When we are with our children on the Autism spectrum, we are sending signals and messages to them all the time. Our children are incredibly tuned in to our attitude and tend to pick up on how we feel about certain things. For example, when we fear or anticipate that they might be about to have a tantrum, guess what happens? They have a tantrum! All of our actions and emotions, come from what we believe deep down inside, so with all the different beliefs we hold, we are sending them a thousand signals both verbally and non-verbally. So when we are aiming to help them or invite them to try new things, our beliefs often contribute to how they respond to us and how willing they are to face their challenges.
For example, if I want my child to try a new food, but I don’t actually believe they will like it, I will probably offer it to them in a tentative or lack-luster way. If you want to inspire your child to try new foods, try using these beliefs to fuel your presentation of the new food!
1) I want my child to be healthy.
2) I don’t NEED them to try the new foods. I don’t want to PUSH.
3) I want them to feel empowered to WANT to try new food.
4) It’s important for them to feel comfortable and relaxed around new food.
I was working with a little boy in our Son-Rise Program® playroom who hadn’t eaten a vegetable in his life. I held the beliefs listed as I offered new foods. I was so excited to come out of my lunch session during which he had SMELLED some vegetables, FED ME vegetables, and even put a green bean in his mouth for a while before spitting it out. I met his father on the way out of the playroom and enthusiastically started to tell him about his son’s new exploration of vegetables. As I spoke of this, the father began grimacing at my words, I playfully asked why he was making those faces to which he replied: “Yuck….I hate vegetables!”
Check out these other blogs on helping your child try new foods!