Tuesday, 22 October 2013

A Weighty Issue!

We have a new issue to tackle..... Isaac is putting on weight!!! He is far from being fat but has got a little chunkier than his usual form

This might not sound a big issue in amongst all the other stuff that is going on but it is a concern.

We are having to look at two areas in his life, that of exercise and his craving of sweet things.

It is over a year now since Isaac was a participant in mainstream education. He was never able to participate in play ground sports such as football but he was going out to run around in the play ground 3 times a day. To some extent he was still doing PE lessons although how much he participated was extremely variable. In the 6 months he was out of school I tried to keep him active with biking, swimming, ice skating, rock climbing and walks again the amount was related to the coping ability of the day. He now attends a small independent special school so the structure and nature of the children means he is not running outside 3 times a day. All the way through the summer whilst his peers are free playing out in the streets he has been at home. He has some friends over, they play on the trampoline but the exercise level is not as free and consistent as those playing out. He is strongly attracted to the pc and playing on minecraft, I take him away and we do activities but he quickly gravitates back when these have finished. He has very little ability to entertain himself and if not on the pc he roams around looking for others to wind up and quickly ends up demanding my full attention to sort out what ever it is he has started. So minecraft is companionship and entertainment for Isaac and a peace keeper and baby sitter for me. Resulting in him spending far more time on it than I would like. The end product of all of this is an inactive child putting on some weight. I am trying really hard to address some of these issues such as regular exercise but his life remains more sedentary than most 9 year olds. I have searched high and low but can not find any activity groups that are suitable for Isaac. We tried a group for disabled children but it really wasn't equipped for a child with such behavioural needs, they catered more for the physically disabled. All his activity is done with a parent, this is getting boring for a 9 year old and keeping him engaged with the same old faces gets a bit boring! Again a child like Isaac has no where to go to meet his social and physical needs and I can see the complications for the future mounting.

The other area we are addressing is Isaac's ceaseless craving for sugar. He is massively motivated by sweets and sugar and if allowed would eat massive amounts. In a year of such change I have at times used sweets as little rewards when he has had small triumphs like most parents but I am now substituting this with other things. The difficulty is hiding anything with sugar in in the house! I often find things such as empty jelly packets hidden under his bed and any sweets have to be securely hidden or they disappear. I have been trying to ensure he eats foods that give him prolonged energy rather than peaks and troughs but he still has that constant desire for sugar. Compared to many ASD kids Isaac eats a wide variety of foods and does eat a balanced diet, I hope with the prolonged sugar reduction the cravings may start to reduce. I have read that many other children like Isaac crave sugar or for some refined carbohydrates and it makes be wonder what do they feel that the sugar imput is such a strong motivator for them.

Isaac has so many issues to face as he develops that I do not want the potential of gaining weight to add to this. Another challenge faces us!!!

Now I have to finish this as his pc time is up and he is literally jumping on my head, does that count as 5 mins of exercise?????


  1. Am with you on this... we have a minecraft addict here too and she's only 6! Also a big fan of chocolate and chips, and not a great eater. Think I need to pull myself together, stop having time for myself (ha!) and plan in some activities, you're right. x

  2. The Wii is quite a good alternative as the weather gets worse, he is currently happy to ski or play tennis or run on it and it satisfies his need to be in control of what he is doing whilst being active! His school frequently takes them to indoor play places and parks where the children can exercise without realising as sport is usually a little too much for them. I just don't want obesity to be added to the list of problems for the future, god knows there are enough of those already!!!!! xx