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Calls to Action

Autism Treatment Network

“Our son, age 9, has a lot of food aversions. Just the sight or smell of many foods make him feel sick. Besides making it difficult to get him to even taste a new food, it’s a real problem at school where just walking into the cafeteria makes him start to gag. Suggestions?”

Tom Hess is the parent of an active, funny, free-spirited child with autism and his witty and charming older sister.  He and his wife are very active in autism projects and programs in Ohio and around the country. Tom has a wealth of business development, management, counseling and leadership experience.  He is also Chair of the Family Advisory Committee for the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network.

“Our grown son - who's severely affected by autism and living in a group home - no longer eats anything but white-bread bologna sandwiches. We're really concerned about his health. What can we do or where can we find help?”

“Our 7-year-old son has Asperger’s, and he eats constantly. When we try to talk to him about it, he gets very upset. We try controlling what he eats and getting him outside. But he sneaks food, and it’s so hard to get him away from the television.”

You asked, and Autism Speaks listened. The recent publication of the Autism Speaks ATN/AIR-P tool kit, “Exploring Feeding Behavior in Autism: A Parent’s Guide,” drew a tremendous response from our community. Your emails expressed not just appreciation, but also an overflow of personal stories and pleas for further guidance.

This is a blog post by Harriet B. Austin, Ph.D., Senior Instructor and LEND Family Discipline Director, UC-Denver JFK Partners; Children's Hospital. Dr. Austin authored that latest ATN/AIR-P tool kit, A Clinician's Guide to Providing Effective Feedback to Families Affected by Autism, along with Terry Katz, Ph.D. and John Paul M. Reyes, M.A.