Autistic Child ‘Shamed’ For Snack Choice At School
Imagine your kid is something of a picky eater. Perhaps he even has some sensory issues, or is on the spectrum, and doesn’t do well with certain types of foods. You’d seek out whatever they do enjoy so that they eat, right? Well, what if your school doesn’t really like the snacks you send. And worse, what if they take your child’s snack, or force them to eat it by themselves? Doesn’t sound right, does it? That’s what happened to one young, autistic boy in Canada, and his mother is understandably livid.
The first-grader (whose identity is currently being withheld) attends public school in Calgary, where the district policy is to only sell or hand out “healthy” food options. What counts as “healthy” doesn’t seem clear, but apparently, banana bread isn’t on the list. According to the mother, the young boy (who is on the high-functioning side of the autism spectrum but still attends standard classes) has a limited amount of foods he’s currently willing to eat. Banana bread happens to be one of them, so she sent him to school with his snack, as any mom would do.
Unfortunately, it appears that since all other kids brought fruits or vegetables for their snack, the child was forced to eat his snack alone outside in the hallway.
“It’s not right. He’s being punished by being made to eat by himself,” the mom told the National Post.
And apparently it wasn’t the first time teachers took issue with the boy’s snack. The mother notes that she has noticed her son come home with uneaten oranges and apples.
“I found out the teacher has taken his banana bread away (in the past) and replaced it with something else,” she said.
So far, it doesn’t appear that the school has made any apology to the boy or his mother, and it’s unclear if they’ll keep taking his banana bread away. As a mom myself, I’d be plenty upset if the school took away what I pack for my son or replaced it with other foods. One thing is to offer additional healthy snacks as a way to encourage and model healthy eating. It’s quite another to shame a child for eating something that honestly isn’t even that unhealthy, and for basically stigmatizing his food choices. Shaming kids is never right, and hopefully this school finally realizes that.