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.
A step by step approach to increasing food choices.
A guide for professionals and caregivers on feeding aversions and strategies that can be used to introduce new foods.
By the National Food Services Management Institute (NFSMI). List of resources for food service managers serving children with special food and nutrition needs.
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.
Books that use pictures to help individuals with ASD make healthy choices and learn to cook.
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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.
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.
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.
In an informative newsletter provided by the Paediatric Nutrition Network of Canada, specifically addresses dietitians and how they must understand the social impairments, sensory complications, typical behaviors, communication impediment, and feeding selectivity. By understanding these certain factors, dietitians will be aware of the nutritional deficiencies that children with autism experience and how certain diets can promote better behaviors and physiological responses.
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.
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.
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.
Learn more about the guide on the Autism Speaks website.
Download the Guide (This requires filling out a brief form.)
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.
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 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.
Visit the Florida Health website to learn more about the program and who is eligible.
Apply food assistance such as SNAP or SUNCAP.
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.
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.
- A visual support for individuals with autism spectrum disorder that may be helpful when visiting a Community Farmers Market
(Information for Charlotte, Collier, Desoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, and Lee Counties)
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.
|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|
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