The number of times I have been told that and it has never happened. If my sensory kid is struggling, eating is just an extra struggle so they don’t. Simple as that. And yes they are hungry I can hear they are hungry and sometimes they go days, but if they are struggling in their sensory world eating is just not one of the things that helps to calm them, it can stress them out even further.
So for me that phrase bites and because of that I don’t normally talk about this side of things, except to a few close friends, because it is tough on our family and then having other people just negate how hard it is by saying casually “when they are hungry they will eat” feels like a slap in the face.
The only thing that actually helps is listening to the kid who is struggling. We hibernate, give them the space away from the outside world and all that stimulation. It is tough going because most people don’t get it. Most people still don’t understanding how challenging it can be for sensory families and how what seems like something so irrelevant to them can be something massive for a sensory kid. Most people also don’t get that sometimes there is a delayed response time, so a challenging event may happen but it takes the kids some time to process it and so often the effect is delayed.
Last week was rough, this weekend has still been challenging. It often feels like 1 step forward and then 3 steps backwards (but I know it’s not). We have been here before and I know we will be here again but still it is hard not to doubt what we know, in the noise of the outside world trying to tell you stuff that you know does not work for your sensory kids it is still hard to shut it out.
If you doubt it I can say 11 years on without a shadow of a doubt – when my sensory kid is struggling she does not eat. She will be hungry but until she manages to unwind, process what is causing the overload she will not eat. Trying to force her to eat does not work – she will just bring it up. Going to dieticians does not work, they don’t get the sensory side. Occupational therapy helps (we have done it for years). Giving them time in a safe calm environment helps. It is still one of those sensory challenges that hits hardest for us.