Best Doctor's Appointment Ever!
Just the Basics

Hacking the System

Shopping in shorts

I spent Wednesday obsessing over the Wikileaks/Julian Assange imbroglio (if that's the right word for it), Walter Benjamin's ideas about translation and film (I'm late to submit a revised version of the paper I gave about 'critical autism studies' at the University of Ottawa), and Charlie's latest thymic state.

While we are, thanks to some experiences, politely wary of biomedical theories about autism, we have been more and more concluding that stomach distress is at least a little connected to Charlie's difficult moments. His being so much more picky about his food choices has definitely, ah, impacted his system, as has his not drinking enough fluids. We certainly encourage him to eat different foods and to drink more and have had some partial success. But I guess there could always be more in this area.

Wednesday was mostly good for Charlie at school. His teacher noted an interesting, if I may call it that, correlation of events around 10.30am. He had been doing school work and requested a snack and told he could get it, at which point there went his head on the table and a half-hour of intenser than usual unhappiness/ruckus/you get the picture ensued. Once he calmed down (which did take some doing), he was ok for the rest of the schoolday, on the bus, at home (with some intense running back and forth from kitchen to stairs, yowls, and a request to go for a bike ride, happily acceded to by Jim).

I again felt so very much reminded that when Charlie is feeling that he is having stomach trouble, he often asks to eat, or eats a great deal. And that, sometimes, getting the asked for food precedes him getting really upset.

Because it's then he realizes his stomach does not feel so good?

Because he knows his stomach does not feel good and he thinks he has to eat what he asked for and he can't as he feels sick and he gets worried at all this cognitive dissonance-ness and, boom?

Translating the actions of our boy into words and into something we might start to get our minds around: So not easy to hack into our lovely boy's system, to decrypt its operations and read the signs rightly.

(Please excuse the metaphor.)



Maybe Charlie realizes food is causing the stomach ache and is actually saying "that food caused my stomach ache!"? It sure is hard to work out what things mean sometimes.

I'm not interested in the biomed theories, but strangely enough, I did read an article which described Dimitri quite well up to the age of 5 or 6 (it involved poop that still looked like baby poop). Dimitri's paed brushed me off and said the appearance of stools is related to food intake and nothing else...

For liquid intake, does Charlie like jelly (jello?)?

I really enjoyed yesterdays post about the doctor, Charlie did great! But as an afterthought, does stress affect his stomach -it does mine, speaking from experience here, I get stomach cramps right before every hospital or insurance appointment!


We had one for whom the diet worked. Turned out that never ending diahhrea, daily nightmares/terrors were triggered by dairy... 48hrs later all done, one week later and a tiny bit of butter = 24 very nasty hours.

Yet, I have another for whom it did nothing. But that one didn't have the stomach issues to start with.

I'm not convinced it is a cure, but that children that show ASD symptoms are being brushed over with comments like "some children with autism are like that" (our first Dev Ped) instead of being taken seriously. Many children and adults have food intolerances and if you feel miserable... how are you going to learn??

Liz Ditz

One of my NT children grew very rapidly, like Charlie, and had the same throughput issues. We were able to convince him to drink more liquids which helped.

Emma's idea about jello might help -- you don't have to use the boxes with all the sugar and food coloring and whatnot, it's easy enough to make a diluted-juice version with gelatin.

If I'm remembering correctly Charlie likes watermelon. Does he like other melons? I can find frozen melons (for fruit salad) most of the year -- will he eat frozen melons?


Dairy is definitely not good for Charlie. He has had a little on rare occasions and the results are never good.

We have tried cantaloupe and honeydew to no result -- I suspect the color of watermelon might have something to do with Charlie's liking for it! So maybe strawberry or cherry jello, thanks for the suggestion! Have tried jello in the past and will again.

Also have started to try having Charlie eat a few raisins.

As for your take on what charlie meant to say regarding food and his stomach, I like the direction of your suggestion. He really uses single words to say a lot more than their face value.


Isn't it sad that Charlie feels he has to eat what he has asked for without taking the time to sense if it is what he really wanted after all? Mars, too, is convinced he has to to respond quickly in ways that do not sit quite right with him. How to teach him self love, patience with his own way of processing input and ultimately self-advocacy for what he knows in his gut he really needs when I am no longer here to translate for him?


The director of Charlie's school, in noting how he tends to respond so quickly whether he means it or not, suggested that this is in part a result of all the years of discrete trial teaching. And when i look back, we were often enjoined to 'speed up his response time.'

How to unteach this!

Esoecially for when, yes, we are not around to navigate and interpret.


Wow! What a terrific school! Have they written or are they going to draft an IEP goal addressing mindful communication? If so, I'd love to see it.

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