Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Food and my ASD child

Know his aversions.  Keep him gluten free.  Keep him on a decent schedule.  Make SURE he gets 3 meals a day.

These are all things that we have to keep in mind with Timmy and food.
He has a major aversion to certain foods and certain textures.  He cannot eat mashed potatoes.  He cannot eat cherry pie filling (don't even get me talking about the puking incident with them at Denny's from the pancake smiley face).  He cannot eat fish.  If a meat is too chewy and he can't swallow it easily after a few bites, don't feed him that either.  Don't tell him he has to take at least one bite of these things that he has severe aversions to, or he will end up vomiting all over the place.  Trust me, I know.
We took Timmy gluten free 1.5 years ago.  It was one of the best things we have done for him in regards to his behavior.  He stopped acting out as much.  He stopped having as many meltdowns.  He stopped flapping his hands and making noises as much.  Really, he was almost a different child.  If he happens to get exposed to gluten, you definitely know it.  The other day at my mom's 50th birthday party, Timmy was karate chopping across the yard and making noises.  He'd been very "in your face, forgetting about personal space" all day long.  He'd been very flappy and making lots of noises all day long.  We were all sitting there in a group (my family) and I said "Hmm... I think Timmy got some gluten" and everyone started giggling and said "Ya think?" I'm glad that my family can see, now, how important it is to his behavior to keep him gluten free.  It is almost like he loses total control of his body.  He loses all inhibitions, and just goes a little wild.  Yes, all from gluten.
We also need to keep him on a pretty good schedule with eating.  When he starts to get hungry, instead of saying "Hey!  I'm hungry", he starts acting out.  He'll start picking fights with his brothers.  He'll walk by and smack his brother.  He'll start jumping up and down, twirling, etc.  Like he just needs to DO something ... because he is hungry.  When I see him starting to do something like that, I ask him if he's hungry.  I don't care if it is 40 minutes until dinner, I know he needs something THEN, or we'll probably end up with a situation on our hands.  I'll toss him an apple, and it will take the edge off his hunger and let him feel good enough until mealtime.
Timmy will get upset if he doesn't get 3 meals a day.  The whole brunch thing doesn't work well for him.  He likes to have his breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Sometimes, when we do do a brunch, we will just end up giving him something like a fruit plate or something later that day so that he will feel like he has 3 full meals.  It is really important to him, and very easy for us to do usually, so why not?  Right?

Who'd have thought that food would be so important?  Dealing with all of these food things, on top of Adrian's food things (Celiac Disease), and my food things (Lap band) .... well let's just say our lives revolve around food here.

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