One of the biggest issues in bringing any child
is providing them with the balanced diet. Many
autistic people, however, suffer from multiple
food allergies, which not necessarily manifests
itself as a visible rush. Allergies can cause many
behavioural problems like hyperactivity, head
aches, restlessness, irritability even aggression.
For many autistic people food must agree with
their hypersensitivities or a form of OCD. I know
of many who will not mix certain parts of the meal
together, or will not allow them to touch each other
on their plate.
Sometimes it is just an idea of trying a new dish and
you have a hungry child who is not comfortable with
the unknown; taste, smell, texture...
I am always struggling with making Cirwen eat.
When she was smaller, around the age 2 - 4, very
often she would eat only the food she liked the
look of or was related to her Barbie and Princesses
obsession. Well, I even made the mash potato look
pink but it didn't work - she just doesn't like them
She went once through a whole week living only on
jelly and a bowl of boiled vegetables. My GP said
it's OK, as she had "some nutrients" in the veggies.
I have tested her for some food allergies, but all
what she was tested for came out negative, so I was
told to feed her as she craves things. This way she
goes through the periods of eating one type of food
and then changes for another. It can be tons of pasta
one week and then fish almost every day next.
She still will not eat potatoes in any way you cook it;
fried, boiled, mashed, chips, roasted... no, yuck!
Similar situation is with bread. She would have
a toast for breakfast at times, sandwiches for her
packed lunch, but now she won't touch it.... Bread
seems to be acceptable only in a lunch box.
We also have a problem with meat. She will have
chicken, bacon and ham. She will eat red meat only as
burgers, or with spaghetti - another words - minced.
Cirwen also is very fussy with fruit and vegetables.
Grapes, apples, some of the berries. This again
depends on the texture more than taste. For
example: raspberries are "hairy" and bananas have
similar texture to potatoes... She does like strawberry
flavoured dishes, but will not eat a fresh strawberry,
because it's got pips...
I was very happy, when she discovered kiwi and
loved it. I thought, great, one of the richest fruit,
packed with vitamins! Well, my hopes of adding
new ingredient to my daughter's diet faded rapidly
the next day. She was covered in an itchy rush
from head to toe...
Then come e-factors, which aren't good for any
kids. Autistic child may have an increased
reaction to those. So as Cirwen, therefore we
avoid many sweets and drinks.
This way I often cook something for the three
of us one dish and for Cirwen another, separately.
It's not convenient, but I prefer she eats something
rather than sit for hours in front of a plate of cold
food she thinks is disgusting. (This happened to
me, so I know how it feels...)
We have however an agreement maid recently,
that she will try a new dish at least twice. If she
doesn't like it both times, we won't attempt to
convince her it's good again.
I must say we both stick to it. She will try and
honestly voice her dislike or pleasure. That's one
good side of an autistic mind (in this case).
Honesty. Because the desire to please people is
either non existent or rather low, an autistic
says what she feels regardless of social etiquette.
Things are black or white. Nothing in between
so lets say as it is, to the point.
I struggle sometimes, and visiting family and
friends for dinner can be awkward, but what
can you do?