An Australian mother of a boy with autism has revealed how she was left “absolutely fuming” after a school teacher criticised the lunchboxes she’d packed for her son.
Sharing on a popular Facebook page, the irate mum posted snaps of a week’s worth of lunches she’d prepared for her boy – all of them featuring a wide range of healthy snacks.
Among the foods included were yoghurt pouches, apples, tinned fruit, pretzel sticks, strawberries, bananas, deli meats, marshmallows and a variety of crackers.
Despite this, the “unprofessional” teacher was critical of the lunches – saying they needed more fruit and vegetables and less “dry biscuit options”.
The mum explained her six-year-old son, like many children with autism and sensory processing disorder (SPD), is “extremely particular” with what he consumes and only eats from a limited group of foods.
She added that her son’s lunchbox often came home barely touched and “he never eats the fruit”.
Despite knowing this, the teacher still handed down her critique – leading the mum to slam her “unprofessional behaviour” and “lack of compassion”.
In her post, the mother called for opinions from other mums on her lunchbox choices, explaining the schoolyard incident.
“So this is how I pack my son’s lunch for school, most days it will come home full and he never eats the fruit,” she explained on the Lunchbox Ideas Australia page.
“My son is six years old and has ASD LVL2 and SPD. He is extremely particular with what he eats and only has a very small group of foods that he will eat.
“These mostly include dry biscuits, ham, plain bread, plain pita, no sauces, no dips, no vegetables, no spreads on bread etc. He only eats very dry foods that don’t have much moisture in them at all.
“Do you see a problem with this lunch?
“Today his teacher told him that he needs to eat more fruit and vegetables and that his lunches contain too many dry biscuit options.
“She’s aware of the fact that he has autism and SPD but still has the audacity to tell me that his lunch isn’t healthy enough. I am absolutely fuming at her unprofessional behaviour and lack of compassion and understanding toward my son’s disability.”
The mum then went on to describe the lengths she’d gone to to help her son with his eating.
“Please feel free to comment below with some vegetable alternatives because I have tried everything imaginable as well as hour upon hour of occupational therapy to encourage my son to eat a wider variety of fruits and vegetables and unfortunately we have been unsuccessful,” she said.
“I accept that this is a part of autism but would love to hear from some parents out there who are currently experiencing the same difficulty with this issue.”
Hundreds of Facebook users rallied behind the mum, supporting her efforts and hitting back at the school teacher.
“I’m sorry, but when did it become normal for teachers to be able to dictate to parents what their children can and can’t eat (I understand when it comes to food allergies at the school though)?” said one.
“Seriously this is getting ridiculous. I think that lunch looks awesome.”
Added another: “Tell her she needs a new profession. You’re doing a great job mummy. It looks fine to me. Best he eats something than nothing. Put in a complaint.”
Said a third: “I’m sorry, I cannot stand judgement on lunchbox items. Every parent does the best they can for their child at the time, with the resources they have.
“Lunchbox items are so limited due to allergies, other kids allergies, budget, temperature control of food, timing of eating time. Teachers and food shamers pull your heads in!”
Added one more: “This annoys me so much, teachers need to leave lunchboxes alone.”
The mum said she found comfort in the enormous wave of support she received.
“Thank you for your kind words everyone. Being a mother to a child with additional needs isn’t easy, especially when it comes to their eating,” she said.
“I try my very best to make sure there’s a variety of different foods in there as that’s how my son likes to eat, he’s a grazer and enjoys eating platters.”