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overeating connected with aspergers?
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my son has aspergers. he is 15 years old. he has always over ate and when he turned about 9 or 10 he started stealing food and hiding it or hid
the wrappers that were left over. i cant stress what a serious problem this is. he says he never feels full. will even eat my husbands dinner knowing he is going to get in trouble. its never just one granola bar, its the whole box. we have tried really hard to teach him how to eat healthy and serve healthy dinners. but like i told my doctor, its not what we see him eat that's the problem, its what he eats behind our backs, that's the issue. we never carry to much junk in the house, or soda pop. but he always finds something like bread or things that we have in the house for making school lunches. one pack of fruit snacks is fine but he will eat the whole box! this is killing us financially and emotionally. we are out of ideas on how to help him. the doctor is sending him to a dietitian. i don't see how that is going to help him. he doesn't need education on his diet he needs to learn self control. i really want to know if this is a separate issue or related to a sensory issue due to aspergers. if anyone has any info that would be great.
Posted on 11/22/10, 05:43 pm
13 Replies | Most Recent Add Your Advice
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Reply #1 - 11/23/10  4:36pm
" A dietitian maybe able to teach him some rules for eating. I would want metabolic reasons ruled out first.

There is a chemical your body makes that makes some eat more than others by when it peeks. People who's levels peek at night when they are sleeping don't want to eat as much as those that have it peek in the day while they are awake. "
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Reply #2 - 01/13/11  4:10pm
" I have the same issue but she eats while we are sleep. "
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Reply #3 - 01/14/11  12:31pm
" My son has a similar situation and they actually tested him for "Prader Willis" (sp?) syndrome when he was younger, because he has always been so much "bigger" than his peers and was eating almost constantly. I agree with candsmom for the metabolic testing too. My son's was negative and what I have come to realize it that it is a need for oral stimulation and seeking out something to calm himself rather than actual hunger. We created a list of things that he could do instead if he was feeling "hungry", and keep a lot of sugarless gum, hard candy, straws, oral stim sticks, sugarless popsicles, and icewater to give him the stim he was craving. It has worked great and you should consult the OT if you have one to work with him to see what other things might help. Is there a certain "texture" of food that your son is looking for? Mine wanted "chewy, crunchy" things and the OT can help your son work it out if that is available to you. My son also gets bored easily so trying to keep up a schedule does help but is near impossible to carry out because you don't get a lot done. Also the impulse control thing is part of the spectrum, so behavioral might help....don't think a nutritionist is going to cut it. We had to also eliminate all the snacks and "extras" and that wasn't a great thing for my hub to deal with....he is the one sneaking the food!! I would consider more than just the nutritionist.....and it sounds like a few big hugs for you are in order....Know you aren't alone....hug, hug, hug, B "
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Reply #4 - 01/18/11  1:19pm
" Reply #3 mentioned oral stimulation and texture, which is one strong possibility. Another is the bodily senstion of feeling full, since your son mentions this as something lacking. Foods with a low glycemic index and especially things that are very high in fiber might help him feel more full. My daughter has had similar issues. Frozen peas are a favorite for her, as they provide lots of stimulation as she eats them. You might also consider working with him on gradually increasing his tolerance for not feeling full, reassuring him that he will get to eat, but encouraging him to try waiting a bit before doing so and noticing that the feelings are tolerable, even if unpleasant.

You might also ask him to describe a satisfied state in great detail, noting what parts of his body are telling him that they are satisfied and just exactly what that feels like for him. You could then work with him on checking in with his mouth, stomache, or whatever part he most identifies, even while he is eating. It sounds like he is only able to identify two states: full and not full. He craves full, so he eats until he achieves that. ASD being what it is, his sense of properness and order might be satisfied by eating all of something, in which case having things available in individiual serving packages might help him eat less, especially if he learns to check in after finishing each one to see if his body is at least a little full yet. "
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Reply #5 - 01/20/11  10:02am
" Forgot to mention that my son also had the feeling of being hungry due to having heartburn from his meds. With the proprioception and body awareness issues, they don't know the difference, but once my son's heartburn cooled down, he stopped looking for food between the "scheduled" snacks and meals.
Scheduling (I know that's near to impossible sometimes) the meals with times on a chart and talking about what we will be eating has also decreased him seeking out snacks. He helps me "decide" what time is the next snack/meal and I offer him two time choices - about 10-20 minutes apart - and when he was little we used a disappearing clock for him to count down the minutes. The trouble comes at our house when my son doesn't have something occupying him or doesn't know what is coming next...
Hope things are better soon! Hugs, B "
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Reply #6 - 01/20/11  1:00pm
" Having raised a typical son, there is also the issue that teenage boys will eat you out of house and home. In those days, raising 4 children, my son ate close to 70% of the food much to my daughters' annoyance.He didn't really gain weight, he just grew. If there is an underlying issue as well it may be difficult to distinguish what part is just being a boy and what part is something else. Good Luck. "
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Reply #7 - 01/26/11  4:15pm
" 1littleb- thanks for your advice but unfortunatly it doesnt apply. he is done growing. his growth plates have already closed. so its not from growth spurts. also he has done it since he was 2. he is never full. and he sneaks around and hides it. i find wrappers in his room. i try to keep healthy things around but if i get granola bars he will eat the whole box! and he craves carbs big time! "
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Reply #8 - 04/26/11  6:30am
" OMG that sounds like your talking about my son exactly the same. I'm really worried about him at the moment, I find it hard to explain to him about overeating as I dont want to give him worrys and complexes about food but he steals food and has hiding places all over the house. He is gaining weight very fast and it's such a big concern for me, ive just called the doctors for an appointment for him to talk about it. He's 9 years old and wears clothes in sizes 11 to 12 and I know if I dont get help with this soon it will have an effect on his health and also when he goes to school as he gets older I dont want him being teased. Ive been told it can be somthing that goes along with autism but i'm just worried it may be more than that ive been researching prada willi syndrome and he does seem to have some of the symptoms of that so I want to rule it out. I know I shouldnt look too much on the internet ( I get told off ) but I just want to know whats happening. At least I know it's not just my son going through this. If I find any awnsers I will let you know. :-) "
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Reply #9 - 04/27/11  4:50pm
" Wow! I Googled this, because my 15 year old son does the exact same thing. We have put a lock on the refrigerator and locked our bedroom door to keep him out of things, but today he found our bedroom door key. Daddy is not happy. He knows it's wrong, but he will eat everything anyway. I'm taking him to see a Doctor to be tested for Asperger's and hopefully he can be put into some sort of therapy to learn self control. I feel your pain when it comes to $. We spent a fortune on groceries before we locked the fridge. "
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Reply #10 - 04/29/11  4:29pm
" My daughter eats constantly and is beginning to gain weight. We think it may be partly due to medication. "

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