Children can be slow to warm up to trying new things. When it comes to food, even more so. Children on the autism spectrum can tend to be particularly selective about their food. While preparing for the holidays, this can be an important thing to keep in mind. In this post, we’ll talk food selectivity and the holidays.
A Common Challenge
Selective eating is a common challenge that parents of children on the spectrum tend to face. One of the ways Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can manifest in children is by making them extremely particular about certain things. They can at times seem hyper-focused and stubborn about what they choose to eat or devote their attention too. This can be a frustrating challenge, but it’s one that your child can overcome with some help.
How to Address Food Selectivity
One of the main factors that contribute to the challenge of food selectivity is the common desire for children on the spectrum to remain in structured and familiar routines. Once they recognize the foods they like and have often, they can easily get stuck wanting only those foods. The best way to combat food selectivity, is to expose your child to a variety of foods as early as possible. If some of those selectivity problems have already developed for your child, however, you can try a few of the following tips:
- Introduce new foods in every meal, in small portions- for example, just a spoon or forkful of something new to accompany the usual menu.
- Use positive reinforcement to encourage the acceptance of any new food.
- Establish a structured meal schedule to ensure your child comes to meals with an appetite to improve their desire to try something new.
Preparing for the Holidays
With the holidays right around the corner, it can be daunting to think of how to deal with the food selectivity challenge when planning family meals. Some of our best advice to prepare includes:
- Start addressing food selectivity early. Even introducing the usual holiday foods ahead of time can help.
- Be mindful when planning the menu. If you’re not the one making the meal, speak to the family who is and make a plan together.
- Have some backup options available. Ultimately, the holidays are about everyone enjoying their time together, so do what makes sense for you and your family.
With that in mind you and your family are off to a great start this holiday season. For more ABA and autism related news and tips visit our blog and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! If you have questions regarding ABA therapy services or you’re interested in visiting one of our locations, don’t hesitate to reach out to us on our contact page. We’re always here to answer your questions and support your family’s needs as best as we can.