Monday, April 18, 2011

Autism and Appetites

Any parent of a child with autism knows how difficult it can
be to get them to break out of their self imposed limited diet.
Spencer and Harry eat almost the same thing, every meal,
every day. Alex, on the other hand left behind his
food obsessions years ago and he's always in the kitchen
looking to see what I might be preparing.
This past week he asked for a bowl of the homemade
chicken and vegetable soup I was making. His brothers, on
the other hand, haven't tasted something new in years!
And they are all different, too. Harry is a self imposed
vegetarian that loves cereal, fruits, veggies and yogurt.
Spencer love his protein...turkey, ham, hot dogs and
cheese and self imposed gluten free.
He will eat fruits and some veggies, though.
Alex will eat anything! And the interesting part of
that is that he is the thinnest!
They all love potato chips.
None of them eat dessert.
Suckers are the only sweets!
I'm SO glad I don't have to share my ice cream! ha.


  1. smiles. they like their patterns...interesting how different their patterns are

  2. it is fascinating to me how different each one is...I can't imagine your grocery bill!!

  3. jojo ~ it's HUGE! absolutely huge! haha.

  4. Thanks for sharing this. This has always been something frustrating to me. It's sweet to see your acceptance of food choices.

  5. happygirl~ well, I wasn't happy with it until each had a balanced diet that contained all four food groups. We had several years of insisting each eat one bite of something...many, many times ending in throwing up but we'd do bribes and when they swallowed we'd do big cheers and applause. Then we'd move to requiring 2 bites, then 3, etc. So it took lots of blood, sweat and tears to get to this place. We supplement with lots of vitamins, too.

  6. I can understand your frustration, of course... but to an outsider like myself, that's fascinating!

  7. Silver ~ I think it's fascinating, too, actually! Alex has come so far. About 10 years ago he ONLY ate yogurt, spaghetti, chips and french fries. Now that they have adapted to fairly balanced and healthy diets, I don't sweat it so much. Although I would love to add some more protein to Harry. And it would be so nice to sit down to dinner and have everyone eat the same thing. As it is, I feel like a shortorder cook at each meal. lol.

  8. I am a little like that myself . I am almost vegetarian and I eat alot of the same things over and over again. When I taught school I think I took the same things for lunch for twenty years because I liked them!

  9. It is interesting how they are so different in their patterns of things. Betsy, as I have said I can only praise you for all you have been thru. Could not have been easy and then you had Taylor with other needs.

  10. Triplets - yes. Individuals - yes. Loved reading about their food likes.

  11. lana ~ we've always joked that Taylor raised himself. :) I just have to thank God that he turned out to be such a fine young man as we were overwhelmed and just plain busy with his brothers! ha. It also helped that he was independent and easy-going, too.

  12. That's nice you allow them to eat the foods that they like. My mom would make one meal (one for breakfast, one for lunch and one for dinner - not one meal per day. Just thought I should clarify that! lol) and we either ate it or went hungry. She always told us that she wasn't running a restaurant.

  13. i love how you share the boys with us...i feel like i know them and of course love them!

  14. sprinkles ~ I would have done that if they weren't autistic. :) It's more than just a dislike...it's more of a hurdle than that for them.

  15. Aw..melody..you are so sweet. :)

  16. So, when you serve up pancakes and fresh strawberries (or some of your other delicious dinners, they don't eat what you are serveing?

    Yes, this is fascinating.
    Your boys are so blessed to have you for a mom! I am amazed more and more, everyday, at your strength.
    You are teaching us about Autism by sharing your life.
    Much appreciated.

  17. Christine ~ Alex is the only triplet that will eat what I make for dinner. So, he ate pancakes with us and I made S and H their 'usuals' :)

  18. So nice to read your blog post, Betsy, because my grandson, Noah, has a form of Autism. He went through stages where flushing toilets was something he liked to do or loved to watch it. And he became famous in the family for reciting off the names of toilet bowl manufacturers. He likes real estate, and especially knows all about trains and can entertain me for hours with his show and tell about trains. He is growing up now and is always different every time we see him. He still has an eating thing. He doesn't like to change the food he eats but his mom has got him so he will, sometimes, taste other foods. It is the food texture that he finds difficult to overcome.

  19. Hi! Betsy...
    Thanks, for sharing!
    I wonder if Spencer and Harry, will every leave their same food pattern behind...
    ...and change their eating pattern like Alex?...I bet as a mom that you, are glad they are eating what appears to be a healthy diet.
    DeeDee ;-D

  20. Abe ~ I know Noah! He loves Domino's Pizza...or at least he used to! :) Thanks for the comment...I know you can relate!

  21. Betsy - How fascinating! I think you are very wise to feed them as you do...it's best to choose our battles. Thanks a million for sharing your very interesting and intiguing life!

  22. =) potato chip love is universal. and that soup looks wonderful! blessings ~ tanna

  23. I think we can all sometimes become creatures of habit when it comes to our diet.
    That soup sure looks delicious!
    But I can't imagine going without dessert : )

  24. Interesting how different the boy's self imposed diets are. Most of the students with Autism I work with really dislike the texture of food and adore carbs.

  25. Farmchick ~ that was one of the first things I noticed was that they didn't have an issue with texture. They liked smooth yogurt and crunchy chips, etc

  26. Very interesting indeed
    And yes must be quite hard to feed
    Well actually easy as you know what they want
    Following the same old haunt
    Of which I can really relate
    As I haven't eaten anything different on my plate
    In like fifteen years
    Doubt I'll ever shift gears
    Why mess with what works I say
    Looks like at least two of your boys see it my way..lol

  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

  28. Pat, that is so true!
    And Alex would want to share your dinner, too!
    He loves chicken nuggets, carrots and corn
    and I'm sure he'd love them at night and in the morn!

    p.s. apple juice, too!

  29. While don't worry I'm stocked quite well
    So have enough to share for a spell
    Plus I have to or Orlin will kick up a fuss
    Like he was just hit by a bus
    So picky Pat
    And the cat
    Can feed your non picky son
    That has to be a new one
    As most think my habits strange
    And stay out of range...lol

  30. My Sam is just like your Harry. Apples and bananas. POUNDS a day if I don't catch him. Cereal. Bean burritos. AND, I have to share my ice cream.

  31. The picture is great, I know that yummy soup you make. I love how you share with us, but reading all the comments, and your respones are also a great read.

    I feel like one of your other commenters...Feel like I Know your boys, and love them dearly.

  32. That soup looks scrumptious!! I can see why he loves it so! I think that you have welcomed their differences is so cool!! I have 5 grands and they all have their "food" choices as well. It is always fascinating to me!!! Ha!
    And I know you bill is huge. My son's bill is too. The kids can put away some food for sure!!!

  33. I have enough trouble coming up with one meal for dinner...the triplets are lucky to have a short order cook that loves them!

  34. I have a certain amount of fellow feeling and solidarity with Spencer and Harry as I too have a very limited diet which, like them, is self imposed. As long as it is doing us no harm, let us all eat what we are happy with - however wide or narrow that diet may be.

    (And Betsy, your delightful card arrived this morning - thank you so much, it is perfect)

  35. Alan ~ I agree. You'd be so sad without your beer and chips. :)

    I'm so glad to hear your postcard arrived safe and sound! How fun! :)

  36. Betsy, sigh.... Life is full of lessons and I am learning acceptance from you. My situation is so different compared to yours. I use to love to cook/bake and my family for the most part enjoyed my cooking. Then my daughters left for college and every thing changed. My oldest sweet daughter developed an eating disorder at college and has struggled with it for 4 years now (she graduated college last May). She is doing much better now although the roller coaster ride has had many extremes. She is now a vegetarian working on going Vegan. My younger daughter has changed to a gluten free diet for her psoriasis. Food use to be a source of joy for me and has become a source of pain, sorrow and if I am honest anger. Learning acceptance has been a hard lesson for me. Again our situations are so different, but I find not only joy and humor in your blog but peace and acceptance. Maybe I can learn to embrace this new phase of our life and learn vegan and gluten free cooking. You are an inspiration and I thank you for sharing little parts of your life with us all.

  37. Aww, Fawne! Big hugs to you! That is hard..especially since you used to all be healthy and eat the same things. Yes, I'd encourage you to just accept it and take the new challenge. That's what we mom's do! There sure are a lot of neat looking gluten-free food blogs out there. Although I'm not sure I'd try to do all that baking with new things just to be gluten free. There's nothing wrong with fresh fruits and veggies and some lean protein. Simple, basic and healthy.

  38. each one so different ... it sounds as if you have done a lot of work over the years to bring them to where they are right now in their eating...such a special mom!!

  39. Mmmm, your soup looks good.

    You have worked HARD to get to this point so KUDOS to you Betsy!

    And, suckers are just GOOD.

  40. Looks like the homemade chicken and vegetable soup was hit. Hooray for Alex.

  41. Some traits that make them each really very unique and special. They are neat guys and I am glad you have one chicken soup eater.

  42. It's amazing how different they are in what they like. I find my boys' limited diets at times both liberating and completely stressful - i.e., wish I could coax them to try new things. But I get my ice cream to myself too, not a sweet tooth between them.

  43. KAL ~ I think that's pretty common that they don't have a sweet tooth. That part I don't mind at all, ha. Yes, I feel your frustration! We 'special' moms certainly are special, aren't we? :)

  44. Harry and I share the same food interests!

  45. Can Harry really tell if there is gluten in something? One one hand, its great they don't eat dessert but then again I'm sure you;d love them to try your cakes adn various baked goods you are so good at.

    So, do you have to share your icecream with Taylor at least? Waht about teh hubs?


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