When my daughter was three years old, all she would eat was macaroni and cheese. I kept the pantry heavily stocked with Kraft. I gave her nutritional supplements such as Pediasure and the like. I was so worried about her eating habits and I would always try to introduce her to new foods. Her doctor always reassured me she would be fine. She would say, “Don’t worry, you’re not going to end up with a 10-year old who only eats mac and cheese”. She was right. But Jasmine is not autistic.
My son, True, is 9 years old and has autism spectrum disorder. He was diagnosed at 6 years old and is very high functioning. Many people would never know he is autistic. Had that doctor said the same thing about my son, she would have been wrong. My sons eats less types of food now than he did when he was three. I have to remind myself that “his normal” is different than what I’ve come to expect as a parent.
He knows what he like’s and that’s okay.
I had to learn the same lesson when it came time for gifts. In my home, we really only buy gifts for birthdays and Christmas. The past few Christmases, I’ve gone above and beyond to find gifts that would really get him excited. I keep looking for the “Wow, awesome, this is so cool!” response. He’s gotten things like a telescope, keyboard, drum set, virtual reality glasses, a bike, scooters. We’ve even done Disney World for Christmas. Still, the only thing that gets him super excited are movies…as in DVDs and Blu-Ray discs. Of course I get him movies every year but I get a bunch of other stuff too. Every year I’m disappointed because I did not get the reaction I hoped for. But that’s my own hang up. It’s me who thinks that getting my kid movies for Christmas is underwhelming, not him. To me, movies are a stocking stuffer and not worthy of being under the tree. However, I’ve finally come to realize that getting him a big box full of movies would really light up his face, the way I imagine.
So when it comes to gifts, don’t worry about getting them the newest and coolest toy, get them what you know they like… and you know what they like because it’s all that interests them.