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Mum2ASDboy
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21 Jul 2008, 4:46 pm

I have had a little think about a problem my HFA child (5 years) has a dinner time.
He seems to eat only a small amount then stops and says that he isn't hungry or has had enough.

Last night tho he ate alone with the dining room door shut (blocking out tv noise perhaps?) and ate all of his dinner.
My question is, could the sound of our forks hitting our plates or us eating be bothering him???
Any other ideas?

Disclaimer: I want this this answered from an autistic perspective :)



2ukenkerl
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21 Jul 2008, 5:01 pm

Mum2ASDboy wrote:
I have had a little think about a problem my HFA child (5 years) has a dinner time.
He seems to eat only a small amount then stops and says that he isn't hungry or has had enough.

Last night tho he ate alone with the dining room door shut (blocking out tv noise perhaps?) and ate all of his dinner.
My question is, could the sound of our forks hitting our plates or us eating be bothering him???
Any other ideas?

Disclaimer: I want this this answered from an autistic perspective :)


DEFINITELY! I have a LOT of reasons why I won't eat, and others ALWAYS assume WRONG! Sometimes I HAVE to fix my own food, etc...



Mum2ASDboy
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21 Jul 2008, 5:11 pm

Thank you! I have previously thought he may have been defiant or maybe not hungry. He can't yet get his own dinner.
It wasn't till I read something somewhere else (educating myself) that I thought a bit more about it.
So if he prefers to eat alone with quiet then that is the way it will be for a while. Simple really, he gets quiet area, he eats and we are both happy :D



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21 Jul 2008, 5:37 pm

am second what 2ukenkerl has said.
am have never eaten around others because of the sensory overload from others noises.
it is too much input to process as well as eat at the same time.


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2ukenkerl
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21 Jul 2008, 5:49 pm

Just so you know, Sound is only ONE possibility. I HAVE been affected by that! It could be the sound of voices, movement, the proximity of people, the passing of food, etc... ALL of those have adversly affected me. SO, if you know of a way he eats, keep in mind that unexpected deviations can cause the same undesired behaviour.



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21 Jul 2008, 6:11 pm

Mum2ASDboy wrote:
My question is, could the sound of our forks hitting our plates or us eating be bothering him???


Absolutely. Not just the sound of forks, but chewing and all those lovely smacking/sloshing sounds that go along with it -- and in less polite circles, the garbled talking-with-food-in-mouth, too. There are times I'll choose to leave the room and not eat at all if the only other option is hearing other people eat.

Also, I once knew an NT boy whose parents were so strict with their mealtime expectations (re: no elbows on table, proper utensil use, general etiquette, etc.) that he became too nervous to eat with them there. I'm not suggesting that you are that strict, but your son may be more sensitive to lesser expectations or ones he experiences elsewhere.


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Mum2ASDboy
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21 Jul 2008, 7:31 pm

Thank you!! You are so helpful!
I think I will rearrange dinner time so that he watches Numberjacks (a fav show on TV), me and Poppa can eat our dinner then he can eat after us.



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21 Jul 2008, 7:44 pm

I'm 41 and I still hate eating around other people. I usually eat too slow and I feel like everyone is waiting for me to finish so I hardly eat, or everyone else sits around the table and talks between mouthfuls...I either eat or talk...I can't focus on both.

I avoid resturants totally. Too much going on.


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21 Jul 2008, 8:46 pm

Generally, I either wolf down my food, or as is more often the case now... eat so slowly that everyone is ready to go before I'm finished. If I do go out any more, I prefer something where it's more snack/appetizers so I might just graze while trying to keep up. When young, I was very self-aware when eating... sound of chewing, texture of food, didn't like when different foods touched, etc. According to family, I was a 'whole lot of fun'... believe that's tongue-in-cheek.


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21 Jul 2008, 9:42 pm

Beenthere has a good point, in that this might well have nothing to do with noise. I also prefer to eat alone where possible, but am now relatively comfortable doing otherwise. You might want to try what my parents did.

Fix a small plate of food, and give him that. Tell him that when he finishes it, he can take another plate back to his room (or other place of comfort). Over time, he may well become more comfortable with having dinner in a social setting.


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21 Jul 2008, 9:48 pm

Beenthere wrote:
I avoid resturants totally. Too much going on.


You can go to a restaurant that isn't crowded heavily. Helps if you're in a major city, you can walk through the city center/downtown and often there's a bunch of restaurants just a few blocks from major streets that are almost empty or calm.


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21 Jul 2008, 11:27 pm

Yes i love eating alone also, much more soothing and calming when it goes into my body.

Beenthere, whenever you go to a restaurant, you can always ask for a corner away from everybody else table or in the darker end of the restaurant, just make up an autism card and hand it to them, surprisingly ppl are somewhat understanding. I do that at every restaurant i go to, it helps soo much.


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21 Jul 2008, 11:36 pm

It's very easy for me to lose my appetite suddenly and stop eating if something upsets me or causes anxiety or distracts me. I also tend to eat several times a day, small portions, and I can go back to my meal when I'm calmer / hungry again. It's easier and more enjoyable to eat alone, because then I can control the atmosphere around me, and concentrate on the food, so I usually eat more. Lately, I've found a solution: when I go to restaurants with people, I eat part of the meal with everyone, and take a doggy bag with me, so I can enjoy the rest of the meal in the peace of my home. It works wonderfully and I get to enjoy the meal twice!


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22 Jul 2008, 12:31 am

2ukenkerl wrote:
Just so you know, Sound is only ONE possibility. I HAVE been affected by that! It could be the sound of voices, movement, the proximity of people, the passing of food, etc... ALL of those have adversly affected me. SO, if you know of a way he eats, keep in mind that unexpected deviations can cause the same undesired behaviour.


Oh yes, I agree! Could it be that he is just nervous because he is eating with others and everything around him is making him too nervous to eat? When I was a child I was often so nervous I couldn't eat and when I did eat it wasn't a lot. I don't know if he is nervous though, not everyone is. Also, certain foods were very strange tasting to me and I was extremely sensitive about the texture, a very picky eater. I wouldn't eat anything too mushy or slimey unless it was really good and sweet.