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  • Autism SA Info Line
    1300 AUTISM
    (1300 288 476)
    1300 288 476

Mealtime Assessments and Plans

Mealtime Assessments

For individuals with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) difficulties with mealtimes commonly occur, however, the degree of deficit and impact on subsequent eating and drinking, positioning and independence can be experienced differently.

Autism SA has qualified and experienced therapy staff with specialised training in the area of mealtime assessment and management of individuals on the Autism Spectrum. Mealtime trained Occupational Therapists and Speech Pathologists work collaboratively to assess skills and identify deficits commonly in the areas of:

  • Oral motor development/ skills
  • The phases of swallowing
  • Sensory processing influences
  • Food selectivity and volume
  • Independence skills
  • Posture and motor skills impacting on positioning
  • Environmental impacts

An individual’s diet may be extremely limited and therapy staff may refer to other disciplines including a Dietician or for further swallow studies.  An Oral Eating and Drinking Care Plan may be one of the outcomes of a multidisciplinary mealtime assessment, along with other relevant recommendations which may include a recommendation of mealtime intervention and other mealtime strategies.

Mealtime Assessments at Autism SA include assessment of the above skills as well as provision of:

  • A comprehensive multidisciplinary report
  • Specific eating and drinking recommendations
  • Sensory Profile outcomes
  • Oral Eating and Drinking Care Plan, as deemed appropriate
  • Recommendations and follow up of posture and appropriate equipment, as deemed appropriate
  • Strategies to increase motivation and independence skills
  • Communication and visuals support at mealtime

Autism SA is accredited and registered as a provider through:

  • National Disability Insurance Agency
  • Helping Children with Autism Package
  • Better Start; and
  • South Australian State Government Provider

Assessments may be also funded as a Fee for Service – Please contact the Intake Team at Autism SA on 8462 0664 to discuss funding for a mealtime assessment.

Assessments may be provided within the home environment, educational settings or at the Autism SA Netley or Autism SA Elizabeth Clinics. (Different costs may apply to different settings).

If receiving current services through Autism SA, a mealtime assessment may be discussed with the Autism SA Staff Member. Alternatively, a referral may be placed with Autism SA Senior Speech Pathologist on 8379 6976. 

Mealtime Therapy

Individual Mealtime Therapy

Following an assessment, mealtime therapy with either a Speech Pathologist or Occupational Therapist with relevant training in the area of mealtime intervention may be recommended.

The individual may be waitlisted until an appointment time comes available within the relevant discipline for mealtime intervention.

Mealtime Therapy Groups

A mealtime intervention group is transdisciplinary (Speech Pathologist and Occupational Therapist), focusing on increasing an individual’s comfort level with food though structured intervention.

Sensory, oral motor, motor and independence skills are addressed as they impact on the mealtime. In addition, individuals will learn how to set up a mealtime environment through creating a predictable routine. Visual supports and strategies to increase motivation and trying new and non-preferred foods are explicitly taught to enhance skills in these areas.   

Currently, Autism SA is not running any mealtime intervention groups - Please forward interest in a mealtime intervention group to the Senior Clinicians Alice Rohde and Annie Sunners