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Eating Disorder...

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#1 handle with care...

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Posted 11 August 2018 - 11:43 AM

I have a 10 yr old nephew, diagnosed as autism spectrum, specifically the doctors say, "almost borderline Aspergers". 

 

The problem is he never stops thinking about food!  He also inhales his food as fast as he can when he eats.  He eats a large breakfast, will tell you he's had enough and is finally full, then an hour later he will begin asking when lunch is, and will continue to ask every 30 minutes until it comes!  He insists he's starving as he waits and will whine, cry, and moan when told he has to wait.  If you say, he then wants to know exactly what time lunch will be, right down to the minutes, and will watch the clock waiting.  As soon as the clock changes, he will start jumping up and down, or dance excitedly, cheering and yelling, "It's lunch (snack, dinner, etc.) time!", as if he just discovered it was Christmas morning. 

 

He wants to know every detail of what will be available to eat at the next meal, and if you tell him, he will spend his time complaining that he can't wait to eat "xyz".  (Though surprisingly, there are foods that he will refuse to eat).  Before they visit someone, he will often ask what type of food they will have to eat, before they leave home to visit them.

 

If you are at a function where there is food set out, he will gravitate straight to the food and stand there staring at it like a starving person for the next 2 hours.  As soon as no one is looking, he will start sneaking food repeatedly, until he is caught.  Even after he has been allowed to eat, he will continue to hover around the food until it is removed.

 

He will go to other people's homes to visit and tell them he's hungry, when he has just eaten before leaving his house.  Recently he did this to the daycare, and then threw up, because he had too much in his belly.  He is getting very chunky and his mother is concerned because everyone believes he's hungry and will feed him when she isn't looking.

 

His father has always had a weight issue, as well as his mother, and father has recently undergone gastric bypass to try to help the issue.  He is losing a lot of weight, as a result, but seems to have plateaued .  They have always instructed the children, that it is important to make healthy choices when eating, and junk food is mostly reserved for special celebrations.

 

They are both scared that Nephew will grow up with the same weight issues.  His younger brother (6- also autistic), is now starting to do the same thing, though we believe he's copying older brother.  However, their middle child, my niece (9-also autistic), shows no sign of it and except for a refusal to eat anything red, has a very normal diet and eating habits.

 

Have any of you ever experienced something like this?  Where do you even start to tackle it?

 

Thanks.



#2 caci

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Posted 12 August 2018 - 07:18 AM

I've no experience to offer, but have you heard of Prader-Willi Syndrome ? I'm sure there are many with ASD with eating issues, but maybe PWS groups can offer you ideas about the eating issues ?

 

I don't know much about it, but I know one of the (many) symptoms is increased appetite. 

 

https://www.nhs.uk/c...drome/symptoms/



#3 handle with care...

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Posted 12 August 2018 - 11:57 PM

I'll look into this!  Thanks!



#4 queen claudia

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 08:42 PM

Hi there, yes look into the Prader Sydrome good idea Caci, but if it's not this I don't think this is unusual with children who have ASD.

 

My son (now 14) has similar although not quite severe issues.

 

He has always loved his food and he still can't seem to wait for the next meal! About an hour after breakfast he will be asking what's for lunch and then after that will want to know what's for tea. He seems obsessed with food but luckily enough for us he shows no sign of gaining excessive amounts of weight and is tall and although well built doesn't have an ounce of fat on him.

 

Even so I make sure I very much limit the amount of cakes, biscuits, sweets etc etc I have in the house which is good for all of us not just him.

 

He has always had since he was very young two days during the week when he is allowed sweets. In our case a Tuesday and a Friday. He is allowed 2 sweets, a cake and a packet of crisps. That way he has something to look forward too but it's not every single day. Just wondering if maybe that might help.

 

Also we always have fruit in the house. If he starts his exessive need to snack I will direct him towards the fruit. I feel that sometimes he just feels the need to eat in that it gives him comfort so if I can direct him towards healthy snacks he will often settle for that instead.

 

It's a little easier for us though as he is that much older but just wanted to throw a few ideas out there in case it helps!



#5 handle with care...

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Posted 15 August 2018 - 06:37 PM

I'll pass it on to my sister.  I don't know how she divides eating times, but it can't hurt to offer her more suggestions to consider. 

 

Thanks!



#6 apricot

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Posted 16 August 2018 - 09:13 PM

Have you had any OT input?
Chewing can be a way of self-regulating arousal and dealing with anxiety.
If he needs to chew to feel calm, and hasn't realised he can chew other things, then he's going to keep looking for food as a way to chew. 
Giving him other appropriate things to put in his mouth might help. For example, drinking bottle with a spout that can be chewed/sucked on or chewing gum. 






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