Eating problems in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) but no intellectual impairment
background Little is known about the co-occurrence - in individuals - of autism spectrum disorder (asd) and eating disorders and eating problems. Consequently, clinicians do not have enough information about how to diagnose or treat the combination of asd and eating problems.
aim To discuss the scientific literature and clinical experiences relating to eating disorders and eating problems in people who have asd but no intellectual impairment.
method The scientific literature was searched by means of PubMed, Medline and Psycinfo, and clinical experiences were discussed.
results The combination of ass and anorexia nervosa seems to be a strong predictor that the eating disorder will follow a chronic course. It is not clear how often bulimia nervosa occurs in persons with asd. Eating problems in persons with asd often seem to be related to sensory sensitivity, eating preferences and motor problems. So far, little is known about the treatment of eating disorders and eating problems in individuals with asd.
conclusion When diagnosing and treating eating disorders and eating problems in individuals with asd, it is important to take information processing and behaviour characteristics of asd into account. Further research is needed, particularly in order to cast more light on treatment possibilities.