What To Do When Your Child With Autism Can’t Gain Weight

Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the biggest challenges my oldest has faced. When he was younger, he was a super picky eater and so it was hard to find calorie and nutrient-rich foods that he would eat. As he got older, his palate expanded, but he still had problems reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. So what can you do when your autistic child can’t gain weight? There are probably a bevy of answers but for us, the answer came in a product called Scandishake.

scandishakeSo what is this Scandishake? Simple, it is a powder that you mix with milk. A single pouch of vanilla powder combined with 8 ounces of whole milk is good for 580 calories. When you have a kid that weighs around 60 pounds, 580 calories in a single sitting is great!

Who just wants a plain glass of vanilla milk, though? Not Alex. With the help of our handy dandy Magic Bullet, we turned those 580 calories shakes into smoothies with 800, 900 or even 1,000 calories. His go-to drink is peanut butter, banana and chocolate.

In addition to the 580 calories from the base drink, the peanut butter adds in another 200 calories, a large banana is good for another 120 calories and a bit of chocolate syrup adds 100 more calories. That right there is a 1,000-calorie shake. It’s not just a calorie-rich shake, though, it is also super tasty.

After trying a variety of nutrition drinks like Boost, Ensure and the like, Alex had grown tired of the taste. Eventually everything tasted gross. Even the plain vanilla Scandishake in a glass of milk is delicious. The product is pretty much a win-win-win for us – calorie rich, good tasting, and easy to use as a base for a variety of weight-gaining smoothies.

The only downside is that it is hard to find locally. For a time, I was able to order it from the pharmacist at my local CVS store, but unfortunately they stopped carrying it a few years ago. I ended up turning to Amazon to buy the product. Unfortunately the product wasn’t part of the Amazon Prime program, but I did manage to score free shipping from the seller.

If you have a child that has difficulty gaining and maintaining his or her weight, Alex and I both recommend Scandishake.


Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

About Melissa

Melissa is the mother of two children on the autism spectrum and strives to provide information about all aspects of autism through her blog, The Autism Education Site. Follow Melissa on Twitter. Like me on Facebook.

© Melissa Hincha-Ownby and The Autism Education Site, 2008-2014.