Many children with Autism have an aversion to certain foods. Food aversions can be caused by or attributed to any of the five senses or a combination of them. In some children, the aversion is severe while in others it is less noticeable. One way to help avoid drama at the dinner table, though, is to play with food.
During meal times, playing with food will force your child to become engaged in the task of eating, while allowing him or her to develop new and different ideas regarding food.
Does your daughter have a slight obsession with the movie “Frozen?” Buy a cookie cutter shaped like Olaf the snowman and use it to cut her sandwich with! Does your son like to color or paint? Use a sauce he has been having difficulty eating to create something fun while tasting a few bites of it yourself.
If your child can’t stand veggies, try a mini food fight. Maybe your children like Star Wars. You could create light sabers out of slices of carrots or peppers for them to use for the fight.
If your child does not like fruit, try using different kinds of berries, such as blueberries or strawberries, to create a smiley face on pancakes next time you make them for breakfast.
Try prepping meals together. If your child is a part of the meal prep time, a sense of ownership of the end result and pride at the presentation of it will be instilled. If you have fun while prepping, your child will most likely have fun while eating what you created together.
Remember to have fun and take a bite here and there so your child knows you like the foods, too, and that they are good foods to eat. Also remember to give praise! Consistently giving positive reinforcement will help your child continue to master goals as well as add new foods to the list of things to try.