A series of fortunate events led me today to a fellow parent of a child on the autism spectrum. My son is four years old and this is the first live conversation I’ve ever had with a parent in my shoes. To speak out loud about it, to have someone local know exactly what I was talking about and to know exactly what someone else was talking about was such a gift.
My son has professional support workers, but those unfamiliar with ASD appear perplexed by what I describe and what they see, while those who work regularly with kids on the spectrum do not share the intensity of feeling and intuition that a parent holds.
To have that experience, of having someone know my thoughts and experiences without having to say it all word for word out loud was precious.
Talking to a fellow parent gave me joy, hope and happiness. And the thing is, my son is very well! How much more important is this type of contact for parents whose kids are still very sick?!
This fellow, who did not know of my existence one minute before the call, is now actively working on a plan to get us the next level of supports needed. Having applied diet (among other things) in his son’s life, he knew all about food costs and had a specific gem to share: He said that kids with autism will eat and eat and eat and eat, not because they need the food but because their brains do not correctly register when the body has enough. I was stunned – My son does this. Not often now, but as recently as a few days ago, during an active detox phase, he did indeed revert to this behaviour. (I remember, because I happened to journal it for his pediatrician.) He kept spooning food into his mouth, even though his belly was very distended and he was clearly full. I invited him to stop eating; I encouraged him to put the food away until later. He refused. I found this activity strange, but here my new contact was pointing to it as typical for autism. His budget suggestion, then, was to portion out what your child needs.
Note: I believe that for the most part, kids and adults will eat what they need to. And early in GAPS a person may be truly ravenous as their body changes and they are eating such digestible foods. In most circumstances, then, I would not advocate limiting food, but where my son’s belly is “out to here” and something is clearly amiss, I see now that I can lead him to something else for the ten minutes his brain needs to register that he is full.
If you have a disability, or are a parent of a child with a disability, consider reaching out today to your local support group. It is balm for the GAPS soul.