My Family

"Life will knock you down. You can choose to stand up again."

Monday, July 25, 2016

Adventures in Autism - Food

Everyday is a new adventure when it comes to having a family member with Autism. The spectrum is so enormous. No two autistic people are the same. They may have some of the same tendencies, the same mannerisms, the same qualities, the same weaknesses, or they could have the complete opposite tendencies, mannerisms, qualities and weaknesses.

Colton is missing the cause and effect connection, along with many other connections. This one, though, is particularly challenging. Colton does not remember from minute to minute why he can't do certain things, what the consequence of a choice might be, what Mom told him to or not to do, etc. He also struggles greatly with situations. (he also has ADHD, Anxiety, and learning disabilities) Chaos, loud noises, textures, something out of his routine, busy places, and group activities among many other things can greatly impact his ability to deal with life.

Food is an interesting challenge all by itself. Colton has just about doubled his weight in one year. His blood pressure has risen to unhealthy, and dangerous, highs. Colton doesn't seem to have an "off" button. He has gotten up in the middle of the night several times (more than I even know) and eaten 36 string cheese sticks or four dozen cookies or two pounds of grapes or an entire ice cream cake. I am not exaggerating. I can't imagine how badly his stomach must hurt, but it doesn't detract him from doing it. He is literally clueless as to what he is doing. In talking to therapists and psychologists who deal with Colton quite a bit, they have suggested that I look into locking the fridge and the pantry and the cupboards and the freezer. I am trying every option before I do that. It is not a bad thing to do that and I am, in no way, judging those who do. I am just trying other options first.

We go grocery shopping on Thursday nights. When we get home, I spend the rest of my night cutting up fruit and vegetables and placing them into individual bags, then into larger ziplock bags, then into a bigger bag. I do the same with string cheese - one stick in a bag, in another bag, then all of them in a bigger bag. Obviously I can't do this with everything. But, doing this seems to be helping a lot. Because it takes him longer to get to the actual food, he runs out of focus and attention and gives up on it before he eats bag after bag after bag.
For now, this is helping. Things change all the time and I'm sure I'll have to come up with some other contraption to help soon.

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