There is a local story that is causing a lot of discussion about bad parenting, special needs, and nutrition. There is a 20-year-old man, who has essentially only eaten KFC skin, and more recently also fish batter, for the past 12 years (since he was eight years old). He has cerebral palsy and autistic-like traits, as a result of oxygen deprivation at birth. He functions around the age of a two or three-year old.
His family has taken their story to the press. They are asking for advice from people who have been through similar situations, or professionals who might have new advice.
You can watch the full video here. Please do watch it all, it’s less than seven minutes long. If it won’t let you view it (I’ve heard that some people have struggled to view it), please let me know and I’ll add more details to this post. I just thought it best to let the parents tell it in their own words as much as possible. I am still searching for a version that I can embed to this post.
The main reason for me sharing this, is a plea to my autism community to offer up help to this family if you can. Like me, many of you have struggled with the eating difficulties that come with autistic children. You’ll need to watch the video to understand the challenges, what they’ve tried so far, and indeed to fully appreciate the desperation these loving parents have to find a solution to this harmful problem.
I’m also sharing this story with a deep sadness, having seen the horribly predictable reactions of the public to their plight. On this discussion thread alone, you’ll see people attacking their parenting, saying intellectual disability is no excuse, even saying that what is happening is a form of child abuse. These parents take the drastic step of reaching out publicly for help – exposing their story and themselves – and they get attacked for their honesty. It’s those sorts of reactions that stop parents asking for help. And it’s those sorts of reactions that drive home how important autism awareness is, and how far we have to go.
So please, if you can help this family with new advice, or support them somehow through this problem and the attacks they’re currently suffering, then do. If you want to email the program that ran the story to get your message to the family, their email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please do share this story with others who might be able to help too. Thank you xxx