As you know, we have recently, like within the last week, begun a new journey with Elliott. This journey is kinda one of those bumps in the road that causes you to veer off course, at least for a little while.
For us, that bump in the road was the
discovery that Elliott has a tree nut allergy.
The allergy is more specifically tied to almonds but he can’t have any tree nuts anymore.
This was most definitely unexpected but something that we are really trying to take in stride. In truth, we’re pretty stressed out about this but we’re also doing our best not to let Elliott know just how concerned we are.
I think that most kids would be rightfully upset to loose a huge portion of their known diet.
What makes this so much more difficult is that the fact that Elliott has aspergers and severely high loves of anxiety to begin with. In fact, of you looked up anxiety in the dictionary, you’d see a picture of Elliott.
Another challenging aspect is that along with the aspergers and anxiety, he also has a host of sensory processing issues.
Basically, this make him much more sensitive to things like appearance texture, smell, flavor and consistency etc. To put it in laymans terms, he a picky eater. However, it’s not for the same reason that many other children can be. He’s not trying to be difficult, he simply can’t stand the way certain things feel, taste, look or smell.
He very difficult to feed on a good day, with no food restrictions.
Now that he has to avoid any and all tree nuts, it’s darn near impossible at times, to get him to eat.
Right now, he’s afraid to eat anything because he doesn’t want to have an allergic reaction and have to stab himself with an epipen. We would be the ones actually doing it but you get the point.
The combination of his very high intelligence and even higher anxiety make learning about food allergies an absolute nightmare for him.
Thankfully, we are seeing him more willing to eat as time goes on. He’s learning what he can and cannot eat. It’s still a struggle because we are still learning as well. I’m hoping that we will find a groove with this and be able to get the train back on the tracks and keep moving forward.
I guess I just wanted to share this because I’m not sure most people realize just how much more challenging food allergies can be when your child is on the spectrum.
I guess this is just some (allergy free) food for thought. 🙂
I feel for you guys. We deal with alot of food allergies and other allergies and have the Epi-pen too. It's so hard avoiding all nuts, and yep, my autistic son with all the allergies is a picky eater too. Will bribes or rewards help? Like can you give him a coveted prize or gaming time with you if he eats a certain percentage of his meal/snack? We still use bribery to get my sons to eat dinner sometimes, and with the autistic one, to get him to try new foods. We are also implementing a rule that even though you might not like dinner, you have to eat 7-10 bites of it or whatever. Not sure how well that will go, but my coworker with an equally picky Aspergers son uses this on both her boys, and it seems to work pretty well.
Oh, and there is something called SunButter, which is sunflower seed butter you can use in place of nut butters (tastes kind of like peanut butter but a little different), and some places sell pumpkin seed butter. If he can have seeds, those might be possibilities. Sunbutter tastes awesome if you mix cinnamon in it, believe it or not. There is also Tahini, which is made from sesame seeds, but chances are slim that Elliot would like the taste of it.
@rmagliozzi thanks. It's tough when they are already picky eaters. Those are really gold suggestions.
I'm going to assume that you will be very careful and want have to use the Epi pen. With that in mind, I would have no problem lying and telling him that you found an alternative.show him Benadryl, which can be used in mild cases. It's what I had to use when I had a hazelnut reaction but was pregnant. Anyway, maybe if the fear of the Epi is gone, he can relax a little. I've been known to lie to Ethan to get him through a trauma. Sometime I'll tell you about when I told him they were looking to see if there was a baby in his penis. Long story.
@Mary Franzen Costello actually the benadyrl is an option depending on the reaction.
@Mary Franzen Costello Okay, I may never know what actual life event would prompt a baby-in-a-penis story, but it's a wacky enough world out there that that story would work in some context… thanks for the smile.