Saturday, January 3, 2015

 

 

 Anxiety and Autism

Today my husband and I made a decision concerning our adult autistic daughter.  And that was to put locks on the dry food cabinet and the refrigerator.  

Our daughter’s problem has always been an obsession over certain foods, and, it seems to be a concern for other autistic children and adults as well (since the refrigerator lock sites all seem to have links to autism sites).

Our daughter doesn’t seem to obsess over all of the foods she likes but when she does, she lays it on thick. I mean in inches. Cheese? She’ll cut slices that, on average, are about 2-3 inches in thickness accompanied by Miracle Whip which will be another inch or so slathered onto a poor defenseless cracker.  Then there’s cookies, milk, carob chips, sweet potato chips, etc  you get the picture. She is in love with anything  that is Italian in genre, dairy, sweets and carbs, carbs, and more carbs.   

 

The bad thing is that she is on a low carb/kosher diet. I suppose that makes her want items that she really shouldn’t have so she overindulges.  If we have bananas, she will sneak into the kitchen when everyone is asleep and eat half a dozen. Glass of soy milk? She’ll drink half a carton if not watched. Organic/GF cookies? You had better take the cookie jar to bed with you.   

 

This is not something that I ever wanted to do; locking up food, but after years struggling with her over this, I think the day after Hanukkah really cemented the decision for us as parents.  We had a multi-faith party on the day after Hanukkah and had 2 dozen candy canes hanging in our living room for decoration. The following day I went to take down the decorations to notice nary a cane in sight. When I asked my daughter if she knew what happened to them, assuming that she might have grabbed one or two for herself, she announced, “I ate them, I’m sorry,” and continued down the hallway. Upon asking my other daughter, I discovered she ate them all! 24 canes in 24 hours!  It was time to do something and do it quickly. I knew she made midnights runs but assumed it was a cookie jar run (I only put 4 in at a time) or a banana. Now I know that her obsession has grown with her age (she’s 21 now). 

What makes matters worse is that we are on a fixed income and her obsession makes it difficult to keep certain foods in the house for a month and be able to feed everyone.

Upon finding out that the only thing she could access with the shelves that held  canned foods and dry goods such as beans and flour….well it wasn’t pretty. Screams, cries, and threats of running away followed. She’s still angry but now it’s more of a moody teenager scowling silently at us with an occasional ‘harumph’.

Of course, she’s smart and resourceful and we will just have to wait to see what is next. That is the part I’m afraid of.

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