child with a plan or visual framework which suggests and answers the “wh” questions (who, where, why, when and what) as well as giving the child an insight into the thoughts and feelings of others. Thus reducing any anxieties the child may feel.


Parents can use social stories for many different situations and skills, no formal training is needed to use social stories and various sites now offer downloads of appropriate social skills stories.


Sites such as


Offer an insight into the various dietary issues often experienced by children with autism as well as appropriate social skills stories for download.



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