My diet regimen is bizarre, I admit that. In living with my Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), I am a picky eater. I know from working in elementary school Autism units as a substitute teacher’s assistant, I am NOT alone in the Autism community of being picky with my food.
Sensory issues play a part in my pickiness. I could do without fruit and not shed a tear. But bread, rolls, cereal, crackers, etc.? Perish the thought! I will give in and eat cantaloupe if it is hard and crunchy; if soft, no way, no how! The same with apples. Although I like the taste of a banana’s flavor, I will not eat one because of its texture. Too soft for my taste buds.
One of my favorite “picky eater” school stories was told to me by the mother of a boy with Autism. Her son had a passion for chicken nuggets. But not just any nuggets. It had to be the McDonald’s brand! His mother made the mistake of thinking he would not know the difference between McDonald’s version vs. another. One day Mom decided she didn’t want to go to the trouble of a drive-thru every time her son had a nugget craving. She cooked a bag of them herself and disguised them in a McDonald’s bag. Her son took a bite of one and that’s all he took. Mom never tried that trick again!
My first inkling that I was on the Spectrum was observing a 12-year-old girl in her class leave her class without leaving it. Her behavior of pacing the floor in her own imaginary world was strange to her teacher even though she had seen her student do it many times. It wasn’t bizarre to me. I was a pro! I just don’t do it in front of witnesses; although, sometimes I get caught in the act. When I was sitting by this same student in the cafeteria watching her eat a hamburger, I realized we had more in common than I thought. She uses the same three-step method that I do: eat the bottom bun first, then the top bun, and save the best part, the beef, for last.
My Mom to this day still will try to get me to try this or try and it is on a rare occasion that I will take her up on her offer. It may be years before I add or delete to my list of daily must-have items. My meals are the same every day except for the main course. The main entree of the day is usually the same day of the week such as Cici’s pizza every Sunday evening.
I maintain the supply of my favorite foods in bulk! I grieve as if I lost my best friend when one of my favorite brands is banished from every food store in the neighborhood.