My son Giovanni loves his chicken nuggets.
They are one of a handful of foods he will deign to eat. He’s on the autism spectrum and is a so-called ‘narrow eater’. He’s 7-years-old and has always been big for his age.
Once a month, we eat out at Hog’s Breath Cafe. It is our favourite family restaurant. There aren’t many places we can eat out because my oldest son Philip, 11, is allergic to egg and nuts. Combine that with Giovanni’s narrow eating and the fact that we want to eat somewhere affordable, it’s safe to say it can make things difficult.
We always order the same thing.
My husband gets a barramundi burger. I order the chicken with feta and mushrooms. Philip and my daughter Caterina, 6, get the kid’s steak and fries. Giovanni has 10 chicken nuggets which he refused to take a bite out of until each is cut into four pieces. He’s also fussy about the kind of nuggets he eats. If they are too brown, he won’t touch them.
Children like my son who are on the autism spectrum often struggle to eat different foods and prefer their foods to be familiar. Another example of this is Giovanni's preference that his toasted cheese sandwiches are always cut in small triangles.
It's an very real issue.
I have concerns over his health and well being. He only eats toasted cheese sandwiches, bananas, Ritz, Jatz, meatballs and chocolate ice cream. If he eats spaghetti bolognaise, he has his plain pasta in one bowl, his sauce in the other and some grated cheese in a third. He is about to begin occupational therapy to address this and many other issues related to his autism.