Special diets

As I have already written in previous chapters, Luke, Ben and Joe are on special diets and I am sure many of you reading this have children who also have special dietary needs for whatever reason. Whilst in an ideal world, families ofchildren on special diets would all eat the same foods and everyone would bake together and eat together in a perfect picture of family harmony and happiness, some things just are not ideal!

In our household I have Luke, Ben and Joe on the gluten- and casein-free diet, Joe and Ben allergic to eggs, Joe allergic to sesame and on the Feingold diet, Anna who would happily only eat sugary stuff, Matthew and Sarah whom I am sure would benefit from the GF/CF diet (and refuse to go on it) and restrict themselves to pasta, cheese, bread and ice cream between them, and Rachel who aims to eat 'healthily' and so would eat only salad and fruit given half a chance.. .as you can imagine, such differences can cause chaos at mealtimes!

The kitchen is split into two halves, rather like a kosher kitchen. One side is completely GF/CF and egg free with its own bread bin, toaster and utensils whilst the other side has regular food. Although this is the only solution short of having two kitchens, it is not without its drawbacks. My hormonal teenagers come in from school, ravenously hungry as all teenagers are, and so give little thought to the younger boys and their special diets. Matthew will cut himselfa large chunk of cheese, grab a slice of bread and drop crumbs all over the boys' work surface. Sarah will use one of the pans allocated only for GF/CF cooking and cook herself ordinary pasta and cheese sauce in it, and I can't begin to describe the severity of fights that break out between Anna and Luke when she uses the boys' peanut butter and contaminates it with bread crumbs. All this results in the need for me to do my impression of a stuck record and repeat again and again exactly how unfair the teenagers are being and how many adverse effects these foodstuffs have on the boys. There follows a kitchen full of sulking, mumbling, resentful teenagers and three autistic boys in various stages of reactions to off limit foods.. .certainly a colourful sight!

When their hormones are giving us all a break and I have my pleasant reasonable children to live with me for a short time, then they fully understand the reasoning behind the diet, see the amazing changes in the boys and are fully supportive. Indeed they are the first ones to moan if Joe turns back into the pre-diet, destructive little animal or they are required to change an endless stream ofBen's dirty nappies. I firmly believe that ifthey didn't have their brothers' behaviours and diet to moan about then their lives would be sadly lacking!

Funny Wiring Autism

Funny Wiring Autism

Autism is a developmental disorder that manifests itself in early childhood and affects the functioning of the brain, primarily in the areas of social interaction and communication. Children with autism look like other children but do not play or behave like other children. They must struggle daily to cope and connect with the world around them.

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