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Food for Thought: New Autism Speaks Advice Column on Eating Challenges

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.

The result is a new Autism Speaks advice column: “Food for Thought.”

It will feature guidance on autism-related eating and feeding issues from leading autism specialists. Many of them work in the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network (ATN). Others are pursuing Autism Speaks-funded research on eating and feeding issues and practical ways to address them.

For years, these doctors and therapists have been partnering with families affected by autism to improve their health and quality of life. Drawing on this experience, they promise to answer your questions about food and eating issues with sensitivity, practical guidance and a broad perspective.

Topics already in the works range from curbing chronic overeating to extreme fear of eating. We’re also delving into special diets and nutrients of special interest to our families.

At the same time, our experts want to help ease the stress and sense of isolation that severe autism-related eating challenges can bring. We hope you’ll continue to send your questions to

Meanwhile, we want to reprise the following enduringly popular blog posts by some of our featured experts:

* “Encouraging Picky Eaters with Autism to Try New Foods” and “What Is It about Autism and Food?” by clinical psychologist Emily Kuschner, who is developing a cognitive-behavioral treatment program for autism-related food aversions, with support from Autism Speaks. 

* "Behavioral Medication Side Effects: Overeating and Weight Gain," by child psychiatrist Christopher McDougle, director of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Lurie Center for Autism. 

* "My Kid Won't Swallow Meds" and "The Pica-Autism Connection," by pediatric nurse practitioner Lynn Cole, co-author of several Autism Speaks ATN/AIR-P tool kits for families including an upcoming guide on pica. (Find all our tool kits for families here.)

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The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.