So a 17-year-old has to be hospitalized for apparent exhaustion and malnutrition after consuming a diet almost entirely consisting of Chicken McNuggets since age 2. I think there simply has to be more to the story.
You might think that the mom in this case has boodles of money to spend on the nuggets and you might be wrong. I do know of parents of autistic children who DO NOT have tons of money to burn who have to order from restaurant x every night or the child WILL NOT EAT. I mean will not eat for days. Average parents might assume that by not going back to the restaurant, the kid will get over it and everything will be ok.
Not so in some cases! I have a very good friend and excellent, excellent parent whose child eats ONLY peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. They are working very, very hard with therapists to get her to so much as TOUCH other food. You do not know what other families go through sometimes if you think that's weird. It's unfortunately not very weird or unusual at all in the autism community.
In fact, I think that this is an area of autism that isn't studied very well. Parents don't want to open up about the fact that their child eats only microwaved pretzels and pop-tarts with cashews (ahem) and another barrier to studying this problem? There are so many more pressing things to research, such as learning speech and toileting. Even 'social skills' seem more important to researchers.
I'm not way on the bandwagon with the idea that if you just eat "right," perfect health will follow. But can we please not fool ourselves that it has no effect? There should be some research and help in this area, and when help arrives please let it be coverable by major insurances. (Nutrition advice and other help is not covered by my or most other major plans. They would rather pay the cost of care for diabetes and heart disease. Shameful.)
It just seems to me that when *I* go to the doctor, I get told about what to eat and the fact that I am eating too much (ok, true). When I take Woodjie, the doctor recommends a multivitamin. Maybe. Or just tells me to keep working on it and that I am doing a good job.
I DO like hearing that I am doing a good job. I appreciate that. I wish there were more we could do to help our children. By the way, I thought I would head the "just take three bites" kinds of comments off at the pass. I have had children vomit at the table when I've done that. You would not believe what some parents go through, and I know several. It is almost as though certain foods that are not favourite (read: about all foods on the planet) are a trauma to these people. And I get that eating right is important. So is the child's emotional health if he is sincerely distressed, vomiting, panicked, and all that.
I can tell you also that for a time, I went through the "I am a happy homemaker who can feed her family on $3 a day" phase. You know the kind. Casseroles. Homemade breads. Noodle dishes. Elf lost TEN pounds as a kindergartener. He was very, very sickly. The doctor saw that as the emergency it was and said just go ahead and feed him his peanut butter sandwiches. Peanut butter is actually something doctors swear by to put on weight. I still feel sad that I was not able to feed my family properly. Sometimes when I get out the pop-tarts and microwave pretzels I wish for better things, but... I just can't have my children lose weight and get sick like that.
You might think you know the family's situation in the article, but you might just not. I'm concerned for her because of how chicken nuggets are made if for no other reason.