Many Hats Mommy

live the Power of One


What Do YOU See?

I plan on writing a full post about this picture, but before I do, I’m curious. What do YOU see when you look at this playscape? What would your child see?

Take a moment. Look at all of the different elements–the slides, the bridge, the children, the wood chips, etc. Absorb it. Ponder it. Continue reading

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Review: Learn to Have Fun with Your Senses

Many parents strive to teach their children independence. Parents of children on the autism spectrum desire independence for their children, too, but sometimes that is harder than it sounds. John Taylor, PhD, offers tweens and teens with sensory issues a chance to take charge of their sensory needs, and that is one of the reasons I love Learn to Have Fun with Your Senses: the Sensory Avoider’s Survival Guide. Continue reading


Back to School, Back to Blog

It’s that time of year. Moms purchase pencils, paper, notebooks, crayons, scissors, and many other back-to-school items. Some children bemoan the end of their summer, and some rejoice that they will return to their classmates. It’s time for a new year.

As you know, my little home on the internet is a bit dusty. I’ve not been posting regularly since both my husband and I got new jobs. Mine, working from home as the Social Media Coordinator for Home Educating Family. His, taking him farther down the road so he’s home less during the week which means I have less time for play.

I noticed that my writing buddy had started posting again on her blog. Just like me, she had lost time to work on her internet home, too. But she’s decided to dust off her keyboard and get back to it. She’s encouraged me to do the same, even if it’s not as elaborate as it used to be. For this season in our lives, we may need shorter posts and fewer frills.

So, Continue reading


Autism Meets Cult Classic

I’m guessing based on the demographics of my readers, that most of you are familiar with the 90s classic movie The Princess Bride. In there, Vizzini cackles, “Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!” Well, I have created my own spin on that famous line. Continue reading



A week ago Sunday night I invited some Twitter friends to play a game. “You might be an autism parent if…” Well, one of my friends (@RaisingASDKids) turned that into the hashtag (subject for conversation) #Youmightbeanautismparentif and the fun was on! I actually got silenced by Twitter because I sent too many tweets and retweeted all the #youmightbeanautismparentif tweets.

It has now been a week, and #youmightbeanautismparentif is still going strong! So, if you missed the action, here are some of the best from the first few hours a week ago. Continue reading


Picky Eaters & Sensory Issues

Last week we had a different article on picky eaters. Here are a few more tips, sent courtesy of the fine folks at Future Horizons!

Autism Asperger’s Digest                March-April 2011 issue

Column: Sensory Smarts        

Happy Mouths, Happy Meals

Sensory Problems Usually Are the Problem with Difficult Eaters

Dear Sensory Smarts,

My five-year-old is such a picky eater! There are only a few foods she’ll eat: pasta, pizza, and ice cream. She wants to eat macaroni n’ cheese almost every meal, but it has to be one particular brand. If the store is out, she will not eat another brand. My parents and in-laws think it’s because I spoil her. They all say I should serve her what everyone else is having and if she doesn’t eat, then tough. I did try it once and she simply did not eat. Help!


Mac n’ Cheese Maven’s Mom

Dear Maven’s Mom,

Kids with oral sensory issues and food aversions will not eat foods they find repulsive and may wind up with nutritional deficiencies. Your child did not become an extremely selective eater because of something you did. It may help to consider the underlying factors that may be impacting your child’s inability to tolerate a wider variety of foods.

Oral Sensory Problems

Kids with sensory challenges, especially those on the autism spectrum, often have sensory issues in and around the mouth. Remember that the lips, tongue, inside cheeks, and throat are lined with skin. A child may be exquisitely sensitive to textures, and unable to tolerate foods that are lumpy, slippery, chewy, crunchy, or a combination of textures, like yogurt with granola. Some kids are particular about flavors, and may only eat foods that are bland, sweet, or even highly spiced. Some kids are particular about temperatures and insist on or refuse foods that are cold, hot, or lukewarm. Some kids stuff their mouths to feel there’s something in there. Other kids object to the way food looks or when items touch each other on a plate.

Some problem feeders have oral-motor weakness, and lack strength and stability in the lips, tongue, and jaw for nursing and later for eating solid foods. Jaw weakness makes chewing difficult while tongue weakness makes it hard to form a bolus (round food mass) to swallow. High or low muscle tone in the mouth can also be an issue. A child may have a hyperactive gag reflex and avoids eating and gagging. At its most extreme, a child may throw up when an offending food is tasted, smelled, or simply mentioned.

Most kids on the spectrum crave predictability. Your daughter may insist on exactly the same brand of mac n’ cheese cooked exactly the same way as a form of control in a world that sometimes feels out of control. If she has successfully eaten that one type of mac n’ cheese in the past, it’s got to be the very same kind in the future.

It sounds like your daughter sticks to “the white diet,” consisting of carbs and cheese, a common diet among kids with sensory issues. These foods are relatively soft and have an easy “mouth feel.” Unfortunately, these foods consist of gluten and dairy, which many kids with autism do not tolerate well. Gluten is the main protein in wheat and other grains and casein is a protein in cheese and other dairy products. The theory is that these proteins trigger immune responses in some kids, resulting in a pleasurable, druglike response. Gluten and casein sensitivities are worth exploring with a nutritionist or allergist.

When a child has a significantly limited food repertoire, do not withhold the few foods that are acceptable. If you take away that one brand of mac n’ cheese, you’re taking away one of the few sources of nutrition for your child, even if it is a poor one. Pizza can be healthy if you buy or make it with high-quality ingredients.

I start by identifying one food the parent would like to add to a child’s diet, typically a fruit or vegetable. If possible, the child selects the particular fruit or vegetable.

Find more on eating difficulties and other sensory challenges in Raising a Sensory Smart Child and at You may also want to check out these books: Just Take a Bite (by Lori Ernsperger, available in bookstores and online) and Happy Mealtimes with Happy Kids (by Melanie Potock, available at

Got a question? I’d love to hear from you. Please email questions to


It’s Early! Let the Giveaway Begin!

SURPRISE! Wit & Wisdom from the Parents of Special Needs Kids has made its Amazon debut early! That means it’s time to get this giveaway STARTED! WOOOOOOHOOOOOO!

You can now read a piece by yours truly that has never before been in print. And, no, I won’t be putting it up on the blog.

You can now laugh and cry as you read heartwarming stories from parents of children with autism spectrum children. Continue reading