I once read that the areas affected by autism can be thought of as settings on an equalizer. My son has his sensory setting on high for sure! The neurologist also commented on this when she diagnosed him with Asperger’s.
I also think he has Synesthesia. Synesthesia is a word I recently learned that describes how one sensory input can actually cause an automatic response in another area. For example hearing sounds when experiencing a light flicker. I have not seen that exact example with my son although it was interesting that the week after he had surgery he would throw up when he heard loud noises- he said they made him dizzy. He was stuck on bed rest but found it difficult to play video games. He could only play for short periods of time and had to tell his friends to keep it down. I find it very interesting and try to investigate this phenomenon with him without irritating him. He did tell me he does not see colors associated with numbers but he clearly has a special relationship with patterns and numbers. I just haven’t figured out if he has some other sensory perception related to numbers and patterns.
The examples I have seen in my son most often is smelling and visual causing him to taste. He has very strong reactions to food and usually long before it goes near his mouth. When he was younger and a manufacturer changed the package I had to either hide the package or re-package the item in the older packaging if I was lucky enough to have one! I know this may also be his aversion to change so I am unsure. But he has made comments about the taste when he has just seen or smelled food.
Recently Kraft changed the box on their macaroni and cheese and I thought I would scream but instead I tried something new. I took the old box and a new box and showed them to him. His lips curled and he wailed, “Why did they do that?” and shook his head in disgust. That could have really been bad but he did eat the new box and he hasn’t complained. So yay that experiment worked!
Although I have always accommodated him on this issue it has caused arguments in our house. It would drive my husband crazy that he had to cook two meals. My husband is a really good cook and likes to make different full meals every night, probably the way most people eat. It would drive him up a wall that he had to make our son mac & cheese or chicken tenders or something else on his list while making us a different meal. Sometimes we do all eat hot dogs or he can make hamburgers and hot dogs for example so it is not two completely different meals. We have just figured out how to work around it.
What is comical to me is that I can’t really cook. My husband had to change jobs a couple of years ago that is odd hours and so he is gone in the evenings a few days a week. This has actually worked really well in our house. For one that is how I have time to blog 🙂 But also it works out really well for the dinner arrangements. Another kid would probably want other food or I would feel guilty about not being able to prepare a complete meal. But nope, none of that happens in our house. When my husband isn’t there I just make one of his items for both of us, he is happy and I am not stressed. I think I was meant to be his mother!
My son will only eat the following:
Spaghetti – I can make it!
Kraft Macaroni and Cheese – I can make it!
Hot Dogs on the grill- nope, but my son learned how to make it 🙂
Peas (yes really, swear to God, he LOVES them) I can make it but yuck I can’t stand the smell.
Corn- I can make it!
Plain Grilled chicken- nope, sorry and he has tried but doesn’t turn out well so we save this for dad.
Frozen pizza- Yep, I can make it!
Chicken nuggets- nope, sorry and I won’t let him operate the fryer so either waits for Dad or my best cooking technique- drive thru!
French Fries- sorry, no, see chicken nuggets- and neither taste the same in the oven
Tomato soup- I can make it!
Toasted cheese- I can sort of make but been known to burn them. My son however makes great toasted cheese sandwich.
Because of his issues with food and he is not a fan of change, he does not like to try new restaurants. My husband and I like to try new restaurants but we learned long ago that it is generally not worth trying to take him with us. Now that he is older we are able to have date night about once a month and sometimes we go try a new restaurant. Last night we went to a local restaurant that makes gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. The food was awesome. The funny thing is that when my husband and I go out we usually spend time analyzing whether or not he would approve of the restaurant. Since they have tomato soup and we found plain grilled cheese on the menu we thought he may want to try it.
I came home and told him this is what came on the plate:
Yes those are GOLDFISH! My son’s list of snack foods is longer than the list of “real” food but still relatively short. Goldfish has always been one of his favorite. He was very excited to go try this restaurant that serves goldfish with their meals! I hope he actually will go with us. Wish us luck 🙂