Preference for Bland Foods in Aspergers Children

Question

My 7-year-old Aspergers son will only eat bland food. Is this normal?

Answer

It really depends on the child. Aspergers (high functioning autism) children have different preferences just like anyone else. A common feature among Aspergers kids is that they do tend to only like a limited number of foods – or foods may need to be prepared and served the same way every time.

Aspergers kids often have sensory issues (e.g., being over-sensitive or under-sensitive to sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, etc.). If taste is one of the senses that is affected, the child may be under-sensitive and thus prefer strong flavors (e.g., spiciness, tartness), or the child may be over-sensitive and thus prefer bland flavors. Also, sensitivity to smell can make the Aspergers child prefer foods that have very little odor, and sensitivity to touch could make the child prefer foods that have a certain texture. So, sensory issues can affect food choice on multiple levels.

Some Aspergers children can develop food fetishes (e.g., only eating beige-colored foods or foods with creamy textures). And some may develop chewing or sucking fetishes, and as a result, they might constantly chew or suck on pens, pencils or certain clothing.

A child’s taste tends to change over the years, so if your son limits himself to just a few tolerable food items, know that he will probably branch out and try/enjoy other foods eventually. One mother reported that about the only thing her Aspie child would eat was cereal – and only one kind of cereal at that!  But by the time her son was around 10-years-old, he was eating a variety of meats, veggies and fruits. So, don’t despair!

It becomes a challenge for parents to make sure their Aspergers child gets proper nutrition. One trick that works for some parents is to change the texture of a despised food. For example, if your child will not eat vegetables, try serving vegetable soup. If he refuses apple juice, try apple slices. Most professionals believe that the less you indulge food fetishes, the less entrenched they become. For example, if an Aspergers child creates a rule that "no food can touch my plate other than the one or two food items I’m going to eat" -- it can easily become a lifelong rule if parents do not intervene.

The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook

COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said... I have found my son has grown out of it and will now eat a much more varied diet.
•    Anonymous said... Mine 8 year old son will eat hot dogs and it MUST have Mayo, ketchup and mustard. If there is relish he will do that as well. Strange kid. We dont give our boys much of a chance. I guess we are old fashion they eat what is on there plates. My 8 year old does fight us more then the 9 year old.
•    Anonymous said... Mine ate Pieroghies, Mac and cheese, French fries, and plain cheese burgers no bun for 6 years! But she also liked strong flavors like flaming hot cheetos, broccoli, and chicken curry. There was no in between! Now that she is 10 and has been on Seroquel there is little she won't eat!
•    Anonymous said... Plain pasta, plain rice, cheese and bread, thats what my boy lives on.
•    Anonymous said... possibly an instinctive reaction to over-flavoured food, plain food is actually quite nice, if you're over-sensitive to salt and sugar, trying fresh or even raw veg will not harm your kids, in fact, it might be better for them in the long run, don't bother with trying to get them to have multi-vitamins as these often contain sweeteners which can cause more subtle problems in the brain if your child is sensitive to them, try the food your great grandparents ate, plain porridge, meat and veg etc, I certainly found cutting the additives, sweeteners and flavourings made a difference to my son's behaviour and mood swings.

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