My son has just gone from bad to utterly unexceptable when it comes to eating!
He seems to make a point of eating like an animal! This is one of the few times I think he is doing it to annoy/infuriate me, and not just "being autistic".
Stopped using fork/spoon.
More food on the floor than my 2 year old. (! !!)
Face and hands covered with food - he then dries them off on me!!
Threatens to throw his fork if he doesn't get his way (for example more meat or even someone elses meat!)
Stealing other people's food, especially meat.
I'm pretty patient, but I have got no idea how to tackle this one.
My plan is to eat with him before the rest of the family sits down to eat, so there is more time to concentrate on the problem. But how should I go about this?
We have sucsessfully avoided meltdowns for months (meltdowns have been a major problem), but I can see some huge ones coming if I demand a behaviour change at the table. I have just got the feeling, that we have to do something about this NOW as it is getting out of hand.
Should I give him one bit of food at the time and demand he uses his fork? What do I do when he (in a split second) pulls his food off his for and stuffs it into his mouth?
I would really appreciate some help with this problem.
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Joined: 2 Apr 2007
Joined: 15 Oct 2006
How old is he? I've heard rave reviews from parents about a DVD set called Model Me Kids, which I believe includes sections on eating:
Often when a child is doing something deliberately to annoy a parent, the best route is to deliberately remove the battle. Instead of eating alone with him so you can concentrate on the problem, let him sit at the table and eat before or after everyone else. That way there's no mom to wipe his hands off on. No one to threaten if he doesn't get his way. No food to steal off of someone else's plate.
Go about your business in the kitchen or elsewhere in the house but don't put yourself into the battle. Don't make demands.
Thanks for the advice, both of you. I think not making a battle of it sounds very wize - and you are quite right, if we're not there, a lot of the problems can't happen. I'll try letting him eat on his own, and I'll tell him if he uses his knife and fork, he can have dessert. We'll take it from there....
Joined: 15 Oct 2006
You know, I wouldn't even make a big deal over the knife and fork. For starters, it is continuing to draw the battle line by you as the parent. What you want to do is to remove any knee jerk reaction to your requests that he might be having.
The other reason is that many children with AS do have motor skill problems, some of which may appear later when the demands of the task become greater. A child who might not show early problems using a spoon might be having legitimate problems using a fork and knife. Often this can look like defiance when in reality the child's refusal is a way of signaling they have a problem.
Joined: 18 Jul 2007
What have you done to replace the outlet for frustration that the meltdown has caused? This could potentially be his replacement. If you don't want him yelling, or hitting his fist, making sure he runs, or some other exhaustive excercise could work, depending on hs age (and preferences of course)
While Pippen's idea might work, I'm sure it would probably cause a meltdown in the beginning, though that would probvably go away soon enough.
You are right, these problems weren't as obvious when he was only using a spoon.
OK - knives may be frustrating. But he can use a fork! (He is 8!)
Usually, I don't get angry about things, but I have had a hard time keeping my cool on this one. Your replies have made me realise I have to be more patient and think things through (as usual). So half the problem is mine - being more stressed out and more irritable than usual.
Actually I don't think eating on his own would cause a meltdown, I think he would think it was "great" to be able to eat on his own.
I think his frustration is coming from the whole family being round the table at once - something I have always thought is important, but it seems I might have to rethink things - for now, anyway.
As for excercise... you are right, he has done a LOT of excercise with him which has kept him from having melt downs. The last couple of weeks we haven't been cying or walking as much with him, so probably we should be doing more of that.
Last edited by katrine on 02 Sep 2007, 9:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
Joined: 20 Apr 2007
I know what you mean! My son, same age, has awful eating habits. He shoves food into his mouth (way too much) and it does seem almost intentional. He eats FAST, too. I've told him time and time again to slow down, it's impolite, savor each bite--forget it. Food all over the floor. He eats like a two-year old. It's odd. I wonder if it's his age?
He's also extremely MESSY with his things. He drops something, it sits there. I have to constantly get on him for things. It's exhausting. He surrounds himself with his "things" because he thinks he'll forget them!? Summer has been messy around here.
I thought maybe it was just his age and personality. Not sure.
Joined: 12 Jan 2006
That can be sorted out, I think...
They may be set rules for eating. Certain times, or expected behavior. But, at any rates, I recallI, myself, had sometimes a hard time eating with a fork at a young age...
Today, I no longer have that problem... It just takes practice, and maybe certain unwanted reproaches if the child ignores these rules... and gradually it should improve.
gulping food ? children may be hungry for more. We could make them understand that they will not get a second portion until the next meal , this may dissuade them from gulping food like that...
Joined: 18 Sep 2007
so glad to have found this thread. Mealtimes are sometimes a nightmare. He is 13 now, and sometimes just forgets he has a knife and fork and picks it up...I hate saying anything because it turns it into a battle, and who wants that. It makes it worse that my 9 year old NT has perfect manners.
He eats very quickly, eats with his mouth open (says he finds it difficult to breathe through his nose and this is why), and the food goes everywhere. I try to ignore it all, but it is hard when you eat out and everyone is staring, but so what.
It is interesting that my son also is mad for meat..he always eats it first and then asks us all if he can have ours as well.
Joined: 18 Jun 2005
I'd suggest having more finger foods or foods that are easy to eat and won't make so much mess. It's pointless getting into aggro battles at mealtimes because it stresses everybody out and nobody digests their food properly.
Unless it is something really really terrible, it is best to ignore a certain amount of piggy eating. I'd also suggest feeding your son separately if he is snatching his siblings' food. It's also important to remember that Aspies often have a poor sense of time.
Your son might genuinely think he has to eat as much as possible now because he can't picture that he will have another meal.
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Joined: 8 Aug 2007
Is he eating with the same flatware as the rest of the family? I had a hard time holding forks, pens, or other thin objects correctly when I was young because of poor motor skills. Try getting him a small children's fork or spoon with a larger diameter plastic handle. You could also try cutting up his food for him to help him take smaller bites - my mom did this for me as a kid, and it didn't prevent me from learning to cut my own food later when I had better motor skills. Giving him a small serving at first and letting him have seconds when it's done might also slow him down.
Joined: 22 Sep 2007
Wow! Im very new to the aspie world but my 8yr old son is a huge meat eater, (wondering now if this is a trait?) he either uses his fork but mostly his fingers. We try to ignore it, when we eat out we order finger food for him. He is very messy and binge eats sometimes. I always thought that eating for him was a sensory experience so I just go with it. Ive found the more I draw attention to things the worse they become. Good luck with it all
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