Practical Considerations for School Nurses in Improving the Nutrition of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

NASN Sch Nurse. 2019 Sep;34(5):296-302. doi: 10.1177/1942602X18822775. Epub 2019 Jan 22.


Children with autism spectrum disorder may exhibit issues with food selectivity and/or picky eating habits. Symptoms of autism such as sensory sensitivity contribute to why these children refuse to eat food, but medications, food intolerance, and even financial status can cause this issue to become concerning to a student's overall health. School nurses are imperative in the health care of children with autism spectrum disorder and must understand why food selectivity occurs in order to maintain or improve the nutrition status of their students. This article provides an overview of food selectivity and where it stems from as well as 10 tips in working with food selective children.

Keywords: autism spectrum disorder; early childhood; early intervention; elimination diet; food selectivity; health and wellness; nutrition; school nurses; student-centered care.

MeSH terms

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder*
  • Food Fussiness*
  • Food Preferences
  • Humans
  • Nutritional Status
  • School Nursing