-A breakdown or an unhealthy snack
-A full-blown tantrum in a restaurant or french fries, milkshakes, etc. etc.
-A quiet family dinner turned upside down or enough food consumed in one sitting to last for a week.
The food battle is a battle almost every parent has to tackle at some point along the line but for a parent of individuals with intellectual disabilities it can be a HUGE battle; a battle much bigger than just “you’re not leaving the table until you finish your green beans!” Or for some parents of both special and ‘typical’ children, it’s not a battle at all because the parents choose not to pick that battle.
Working in the homes of individuals with Autism, I’ve seen a lot. I’ve seen some very messy situations: houses torn upside down, sibling fights that no one would want to witness and parents breaking down after a feeling of complete helplessness. Would you really care who ate what at that point? I doubt it.
It’s a vicious cycle. It’s a cycle we can all relate to to some extent. You get used to eating cookies, pastries, ice cream and donuts and you’re body begins to tell you that you NEED those items. You begin to have craving after craving that you can’t seem to control. The foods that cause us to feel the worst are usually the foods we crave the most…that is, until we stop eating them for a prolonged period of time. Now try to communicate that concept to a child, a child who does not verbally communicate.
The battles then become vicious cycles. You don’t get to pick anymore. You WILL have a tantrum until the snickers is handed over. The snickers (or whatever the food of choice may be) becomes a daily battle.
It’s not easy. In fact, it’s very difficult. Over the course of the next few weeks when I talk about NUTRITION, I’ll explain how a few of our Buddies have made changes. It was a process. It took time (a LONG time) but it’s possible.
I hope to help others tackle the NUTRITION battle because it is one well worth fighting and one that may change some of your other other battles and child’s behaviors permanently.
Buddies In ACTION wants to help improve the NUTRITION battle.