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The Joys Of Teaching My Autistic Son To Cook

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We all have that friend who can’t cook even a simple meal. None of us are perfect, we all fall short. Heck, I don’t know how to ride a bike. But guess what? I don’t need to know how to ride a bike because I have a car. But if you’re on a camping trip and suddenly realize you have no idea how to start a fire: A) if you’re a woman, you’re in trouble: B) if you’re a guy, you look like an idiot AND you’re in trouble.

As a father, I’ve been blessed with the ability to pass my knowledge on to my children. However, a kid can only learn so much about 80’s new wave bands and old horror movies before even I have to admit that my son needs to learn where the skillet is. With that in mind I’m going to teach my autistic son how to bake a cake while not accidentally(?) burning down our house.

The Joys Of Teaching My Autistic Son To Cook

Ready? Because I’m sure not!

To a kid with autism, the consistency of everything they touch is important. So if you’re asking your son to, say, crack an egg, and that yoke touches him in any way, he will crumble to the ground as if I suddenly yanked all the bones out of his body. This kid can have his finger so far up his nose he’s coughing out fingernails, but a gross raw egg will drop him like Kryptonite. I mean, even a ten year old has to have some standards, I guess. This is easily fixed, however. Latex gloves. I keep a box of gloves in the garage for whenever I change brakes pads or oil, so we slap a pair on his salmonella free hands and away we go.

Now that my son has properly washed up, donned his apron and surgical gloves, and is now ready for a sixteen-hour heart transplant – wait! That’s not right. I mean, he’s now ready to spend ten minutes mixing a cake. I forgot, all he’s doing is throwing some powder together. My mistake. When teaching a kid with autism, it’s the little things that throw you off. Like touching raw egg, that’s kind of gross, I’ll give him that one, but he doesn’t want to use the hand mixer because it’s loud. I honestly forget that he’s very sensitive to loud noise. Why do I forget that? Because he’s the loudest human being on Earth, that’s why. But that’s okay because we can just mix the batter by hand.

Problem solved. Oh, wait! No it isn’t.

When I awoke this morning, I never imagined I would have to say, “Colby, hold that spatula like a man.” But thirteen hours later here we are. It’s amazing to me the basic concepts that we have to teach our children, like the right way to hold a spatula. It’s a weird thing you never consider. Even as I described the process with him, his brain just couldn’t put the pieces together. I had to stand behind him, take his hands, and physically guide him through the motions until he figured it out.

All the lessons I thought I would have to teach my son, like how to be careful around the stove while it’s heating up or the importance of keeping your kitchen station clean, never came up. He never had a problem keeping the area clean and he never goofed around the stove. I couldn’t have guessed we would have to overcome the issue of cracking eggs and the tangled wrist gymnastics of holding a spatula upright yet twisting it downward into a bowl.

It’s so much fun guiding him through life and teaching him new things. You never know what to expect and life certainly never boring. Sure, sometimes you need to take a break and walk away for a minute or sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself, but it’s always a great experience. My son approaches the world a little differently than I do and he has an incredible perspective that I’m only beginning to understand. When you’re raising a kid with autism, you’re learning just as much as they are.

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