Sue asks how she can improve her child’s eating behaviors.
Children with autism are often picky eaters, sometimes have difficulty sitting still, and can take longer to learn common manners than other children. This trio of behaviors may result in the absence of family mealtimes. I would like to suggest that mealtimes are worth working towards. The benefits of family meals are widely supported by research. For an autistic child, mealtimes offer a powerful time for learning through modeling. During a family meal, parents and siblings model: 1. Eating a variety of foods, 2. Communication, 3. Functional behaviors and 4. Table manners.
Watch this video to delve further into the opportunities created by mealtimes:
People with autism often have restricted diets and challenging eating behaviors. Routines improve all kinds of skills and behaviors. This is true for mealtimes, too. By establishing predictable and regular mealtimes, the table is set, so to speak, for improved eating and communication.