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  • Jack H

"We truly can't stop ourselves when we are hungry"

When Calder gets hungry, he gets hungry. He will act as if he is starving and if you walked by, you would think, “this kid has never eaten a meal in his life.” But Calder does eat. In fact, he eats extremely well. He enjoys homemade gluten-free brownies, cornbread, chocolate chip cookies, stews, soups, spicy foods, and even a red pasta sauce that takes hours to make. But rather than taking his time and enjoying the flavors and textures, he prefers to stuff food straight down his mouth. He is so against using utensils that he will take whatever food is on a fork, rip it off, shove half of it down his throat, and run away crumpling up the rest and leaving it on the ground.

It is infuriating, but not for the reason you might think. Yes, he makes a giant mess, especially with chips. Yes, it is an unpleasant sight to witness. But my frustration comes, not from his mess, but from his refusal to slow down. The issue is that no matter how hard we as a family try to teach him how to use utensils, he outright refuses. It’s the lack of discipline that annoys me. I understand that he wants some "awesome chips" but I also know that he knows it is unhealthy and ill-behaved to constantly shove his dinner down his gullet and leave crumbs across the house.

Now I do know that I cannot place the entirety of the blame on Calder himself. One of the unfortunate byproducts of certain types of Autism is the feeling of always being hungry. And this happens for a variety of reasons, the most common two being the need for food at a specific time to keep their routine and the sensory input from the textures and flavors of different foods. So, I don’t know why he does it, but I do know that even though it is a trait of his autism that doesn't mean that it can’t be helped.

Calder needs to learn that even if he wants something immediately, he has to sit down at the table and use his fork, just like the rest of the family. Even if it's a struggle for him, in the end, his life will be better because he'll be able to go to restaurants, and he'll be able to enjoy meals with friends. And so, I will continue to try and help him learn that the fork is his friend.

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