I am pleased to announce that we are now the proud parents of 9 Macdonald’s happy meal furbys, yes I know this is slightly more Furbys than is necessary it appears to be a very fast growing family, and this is the story of how they keep multiplying.
Last week Charlie came home from school with a note saying that for their Christmas outing they would be going to a soft play area in the morning, Mcdonald’s for lunch and then to another afternoon activity. I knew he would have a fantastic day. I am finally beginning to relax into the idea that the school he is in is meeting his needs really well. I sent in a note explaining how we normally handle trips to Mcdonalds and telling them that if they were going to handle things differently that they should tell him before getting there what their expectations of Charlie were going to be.
My mum collected Charlie from school that day and texted me to say that there was good news waiting for me. This was the note that came home in his link book.
This my friends is no small thing, whilst some may disagree that what is in Mcdonald’s chicken nuggets is actually meat, this is the first meat of any kind Charlie has eaten for 4 years. The previous time was the one serving of cottage pie he ate when he was 7 months old. Also this is the first time in his life that he has ever eaten chips.
I was so happy I actually wanted to cry.
So we were left with the question of where to go from here, how to reenforce this progress, and whether or not he would be able to generalise eating with the school staff to eating with his family. We have been told that generalizing is hard for ASD kids, they will learn to do something in one place and then only be able to do it there. But we decided that 2 days later we would have a go anyway, so we returned to McDonald’s and tried to recreate the magic.
I wasn’t holding out much hope that it would work, but I did explain to him that we would expect him to wait for his ice cream until after the Lillie and her cousin had eaten their nuggets.
We bought him his own Happy Meal as we have done a million times before, placed it in front of him and got on with eating our food. He did a great job of ignoring the food, playing with his furby and asking at least 100 times when he would get his ice cream, each time I told him that as soon as the girls finished their food then they would all have ice cream.
I asked him if he would like to try a chip, he said no, I asked if he would like to try a chicken nugget, I got the same answer.
I was kind of disappointed but not at all surprised that he wasn’t able to eat with us. I was right at the point of giving up the game when I looked up at the door and who was walking in but Charlie’s teacher. Not just any teacher but the very one who has been tasked by the Head of the school with working one to one with Charlie on developing his eating.
She looked at him and said casually “Hi, Charlie, are you going to eat your chips now?”
Like magic, just like that, he picked up his chips and started eating them. Like an angel, she and her family sat on the next table to us and she gently encouraged him to eat and he did, he had fun and we even had races to see who could eat their Chicken nugget the fastest.
It was hard to believe my eyes, having not seen him eating these things ever, hard to pitch my praise for him at the right level, and even kind of hard not to want to kiss his teacher. (I didn’t do it, I promise!)
Today we decided to try again, I figure we need to get to a point where he will eat the food consistently in McDonald’s before we attempt to generalise it to home or another location, to do this we need to give him lots of opportunities to try, hence the growing family of furbys.
We all ordered Chicken Nuggets Happy Meals, even the adults.
Charlie tried the chips but they were too hot and he got upset, so we decided that he could have his ice cream while he waited for them to cool down.
After the ice cream he was a little reluctant to try the chips so we turned it into a game and played races to see who could eat them the fastest, he loved this idea.
We were drawing quite a lot of attention to ourselves with the cheering, the Staff found it very amusing and when we explained the situation even came along to support him.
After the chips were eaten and he was struggling to eat a nugget, Lillie was beginning to struggle with the length of time it was taking. Then once again the most wonderful thing happened, and another angel came to our rescue.
In an effort to encourage Lillie to wait and Charlie to eat the restaurant staff brought out the face paints.
For a good 20 minutes, while lillie had her face painted Charlie tried so hard to eat his nugget…
and to reward him for his efforts he had his face painted for free, and Mummy had a Mocha with cream on top!
And we all brought a Furby home to add to the growing collection.