Eating Behavior Is ASD Child According to Mothers Narratives.

Poster Presentation
Thursday, May 2, 2019: 5:30 PM-7:00 PM
Room: 710 (Palais des congres de Montreal)
M. P. Ponde and C. P. Lázaro, BAHIANA School of Medicine and Public Health, Salvador, Brazil
Background: Several studies indicated that individuals with ASD are resistant to change and have a narrow range of interests that may affect even the food they eat. The most common problems found in those studies were: limited food intake; refusal to eat certain foods or selectivity related to the texture, smell and taste of food; inflexibility regarding the use of utensils, brands and packaging; and behavioral and nutritional problems All the above-mentioned studies dealt with eating problems in patients with ASD from the perspective of the healthcare professional/ physician, with no information on the perceptions and concerns of parents in relation to the eating habits of individuals with ASD.

Objectives: This study aims to investigate the eating behavior of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) individuals through their mothers’ narratives.

Methods: The chosen methodological approach was the study of narratives, as we sought the reporting of narrator’s experiences. Data on the eating habits of individuals with autism spectrum disorder were collected during semi-structured interviews held individually with the parents/guardians. The interviews were recorded, transcribed and codified using the NVivo software program.

Results: Eighteen mothers of boys with ASD participated in the study. Analysis of the interviews yielded three major categories: eating patterns, the family’s attitudes in relation to the child’s eating habits, and food-related behavior. The results show that factors related to autism spectrum disorder may affect the child’s food choices. Environmental factors, particularly the parents’ behavior, may also play a decisive role, both in reinforcing the child’s food choices and in encouraging a healthier and more diversified diet.

Conclusions: Professionals should be attentive and instruct parents regarding their decisive role in reinforcing or discouraging inappropriate mealtime behavior in children with autism spectrum disorder.