We all, from time to time, have problems with touch or taste and certain textures. It is, I am told, a normal thing and few people don’t have any at all. Very few. However, those with certain disorders or conditions or what ever you want to call them, have major issues with texture. Those on the Autism Spectrum can have severe texture issues. How they cope varies.
My step son, Preston, has quite a few of them, primarily taste. He can eat yogurt, for example, but cannot eat yogurt with fruit chunks. However, he can eat a granola bar with no problem.
This blew my mind. I’ve had as hard a time understanding this, as he does eating that chunky yogurt or mashed potatoes.
Finally, though, I just asked him what the difference was…and, he told me.
It is mostly due, I believe, to his rigid thinking process. Preston is very literal: if he is told an item is perfectly flat, then that item CANNOT have any hills or valleys. If it does, he cannot deal with it. It is his rigid thinking process. That an item may have imperfections is foreign to him.
That same thinking applies to food.
Yogurt is SUPPOSED to be smooth. Not chunky, dammit. The notion that it has something that is not blended into the smooth yogurt is something he does not understand. We talked, at length, about this. Almost too much. I explained, several times, that it was ok and normal for yogurt to not be perfectly smooth. It can, in fact, have chunks of stuff. He could not wrap his head around it. In fact, he began to get a little upset so I dropped it. I did ask him if it something we, the two of us, could work on and he agreed. I think he WANTS to eat more types of food, like the chunky yogurt, but his brain just won’t let him.
I’m still having a difficult time understanding it, even though I now know why. My rigid thinking is preventing full understanding just as his does the eating. I’m working on it. He is going to help me and, hopefully, I am going to help him.
If you have a relative who cannot eat a jelly donut because of the jelly filling or can’t eat certain types of cereal, don’t mock them. Remember it just might be their brain telling them it is wrong. It is a very intense feeling…it can be so intense, it makes them physically sick. Preston got that way with mashed potatoes. I didn’t get it until recently, that it was his brain and him not being stubborn. You don’t want to make them feel bad just because of the way their brain is wired. Put yourself in their shoes. Doesn’t feel good, does it?
No. It does not.