A blog about resources for autism and care and treatment.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Case of the Picky Eater

By Guest Blogger, Nicole Lindstrom
Author of Simply Happenstance Blog

This past week we celebrated Thanksgiving with both sides of the family. It was great to be able to do this, as my husband has been on shift the past three years.

I love being able to visit with everyone. It is a nice time to catch up with what is new in their lives, as well as getting to know the newer, and soon to be, new additions of the family. All wonderful things to be thankful for.

It is all grand until it is time to sit down for the meal…..

The part in which I dread the most. My palms sweat and it is time to answer the question,

“What is Mason eating for dinner, where is his plate?”

Uh oh….

The dreaded picky eater…..

My son is a picky eater and has been for the majority of his life. He is like most kids on the Autism Spectrum, that crave routine and predictability. This trait goes hand-in-hand with some children that also have a sensory processing disorder. The sensory component means that he will eat the same few meals over and over again without a huge fuss.

I know what you think… the kid won’t starve, but he will, as it is part of this disorder.

Textures and smells create sensory stop signs for these kids. Loud full houses and having to sit for extended periods of time is extremely hard for a child who has a hard time sitting in school, let alone a crowded dinner table

{I myself get overwhelmed after being around too much noise for an extended period}.

More often than not, it is a battle in which their behavior goes from zero to 60 in 2.5 seconds.

Believe me I have tried it all… heard it all, but I know as a Mom that we worked very hard with our son and that this is the smaller piece to a very large puzzle.

As per Lindsey Biel, M.A., OTR/L and Nancy Peske’s book RAISING A SENSORY SMART CHILD, if a child has food related issues try to avoid food related battles at the family meal and focus instead on pleasure of the company {this book is amazing for any child}.

We see an Occupational Therapist for help with Mason’s SENSORY PROCESSING DISORDER and with his eating behaviors {thank goodness for Wayne Centra at KARATE FOR ALL}.

Yes I would love to be that mother whose child eats all of my homemade food and I wish I could say my son loves all of his basic food groups, but that is something that I know is in the far off distance… a work in progress. I know that a special gluten free and casein free diet works for some children on the Autism Spectrum, but Mother knows best {well with the support of an educated therapist… wink wink}

I am just happy that my child is eating food. It may be considered processed and babysitter like, but it is what is. Luckily I am able to sneak in nutrients in places where I can.

For now I will be happy for the progress he has made and the obstacles we have overcome, for they have been great… if not amazing!

So when we pull up a seat at a table please don’t ask, “Is that what he is eating?”

For I am thankful for the boy he is, and not for how I would like the situation to be.