Managing Eating Difficulties in Autism

Elizabeth Shea

Birmingham Food Refusal Services/The University of Birmingham

Dr Elizabeth Shea is a Clinical Psychologist who has worked with children and young people who refuse and avoid foods for almost two decades. Previously a Primary School Teacher and a Counsellor with Childline UK, she started her Psychology career with the National Autistic Society where she developed a career-long interest in eating difficulties in autism. She is a recognised writer and speaker on this subject across the UK and Ireland.Her research interest is avoidant and restrictive eating and she has developed interventions which featured in the 2008 ITV documentary ‘My Child Won’t Eat’. She is a Practice Associate of Scottish Autism and has made a series of films on eating issues for their ‘Right Click’ e-training Programme. With colleagues she provides day workshops on managing eating difficulties in autism in collaboration with the National Autistic Society. She regularly speaks to groups of parents across national autism networks about how to manage their child’s eating issues. With colleagues in the clinical and academic field of childhood feeding disorders she has now established an independent clinic in Birmingham for individuals who refuse foods.


Feeding and eating problems are commonly reported in individuals with autism. Difficulties include a limited diet, not being able to eat away from home, going long periods of time without eating or over eating and Pica (the... [ view full abstract ]

Ethics and permissions statement and / or disclosure of potential conflict of interest (if relevant)

Presentation is based on the clinical and research data collected by the author through the course of their academic and clinical practice. No identifying or individual clinical information will be presented. The author runs... [ view full abstract ]


  1. Elizabeth Shea (Birmingham Food Refusal Services/The University of Birmingham)

Topic Area

Topics: Practice


S7 » Symposia: Management of challenging behaviour; eating/feeding disorders (16:30 - Friday, 16th September, Tinto Room)