How can my friend help her autistic daughter lose weight?

A friend of mine that doesn’t have facebook needs some help. She has a daughter with autism who needs to lose weight. She isn’t extremely obese, but she is overweight. I myself don’t know anything about autistic children, and I’m hoping someone here can help? She is 16 with a mentality of around a six-year-old. She isn’t nonverbal. She will tell you to like it is as long as it isn’t loud (football games, swim meets, the mall, etc.) we can normally get her to join in with us, and she has a good time, but she isn’t very active. Thanks for any advice or tips it means a lot!


Gonna be hard, because they’re very into routine and very sensitive to textures. So when they like something they get accustomed to that routine.


My son is autistic and was overweight until he was about 14 nothing worked because his diet was horrible. Eventually he hit a growth spurt and the weight came off

Is she on medication she needs to see her Dr or her specialist or a Hospital Dietician Teenage Girls


I’ve lost over 10 lbs just by watching what I eat and walking at least 30 minutes a day.

She needs to consult with the kids Dr! Period, the end!


That’s a question for a specialist. Not facebook


So just an FYI. Kids on the spectrum usually have limited foods they like. It’s not easy to “change their diet” or “eat more healthy”. For sure she needs to speak with her doctor. Soliciting internet advise for such a complex issue is going to be difficult and frustrating.


My son autistic put them on a diet

Knowledge is power this woman is isolated it seems good on her friend trying to reach out and help her that’s a lovely friend with a child with special needs is very hard let alone a teenage young lady good luck


Goodbye gluten and sugar! That will work wonders and help her function much better!


She needs to reach out to a children’s hospital. ( I work for a children’s hospital ) they can help her navigate the right drs she needs to see. If she finds a children’s hospital in her area remember to reach out to family Faculty they are there to help you including support you mentally and emotionally. I wanna to say to momma … your a great mom it’s never easy when your child is on the austim spectrum. Hope maybe this info will help.


Keto not only helps with autism and adhd among other things but will help with weight tremendously !! Watch the magic pill. It’s a documentary. Amazing !


Regular excerise… why not introduce something like swimming or bike riding and if not a mobile bike a stationary one… i lost 15 pounds after having twins and being a stay at home mom atleast riding a bike… water aerobics is also beneficial but as well healthy and fun thing to do … it shouldn’t be just her though a good way to bond or spend time together i eventually got a trailer for my twins and would go to the beach with them they had a blast and i lost weight win for win

How active is the mom? Mom walks, she walks
What does mom cook? Processed foods and sweets or whole foods?
Does mom portion control, or allow all access to what ever.
And that’s how a “6 year old” loses weight.


Family volunteer at humane society to walk dogs? Walking group at the mall?

Jessica McAndrews maybe you could help

I work with autisic people for 12 years and we used to serve thier meals on a smaller plate


Try healthy choice -weight watchers -lean cuisine dinners lunch it’s calorie n fat reduced really does help I’m overweight diabetic meds n do any helpful meals

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Try a low carb diet. Cut sugars and carbs.

Autistic people sometimes have a sensory processing disorder, which means (like my youngest son) they don’t like certain textures of foods, clothing, etc. Now my son is the opposite in this area. He is skinny and has a hard time gaining weight, but yet eats like a horse.

I would suggest food therapy to slowly introduce more nutritious meals that fit into her “likings.”

Change the food, if possible. Get her active

Can her dr help you find a program that would be appropriate for her?

Her being autistic only has some to do with it. She didn’t get that way all on her own. First, consult a proper doctor who is well versed with ASD. In conjunction, mom needs to be looking at herself and her habits and what she’s been doing with her child. Small changes to routine until the right adjustments are made is possible. Yes, I have an autistic daughter as well. She doesn’t get electronics, period. Tv is limited to 30min daily if at all. She is only allowed so many snacks and even then they’re portion controlled and specific. When the weather is good we try to get her outdoors as much as possible. Earlier bedtime actually really helps with body regulation as well. Hope this helps.

Water. Take her to the pool. I have an autistic son and he loves the pool.
Also if you dont buy bad food they cant eat it. I didnt buy sweet foods or take away. Everything was home cooked ,baked not fried etc. Its about what she is allowed to eat and the amount of exercise. Have to put in less, if Inactive. Use veggie sticks etc to fill up on. I changed the size of my families plates so they were smaller . Had to do the lot so it appeared the same.

No sugar no carbs no coke no chips

She needs to get active, change eating habits, she needs people/ family to do it to, support. Good luck :+1::grin:

The family needs to change their eating habits.

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Well, who does the food shopping? Buy better food. Stop eating out. No more soda (you wouldn’t believe how much soda packs on you!) If it isn’t there for her to eat, then she can’t eat it.

long walks in the nature trails would be exercise and quiet, bike riding also (3 wheel model) and bringing food that is more in it’s natural form is the best for weight loss. Snacks should be treated as a special occasion used maybe once a week or every 2 weeks. Gardening can be another form of exercise and she can eat what she grows (win win). Hiking is good also on marked trails, take pictures or let her draw as she goes. Sometimes the simple things work best as it does in food. Think of food as fuel for the body, the better the food the better it runs. Lots of water is good also, especially when exercising. Stick with it till it becomes a habit (usually a month). It’s not about weight loss but healthy living, then it doesn’t seem like work but fun.

First and foremost medication may be the culprit. Many of the anti psychotic drugs, as well as the mood stabilizers cause weight gain. It’s the kind of weight gain you just can’t lose. My son was this little tiny, itty bitty little boy, he got quite chunky on his meds for autism. At nineteen he’s 6ft tall, weighs 230 lbs, and wears size 12 shoes

Talk to her doctor .

I don’t have any experience with this situation at all, but maybe a walk around the park a couple times a week?
Start small, 15-20 mins and then work up to longer walks, maybe incorporate feeding ducks or a (healthy) picnic when the weather warms up?
Or while walking you could play nature bingo, so if she sees a certain bird or a squirrel or whatever she gets a check and if she fills a card or a completes a list there’s a special treat at home? X


My autistic daughter is 4 and on the heavy side for her age. Not obese but dense. Extremely picky with food. We can’t get her to eat a vegetable but she loves a veggie pouch (packaged pureed veggies with 1 or 2 fruits for sweetness) for a snack. So we give them to her as often as possible. Replacing most bread products with a cauliflower blend helps. Whole grains, low fat. Rarely does she get candy or high sugar food. No soda. And we go to the park as often as possible or on walks. When the days are hard we dance in the livingroom to a favorite song. Going to a quiet place that offers a lot of walking like the zoo or aquarium is great too


It’s hard most asd children have a very limited diet maybe find a social group with kids her same age but not a a huge group and see if they do activities

Has your friend talked to her child’s doctor about this?


It is 80% diet. Trust me I was morbidly obese for 15 years. Exercise is a plus but your diet is where it is at.


What is she being fed? All starts with diet then maybe get her moving. Try walking trampoline bike

Sample a jazzercise class. The music and dancing is fun (not sure if the music would be too much for her though).
Jazzercise instructors are very good at cueing the routines to prevent injury or too much confusion.

I’m a long time fan and taught it for a a short while. I really love it because it didn’t feel like a workout. It was just fun. Some jazzercise locations even offer a kids version which may suit her better.

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My autistic son loves weight watchers. We joined together and he uses their app to scan and track his food and activity. He said it was as much as a video game. He is a very low level reader but the app is great as he can scan items or say them and the app counts them.

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Is she taking Abilify or any other medication that can cause weight gain?

If she like to join in and participate when others she knows are doing something then her and mom should do Zumba together. Or the 3 of you could get together and do it a couple times a week. And change her diet if shes eatting a lot of junk foods. Mom could change her diet as well so shes not doing it alone. Go for speed walks and make it fun. Like looking for birds. Or play eye spy. Our 6 year old loves to do yoga and what he thinks is karate lol.

My son is on the spectrum also and has currently put him self on a diet hes downloaded my fitness pal and is tracking everything we work.together.with it all and we go shopping.together and.pickmout we meal plan together hes being really grown up x

Cardio is only something like 20% of weight loss. It starts with diet. I can’t exercise due to a heart condition but I have lost 80 pounds by adjusting my diet. No processed food or packaged foods and no sugar

Wii fit? Does she like video games?

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Davina Laura Parnell

Does she see a doctor? If so, your friend needs to speak with the doctor, to make sure whatever she is doing is safe, I’m sure the doctor cam refer her to a nutritionist if they want it.

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Video games make you lazy. Go to her doctor…


Many children with autism have issues with food texture, color, or smells. These aversions typically lead to eating only a few select things. I would first look at what she is eating and substitute for healthier options. I’d also consult her pediatrician look at her overall health. However, all kids, typical or atypical, go through weight gain and weight loss as they grow.


Nutrition & diet first. Activity/exercise 2nd

Did the mom ask for your help? If she did, I ask what her doctor says about her weight. I would offer to help with food & activities, if she asked you for help. If she didn’t ask for your help, there is nothing you can do, without the moms approval.


My friend takes her son to a feeding therapist to help him with the challenging textures of healthier food items.

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The YMCA has some great classes they could both do


Nutrition. Since she doesn’t care for loud activities, maybe running. She can run at her own pace and there are probably areas she can run at school or in the neighborhood with her mom.

We have a special olympics for our students with different needs that helps them get exercise and there’s noise cancelling headphones for if things are going to get to loud . She could see if they have a program like that in whatever area you live.

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Maybe talk to her doctor and see what they have to say.

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WIC might be able to help. My son is autistic and was considered heavy for his age. They suggested skim milk or 1% over %2 or whole milk. It’s gonna be about substituting foods she likes with healthier versions and maybe introducing some new foods. I have reintroduced some foods to my son like yogurt and he loves it now. Sometimes it’s about how food is presented. My doin lives mashed potatoes but plain. No condiments on anything. No dipping sauces. Loves dry cereal… but sometimes chooses milk with it.

Maybe some yoga can help.

If she is on meds. It could be a side effect of her meds. It might not be totally a nutrition issue.

My son has autism and ADHD and he is a big boy for 7 yrs old! Our city has a special swim program for kids with disabilities, it’s one on one and it’s about $60 or so for the set of lessons! Your friend should check into that! We also have the St Amant foundation that provide services for people with disabilities and they have a lot of different activities for kiddo, sometime theres dancing, gym time etc.

Enroll her in Special Olympic Sports. Age 8 and up.

I have a 16 year old largely non verbal daughter with autism and global developmental delay who was slightly overweight and developing fatty liver. Over the past year through healthy diet and and careful monitoring of her intake she has reduced 14 lbs. I still allow her all the things she loves but moderation is important. If we permitted it she would eat and eat until she burst. Healthier choices and moderation was key as it was not really possible to have my daughter exercise in any conventional kind of ways.

If she is just overweight and not obese she probably isnt medically required to lose weight. Teach her to love her body the way it is and make healthy choices and stay active and that is it. Plain and simple.


As the parent of an autistic child, this annoys me. Leave her alone if she’s not obese. Activities are good with what she can tolerate. I wouldn’t mess with her food…she probably eats what she can tolerate and routine is important. I wouldn’t push this issue too hard. Plus, if she’s on meds, this may be contributing


Bring her to the park

Surprising enough Keto would be a good way. It really wouldn’t have to be full on Keto either. Just a huge reduction in carbs and processed sugars will help. Also there is a brand of some Ketone drinks called Pruvitt that promotes ketosis, focusing, better sleep and weight control.

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Pediatrics office can advise or even refer her on nutrition programs and excersise programs… If they see its needed. Having a son with aspergers whis now 19… He likes nature… So we would go for little hikes and go around ponds with sidewalks or thru oarks. Headphones so they can listen to music as well. Mom buys food… So I’d not buy junk. Certain meds can mess with weight gain. I think if not medically necessary to where her childs dr is bringing it up to her.and they chart their height and weight every year … As long as you take them. Ive worked peds for years. And a daughter to 2 boys 19 and 17… And a 14 year old daughter with adhd. We talk about good healthy choices on foods.if i expect her to be healthy then so am I for myself. Be a good role model. But alao let young girls know you dont have to be model thin to be healthy and beautiful… That she is important just way she is.

I honestly suggest asking an autistic mommy page alot of people have opinions but no expertise


Do some research on KETO. Myself and my daughter have felt overall improvements. We are keto-ish and I plan on living a more strict keto lifestyle to help maintain weightloss.

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Ketogenic diet is highly recommended for children with autism, it not only helps them have a healthy diet it helps with weight loss and cognitive development. Good brain food.

Thanks everyone for the advice/opinions! I knew a big change in routine wasnt good and that was my main reason for reaching out. And i appreciate the concerns on perception of appearance but it really was just a question of health NOT trying to make her “skinny” or look any certain way as long as she is healthy.

Is this the same person who wrote the post about the non-verbal 3yr old. Kind of sound like it. If so…
Heres some advice leave them alone n worry about yourself

I would go to a nutritionist and any physical activity throughout the day

Thrive is a good on to try or visalus I’d she like smooties

I have an autistic son and he looooves the water. Swimming is such a good workout, it’s something that be done all year and can be done together! Some places even offer free swimming for the disabled as a form of therapy.