Two really big things happened yesterday. Yes, oh yes. When we are an autism parent, we celebrate everything! And every small or big thing is a momentous occasion.
It was the FIRST TIME Little Star ate vegetables of any kind ON HER OWN. And I mean, no encouragement, persuasion, no prompt, NOTHING. We look and there she is, playing with a strip of steamed carrot 🥕 and putting it in her mouth 😲
This was a child who used to pick out, with her fingers, anything green or orange or weird in her spoon of food. Although she is much better now, she still does not want to see the green or orange stuff poking out of the spoon (buried under a mound of rice is okay 😂).
I’m not sure what it is… But we have been practicing Son-rise principles when it comes to eating for a while now. She has most definitely expanded her appetite for a variety of food, a BIG DEAL for a very picky eater. Despite being on a casein-free diet for 6 months, and gluten-free for the past 2 months, her food ranges have increased, not narrowed, much to our surprise! She also eats much more and approaches food in a happy manner. And has also learned to eat by herself as her motivation towards food increases.
So what is the Son-rise principle about food? It’s super simple. We choose what the child eats, and the child chooses where, when, and how to eat it. She also chooses if she wants to eat it or not. It’s not traditional parenting for sure. You see Son-rise recognizes that with many of our kids, food issues are not just about sensory/texture/taste, but also mainly about control. If we want them to be open to trying new foods, then we ourselves want to be open to them making decisions about that new food.
We don’t break trust with our kids, we respect their choices, at the same time we don’t stop offering them the new foods in a non-intrusive way. Whether it is just placing the food on their plate, or inviting them to try it then putting it away happily when they say “no”.
Lately, I have even begun announcing what is in the spoon of food. “Here is some rice with vegetables”, I would say. Or “there is some fish in this rice”. I feel it’s so much better than covertly hiding the meat and veggies in the fluffy rice, in terms of building trust. Little Star would eat a spoonful of white rice or plain GF pasta on her own, which is her preference, then I would encourage her to have a spoon from me, which has the meat and vegetables. If she does not want to it’s okay, but most of the time, she is willing!
Anyway, am not sure if all this played a role in her momentous carrot eating, but I like to think so. Go Little Star! You did it! You explored eating some vegetables on your own volition!
These past 2 days, Little Star also asked a few where questions. Specially, when were out in the car with relatives going for lunch, she asked “Go where?”, twice! And again, later in the day, driving home from the airport, she asked, “Go where?” That is a two-word phrase, and a question, which is fantastic for a child who is still at the early phase of Stage 1 verbal communication. Because asking questions is supposed to be a Stage 3 skill 😊. This doesn’t mean she jumps to Stage 3, but it doesn’t make it less awesome.
Today she asked another where question, when walking to the kitchen, I called out from the living room, the muffins are here! She turns around and skips out while asking, “Where?” All occasions were within context, which is exciting.
Maybe it is a one-off thing maybe it’s not, am choosing to see it as permanent thing. Because of late, it seems her speech is sticking. Unlike a year ago, when Little Star seemed to forget her new words often. Whether it’s Son-rise or the diet, or both, whatever it is, all momentous and worth celebrating 🎉 🎉🎉