To the Kindhearted Baker Who Helped My Son With Autism
My son, Lucas, has autism, and his sensory issues and unwillingness to change his routines have made him a picky eater. If he likes a certain food, he doesn’t mind eating it every day. As a mom, though, I like for him to discover new things so he can have a balanced diet and also because being able to eat different things makes his life a whole lot easier. So every time he accepts something new, I cheer inside.
He’s often attracted to distinct tastes and odd combinations, so it’s not always easy to figure out what he might like. When he was around 9 years old, he insisted on an unusual breakfast every day. It consisted of brown gravy, which had to be prepared in a special way and be a certain temperature, and a bowl of Coco Pops on the side, served dry, which he washed down with a glass of orange juice. Hot salty gravy, dry, sweet chocolate cereal, and cold, tangy orange juice – a peculiar breakfast but one he liked, and I was happy he’d found something to please his palate.
The rest of us in the family usually have bread for breakfast, and every so often I’d offer Lucas different kinds to try. Suspiciously, he’d smell it at first, sometimes refuse it and at other times take a small bite. Occasionally, he’d swallow it with a look of discomfort on his face or simply spit it out. But then, one Christmas, he tried Swedish Christmas bread, Vörtbröd, which is a spiced bread made with rye and beer and sweetened with raisins. I know it sounds strange, but it actually tastes good. Lucas sniffed at it with a curious look on his face, and then he put it in his mouth, chewed it and swallowed it with a smile. Immediately, he asked for more. Bingo!
I was happy I could add another item to his menu. Since it was a seasonal bread and in the stores only around Christmas time, I stocked up my freezer. Lucas didn’t change his breakfast routine, but he did gladly add a slice of Vörtbröd to the menu. A few months after Christmas, my supply of Vörtbröd was all gone. I tried to entice him with other breads but to no avail.
When I was shopping for bread one time, I told the young baker how much my son with autism had loved his Christmas bread and that it was the only bread he’d ever eaten. I asked him if I could possibly have the recipe. He lit up and was delighted that my son loved his bread, and then he said:
I was totally amazed at his helpful offer. What a thoughtful young baker! He went on to tell me that his mother had worked with autistic kids, and he knew what challenges it could pose.
This kindhearted baker baked Christmas bread for Lucas for a whole year, and after that Lucas started eating several other kinds of the baker’s lovely bread.
Once in a while, you meet people with a big heart who go out of their way to help others. This young man touched our lives, and I hope, by this story, he touches yours as well.
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