Sometimes, a relatively small development can resolve bigger problems. And you just won’t see it coming till it happens.
With Little Star, it was apples. Or her (past) dislike of them. She really wouldn’t taste, let alone eat them in the past. Give her a piece of sliced apple and she would look at it in disgust, or throw it away.
That was until 2 weeks ago. Now, S cheerfully eats a small, whole apple, almost to the core. There are some conditions of course, as parents of a child with ASD knows. The Apple must be presented whole (none of those sliced nonsense). It must be sweet, crisp and crunchy, for that delightful sound at every bite.
But… Little Star eats apples now! And I can totally say we Son-rised this. Because we went from no apples at all to eating whole apples in less that 2 months. All without forcing or begging her to try. It could have been sooner, I believe, if we had offered her apples more frequently. But too much, to often can be a turn off for our children, so taking it slow was maybe the right decision.
No big deal for some kids maybe. But this is a child who only ate 4 types of fruits for 4.5 years. So for us, it is really something awesome to celebrate.
What happened was, we noticed Little Star began a fascination for playing with real apples, and even fake ones. She relates them to all the A for Apple in her cards and books. She wouldn’t eat them at that time, but liked holding and looking at them.
So we bought her a few apples to play with. Every few days Little Star would have an apple to play with. She would usually play until we started eating the apple in front of her, then would lose interest.
Until one day, she didn’t. One day, she watched me in fascination as I took one single big, crunchy bite, of a bright red apple. THAT CRUNCH!!! It was too mesmerising 😂 She looked at me (and the apple) so intensely that I handed it over to her to examine.
After a close inspection, wonder of wonders, she then tastes the apple at the bite. She was trying to make her own, but the taste was too weird for her. It was so funny, because eventually what she did was scrape the apple with her teeth, then spit out and hand me the little bits!
So it went on like this for a while. Every two weeks we would buy a few apples to play with. And all we did was model eating the apples, and give her lots of free hand to play with them as she liked. She could roll them, throw them or bite them, it didn’t matter. Observing her and finding out what part of the apple eating process she enjoyed was fun… Like the crunchy sound, how the apple looked nice and whole.
And the act of biting an apple was the culmination of all these 🙂 we could tell she would love to bite one herself, but was reluctant because of the taste. So I became her toy! It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I would be her apple biter! It was a fantastic source of social interaction, as we would play at feeding each other.
And this was how we went on… Until Little Star did find she liked the taste and texture of apples. And that she could do all those fun bites herself. Until finally she liked finishing a quarter, half, then a whole apple.
And now she eats apples 2-4 times a week.
Best part is, eating apples has cured her long-standing constipation problem, which Little Star has been grappling with for more than 1 year. Probably because of the high fibre ans pectin content of this fruit. S has seen doctors, tried different fibre supplements, food (acceptable to picky eaters), and has been on constipation medicine for quite a while. Once she began eating apples every 2-3 days though, her poo poo issues flew out the window. Now S goes every other day, sometimes every day. Pooping is less stressful for her, so she actively pushes on the loo. An unexpected and utter relief. Apples!