eating issues

I have a a 12 year old son who has autism and has been diagnosed since he was 6.

He has always been fussy with his food, but just recently we caught him making himself sick on an number of occasions and we know of other times he has been sick many other occasion but we dont know if he has done that himself. He is also very underweight and all his bones are visible through his skin.

We had him back to camhs where we have been told it too early to diagnose anorexia  . Also they said to give him vegetable fats in abundance such as nuts seeds and fish !! not gonna happen !

Just after some advice really or similar experiences

Thanks claire x

  • Hi Claire,

    Lovely to meet you. Sorry to hear that you are having problems with your son's eating. We have had similar difficulties ourselves when our son was 15 and this was before we realised that he had Aspergers. We had a very difficult 2 years with him until we learnt about his particular way of thinking and had to adapt accordingly.

    The most important thing here is to try to stay calm. The word "Anorexia" can conjure up so many fears and distress for parents but the key is to try to limit your son's anxiety.  I agree with ColinCat let him have whatever foods he likes particularly if they are high in calorie. Maybe you can find ways to add extra oil or fat to the foods he likes in order to introduce more calories. 

    In my opinion it is important try to work out what might be causing the problem, if at all possible. Is it texture, smell or even colour of certain foods. Could he be obsessed with 'healthy' eating and/or exercise as our son is? A friend of ours used to make himself sick because he wanted to become vegetarian and couldn't bear to eat meat. If he has a special interest at the moment could this be the clue to it?

    Professor Janet Treasure is a Psychiatrist who has done some research about the link between disordered eating and Autism/Aspergers.  I believe she is based at the South London and Maudsley NHS Hospitals. It might be worth trying to contact her team to ask for some advice.

    Hopefully you will soon find out the reason why he feels he has to do this and things will get back on track.  The NAS helpline was of great support to us and you could also try the eating disorder support organisation called BEAT for some information and support. 

    It may also be worth enlisting the help of a nutritionist to work out a diet that he is happy with that would allow him to gain a healthier weight.  Please also keep going back to your doctors for some help as boys of your son's age need a lot of calories and can see a rapid weight loss especially if they are keen on sport. If you feel fobbed off by them, the NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) guidelines do tell the medical profession what you have a right to expect from them.  You should be able to find these on the internet.

    Good luck, I'm here for you whenever you feel in need of someone to offload to.

    Tracy x


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