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Autism

Food

05/27/2009

Question:

Is there any evidence that Food Chaining works with older children? My son is a young teen. He is an extremely picky eater, typical of Asperger`s, plus he has some other stuff, we call him Alphabet soup, for all the acronyms.

The food pickiness has gotten worse since middle school started and I am guessing puberty is starting, although he is behind most of the rest of the boys. We used to joke he ate 15 things (including ketchup as one item.) Now we joke he is down to 10. We saw a dietician who was kind enough to honestly say a dietician could not help him. She recommended food chaining. This would bring us back to going to a speech therapist (funny, that`s where it all started, for Apraxia of Speech.) I am at a stage in life where I feel overwhelmed with a lot of stuff, and the thought of going back to speech therapy, which of course makes logical sense, because it probably stems from Apraxia, which really is a lifelong issue despite great speech now, plus the Aspergers, plus all the sensory stuff, yadda yadda, that before dragging ourselves to more stuff: Does this food chaining work in an early teen? From what I have been reading it seems to mainly been used with younger children. My son is in fact a pretty pleasant, well behaved child, thankfully, despite all his acronyms, thank you to all the special ed services!

Answer:

Dear Parent: You've already tried and completed many excellent interventions for your son. Food chaining is a behavioral intervention to address food selectivity and has been used successfully with many children.

My concern in your case is that your son's food selectivity has recently worsened and he has multiple medical concerns. Before embarking on a new treatment, I would first visit his pediatrician to rule out a medical or medication basis for this change in his selectivity.

After this I would consult with a feeding team familiar with adolescents with Asperger's. The feeding team should provide you with an intervention program (that may include food chaining). Best of luck.

For more information:

Go to the Autism health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Paula C Rabidoux, PhD/CCC-SLP Paula C Rabidoux, PhD/CCC-SLP
Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry
Clinical Associate Professor of Speech & Hearing
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
The Ohio State University