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ATN/AIR-P Pica Guide for Professionals

Pica, the repeated eating of non-food items, is the eating disorder most often displayed by children with autism. For example, a child may eat food from a garbage can or bite off a piece of a toy plastic car and swallow it quickly. Other children hold things in their mouths and move them around only swallowing the item occasionally. 

This resource provides information for primary care medical providers about the medical and behavioral treatment of pica in children with autism.

Sections include:

What is pica?
Important questions to ask parents or educators of children with autism to screen for pica
Monitoring for health risks of pica
Assessment of acute illness in a child with pica
Behavioral interventions for primary care physicians

"These materials are the product of on-going activities of the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network, a funded program of Autism Speaks. It is supported by cooperative agreement UA3 MC 11054 through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Research Program to the Massachusetts General Hospital. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the MCHB, HRSA, HHS, or Autism Speaks."

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