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How do i get ds (AS) to eat meals properly (and not drive me bonkers!)

5 replies

Chocol8 · 10/01/2007 19:19

Ds has been off school ill for the last 3 days - and is driving me crazy. The main problem is mealtimes. His diet is generally good, he eats alot of healthy food (however he's underweight) but he has lots of bad habits when eating. I know this may not seem important, but he is now on school meals - against my better judgement - and i do not want him to take these habits to school, if he hasn't already. It will only serve to distance him from his peers further.

He grunts and makes a very strange noise involving spit when he is chewing. His legs are always swinging, he won't use a knife and is so painfully sloooowwww! The slowness has always been an issue with school, he always misses playing after lunchtime because of it.

He is on Strattera and Equasym for ADHD(and Melatonin at night) but as the poem says, when he's nice, he's very, very nice and when he is bad, he is awful. Vistors always comment on how lovely and polite he is, but it's a different story when they've gone. He is so cheeky and rude to me and if i take away 5p (after 3 warnings) from his £3.50 per week pocket money (therefore 75 chances), he goes in to a meltdown and self harms. The 5p system used to work for him, but just isn't doing anything for him at the moment.

Maybe it's cos i'm due, but his behaviour is really winding me up. Do any MNers have any suggestions please?

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mrspoppins · 11/01/2007 04:46

You know as well as anyone that children with this special need vary so much that there is never one answer to a problem.I don't have children with SN but have worked for years as a nurse and nanny with kids of all ages and sn adults.

Firstly, if it is against your better judgement to let him eat school meals then what it is that has forced this decision?

Neither of my dds have ever had school meals purely down to time constaints placed on them eating. Sandwiches offered more freedom and I could see what they had eaten.Perhaps reevaluate your choice?

Secondly, the time should not be an issue with the school. It is incumbent on them to help him have both a nutritious meal and a playtime. Both are important. I'd be asking for clarification of what the senco expects and what the problems are.Perhaps he needs to start his meal earlier than the alloted time so that he has adequate time for social interaction at the end? The school's senco should have a plan that they can implement that is tailored for your son. That is his right.


As for the money thing, you don't mention his age but I have a 14 yr old dd for whom losing her money would be devastating as it would diminish her ability to be independant in her purchasing power.Perhaps there is another way to show your disappointment at his behaviour and to teach him that it is unacceptable?

It's easy for me, I know, as I take away tv time...we only have one in the house, or computer time...likewise...and simply send her to her bedroom early to do whatever she wants there instead. She invariably ends up reading and calming down...I go up after 30mins or so and we have a cuddle and end the day nicely.When she was younger and with my 8yr old dd, I sent her to the stairs to reflect and then got an apology. Perhaps you can think of different new options for your family?

You're right though...he is ill...you are under pressure and due on and so everything is 100x worse.
I'm sending you a hug as I type
wishing you well, Karen xx

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yearoftheox · 11/01/2007 09:42

Hi Chocol8,

My DS age 10, AS traits, has school dinners which is great as it helps him to try new things. Does the school have sittings - perhaps you could ask for him to always be on the first sitting?

Really, don't worry about his eating - many of the other kids have very poor table manners and it is unlikely to be noticed!

Recently, the head at ds's school said she had sat at ds's table for xmas lunch (yes my heart sank at this point ) - she said she DID notice him using his finger instead of a knife etc etc but he ate no more messily than the others, some were worse - messing about with the food etc. What she was concerned about was his lack of social contact with the children around him.

However, I DID feel embarassed and felt I had to say that at home we always sit down at the table for our meals, and use knives and forks, just in case she thought we eat like pigs! We try to encourage ds but we don't make an issue out of it, it's not worth the stress.

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Dinosaur · 11/01/2007 09:45

My DS1 is a very slow eater as well and often doesn't have time to play at lunchtimes. He still has packed lunch - he won't have school dinners. I have absolutely no suggestions, but just wanted to send some sympathy!

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Chocol8 · 11/01/2007 12:13

Thank you all for your replies. MrsP, i have tried various ways of dealing with ds's behaviour over the years, and the money one works seems to work well as he generally tries not to lose any, or if he does, he usually accepts this with a whinge and a moan.

If i take away other things from him like dvd or computer time or even time playing his beloved DS, it just doesn't seem to bother him that much.

I am hoping this behaviour is because he is ill and won't continue, but i am becoming jittery at the thought of sitting watching him eat his meal - i will have to come into the kitchen whilst he eats tonight or it will turn shouty again.

I think that the AS tendencies are coming out more now he's getting older and when he is back at school, i need to speak to the SENCO again about incorporating this into his IEP.

The school meals came about because he was not trying food at home (and was limited as i am veggie) so at least at school, most days he is trying new things with encouragement from the dinner ladies as Year of the Ox says. With a packed lunch, all he would have was cheese and ham, tomatoes and a drink - every day. He IS supposed to be first in line for lunch, but never is because he is going to the toilet and ends up last in line. The school just can't seem to get this sorted.

Thanks for your thoughts - i can't go through this all again tonight. I need to speak to his consultant as his medication seems to be wearing off waaaay too early in the day, leaving me with a rude, cheeky hyperactive boy in the evenings. x

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PeachyClair · 12/01/2007 23:35

Have you borro3wed my DS I wonder? Coz you are describing him very very well indeed.

When either ds1 or ds3 are off colour I do tend to pull back into the safe foods for a bit, its easier than establishing new problem areas imo. Luckily my boys choose healthy foods in the main (although there was the chicken skin and werthers phase...) so I only need to find ways to add calories.

Its not worth getting too bothered tbh, if you're due he's going to display stress for some time: take it easy on yourself and play 'safe'- far better than ogoing backwards imo.

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