For the longest time Sams daily food routine has been brioche for breakfast, crisps and biscuits for lunch with a token chocolate spread sandwich put on the plate though he’d eat it maybe one day out of 5. Dinner consists of those tiny little popcorn chicken things with chips or potato waffles. Every. Single. Day.
Children on the autism spectrum will often only have a very limited diet. Sam seems to prefer plain crunchy food, pale in colour. It a completely sensory experience for him I think. People often think ‘if he’s hungry enough’ he’ll eat what’s on his plate. Give him what we eat. It doesn’t work like that. If Sam doesn’t like what’s in his mouth he will hold it there not spit it out. A bite of fish finger was in his mouth for an hour before I realised he hadn’t made a sound and had to fish(!) it out with my finger. He would never have swallowed it, and finds it difficult to spit things out. Some will even make themselves sick to get rid of the ‘foreign body’ Sounds crazy huh?! Not so much when you think of the food as a sensory item rather than a way of sustaining ourselves. Sam eats very little but quite often.
So imagine my surprise when on our holiday he started eating chicken & beefburgers with such gusto we couldn’t believe it! We’ve never pushed what Sam eats at mealtimes (why ruin it for everyone else) so we ordered his usual chips each night and he’d start reaching for my stuff. We allowed him to control the situation and he jumped right in.
The food he eats is ‘junk’ and I don’t know the last time he ate a vegetable, maybe 2-2 1/2 years ago give or take, but with this little boy it doesn’t matter. Maybe one day, but I think it has to be his choice.