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Obsession with food

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Hello, I'm new to the forum

My daughter (5) has difficulties with overeating and obsession with food (ANY and ALL food). She's been seeing a pychologist since 2 but they have advised unfortunately this will now come to an end, as she has the diagnosis of autism / aspergers and her food issues are part of that.  

From my very limited experience (she's newly diagnosed)  I think that the opposite seems more usual for people with ASD and so I've found it extremely hard to find any info re overeating difficulties.

Wondered if anyone had experience or resources re this particular difficulty.

Thank you in advance, not to worry if not as like I say it seems that maybe the opposite problem usually presents more often.




Hi Oresteia,

Welcome to the forum, hopefully you'll find other people with similar experiences that will be helpful even if this turns out to be less common an issue with eating.

As well as the support you might also find through other parents and people on the spectrum here you could also access some of the other NAS services and information to see if it helps. If you've already tried these services then I hope you don't mind hearing about them again.

We have a page on the website that describes all of our Advice and information services but in particular you might want to consider calling our Autism Helpline or making contact with our Parent to Parent service.

The Helpline is available on 0808 400 4104 and is open from 10am - 4pm on weekdays.

The Parent to Parent Service can put you in touch with other parents who've been trained to provide and advice and support. By calling 0808 404 4106 you can leave a message and a volunteer will get back to you.

Both of these services are free from landlines and most mobiles and if you'd like to access the services through alternatives to the telephone then their pages on the website will let you know how to do this.

As your daughter is newly diagnosed you might also want to read our leaflet about 'After diagnosis'. Although it won't directly address your issue it may help you to understand what support you should be entitled to.

We also directly address the issues your facing in our fact sheet about over-eating. You may want to read this and see if it is helpful.  

And finally you may be able to get further local support in your area. Our Autism Services Directory allows you to search for support that might be available around you.

Okay, I hope that helps, please let us know if it does and hopefully other people will be able to expand on the information we can offer here.

Hi oresteia my 14 who has ASD etc etc lol has obsessions himself with food .

At the moment its weetabix and that is all he is eating but he'll get bored in a week or so as he has a pattern of roughly a month of each thing .

Years ago before he was diagnosed we thought it was just a childs likeness too discovering something for the first time but it became a natural routine in his day too day eating habits you might be aware ASD will tend too have obsessions with anything "all or nothing" we characterise it as which somes up my son completely.

Another thing is that if we offer him his breakfast etc etc he will likely refuse but 10 mins later he will ask wheres mine although at times like school mornings when that can be highly fustrating we have learnt just too do him something an not make a deal out of it an he will have it . Also he will somedays (most days) not eat a thing and then binge from 10pm onwards if not later and its a regular thing getting up between midnight an 1am to have a meal ........which is having a huge affect on his sleep & tiredness.

Hope you can identify with some of those points and helps you in the future years TC

Can relate to this. I have AS and my first and most tenacious obsession was (and still is!) food. I love eating, thinking about food, talking about it......

I think it is to do with routine and sensory satisfaction. Food is comforting (even for people without AS) and we tend to eat at fixed times. Food can also be controlled: we can choose what we eat, how much and when.

As a child, when I had poor impulse control, I could easily eat 5 muffins all at once.


Wow ! thank you so much for the responses, really helpful. This was my first post on the NAS site. I became a member shortly after diagnosis but wasn't quite ready to take it all on board with the webstie at that time. I'm finding more info and finding my feet a bit more now and I'm genuinely ever so appreciative of the responses and the info available.

Hope - you're first sentence completely describes my daughter. Particularly when she was younger and we had certain foodie rules ie "don't eat it unless somone's mummy says" only to find her smelling it, describing it or stroking it instead!

Anywhere we went she completely described by the food there. I remember taking her to an amazing aquarium with turtles and sharks and stingrays etc... only later to have her excitedly describe her lunchbox contents to anyone who would listen. If we went to anyone's house - months after our first visit she would remember them in great detail by exactly what they gave her to eat there and describes her whole day around what she'd eaten.

Flurrfee yep binges are a prob, not so much at 5 but I do worry as she gets older and more independant. Best wishes for a good night's sleep. 

food preoccupation

If the doctors have not ruled out Prader Willi Syndrome, you might want to talk with the pediatrician about that possibility. This is a genetic disorder that can be ruled in or ruled out with a genetic evaluation.  Preoccupations with eating is one of the symptoms of this syndrome and it shares some of the behavioral/social/cognitive/developmental symptoms seen in children with an autism spectrum disorder.