Perspectives on Early Childhood Psychology and Education

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Preschool age is a time when children experience erratic appetite and fluctuations in growth and development. Typically developing preschoolers have picky eating habits leading to varied nutrient deficiencies. Dietary inadequacies are further compromised in preschoolers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) due to abnormal sensory sensitivity, social deficits, and repetitive behaviors of interests. To promote health and wellness in this population, school psychologists and educators in collaboration with registered dietitian nutritionists who are the food and nutrition experts need to identify avenues to promote healthy eating for this pediatric population. This article focuses on nutritional needs and considerations of preschoolers with emphasis on those with ASD, the role of school-based interventions, and practical tips for school psychologists and educators in the promotion of nutritional wellness in preschoolers with ASD.