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Early years: Tasting (gustatory) differences

Identified barrier and / or need:

  • A child may also seek input from foods and food textures.
  • A child may have aversion to certain food tastes and textures.

Strategies and approaches:

  • Staff recognise the positive impact that recognising and planning for children’s sensory differences and needs have on children’s learning and emotional well-being.
  • Use visual supports to support with choices and awareness of what is for lunch, snack, dinner.
  • Have a consistent mealtime routine involving opportunities for positive adult role modelling and positive support for the child.
  • Offer an element of choice for example peas or carrots.
  • Allow and provide opportunities for the child to explore food texture with their hands.
  • Encourage positive interactions between child and adult to build confidence.
  • Keep pressure to eat low, especially when trying new foods.
  • Ensure that there are alternatives available at mealtimes and foods that suit a sensory preferences.
  • Plan carefully how the child will access meals and snacks to reduce stress and any pressure to eat.


Encouraging Eating

Sensory Resource

Sensory A sensory checklist for the classroom and individuals can be found on the Autism and Social Communication Advisory Teams WIKI, under the resources for schools section (scroll along to sensory processing).

Last updated 2 November 2021

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