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food control in Aspie children

(7 Posts)
BitchytheGreat Fri 07-Mar-14 22:23:49

Ds, 9, has used control of his food intake when he is stressed for years. It is not that he isn't hungry because his behaviour tells a different story. He is sensitivie to timings and type of food behaviourally so I know when he lies to me about having eaten breakfast. As he is 9 and likes responsibility I generally trust him to sort his own breakfast out, it helps mornings run smoother as he sings, hums and whistles without knowing he does it when he is happy. I struggle with mornings for various medical reasons and find the constant noise very difficult. So he does breakfast himself.

I know what has triggered this batch of food control. I added new books and have tweaked the layout of his room. Tidying it in the process. We have also changed the plans for him visiting his dad so he can participate in a game for his favourite sport. But he is nervous about this as he hasn't played against these teams before and it will be in a new location. Plus there was world book day. And he struggles with the fact I can't go play ball with him outside (medical reasons) and he really wants me to be involved. To counter this his dad is now involved in his training and games. But of course this is new and change. So there is a whole heap of little things that in some respect he feels are a good thing but they change and change is bad.

I was wondering on tips on how to deal with this. We had a major falling out about it. 1. because he tried to lie about not eating. 2. Because of the behaviour caused by his not eating. 3. Because i didn't have the full facts so that I could deal with the situation in the best manner so it exploded more then it would have done otherwise.

Short of food intake monitoring again (ie he has to ask permission for food and drinks and it is fetched out of the kitchen) and checking for hording/throwing food until he settles back down again. What are my other options. Tbf I don't care if he skips food because he will eat when his behaviour flips, it is the lying about it that causes the problems. Another perspective is greatly appreciated.

PolterGoose Sat 08-Mar-14 12:24:22

I'm sorry but I'm struggling to understand. Does he get and eat all his meals independently?

ouryve Sat 08-Mar-14 13:16:45

Is it just breakfast he's skipping? Are you on your own with him, or is there another adult in the house who can monitor him?

DS1's appetite is the first thing to go when he's stressed. I find that there's no point making a big deal out of it. He'll eat when he's ready and I can't force him to do so otherwise. It's not a battle I'm willing to engage in because everyone ends up upset and no one wins.

BitchytheGreat Sat 08-Mar-14 23:13:11

Sorry, i guess it is one of those things that makes sense in your head but is not so clear if you are not in the same head.

The only meal he gets independantly is his breakfast. Unless he is in a growth spurt when he is constantly in the cupboards and eats half his own body weight 3time daily hmm god help me when he gets to be a teenager. Or when he is stressed when he will raid the cupboard so he can make sure he is in control of what he eats.

It was breakfast and partly lunch because he decided to make his own lunch that morning. Normally I make it. I don't mind if he doesn't eat because as you said ouryve no point picking a battle with it unless it causes in behaviour that can't be solved unless he eats. At which point I don't pick a battle I provide food after putting him into 'timeout'/sending him into his bedroom to chill out.

It was the lying about breakfast, not taking the money for toast a break (a treat he doesn't normally get) but putting it in his money box to save, and then leaving half the contents of his lunch box that led to him being so hungry his behaviour was uncontrollable that was the problem. If i had been aware that he had not eaten the day could have been planned differently.

When ds gets stressed he gets very confrontational. Very impossible to effectively communicate with. deliberate baits people to get a response in a manner where it is unavoidable to not give him the response he is looking for.

Today he impressed me with asking and eating a mini cooked breakfast, complying with request to eat lunch (sandwiches and then treaty stuff because of the change in routine that was partly behind the control the other day) however has exploded in a manner that has been hard to keep contained so that he doesn't feel embarised and thus stress himself out about being in the same situation next time.

I do know that the food control is because he is finding he needs something to control but I am finding it hard to redirect him and help diffuse the trigger because he will deny/hide what the actual trigger is and blame something else. He desperately wants to be just like all the other kids but knows he isn't and this just makes things worse in some respects despite the fact that he has worked hard on coping strategies and if you don't know what you are looking for you would struggle to see the not coping. Although I come across as a strict shouty ogre when dealing with him in a stressed state, which i hate. He is starting to talk more after the explosion of emotion about what is going on which is a start but really I guess this is where the solution is more a how do i deal with the cause (stress trigger) rather then the issue (not eating).

Sorry if i have confused you more. Emotionally drained after today and ready for sleep.

ouryve Sat 08-Mar-14 23:35:14

Don't get me wrong, it is hard. It's hard with DS1 because, for all his social pretty much uselessness, he is bright enough to be constantly one step ahead of you, anyhow. I have had professionals comment on this and note that he's one of the trickest children they've dealt with.

not taking the money for toast a break (a treat he doesn't normally get) but putting it in his money box to save I can completely identify with. We have had this exact problem with tuckshop on a Friday. He has a coin obsession, which complicates matters. He's been taking his tuckshop money in, then turning up without it and fluttering his eyelashes. Then he's been bringing money home, through the week, that he "finds" in his tray. I've made it plain that if this happens again, I will hand money over, personally, to his 1:1 or the school secretary and collect his change at the end of the day, and anything he brings home, through the week, will be returned, out of his money box. Naturally, he is angry about this suggestion. He's never wilfully lied about anything else, so this is a new one for us.

A small component of his pocket money is actually dependent on him eating his packed lunch every day. Since he's so motivated by money itself, that's actually been rather successful. I'm throwing food away once every 2 or 3 weeks instead of 2 or 3 times a week.

Have you come across the Dawn Huebner books, by the way? There may be something in those that rings a bell and helps you to work with him to be less controlling. It would also be worth you looking up Pathological demand avoidance, as controlling behaviour around foods is not unusual amongst kids with PDA. A lot of kids who have over-riding diagnoses, such as ASD or AS do have a lost of PDA tendencies.

BitchytheGreat Sun 09-Mar-14 00:18:43

Yep we have the obsession for looking for money and finding money and getting money without working for it. Money is power. Money buys things. Things can be collected. Full sets and collections are good.

Ds' IQ is through the roof. He is skilled enough to figure out how to convince people he is as like them as possible. It drives me up the wall because it is motivated by the fact that he doesn't want people to know he isn't 'normal' and thus he covers everything up from people who could help him (and me by taking off my shoulders). He is incredibly good at verbally concealing but not so good behaviourally. He has tells that are more obvious the more stress.

Not come across the Dawn Huebner books. Will have a look into PDA. He has OCD issues/tendancies that are known and we have had to do a lot of work to stop each obessive trait as they start before they become habit. Handwashing, light flicking, door opening/closing, ordering and allignment, general cleaniness of environment.

I suspect it is because we work to stop things that can be problematic/detrimental that he has become secretive about his coping strategies that he has developed rather then been taught iyswim. he sucks his thumb and has done for years but never did as a baby or toddler. He was surprised that i don't care about it.

I have the asperkids secret book of social rules and he does catastrophic thinking a lot. this was what came out during the big post melt down conversation tonight in a round about way. Wasn't what was directly discussed but it was the big take home underlying point. <needs degree in psychology or something to understand this> <brain hurts> <wonders if it is a help or a hinderance that it is not an NT nor aspie brain trying to figure this out>

PolterGoose Sun 09-Mar-14 08:41:58

It does sound like there's some anxiety and self-esteem stuff going on. I'd second the Dawn Huebner workbooks.

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