Meal Planning & #SpecialNeeds…?! (#Autism)

I had an “aha!” moment yesterday at mom’s group. The speaker was talking about meal planning and, honestly, whenever this is the topic, I never want to attend. When I was married, I was very regimented abut meal planning. Every Saturday morning, I sat down with the flyers and my recipe books, see what was on sale for the week, make a meal plan for the week then take the kids to the market and library. I would buy staples during the week (pasta, rice, meat, etc), and buy fruits and veggies (and a couple of cookies as a treat for the kids while we were out) for the meal plan.

The rest of the weekend, my slow cooker and oven were going, cooking all the meals for the week so I didn’t have to do anything other than remember to thaw that night’s meal, warm it up and serve throughout the week.

After my marriage ended and my kids’ sensory issues became more prominent, I stopped menu planning. They are very restrictive with their foods, based on blandness (is that a word?!) or spice or shapes. I basically have been eating whatever I felt like of the two dinners I make them each night, or just do up a Mr Noodles for myself. I didn’t see the “point” of meal planning anymore.

My “aha!” moment today was that yes, I can still menu plan…I just need to tweak it a bit, same as what I do for pretty much everything else in our lives. So, I created a Menu Planning Template that I wanted to share…which includes space to write what the kids are eating and what the adults are eating. Nothing fancy:

Meal planning template

Please feel free to print off as many as you wish…and offer feedback below in the Comments section.

I’m also hoping (fingers crossed!) to vlog about my journey with getting back into menu planning so be sure to Subscribe to my Youtbe Channel to check in (or remind me to do it!).

Seriously though, I hope this template is helpful for you…and me! 😉

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Speak Up For Special Needs!

 

 

 

Was at the Early Years Centre this morning with my soon-to-be (next Wednesday!) 6 year old DS for its “Something Special” program offered every Thursday morning.  It’s a program where parents of kids with special needs and their children can come and play.  The toys put out are more sensory-based than when we regularly go there.

 

I was speaking with another mom whom I met last week.  Her son is entering Kindergarten this September and we have been chatting about how to advocate for your child.  She’s having an issue with her son playing soccer.  The coach’s son is bullying her child a bit, and instigating bad behaviour in her child.  I was offering suggestions of the type of language she can use with the assistant coach as she’s pretty sure the assistant coach is aware of the issue, based on comments he’s made in the past. 

 

She’s a very calm and quiet woman so I was trying to encourage her that this situation she’s encountered with soccer will be great practice for her in advocating for her son in Kindergarten in the fall.  The big difference she and I had walking into Kindergarten was that my son has an official diagnosis (of Autism) whereas her son doesn’t yet have a diagnosis. 

 

My kids had been in daycare prior to Kindergarten so we didn’t have to work on transitioning to school at all…especially since their former daycare centre was located in a school.  That made it a bit easier for my son.  In Grade 1 this September however, he will be attending a special needs class at school AND (hopefully) IBI will have started/be starting. 

 

My biggest advice to parents of children with special needs, diagnosed or not, is learn how to be assertive with the school system.  If your child can/may/will benefit from something, ask for it to be implemented.  If you work with the school, they will usually try to do as much to accommodate HOWEVER, also empower yourself with your school board’s policies related to special needs and special needs accommodation in the classroom.  Request a meeting with your principal (and teacher and Educational Assistant) prior to school starting, and continue to follow up until you get that meeting.  Be the “squeaky wheel” but please be nice about it. 

 

Arm yourself with information and knowledge because YOU are your child’s best

and sometimes ONLY advocate!