Our family’s journey through an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is no secret, and I’ve shared about it on several occasions at DC Metro Moms Blog (article list below), but the one thing I really haven’t talked about is how meals were impacted in our home as a result of our son having Asperger syndrome.
From the moment our children could safely eat solid foods, we encouraged a varied and healthy diet, and our oldest son was an adventurous eater from early on. He would try almost anything, and even at the age of two one of his favorite foods was spinach pizza. Getting him to eat healthy fruits and vegetables was never a big deal, but then the spectrum symptoms started and our son changed rapidly.
He basically went on a pale foods diet: pasta, bread, applesauce, chicken, yogurt, bananas, cheese, mango, crackers, Cheerios. Talk about a cooking challenge for mom! We only kept whole grain breads and crackers around, so at least there was some goodness in all this. Fortunately he is much more flexible about food now than he was two years ago, and it is such a relief to see him enjoy meals now rather than pick over them.
One dish that he has always enjoyed is macaroni and cheese, a dish that definitely falls on the pale end of the food color continuum, so during that challenging time it was a safe bet to prepare once a week, and it’s still one of his favorite dishes.
As a special way to acknowledge World Autism Awareness Day, Neil of At My Table (Melbourne, Australia) hosted an event that I meant to participate in last week but got sidetracked with vacation, which was then sidetracked by a family illness. Last week just didn’t turn out quite as we expected, but if there’s one lesson we’ve learned in dealing with special needs children, it’s flexible response. So if you get a chance, head over to Neil’s blog for a roundup of one-color foods. It’s a wonderful collection which I hope will be an inspiration to those of you who are also dealing with the challenges of raising a child on the spectrum.
Though World Autism Awareness Day was last Friday, April is National Autism Awareness Month in the United States. You can find information about autism spectrum disorders at the following sites:
If you suspect your child may have an autism spectrum disorder, contact your pediatrician and your school to find out what kind of testing is available. Early detection and intervention can help unwrap your child’s gifts.