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Who doesn't like to eat? What's more, who doesn't like to always eat their favorite foods? Mealtime at home can become a great battlefield if we have children in the family with autism or another disability: "what if I don't like broccoli ... what if I throw the yogurt on the ground ..." And it is not easy to fight at a time that should be pleasant against something that should be simple.
The Fox and the Grapes is a mealtime story for parents of children with autism, and about intolerances to trying new foods.
There had come a point where the fox I didn't want to eat anymore. I didn't want to eat another grain. And no matter how much her friend the swallow repeated it to her, she did not think at all to listen to her.
- You have to eat something else or you are going to get sick - said the swallow. - Also, you can't be eating rice and wheat grains every day! Foxes are strong and vigorous animals and you have to run, jog, jump and all those fox things you do.
But the fox was not willing to give in and listen to her friend, even if she said it was a good idea to taste those delicious grapes!
- Look, maybe it's a good idea to start by trying this bunch of grapes that I have brought especially for you - said the swallow while he left the grapes on the grass of the meadow - Come eat some!
But there was no way. The fox was not even willing to listen to her friend, even if she said it was a good idea to try that bunch of fantastic purple grapes!
So the swallow wondered - and why doesn't the fox want to eat the grapes? Indeed, if it doesn't want to eat the grapes, what does it want to eat? - The ideas and questions came and went in her head without her understanding how to do so that her friend could feel more confident in her and thus try something of some kind new food.
So one day when the swallow saw how the fox stopped to sniff a truffle that she had found near a burrow, she said to herself: - I got it! now is a great time to encourage him to eat something different, he seems interested!
So very gently he used his wing to bring the truffle closer to the mouth of the fox, and this, as expected, the reaction he had at the moment was to turn his head and almost put it between his hind legs. But soon, the fox turned her head again and, sniffing the truffle again, decided to stick out a tongue.
The swallow changed his expression instantly and said to his friend - congratulations, you did it by yourself!
The fox who was very happy with her friend's words suddenly jumped up, landed behind a tree and took out the bunch of grapes that the swallow had given her and she had kept there.
And why don't you know what he did? Do you think the fox came to taste the grapes or rather got angry again? Why do you think the fox was already ready to try new foods?
Here are some guidelines for working with children with autism at mealtime and in relation to new foods.
- Make a small record about the foods that your child or student eats or does not eat by putting three scales in which they can go from their favorite food to the one they never taste passing through the one they eat but without appetite.
- Try to make menus in which there are more daily favorite foods that not favorites; You are gradually introducing those foods that are not to your liking in the daily diet in a systematic way, such as a grape or a piece of it.
- The child must eat the pieces that you propose but your word must be firm and clear. If he needs it, make a drawing of what the demand is, such as a drawing of three fish to explain that you are going to ask him to eat three pieces of fish.
- Try that eat non-favorite foods before favorites. Negotiate it with your child visually and remind him of the reward that he will have later in eating what he likes the most.
- Don't forget reinforce it socially with hugs, kisses, caresses and very positive words due to his great effort.
- Do it very slowly. If you see that, like the fox, your child is not prepared to accept a new texture or flavor (to be very present in people with autism), better give him the option of simply having the food in his hands and or caressing it with his tongue. It may be a good idea to gradually integrate flavors, smells, and textures before putting new foods in your mouth.
You can read more articles similar to A Mealtime Storybook for Parents of Children with Autism, in the category of Conduct on site.