Can’t Eat, Won’t Eat – Dietary Difficulties and Autistic Spectrum Disorders

Brenda Legge.
Jessica Kingsley Publishing
£12.95, ISBN 1 85302 974 2

Children who have autistic spectrum disorders
challenge their parents in many ways. Rejecting their food is one
of their more distressing patterns of behaviour.

The author’s 11-year-old son has Asperger’s
syndrome and from an early age he showed an intense dislike of
food. His rejection of food did not seem to be within his control.
Frustrated in her attempts to deal with his behaviour, she decided
to find out whether other parents of children with autistic
spectrum disorders encountered similar challenges. She put notices
in various specialist journals inviting parents to share their
experiences and mailed more than 100 dietary questionnaires to
those who responded. This book is the product of that survey.

The first four chapters reflect on her own
experiences. Following this, Legge reports on the results of the
survey, beginning with 56 case histories and ending with the “top
10 tips”. The remainder of the book explores different professional
approaches to the management of eating disorders and includes
transcripts from interviews with a young woman with autism, a
dietician, a teacher and a clinical psychologist. The book should
succeed in its aim to provide support to parents who have children
with similar problems.

Oliver Russell is a consultant

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