The Autistic Foodie (and Other Passions)

Filed Under (Adam, Communication, Development) by Estee on 20-04-2009

There’s nary a moment when I won’t find Adam engaged in some new passion. Unlike the so-called “static” nature of supposed autistic interests and fascinations, I find Adam’s interests variable and ever-evolving.

Lately, he loves puppets, faces, art (he’s an excellent artist), making faces, swimming, the ocean, and most of all, reading cookbooks and then, cooking. He has always enjoyed cooking, but now that he has better coordination, cooking becomes more fun. I thought of this when I traversed upon this website:

Adam deciding what he wants to eat at Tony Roma’s

We’ve always wrote out the recipe in visual form for Adam to follow, and I know many parents employ this structured approach which works very well. For those of you who are new, you might want to check it out. It’s a good step to break down other creative projects as well, and might give parents some ideas.

Adam used to be the young boy who wouldn’t have much of an attention span. He used to “obsess” over his alphabet and numbers, and love to watch videos over and over again, and we expanded his interests by using his own and also allowing him to just be with his own. While he likes the alphabet I once never imagined, in his early days, when he wouldn’t need the alphabet anymore (in the calming sense or as a restricted interest). I could have obsessed over this as a parent and let it (excuse the pun) eat me up. Now, we watch little tv and spend our days reading, making things, going out, going to the theatre, playing and visiting friends, discovering new toys and yes, in the pool of our activities, there is still a lot of swimming.

I keep wondering how to relay this to a new parent of a young child who has just received an autism diagnosis. How do you talk to parents about how life will be? It is a question that many of us “older” parents think about a lot. There is no way, I have concluded, to offer advice except to speak of our own path and acknowledge that everyone has their own journey. My life with Adam is different than I thought it would be before I had Adam or before he was diagnosed. Yet today, as we’ve simply lived our lives, we no longer fret our days away. We just do. We just live. Only time and learning to live with Adam as a member of our family who as GIVEN so much to us, has it mellowed me. One could read this journey by going back to the early days of my blog as I observed prejudice, among so many other injustices. There comes a point, unless it is outright cruel and pointed, that one becomes less angry and understands that the only way to social justice and acceptance is to carry on with a level of determination and constancy.

To live peacefully is our ultimate aim. To accept autism isn’t to accept in order to cure or “recover” (a silly word used as a curtain to hide the word “cure”). Acceptance means to leave what is and get on with living.

Hmmm… I wonder what I feel like cooking tonight….


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About Me


I’m a PhD candidate at York University, Critical Disability Studies, with a multi-disciplinary background in the arts as a curator and writer. I am the Founder of The Autism Acceptance Project (, and an enamoured mother of my only son who lives with the autism label. I like to write about our journey, critical issues regarding autism in the area of human rights, law, and social justice, as well as reflexive practices in (auto)ethnographic writing about autism.