My Autistic Child

Parenting Children on the Autism Spectrum

PIP Application: Taking Nutrition

The next topic in the PIP series is Taking Nutrition. This follows on directly from the Preparing Food section. As mentioned previously, this guide is aimed at parents helping their autistic child to fill in the PIP form at age 16. Therefore the focus will be on issues that affect autistic people specifically, rather than disabilities in general.

Taking Nutrition: The Points System

The term “Taking Nutrition,” refers to the physical act of taking nutrients into the body. It includes the ability to bring food to the mouth, chewing and swallowing. It also includes the ability to cut up food and use utensils properly. This section does NOT refer to the nutritional quality of the food itself. Let’s consider the points system.

  • If a person can take nutrition unaided, they score zero points.
  • If they need an aid or supervision to take nutrition or help cutting up food they score two points.
  • If they need a therapeutic source to take nutrition they score two points.
  • If they need prompting to take nutrition they score four points.
  • If they need assistance to manage a therapeutic source of nutrition, they score six points.
  • If they cannot feed themselves at all and need another person to do it for them they score ten points.

Think carefully about which of these descriptors applies best to your child and fill in the form with as much detail and as many supporting examples as you can.

Some Points to Consider About Taking Nutrition

  • Think how sensory differences may affect your child’s ability to take nutrition. A common issue is that autistic people may not recognise when they feel hungry.
  • Do their sensory issues cause them to become fixated on certain foods? Does this heavily restrict what they eat?
  • Do they have severe coordination issues that affect their ability to use a knife and fork safely?
  • Do they get hungry late and night because they don’t eat enough during the day?
  • Do they need reminding to drink enough water during the day because they are so absorbed in other activities?
  • Do they use adapted cutlery or cups?
  • Do they have a real risk of choking when eating because of how they eat? Can they judge an appropriate amount of food to put in the mouth each time?
  • Do they need assistance and supervision with portion sizes, for example if Prader-Willi syndrome or anorexia are considerations?
  • If they suffer with depression, they may need prompting to eat meals.

Try and give specific examples for each point, as this will be important evidence to back up what you are saying. Prompting and supervision will probably be the strongest arguments that need to be highlighted when considering the needs of an autistic person.

Leave a Reply

Back to top