Introducing my autistic son to fruit and veg.

calendarMay 1 2020

Adam Murphy talks about how he introduced his autistic son to fruit, vegetables and exercise. In the process, helped him lose weight and become healthier all round.

At around 4 years of age my son would eat about 30 packets of crisps in a day. Christmas lunch was a gammon sandwich with ketchup. I saw his weight gradually increase as a result.

I felt the worry, the guilt. Feeling like a bad dad, a bad person. Slowly etching away at my brain in every thought.

But he wouldn’t eat anything else and, God, I tried.

But then, when the days were at their darkest and light seemed like an impossibility, I started to think…….my son thrives on routine, on repetition, familiarity. Hell, I got him wearing clothes by putting the same clothes out at the same time in the same place every single day. Same brands, same types. 

So I started putting healthy foods on a plate on the table.

Day after day after day nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing.

Again, again, again, again.

Days, weeks, months, years.

Again, again, again.

Then it happened.

A tear in my eye and a lump in my throat, it only bloody happened!

Tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber…

I kid you not.

Rocket, apples, bananas….

An image of Ryan picking up the tomatoes from a bowl of salad next to his fish and chips.
Adam’s son, Ryan, enjoying his salad.

An image showing a very slim Ryan eating a healthy meal of chicken, potato wedges and a large salad.
Ryan has lost 7 stone over the last couple of years!

Then the weight gradually started to come down.

I swapped the car for walks. That alone took me 12 months of meltdowns, not one tantrum not a sulk not a moan but full on biting and sobbing! That’s how hard it was.

Now here we are. He’s lost 7 stone, eats salad daily, walks daily. This boy, this man, this inspirational person before me. He teaches me and I listen.

I don’t push, I didn’t even ask. I just put the food on the table.

Now let’s be clear, there are foods he will never ever even entertain. Hiding the vegetables will not work as how will I encourage him to eat different foods if he doesn’t know what they are? No, it has to be honesty, it has to be respect, it must be visual.

So how do I feel that I helped this severely autistic young man that has Learning disabilities now that he’s eating healthily and is a healthy weight? I feel like a dad, a father. Not time to pat this back or applaud myself, but I wonder what we can do next….

About Adam

Hi, my name is Adam and my son’s name is Ryan. In 2018 I lost 10 stone, in 8 months, my son lost 7 stone over a much longer period.

This picture is a recent photo of us (before the Covid-19 lockdown) as we are about to go to a farmer’s market – lots of walking , tiny free samples and exercise, perfect!

You can read more from Adam at or follow him on Twitter: @autcareandshare

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