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Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I know a lot of kids with autism have food issues. I wouldn't say Janey has issues, because she's always eaten pretty well and with a lot of variety, but she likes strange things to eat. She often asks for condiments wanting to eat them on their own---ketchup, mayonaisse, things like that. She also loves garlic and onions. She will eat a peeled onion like an apple, and she sneaks garlic cloves out of the fridge any time we leave it un-bungee-corded (which we had to do because of her random fridge raidings) and eats them, papery outer part and all. But she also likes some regular kid things a lot---pizza, chicken nuggets, french fries, juice. She loves chicken, in almost any form---she'll go crazy at a Chinese or Indian buffet. She adores peanuts more than almost anything. I can't think of a lot of foods she won't eat----at one time or another she's eaten almost everything.

One of the common side effects of the medication she is taking is increased eating and weight. I have seen that Janey is hungry all the time lately. She might have gained a little weight, but not that much. Part of that is that because Tony is diabetic, we generally don't have any desserts or sweets in the house. You can't gain that much on apples (although don't ask me why I'm not thin!) and part of that is just what she likes to eat---you can eat a lot of onions without gaining much. The rare time we do get things like cookies, she thinks about them a lot, although for her, cookies pretty much means Oreos.

Yesterday after school she wanted peanuts for the car, so we stopped at the CVS to get some. She spotted a huge bag of Doritos and wanted that instead. I said no, but she found a smaller bag near the register and I gave in. She eat it all on the way home. I have to be careful to make sure the foods she has around the house aren't like that, because I can easily see her getting a little obsessed with junk food. Or food in general. Part of that probably has nothing to do with her autism---she's a lot like the rest of the family when it comes to food. We like to eat, to talk about eating, to think about eating, to plan to eat...we enjoy food. We all get craving for various weird things, and so we are pretty accepting of that in people. It makes me think how what aspects of autism upset people most probably has a lot to do with which are more foreign to a particular family. If you are a family of huge extroverts, the lack of true social skills might be the thing, if you are very invested in your children being academic or "smart", the retardation might be it, if you are concerned with how your children appear in public to others, it might be the weird things they do like sleeve chewing or flapping hands. If any of those areas aren't a big thing for you, then that part of autism probably doesn't bother you a lot, and I am thinking that's how it is with food. Janey's food likes might be a huge issue in another family, but in ours, it's not.

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