Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Minor Miracle

Two Thanksgivings ago, my mom asked Ethan what kind of pie he wanted with his Turkey Day dinner. "I don't wany any pie made with fruits or vegetables," he said. So that Thanksgiving, we ate pumpkin pie while he tucked into a Hostess chocolate cupcake.

It's fairly common for kids on the autism spectrum to have an aversion to some type of food, mainly because they don't like its texture. Some kids don't like meat, others don't like bread. For Ethan, it was fruits and vegetables. And I'm talking every kind of fruit or vegetable you could think of--even raisins, which are so sweet, they hardly count as a fruit.

For a while, I tried every trick in the book to get some fruits and vegetables into Ethan's diet. I made cookies with shredded carrots, raisins and loads of chocolate chips. He would take one bite and spit out every shred of carrot and raisin in the cookie. People advised me to make smoothies, but I knew that was a no go because along with Ethan's aversion to fruits and vegetables, he also hated foods mixed up together. Every food--chicken nuggets, rice, a token vegetable--had a separate place on his plate.

So over the past two years, we've used a lot vitamin supplements to keep Ethan's health up while we chipped away at his hatred toward fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately we would have to reward Ethan for eating a slice of apple or lettuce leaf with sugar, his hands-down favorite food group. At least it got him to eat those vile foods.

But the real turning point occured when Ethan turned 5 years old. Suddenly, he had an appetite, so eating yucky foods became more appealing than feeling hungry. The more fruits and vegetables he ate, the braver I got, to the point where I plunked down this in front of him.

It's lasagna, the ultimate casserole. It's got noodles and cheese, which he loves, but those goodies are covered in tomato sauce, which is iffy. I held my breath when I put the plate in front of Ethan. He looked suspiciously at it, but his hunger got the best of him, and he took a bite. The next thing I knew, the plate was clean. I was estatic. Maybe I won't have to cook two meals for dinner anymore.


Wayfaring Wanderer said...

Maybe next time you can dress up like someone from Harry Potter, and tell him that you're brewing a potion! haha O, to be a mother.....I don't know what it is to jump through hoops for someone.

rainbowmummy said...


StatMom said...

I definitely get how HUGE this is...see this morning's blog post about autism and food! And lasagne? Wow! That's awesome!!!

MaryAnn Ashley said...

Good news... that's huge!
Feeding children is such a basic need as a parent.

My older daughter has food issues too - some things are hard for her to digest, make her moodier than crap & then give her a rash. It's so tough to have to pack a separate stuff for her when she goes to birthdays or the outtings where I'm not making the food... I think it's harder to deal with others who are convinced they know your own child's needs better.

Tiffany said...

I have heard of autisic kids doing this. Good job! Maybe you can find other sneaky ways to get him to eat veggies and fruit.

Anonymous said...

YAY! Hey, have you tried the "Autism and ADHD Cookbook?" Lots of good recipes in there, many of them blendable, hiding veggies...I've been using it because of A's (and my) food allergies.
YAY Ethan! Fingers crossed this continues!

LceeL said...

Wow. You are SO lucky. Our Asbergers boy is 17 and still has all the food aversions he ever had - even after years of therapy and insistence by his therapist that he try new foods.

maggie said...

Wow, that really is huge progress! I'm so glad for you. I somehow didn't know that you had an autistic child. I know little about autism other than that it can be so different for each person. Anyway, go you!