Friday, October 14, 2011

Will The Eating Game would work for you??

Are you wondering if The Eating Game would help your child improve their eating habits? Here are a few questions to consider…………………….

Does your child self restrict their diet?

Do they like being in control whenever possible?

Have you dealt with the possibility of medical, food allergy, sensory issues related to food?

Have they eaten more foods in their lifetime than they are now?

My theory is that for a lot of kids with autism and not, self restricting their diet to a small number of foods is managable so they always know what they will be eating - no surprises, no changes, a very predictable eating environment.

Does your child communicate well verbally?

Do they like structure and routine?

Do they respond positively to visual support systems?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions I would suggest you ask more questions, find out more about what is involved, how it works.

Become a fan of The Eating Game Page at and post your question on the wall.

Look at the photo album and read the captions under each picture.

Become Jean Nicol's friend (she is the inventor) at and send her a message.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Why Is This All He Will Eat?

If a child restricts their preferred food choices to a limited number of foods then they always know what they will be eating, mom/dad never run out of this food and maybe even give it on demand since they are very concerned about the child's limited diet ~ now there is a plan, meals are more predictable.

In time the list of preferred foods may change but still remain limited so the child remains in control of a more predictable environment. Take a look at this list of foods  and write down all the foods your child has eaten in their lifetime. Add any others you think of that are not on this list. Wouldn't it be nice if they would be eating all these foods now, extending their preferred list? This might be hard to control though. You need a plan......................

Have you heard of The Eating Game - it is making a difference in the lives of many kids and their families. It allows kids to be in control of daily meal planning but provides them with a plan that has them eating a wider variety of foods, a healthier diet and they say it is fun!

The Eating Game is very visual, structured and easily becomes part of a daily routine. It is a ready made visual schedule for mealtimes, a unique patented idea that is revolutionalizing the way some kids eat.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

An Exciting Autism Publication

This new publication, Autism Awareness in a Positive Light, is a collaborative effort to increase awareness, understanding and acceptance of autism spectrum disorders and those it affects. The book is a collection of prose, poetry and art contributed by an awesome autism community on facebook. This collection was edited and published by Jean Nicol of EYECAN CREATIONS Publications, New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, Canada. The writings of 20 contributors and for some their art work or that of their children is a tribute to many of the more positive aspects of ASD that need to be shared and appreciated. Even those children with very severe autism bring many moments of joy and pride to their families.

The book has been dedicated to "First Responders", those in our communities who work tirelessly, many as volunteers, to search for those who are lost. This can be an extraordinary task when searching for someone who is on the autism spectrum. THANK YOU TO ALL FIRST RESPONDERS. We want to help you learn about autism and we want to tell everyone what a wonderful service and comfort you provide to families at a time of great distress.

Proceeds from the sale of this publication will be donated to the Canadian National Autism Foundation for the purchase of Amber Alert GPS Systems. Families in Canada and The United States who need some support for the initial purchase of the GPS Unit, for children and adults with special needs, can make application to this Foundation for support. For every 30 books purchased funds will be raised to pay for another much needed and very beneficial GPS Unit. There have been 100 books printed; 2 filed with the Canadian National Library, copies given to all contributors and some sold. Can you help us sell the remaining copies which will help purchase 2 GPS Units. Then for every hundred books we sell after that we will raise enough to buy nearly 4 new GPS Units.

Order your copy of this book at or before September 18 if you are near Pictou, Nova Scotia drop in to the EYECAN CREATIONS booth at the Pictou Weekend Market to pick up your copy. (click on the title above to order your copy)

After you have a chance to read the book, we would love to hear your thoughts here in a comment or you can contact Jean Nicol through this website or at facebook!/jean.nicol1

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Fuel Up Your Kids To Be Winners!

I remember an interesting discussion with kids about eating a good breakfast. They understood when we made the comparison of fuelling up your car when it is on empty. We all understand that energy needed for a car comes from gas, the better the grade the better the mileage, performance and car maintenance.

So it is with a healthy breakfast, refueling our bodies after a lengthy period of fasting – we need to break the fast! The healthier the food, the better the energy, performance and health. This analogy can be extended to relate to planning our diet in general – and of course in the planning of dietary provisions for our children. I believe all parents want what is best for their child:

•the best of healthly growth and development: physical, intellectual and emotional
•the best of energy to actively participate in the day’s activity
•performance that will allow them to become their personal best

As parents you want your child to be healthy and happy, able to enjoy all the opportunities and activities life has to offer them. A child will only be as healthy as their diet is. It is the variety and amount of all nutrients supplied by a healthy diet every day that enables and promotes healthy growth for all body cells, organs and tissues.

A healthy diet, a right for all children should do more than just satisfy hunger. A healthy, balanced diet will optimize their opportunities for:

•mental alertness, intellectual development and learning
•physical growth and strength
•prevention of nutritional deficiencies that can lead to serious health issues
•good weight management
•prevention of the emotional stress of being overweight
•strong teeth and better oral health
•strong, healthy bones, preventing disease in later life
•healthier immune system
•better general health, less illness and infection
•establishing healthy eating habits for life; to prevent illness and disease

Monday, April 18, 2011

What Can YOU Do To Promote Autism Awareness?

As a parent of a child on the autism spectrum, what can you do to become more aware this month?

Because I don’t have a child with autism, my passion for autism has been enriched by having the opportunity to meet and get to know many of your children; as a teacher, a consultant, an early interventionist, a friend or as we share experiences with The Eating Game.

Each person I have met with autism, child, youth or adult has increased my awareness. It continues to amaze me how wide this spectrum really is. Of course what is so significant when we really get to know the person is that we see that the "autism" is just a part of who they are as a unique person, and an important part of who they are.

But it is also about how different "their autism" is and:

how differently it is perceived by family members, friends and community
how differently the person with autism is treated by their family, friends and community
what strengths their family has to offer them i for needed support while encouraging maximum independence.
what support systems are available to their familiy
what opportunities they have to experience inclusive communities (home, school, neighbourhood, workplace, globally)
what opportunities they have had for early intervention and perhaps ongoing therapy
what there intellectual abilities really are and how they learn to be their personal best
I know as a parent with a child with autism you have precious little time for anything else. I would suggest to you that it has been my life experience, that by reaching out to help someone else we can be so uplifted and even seem to lighten our own load, so to speak.

Perhaps this month you could reach out to a family in your community who has a child (youth/adult) with autism that you don't know, maybe one on a very different part of the spectrum from your child or a family who has had very different opportunities than you have. Perhaps your community support group could reach out to families who are not yet involved in your group.

Get to know them and increase your awareness too.

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Note From A Child With Autism

Dear Family and Friends-

I understand that we will be visiting each other for some get-togethers this year. Sometimes these visits can be very hard for me, but here is some information that might help our visit to be more successful. As you probably know, I am challenged by a hidden disability called Autism, or what some people refer to as Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). Autism/PDD is a neurodevelopmental disorder which makes it hard for me to understand the environment around me. I have barriers in my brain that you can’t see, but which make it difficult for me to adapt to my surroundings.
Sometimes I may seem rude and abrupt or silly and out of control, but it is only because I have to try so hard to understand people and at the same time, make myself understood. People with autism have different abilities. Some may not speak, some will write beautiful poetry. Others are whizzes in math (Albert Einstein was thought to be autistic), or may have difficulty making friends. We are ALL different and need various degrees of support.
Sometimes when I am touched unexpectedly, it might feel painful and make me want to run away. I get easily frustrated, too. Being with lots of other people is like standing next to a moving freight train and trying to decide how and when to jump aboard. I feel frightened and confused a lot of the time. This is why I need to have things the same as much as possible. Once I learn how things happen, I can get by OK. But if something, anything, changes then I have to relearn the situation all over again! It is very hard.
When you try to talk to me, I often can’t understand what you say because there is a lot of distraction around. I have to concentrate very hard to hear and understand one thing at a time. You might think I am ignoring you – I am not. Rather, I am hearing everything and not knowing what is most important to respond to.
Get-togethers are exceptionally hard because there are so many different people, places and things going on that are out of my ordinary realm. This may be fun and adventurous for most people, but for me, it’s very hard work and can be extremely stressful. I often have to get away from all the commotion to calm down. It would be great if I had a private place set up to where I could retreat every time I go to get-togethers.
If I cannot sit at the meal table, do not think I am misbehaved or my parents have no control over me. Sitting in one place for even five minutes is often impossible for me. I feel so antsy and overwhelmed by all the smells, sounds, and people – I just have to get up and move about. Please don’t hold up your meal for me – go on without me, and my parents will handle the situation the best way they know how.
Eating in general is hard for me. If you understand that autism is a sensory processing disorder, it’s no wonder eating is a problem! Think of all the senses involved with eating. Sight, smell, taste, touch AND all the complicated mechanics that are involved. Chewing and swallowing is something that a lot of people with autism have trouble with. I am not picky – I literally cannot eat certain foods as my sensory system and/or oral motor coordination are impaired.
Don’t be disappointed if Mom hasn’t dressed me in the best clothes there are. It’s because she knows how much stiff and frilly clothes drive me buggy! I have to feel comfortable in my clothes or I will just be miserable. When I go to someone else’s house, I may appear crabby. Things have to be done in ways I am familiar with or else I might get confused and frustrated. It doesn’t mean you have to change the way you are doing things – just please be patient with me, and understanding of how I have to cope. Mom and Dad have no control over how my autism makes me feel inside. People with autism often have little things that they do to help themselves feel more comfortable. The grown-ups call it “self-regulation” or “stimming.” I might rock, hum, flick my fingers, tap a string, or any number of different things. I am not trying to be disruptive or weird. Again, I am doing what I have to do for my brain to adapt to your world. Sometimes I cannot stop myself from talking, singing, laughing, or doing an activity I enjoy. The grown-ups call this “perseverating” which is kinda like self-regulation or stimming. I do this only because I have found something to occupy myself that makes me feel comfortable. Perseverating behaviors are good to a certain degree because they help me calm down.
Please be respectful to my Mom and Dad if they let me “stim” for a while as they know me best and what helps to calm me. Remember that my Mom and Dad have to watch me much more closely than the average child. This is for my own safety, and preservation of your possessions. It hurts my parents’ feelings to be criticized for being over-protective, or condemned for not watching me close enough. They are human and have been given an assignment intended for saints. My parents are good people and need your support and not rude remarks.
Gatherings are filled with sights, sounds, and smells. The average household is turned into a busy, frantic, festive place. Remember that this may be fun for you, but it’s very hard work for me to conform. If I fall apart or act out in a way that you consider socially inappropriate, please remember that I don’t possess the neurological system that is required to follow some social rules. I am a unique person – an interesting person. I will find my place at these celebrations that is comfortable for us all, as long as you’ll try to view the world through my eyes!

-Author Unknown
A Note From A Child With Autism

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Could These Be The Reasons For Your Child's Eating Challenges?

I was asked to help a family deal with their son's eating challenges. They had investigated medical reasons and food allergies/intolerances and there were no concerns. They often thought it was related to sensory issues but when we listed all the foods he had eaten in his lifetime it crossed all the lines of sensory issues. He would self restrict his food choices; the list of preferred foods might switch every few weeks. He did well in a structured, routine environment where he knew what was coming next. Although he had verbal skills, it wasn't always meaningful communication. He benefitted greatly from the use of social stories and from visual schedules/supports. These supports allowed him to be more in control in his environment, he could stay on/complete tasks and was happier doing so.

I decided that the biggest issues for him and his eating challenges were being in control of the choices and knowing ahead of time what he was going to have for his meals. Sometimes the only way for kids to know this is to self restrict their diet. They keep it to a small list of foods so they and everyone else can keep track of them. Mom and dad never run out of their preferred foods because they are concerned about how limited their diet is and probably give these preferred foods on demand for the same reason ~ which most of us would do.

So now you have a situation where the child is in control of the choices and since mom and dad don't run out of the foods they probably think even mom and dad like their plan! When they tire of eating the same foods repeatedly they switch their preferred list.

So part of my solution would be to continue to let this little boy be in control, let him the foods he would eat for his meals but he would be given the choices, making them mostly healthy choices, starting with the foods he liked or have eaten in his lifetime then gradually adding new foods. I knew it would really help if the choices presented where in a visual format; if he saw a picture of a food he used to eat he would remember that he liked it!

My plan was very carefully thought out and executed because I wanted it to be successful and it was, for him and hundreds more. And now you know the beginning of the story. Read to find out the rest of the story because it gets even better!

A Very Special Visual Support System

As a special education teacher I had created many visual support systems for children but never had the time to prepare more than what was needed. I knew what I had created for this little boy (see ) could help many more children and families and now as a semi retired person I had the time to make more. So I did! It was a very special visual support system that would enable many to plan and eat a healthier diet.

What I had created for this little boy he called his "Canada Food Guide Game" I wasn't sure such a serious issue should be called a game and his response was "Well, it is FUN!" So a "game"it was and I used it as an acronym for Get Awesome Meals Everyday.

The name changed to The Eating Game to accomodate Copyright and the Patent Application and my innovative and actually quite simple solution would continue to help hundreds more children and families deal with helping picky eaters, obsessive eaters, those who are non verbal, those with developmental delays.

Since the launch of the original Eating Game four years ago, I have launched 2 more Eating Game products:

1) Eater's Choice Daily Meal Planners for those who need an eating game to help them have a healthier diet but don't need the 200+ food pictures for their visual planner. This was in response to customer request and is being used by many to eat a healthy diet. It has helped some of us lose weight or battle eating obsessions and has helped some eat more as needed.

2) The MIY Eating Game Kit - it is The Eating Game in a Make It Yourself format; I supply all the materials you need(laminated charts and pictures and velcro type fastener) to make your own Eating Game. This was in response to many folks who said they would love to have an Eating Game but could not afford it; this enabled me to cut 38% off the price of The Eating Game so that more kids could benefit.

And now you know the rest of the story ~ that was four years ago and because The Eating Game has helped so many children and their families it has become my passion to share it with others in the hopes that it will maybe help even one more person! I have to honestly say that each day my passion is enriched as is the health of many children!

The New MIY Eating Game Kit

PLEASE NOTE: For the month of September 2011 $15 from the sale of each MIY Kit will be donated to Ayn's Freedom Fund

This is the same EATING GAME that is making a difference for many picky eaters and children with autism. It is just in a MIY (Make It Yourself) kit format that you assemble yourself, allowing us to pass on a considerable savings to you.

This kit will give you all the materials you need to make your own Eating Game:

5 Daily Planning Charts
4 Pages of Food Pictures
4 Ziplock Bags for Picture Storage
Hook & Loop Fastener
2 Food Picture Storage Pages
Information Booklet
We will include instructions for you re putting all materials together.

To see pictures and get more info go to

ORDER NOW at When you order your kit please contact me to let me know that you would like me to make the $15 donation on your behalf. THANK YOU!