Eating Disorders & Autism
90% of children diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum suffer from Eating Disorders
Disordered eating habits usually develop as a result of a combination of irregularities. Many children fear the texture of a certain food, its color, the sensation it creates in the mouth cavity, the action of swallowing – the disappearance of the food that alters the volume. The hypothesis is that due to the primal need to eat and the communication elements that are involved, basic anxieties begin to escalate in interactive cycles with the caregiver that impact other developmental abilities. During therapy sessions at The Mifne Center, as the toddler’s level of confidence increases, his curiosity is enhanced, and intensive time spent with the therapist whom he trusts, makes it easier for him to readily test new foods. Gradually the child is able to have his meals with the therapist and enjoy a varied diet. Encouraged by the new pleasurable senses of taste, smell, and touch, normalized eating patterns become internalized, and functional development gradually improves.
Eating habits have special meaning in the family system, both the nuclear family and the intergenerational family. Eating and feeding begin to shape the family’s interactions. The ability to communicate is structured in the infant’s brain and influences the developmental processes that affect emotion and memory. During the first months of the infant’s neuro-physiological regulatory stage, feeding provides the central mechanism to develop the baby’s capacity for self regulation. The development of the infant’s sufficient (or insufficient) ego is determined by his capacity for self regulation, personality characteristics, the recognition of social cues, and his cognitive ability.