Informational Materials

Visual supports are evidenced based practice tools which may be used to enhance the communication skills of individuals impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Parent, doctors, and  other professionals serving individuals with ASD will want to print these materials as they prepare for the next health and wellness related appointment. 


Handbook for Children with Special Food and Nutrition Needs. Cover Image

A guide to foods/recipes based on texture and includes some brief information about food chaining to expand texture tolerance. Created by CARD-USF.

Handbook for Children with Special Food and Nutrition Needs. Cover Image

This Video is a poster summary of findings from the Autism Eats program, a nutrition intervention for children with ASD and their parents. Research was conducted by an MPH student at USF.

Handbook for Children with Special Food and Nutrition Needs. Cover Image

Diet quality in an ethnically diverse sample of children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder compared with nationally representative data

Handbook for Children with Special Food and Nutrition Needs. Cover Image

Eating and Nutrition

Up to three-fourths of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are reported to have problems related to eating.

Handbook for Children with Special Food and Nutrition Needs. Cover Image

Food Chaining Milk

A four step process to increase food choices and help kids eat healthier.


Handbook for Children with Special Food and Nutrition Needs. Cover Image

Food Chaining French Fries

A step by step approach to increasing food choices.

Cadena Alimenticia: Papas Fritas

Paso a paso para incrementar el consumo de varios alimentos

Handbook for Children with Special Food and Nutrition Needs. Cover Image

Food Chaining Chicken Nuggets

A step by step approach to increasing food choices.


Handbook for Children with Special Food and Nutrition Needs. Cover Image

Practical Strategies to Support Feeding Aversions

A guide for professionals and caregivers on feeding aversions and strategies that can be used to introduce new foods.

Picky Eaters...cover

Picky Eaters vs Problem Feeders

Related Handouts:

I Can Talk About Food, cover

I Can Talk About Food

This booklet can be used by teachers and caregivers to help children understand and communicate different issues around food choices. The booklet can be printed and laminated, and the food graphics on pages 20-23 can be cut into separate cards. Velcro can be attached to the pictures, as well as the blank dialogue balloons on pages 13 and 14 to help children visually communicate their preferences.

Accommodating Children with Special Dietary Needs in the School Nutrition Programs, cover

Accommodating Children with Special Dietary Needs in the School Nutrition Programs

By the National Food Services Management Institute (NFSMI). This guidance describes some of the factors which must be considered in the early phases of planning and suggests ways in which the school food service can interact with other responsible parties in the school and the community at large to serve children with disabilities.

Handbook for Children with Special Food and Nutrition Needs. Cover Image

Handbook for Children with Special Food and Nutrition Needs

By the National Food Services Management Institute (NFSMI). Handbook written for school food service managers, to help identify the developmental disabilities and other health care needs to be served by school food service, and provide information related to the type of intervention indicated.

Food and Nutrition Special Needs Resources. Cover Image

Food and Nutrition Special Needs Resources

By the National Food Services Management Institute (NFSMI). List of resources for food service managers serving children with special food and nutrition needs.

Food and Nutrition Special Needs Resources. Cover Image

Characteristics of ASD and problems with food and mealtime

As parents, teachers, and caregivers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), we know that problems with food are common, and mealtimes at home or in the community can be very stressful.

Food and Nutrition Special Needs Resources. Cover Image

Visual Cookbooks for Children and Adults with ASD

Books that use pictures to help individuals with ASD make healthy choices and learn to cook.

Useful Links

This page includes links to both internal (CARD) and external (non-CARD) websites. External links are selected and reviewed when the page is published. However, the CARD is not responsible for the content of external websites. The CARD website does not accept submissions or requests.

Nutrition Education

As parents, we know many of our children are picky eaters, prefer only a small variety of foods, and often refuse to try new food choices. Here are a few online resources where you can find information, picture stories, and some visual ideas to use to help your child understand what healthy foods are, and perhaps be more willing to try something new.


CARD Nutrition Resource List

Targeted Nutritional and Behavioral Feeding Intervention for a Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Food Selectivity in Children with Autism

Guidelines for Assessment and Clinical Interventions

Effects of Diet, Nutrition, and Exercise in Children With Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Literature Review

CARDCAST - Nutrition


STEMIE elevates the competence and confidence of early childhood practitioners, families, faculty, and professional development and technical assistance providers in early STEM learning for young children with and without disabilities. Preschooler Mealtime.

Read the Label Youth Outreach

Read the Label Youth Outreach materials challenge kids (ages 9 to 13) to look for and use the Nutrition Facts label on food and beverage packages.

3 Connections Between Autism, Diet, and Behavior

The Essential Role of Nutrition for Children with Autism

Icing on the Cake

Social Story Template to Help Hesitant Eaters Try New Foods

Nutrition and Eating Problems

School Nurses and Nutrition

Autism and Supplements

Mealtime and Children on the Autism Spectrum: Beyond Picky, Fussy, and Fads.

Autism 204: Helping Children with Autism who Struggle with Restrictive Eating (2016)

Seattle Children’s Autism Center present information about factors that contribute to feeding difficulties, best practices in assessment and various treatment approaches for addressing increased acceptance in children, and troubleshooting specific feeding problems, such as fears, and refusal.

Nutrition Therapy for Autism

Food Chaining for ARFID

Steps to Introducing New Foods or Fear Foods.

ASD and Diet

People with ASD often repeat behaviors and have narrow, obsessive interests. These types of behavior can affect eating habits and food choices. This article provides nutrition strategies.

Weight-Loss Tool Designed for Adolescents with Intellectual Disabilities

Obesity is among the most significant public health problems facing our society today. Not only do high rates of obesity contribute to soaring health care costs, the condition may also contribute to diminished quality of life among those affected.

FDA: Read the Label on Snacks

The Food and Drug Administration has provided a general overview of how to read food labels by comparing snack options, checking serving sizes (100 calories per serving is moderate), and monitoring the amount of consumption of sodium, sugars, saturated fats, and trans fats to ensure children are not exceeding the recommended daily caloric intake. As many children with autism are problem feeders and picky eaters, the favoring of certain foods is important to keep in mind as the amount of these foods can be ultimately detrimental and they do not contain all essential proteins, vitamins and minerals.

FDH: Food Allergies vs. Food Intolerances

Florida Department of Health has made accessible the 'Food Allergy Fact Sheet' which deciphers the difference between food allergies and food intolerances. FDH provides the signs of food allergy symptoms and how to obtain medical statements to avoid and substitute these foods. Children and adults with autism often times have a sensitivity to certain foods and products and the non-life threatening food allergies/intolerances could go unrecognized if signs and symptoms are not of knowledge.

BDA: Food Fact Sheet

The British Dietetic Association, a leading researcher in autism spectrum disorders, provides information to parents and professionals on eating problems with children on the spectrum. It addresses the pick eating behavior, helpful mealtime strategies, and the role a dietician plays.

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Nutritional Therapy

ATN/AIR-P Guide to Exploring Feeding Behavior in Autism

Learn more about the guide on the Autism Speaks website.

Download the Guide (This requires filling out a brief form.)

Feeding Issues in People with ASD (Video)

Many children with autism spectrum disorders develop food selectivity, or what may be called "picky eating." It is not uncommon for children to restrict their diets to one or two things, to refuse to eat certain colors or textures, or to consume only pureed foods. This session will focus on strategies that have been demonstrated to be successful in helping children with autism learn to eat a wide variety of new foods. Participants will also learn what assessments should be completed before starting feeding therapy. Time will be available for questions and answers immediately following the webinar. Presented by Missy Olive PhD, BCBA. * The information presented is generously offered by Dr. Olive and is not vetted or reviewed by The Johnson Center. JCCHD does not assume responsibility for the information shared.

Nutrition & Autism: What Is The Connection & What Does The Research Tell Us (Video)

Is there an "autism diet"? What is dietary intervention? What role does nutrition play in autism spectrum disorders? In this webinar we will look at what answers the existing research gives us, and discuss areas where more research is needed. Presented by Kelly Barnhill, MBA, CN, CCN, Director of Clinical Services at The Johnson Center and in collaboration with Dr. Dane Mosher, Physician, The Johnson Center.

Tar Heel Reader

Tar Heel Reader is a great site where you can search for books or write and upload one of your own on a variety of topics.

Search the Book Database (Use terms such as “nutrition” or “healthy food”.) Books here have been uploaded by parents, teachers, and others, some of which may be very helpful.


Search terms such as “children healthy foods” to find links to pictures, lesson plans, books, and other great visual resources.

Food Assistance

Women, Infants, Children (WIC)

Visit the Florida Health website to learn more about the program and who is eligible.

Find your local WIC office

For Adults with Disabilities: Access Florida

Apply food assistance such as SNAP or SUNCAP.

Florida Association of Food Banks

13 regional food distribution centers provide food donated by farmers, manufacturers, restaurants, and stores. Dial 211 from any phone in Florida to be connected to the United Way Help Line. 211 will help you to identify emergency food pantries and other human services available nearest to your home. Many food pantries have eligibility rules, such as proof of income, hardship or residency.

  • Tampa: Feeding America Tampa Bay, 4702 Transport Dr., Bldg 6, Tampa 33605. 813-254-1190. Distribution centers in Bradenton, Land O’ Lakes, Lakeland and Sebring.
  • Sarasota: All Faiths Food Bank, 8171 Blaikie Ct., Sarasota 34240. 941-379-6333.

Get Help Florida: Food Pantries by City

The Get Help Florida site helps families locate not only food pantries, but other important resources such as Food Stamps application, WIC locations, Meals on Wheels, and summer food programs for children.

Finding Healthy Food in Your Community

(Information for Pasco, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Polk, Manatee, and Sarasota Counties)

Community Farmers Markets (Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services)

These are the markets that are open on certain days each week, often from October to May each year, offering local produce, crafts, food products and other items. At this link, enter the county name in the search window for a list of markets in that county.

Families enrolled in the WIC program can obtain Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) coupons that allow certain purchases at farmers markets.

(Information for Charlotte, Collier, Desoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, and Lee Counties)

Additional Food Banks, Community Farmers Markets, Food Pantries

These are additional resources compiled by USF-CARD for our constituents.


U-Pick Farms (Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services)

Most farms are open on a seasonal basis. Before visiting a farm, call to confirm availability and days & hours of operation.

Learn more about U-Pick farms and view a full listing of farms in Florida on the Florida FDA website.


U-Pick Farms by county
County Name Address Phone Info
Glades Patty’s Patch Blueberry U-Pick 1320 Hog Wallow Ln., SW, LaBelle, FL 33935 863-675-1105  
Lee Buckingham Farms 12931 Orange River Blvd., Fort Myers, FL 33905 239-206-2303  
Lee U Pick Citrus 18971 Misty Morning Ln., Ft Myers, FL 33193 239-657-4996  
Pasco Bob’s Blueberry Farm 11229 Pincus Dr., Hudson, FL 34669 727- 237-4485  
Pasco Ergle Farms 3325 Treiman Blvd., Dade City, FL 33523 352-583-3647 Christmas trees, pumpkins, berries
Pasco Owen’s Blueberry Farm 12839 Kitten Trl., Hudson, FL 34669 727-868-7249  
Pasco Sicman’s Hot Peppers and Powders 35120 Prospect Rd. Dade City, FL 33525 615-738-7593 Hot peppers, seasonings
Pasco Strong Tower Vineyard 17810 Forge Dr., Spring Hills, FL 34610 352-799-7612 Grapes, wine, gift shop
Hillsborough Alpha Growers 5615 W.O. Griffin Rd., Plant City, FL 33566 813-245-6818 Apr 1 – June 1, Blueberries
Hillsborough Blue Monkey Farms 801 W. Keysville Rd., Plant City, FL 33567 813-737-3727 Call or see website for season. Blueberries, peaches
Hillsborough Blue Youth Blueberries 8201 Cosme Rd., Odessa, FL 33556 813-215-2237 Call for availability: Blueberries, blackberries, peaches
Hillsborough Dooley Groves Country Farm Market in the Grove 1651 Stephens Road, Ruskin, FL 33570 813-645-3256 U-pick Honeybells, fresh-picked Florida oranges, red grapefruit and tangerines in season, freshly squeezed orange juice, local orange blossom honey and more
Hillsborough Favorite Farms 10070 McIntosh Rd., Dover, FL 33527 813-986-3949 Mid-March through April 1, Strawberries
Hillsborough Hydro Harvest Farms 1101 Shell Point Rd., E., Ruskin, FL 33570 813-645-6574 Call for hours. Strawberries, lettuce, cucumbers, okra, tomatoes, herbs, all grown hydroponically. Other seasonal vegetables available.
Hillsborough Lee Vineyards 10251 McIntosh Rd., Dover, FL 33527 813-335-1865 Mid-August – October. Persimmons, star fruit, grapes, citrus, avocados, peaches, nectarines, white sapote, tropical fruits
Hillsborough Martinez Farms 2619 14th Ave., SE, Ruskin, FL 33570 813-918-3090 Call for availability and hours. Hot peppers, squash, tomatoes
Hillsborough Parke Hydro 3715 Tanner Rd., Dover, FL 33527 813-927-4049 Year-round, Tues-Sat, 9-5. Hydroponic produce: strawberries, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, peas, greens, okra, herbs
Hillsborough Shady Acres Farm 3420 Gallagher Rd., Dover, FL 33527 813-659-0222 Call for hours & availability. Strawberries
Polk Crown Jewel Farms 106 Egg Farm Rd., Lake Wales, FL 33898 863-528-2402 Visit Facebook page for season updates or call. Organic blueberries
Polk Late Bloom Blueberry Farm 115 Scenic Hwy., Haines City, FL 33844 863-289-1722 Open May until berries are gone 8am – 8 pm
Polk Ridge Island Groves 6000 Old Polk City Rd., Haines City, FL 33844 863-422-0333 (Nov – April. Oranges, tangerines, grapefruit
Polk Tree-O Groves, Inc. 140 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Lake Alfred, FL 33850 863-956-3175 April and May, 8am – 4pm. Peaches
Manatee Hunsader Farms 5500 Road 675, Bradenton, FL 34211 941-331-1212 Call for availability and hours. Black-eyed peas, eggplant, green beans, okra, purple hulls, rhubarb, strawberries, tomatoes, zipper peas
Manatee Hydro-Taste Farm 7308 Verna Bethany Rd., Myakka City, FL 34251 941-322-0429 Call for availability and hours. Hydroponic strawberries, vegetables
Manatee Plesscher Groves 3350 E. Hwy 675, Bradenton, FL 34211 906-586-9722 Call for availability and hours. May-Nov, and Dec-April. Navel oranges, Valencia oranges, tangelos, honeybells, ruby red grapefruit