Daniel loves to analyse things, and pays great attention to little details. Everything has to be categorised and checked. That’s all the more true when it comes to eating. Its like having a meal with a micro biologist at times having dinner with Daniel!
Last night, we had steak casserole we had prepared the day before (https://theworldofneil.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/slow-cooked-steak-casserole/) – both boys love it, and love helping prepare it. Its a good way of getting plenty of vegetables into them. They know what’s in it, but by the time its been cooking for 8 hours, all the ingredients are infused with a meaty flavour, and are covered in gravy, so with Matthew, the contents are almost ignored as they are shovelled in.
But not Daniel. Oh no. Despite the fact he has seen what goes in, every forkful he takes, he has to analyse it before eating it. He is obsessed about what he eats, or more what he doesn’t want to eat. We put mushrooms into the casserole, something that Daniel has convinced himself that he doesn’t like. Therefore, every forkful has to be analysed in an effort to weed out pieces of mushroom. It has to be the most off-putting of his eating habits. But its part of the eating process that he feels he needs to do. Encountering something he doesn’t like eating can end mealtime for him.
Daniel has a keen eye, and it all adds to that attention to detail. With children on the autism spectrum, their inability to concentrate on conversations, and to maintain eye contact, it is often easy to assume that they aren’t taking anything in. But Daniel will often surprise us. Not a lot gets by him, and his eyes are everywhere taking things in. His long term memory is fantastic, and will often surprise us. Information is taken in by Daniel, and will be used when he feel is a logical time to do so. Telling him about something that isn’t needed now is almost pointless. Detail isn’t needed right now. But that doesn’t mean its gone in one ear and out the other.
Daniel is in some ways a typical ASD child. He loves things in a logical order, and he needs to be reminded of what he’s doing and why on the spot when he needs the information. But, he’s a great collector of information in that special brain of his, and is capable of giving us a little jolt to remind us that as some may think, a learning difficulty doesn’t mean that they an ASD child isn’t stupid. With Daniel, its quite the opposite, and his attention to detail will surely help him achieve whatever he sets his mind to – when he eventually remembers what that is!