Training Course

Autism and eating challenges

11 May 2020, London

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About the course


This one day course will focus on understanding and supporting autistic children with eating challenges.

Feeding and eating problems are common in autistic people. Difficulties such as only eating a very few foods, not being able to eat at school, going long periods of time without eating or over eating and Pica (eating non-foods) can be difficult to understand and manage with parents and carers reporting feelings of anxiety, frustration and blame.

This course is written and presented by Dr Elizabeth Shea and Gillian Harris who have several decades of combined experience in the clinical and academic fields of childhood feeding disorders and in autism services.



Shauna Fleming E: T: +44 (0) 300 303 4313

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National Autistic Society Training Courses
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Course overview

Using knowledge from academic and clinical fields of typical feeding development and childhood feeding disorders this one day workshop will examine and explain the common patterns of eating in autism. It will address a range of difference across the spectrum including specific issues relating to females.

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  • Taking a developmental approach and using the new diagnosis of ‘Avoidant and Restrictive Food Intake Disorder’ (DSM IV, 2013) the first half of the workshop will discuss how eating issues in autism relate to the characteristics of the condition itself.
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  • The second half will concentrate on evidence and practice-based strategies for intervention. The workshop will take an interactive approach with opportunity for experiential based learning and discussion of participant’s own case or family examples.
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Dr Gillian Harris has carried out research into infant and child feeding behaviour and appetite regulation at the University of Birmingham, School of Psychology for the past 30 years. She was also a Consultant Paediatric Clinical Psychologist for 27 years, and lead a feeding clinic at The Children’s Hospital, Birmingham, where she worked with infants and children who were food averse.
Her specific research and clinical interest is the development of food acceptance and rejection in early infancy and early childhood, and the effect of early experience on later food preferences. She has written around 100 published papers, articles and book chapters on these areas, and been awarded multiple research grants to support her research.

Dr Elizabeth Shea is a Clinical Psychologist who has worked with children and young people who refuse and avoid foods for 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, trainer and speaker on this subject across the UK and Europe.

Her clinical and research interest is Avoidant and Restrictive eating in both autistic and neuro-typical populations. In particular, she has developed specialist interventions which have now featured on two national TV documentaries. She is a Practice Associate of Scottish Autism and has made a series of films on eating issues for their ‘Right Click’ e-training programmes. She has written many practical articles and filmed interviews/presentations on eating issues for parents and professionals for a variety of autism organisations and has co-authored a book on avoidant eating in children published in 2018. She regularly trains parents and professionals across national and European autism networks about how to manage eating issues.

She currently works both in the NHS and in the independent sector and also specialises in the assessment of autism particularly in females.
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The course will be held at St Alban's Centre in London.

Leigh Place
Baldwin Gardens


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National Autistic Society training venue and location
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Why Attend?

  • Gain increased understanding of the causes of feeding and eating issues for autistic people.  
  • Increase your awareness of the impact of typical and atypical development on the acquisition of the skills for successful feeding.
  • Develop knowledge of specific issues facing autistic individuals with food
  • Increase your confidence in the application of management and intervention strategies.
  • Opportunity to share experiences and strategies with colleagues/other participants.


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Course Fee £185 + VAT

This includes:

  • training materials
  • certificate of attendance
  • signposting to relevant literature and resources
  • lunch and refreshments.

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Who should attend?

This course is suitable for anyone who works with an autistic child who is having difficulties with food. To get the most out of this training course, it is advisable to have a prior understanding of autism.

Although the course will focus on children and young people, the information is also relevant to those working autistic adults as the developmental characteristics that cause the eating patterns in autism can persist into adulthood.


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The trainers were so informative and the course content was so interesting. The course will help with my working role.

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To secure your place register now to avoid disappointment.

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