Those of you fellow special needs parenting veterans out there, you’re probably all too familiar with this particular battle. The battle I’m referring to is part of the never ending war to make sure our kids on the Autism Spectrum, eat.
That may sound silly to those of you that have not ever tried to prepare a meal for an Autistic child with Sensory Processing Disorder.
I’m here to tell you that it’s not an easy task.
Kids and even adults on the Autism Spectrum can be very, very sensory sensitive. While this can present differently for different people, there tend to be some commonalities.
In the case of my kids, meal times are rarely easy. The only exception is with Gavin. He has become quite easy to feed and he’s really good about trying new things. It’s such a blessing because he used to be so difficult.
My other two boys are extremely picky. Although truthfully, picky isn’t the right word to use because it’s not really a conscious choice.
My boys are very, very sensitive to things like texture, taste, smell, color, appearance and even the packaging of their food. Thirteen years into the journey and I’m still learning new things, each and every day. One the things I’ve picked up on is that there isn’t always a rhyme or reason to their food proclivities. At least not an obvious one.
I’ve talked about this struggle many times before.
When I make a meal for my family, I’m usually making at least three different meals because most everyone has unique needs.
We have food allergies that complicate things but we also major sensory processing challenges as well. They all add up to uber cooking challenges for yours truly.
To give you an example of a few of these challenges, here’s two of the most common.
Chicken nuggets. Chicken nuggets are greatest thing and yet the bane of my existence. Emmett loves chicken nuggets but only Tysons and only from the orange bag. If the label’s or packaging change, they will no longer taste right. I’m being totally serious.
If a nugget is blemished or misshapened, they are deemed inedible.
When it comes to Elliott, he seems to be able to taste the slightest change in a food product. Perhaps something is seasoned slightly different, he knows and won’t touch it.
I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve heard “this doesn’t taste right”.
It’s honestly very stressful for all of us. It’s stressful for the because they really try but just can’t seem to move beyond some of these things. It’s stressful for me because many times it feels like a moving target and cooking has become a chore that I no longer enjoy.
I hope this has been insightful and given you a bit of perspective.
I would love to hear your experience in this area.. 🙂
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I can’t even count the number of times I heard “this doesn’t taste right(or good) even though he’s eaten that same food hundreds of times. I can also testify to the changing packing or label thing. That happened with some waffles he likes. My sister keeps giving me her opinions or advice on this matter and I try to tell her you can’t make sense of it because he can have a certain item today and then tomorrow , he doesn’t like it anymore or it doesn’t taste right today. It’s such an exhausting subject in our house that I dread it when he says “I’m hungry”.
My 15 yr old only has about 20 things he will eat He has sleep apnea so we have to go see a feeding therapist and dietician to see if they can change his eating habbits I told them GOOD LUCK WITH THAT cause he hasnt touched a veggie since Autism reared its head He trys but he can not keep them down