The inspiration was a seven year old boy with autism who like about 75% of his peers with ASD had significant issues with eating. As needed we ruled out food allergies and intolerances. It seemed that even though by times he would gag and/or vomit, there was no physical impediment causing this. It was often thought because of his choices that sensory needs might be at play but when we looked at all the foods he had eaten in his lifetime we realized this was not the case.
We knew that like many others structure, routine and visual supports were very beneficial. We wanted to create something that would be simple for everyone to use.
So after much observation we had developed a program he called a “game” because it is fun and “game” could be an acronym for get awesome meals everyday!
It was designed to meet his needs providing structure, visual supports, mealtime predictability all in his control as he chose the healthy foods for meals and snacks. We came to understand that he limited his list of preferred foods so that he would always know what he was having. After a period of time he might change the list but it was still limited to allow him to feel in control and know what he would be eating.
As we know many on the spectrum prefer a more predictable environment than one of many surprises where they don’t feel in control. Mealtime would be no exception and faced 3 – 6 times a day could become quite a challenge and a battle parents don’t want to fight..
He was soon using it independently every day as part of his bedtime snack routine. In 15 months he was eating 200+ new foods and after 4 years and eating pretty much everything he still liked to use it for control and predictability. It was certainly a success and went on to be so for many others.
Because the parent chooses the foods to present for the days’ planning this is a program that will support any already established special diets.
It is no surprise that The Eating Game is now a patented invention helping many more children on the spectrum around the globe. The inventor dedicates her time to The Eating Game and helping kids and families with the tremendous needs faced as a daily challenge of wanting to provide the best for your child. Feel free to contact her via firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you might have or adaptations that may be necessary.