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to say something about this at school

(86 Posts)
HammerToFall Fri 18-Mar-16 06:22:37

DS has high functioning aspergers, one of his main issues is around food. He gets severe anxiety over food if it's something that isn't on his accepted list of things he can eat. It's usually colour and texture that put him off. He stays school lunch where they have a deli bar. Everyday he has the ham sandwich which comes with a bit of salad in the side.

Last night in tears he told me one of the TA's has been guarding the bin so that he can't put his salad in there, and then makes him sit at the table until he eats it (he is not going to eat the salad, he has never eaten salad in the ten years he's been alive). This results in him sitting there until the bell goes making him miss playtime.

Firstly I don't want him sat there in tears missing playtime, and secondly he is now becoming overly anxious of anything I put on his plate which is not accepted food. He doesn't have to eat this but I have always put it on his plate anyway just in case one day he decides to try it.

I'm going to say something this morning, I don't want to appear rude but I really think this needs bringing to a head. AIBU?

Waffles80 Fri 18-Mar-16 06:33:02

Absolutely. It's really unfair and possibly quite damaging.

I'd make an appointment (if that's the usual thug to do?) with his class teacher as soon as possible. If not, is there a deputy head who might meet you?

I imagine both would be pretty appalled at this with any child. Gentle encouragement to complete a meal is fine, this is definitely not. The TA maybe has little understanding of the issue.

jlivingstone Fri 18-Mar-16 06:33:12

Of course you should.

Teachers appreciate being let know. Why not email them now.

Waffles80 Fri 18-Mar-16 06:33:54

Thing! Not thug.

At my school appointments need to be made but if it's OK to just speak to the teacher at drop off, then do that.

curren Fri 18-Mar-16 06:35:47

Is it secondary or primary?

I know primary's are a pain in the arse for doing this.

I would speak to them and make sure they are aware of his food issues. I have HF Aspergers too. It's very distressing.

I suspect ds may have aspergers too and his first few days they tried to force him to eat (although he is so picky he takes a packed lunch) and I told them to stop it. Send it all home and we will sort it. He was ending up getting stressed and wanting to see everything in his packed lunch and sort through what he felt he could eat.

The school have been great and just let him get on with it. He has act silly got a lot better since people leave him alone to just get on with it.

curren Fri 18-Mar-16 06:37:15

He has actually got a lot better

Narp Fri 18-Mar-16 06:37:35

You need to make sure that the school has told every single person who has contact with him that he is not to be made to eat the salad. If the lunchtime staff are not those who work in his class, and/or are only employed to do lunches, then this could easily get overlooked (it shouldn't, but it does).

Out of interest, wouldn't it be less anxiety-provoking for him to have packed lunch?

Schwabischeweihnachtskanne Fri 18-Mar-16 06:42:55


My DC3 doesn't have any SN but does have funny food fussyness/issues (some textures make him vomit even when he tries them willingly, for example he likes orange juice (so no allergy to oranges or anything) but when his siblings persuaded him oranges are also delicious and he decided he would like to try one he vomited when he tried to swallow a piece. The same happened when he was eating a sandwich with home made jam quite happily and suddenlyvomited (it had had "yucky bits" in which turned out to be pieces of strawberry... again when he was eating some hot cross bun type bread happily but swallowed a sultana... It has all made him even fussier about food.

I tried putting him in for cooked lunches at Kindergarten but had to stop as they make them have a little bit of everything and eat everything on the plate (then they can ask for more of what they like). It was upsetting him so much being told he had to eat sweetcorn etc. before he went out to play that he no longer wanted to go to Kindergarten, and they have always done that and all the other hot lunch children are used to it so said they couldn't make an exception... So now I collect him before lunch when I'm not on shift and send a packed lunch when I am.

No need for that and sounds like somebody over playing their role - if it is school policy it needs looking into.

nonamenopackdrill Fri 18-Mar-16 06:54:54

Can you email the SENCo so that you have a paper trail of having raised this with them? Perhaps suggest the TA needs some training in SN issues around food etc if they are supervising in the canteen.

Euphemia Fri 18-Mar-16 06:59:17

Definitely tell the school. It sounds like this TA is unaware of his needs.

enterthedragon Fri 18-Mar-16 07:30:41

Yanbu, making any child eat something that they don't like is IMO wrong but to try and make a child with an ASD eat something that is not on their list of acceptable foods shows a complete lack of knowledge and understanding of asd and also of the requirement to make reasonable adjustment, I would talk to the SENCO as well as the class teacher, all staff that have contact with your DS need to be aware of this, this needs to stop before it does any more damage.

Bathsheba Fri 18-Mar-16 07:39:46

I'm a TA at a school and its a constant battle I have with other members of staff. It an be very damaging to ANY child to be put in a position where they are being forced to eat something that they do not want - how many of the eating/obesity problems of our generation can be traced back to "eat everything on your plate" and how many of us remember the trauma of "you are not leaving the table until that is finished". I have rescued a few children myself by putting their plate away for them when they have been sitting in tears staring at a piece of fish for 40 minutes that they will NEVER eat.

Please bring it up with the school for the sake of ALL the pupils, not only your son.

Princesspeach1980 Fri 18-Mar-16 07:44:54

Even an NT child shouldn't be forced to sit and eat that way, let alone a child with ASD. My DS has asd and he would throw a fit if they tried to do this to him. I would be fuming! Definitely speak to school and say they are not to interfere in what he is eating.

Kitsandkids Fri 18-Mar-16 09:06:13

It really annoys me when school staff try to force children to eat. Why? Are they going to starve to death due to not wanting their lunch on one occasion? I highly doubt it. I still remember being forced to eat chicken pie when I was 6 and going to attend my grandmother's funeral the next day. I didn't fancy eating that day but was forced to by canteen staff. I didn't eat another chicken pie for about 10 years. I also remember dodging dinner ladies by waiting until they were telling another child off about not finishing everything then rushing past them while they were distracted.

I've worked in schools. I would never force a child to finish things. Those battles are for their parents at home. If they don't want to eat at school then leave them alone! (Unless they never, ever, ever eat anything at school ever then yes, speak to the parents.)

AdrenalineFudge Fri 18-Mar-16 09:49:59

Yanbu and definitely should say something. As a PP mentioned this wouldn't be acceptable even if your Ds was NT. Obviously don't go in there guns blazing but a word with his class teacher should hopefully put things right.

I was of the era of 'eat everything on your plate' and would routinely be detained in the hall whilst I pushed bits of food around my plate and everyone else was off playing. Could you start making him a packed lunch of foods that he will eat?

manicinsomniac Fri 18-Mar-16 09:56:28


Hi autism is irrelevant though.

No child should be forced to eat something they can't tolerate to the point that they are distressed and missing out on other things.

I remember sitting over cold meals sobbing into my plate at primary school. I didn't have any special needs but I had a severely limited range of foods I could cope with (around 8 or 9 foods I think). Forcing children to eat and associate negative emotions with food is so dangerous. I had anorexia by the time I was 15.

TheFlyingFauxPas Fri 18-Mar-16 10:06:18

Naked baked beans in mince stew. Bleughhhhh. Remember being forced to eat that 😞 Ds simply states. I do not eat baked beans. It's the texture. 😞 must be a hereditary thing.

TheFlyingFauxPas Fri 18-Mar-16 10:07:49

I also swear the dry bit of skin on my horrible dinner lady's lip ended up in my stew sad

mouldycheesefan Fri 18-Mar-16 10:08:35

Cold lumpy mash with green bits in it.
Dinner lady forcing us to eat it.

memyselfandaye Fri 18-Mar-16 10:10:58

Thats just awful. Im 40 and remember being forced to drink those little bottles of milk we were given at school, it was 1979 and the TA used hold the bottle and force the paper straw into my mouth and make me drink it.

I would be crying and gagging everyday, I remember it so clearly like it was yesterday.

Even now smell of milk turns my stomach.

RudeElf Fri 18-Mar-16 10:12:34

Oh god this has thrown me right back to childhood. Same thing happened. I have food issues as far as i can remember and the head teacher used to produce fruit that i had to eat before i could go out and play. I would try and would gag and be in tears and eventually the bell would ring and everyone would come in and see me with my big red face. And some nice friends would say "just eat your fruit and you can come and play".

Awful. Please out a stop to this immediately. It will be creating so much damage to his already fragile relationship with food. I am still fighting this battle with myself.

tiggytape Fri 18-Mar-16 10:13:08

YANBU at all and I agree that this policy shouldn't apply to any child. No child should miss playtime to sit staring at he remains of a meal that they won't eat as some form of encouragement punishment

As well as raising it with the school, could you also give DS a note, or put a note in his planner, saying something like "the school are aware that DS need only eat what he wishes from his plate. He is not to be kept inside at lunchtime for refusing to eat salad or any other food." And then sign it.
If he feels able to show the TA this, it might make him feel a bit less powerless if this ever happens again (which hopefully it won't when you have spoken to them).

gandalf456 Fri 18-Mar-16 10:16:29

I am 45 and I remember the milk, too. Bleurgh. It was always warm, too. I was so grateful when Margaret Thatcher, Milk Snatcher, came along and banned it for the over 6's.

Back to the thread, I never do the 'eat everything on your plate' thing either. So long as they have a good go at it and don't put their head in the fridge 5 minutes later, I don't mind. I know so many parents who do this, though. I find it very old-fashioned. My mother did this and now I am slightly overweight because I don't know when to stop.

Vagndidit Fri 18-Mar-16 10:19:11

I cover lunchtime at a primary school and it is true that staff are encouraged to get children to finish their plates, especially the veg. I employ simple encouragement but other dinner ladies are quite aggressive about it, which drives me mad.

I have a picky eater at home and I know no matter how long I try, there are some things he simply will not eat. It's not worth the battle sometimes.

Op, please mention this to your school staff. Chances are, it was a dinner lady who had an agenda simply didn't know better.

StitchesInTime Fri 18-Mar-16 10:34:46


They shouldn't be trying to force any child to eat food that they don't like, or making a child miss out on playtime for not eating. Gentle encouragement is one thing, but not pushing it to the point where it's causing a child distress.

I had dinner ladies at school like this too. I was very picky as a child and couldn't tolerate foods with certain textures or smells. The dinner ladies forcing mashed potatoes on me led to a lifelong aversion to mashed potatoes. For years I felt physically sick for at even the sight of mashed potatoes on someone else's plate.

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