Autistic child won't eat

So I've been nannying for a family with one child, a 5 yr old boy with autism and ADHD (he's very verbal but is repetitive and likes routine). When I first started with him, I just did everything the parents said because I know they've done their research and they know their son. The only problem is, he won't eat. He "jogs", which means he'll eat a lot of the same food and then "lose" that food entirely (refuses to eat it ever). Today his dad ate breakfast with us, like every morning, and he said "ok, you eat your bacon and then you can play with blahblahblah". He imediately starts chattering about playing and I say "ok, but first you've gotta eat your bacon". The kid starts getting mad, says "no I don't!" And crawls into his dads lap. The dad says to me "we don't say gotta, no ultimatums". In the beginning this made sense to me. But now, I'm a few months in, and this kid barely eats. He has a very specific meal plan to help avoid "jogging" foods, but he is still losing foods that are on his meal plan. I'm blamed when he doesnt eat, and I can't tell him he has to eat because he knows he doesn't. This isn't an autism thing, his parents have taught him that if he doesn't want to eat something, no one will force him, which goes against everything I believe in - sometimes, kids just need to be told what to do, and forced to do it because otherwise they'll learn and continue to fight back.

Never the less, he is autistic. I have some experience with special needs kids, but not with someone as young as this kid. I don't really know what to do, I really like this family but it's frustrating to not be able to follow through on your morals, and even more frustrating to be blamed for something you can't control because of the rules set in place for you by the very people blaming you. Anyone with more experience have wisdom to share?


I deal with a 2 year old who's picky. He has developmental issues. Not sure if he's autistic, but he doesn't talk. He mainly eats chicken nuggets and veggies straws, but he tried different fruit and things when he's away from his home. Sometimes we go to my house and he explores with different foods. So I tried giving him different foods to try like in the car as well. He had watermelon. So that's something I learned from my point of view.

I cared for a baby for two years who was way behind in verbal skills, his eating and feeding himself. Mom insisted her breast milk only diet was enough when he was 1. Now we all know babies must start on solids by 5 months of age, in addition to milk or formula. She would not listen to me. He started on table food way too late and developed an eating disorder. He became anemic by age 2 and was way too thin. Finall, his doctor, yelled at the mom and so she started buying from Dierbergs his favorite pre-made deli foods; macncheese, chicken nuggets, spaghetti, yogurt, oatmeal, waffles, pancakes, muffins. Anything with sugar he would eat. You could tell he was really hungry but as soon as he would take a couple of bites, he would quit eating all together. His mom would not cook, worked two jobs, and his dad could cook better, but just ate out or ate energy bars. He turned 2 1/2 and could say only 5 words, not all complete words. His first word, not complete word, Dada was "Da" by age 20 months, and I recommended a speech therapist, she said, too expensive. I recommended a dietician to get him on an eating program with high calories. The mom was against all of my recommendations. I quit before he was 3 and he was still not talking in 3 word sentences. It was way too stressful for me to be involved with as I knew this kid since he was age 3 months. I brought it home with me and was just totally stressed out. Mom did have him evaluated by a speech therapist and I read the evaluation. He has some serious issues. The therapist also said that the mother states, " he can say 20 words", but the therapist did not see this at all, like myself. I had to quit as I just cannot work for parents who are not on board with their child's development and speech. Not to mention the house was really dirty with big dogs. She just texted me that she is pregnant again!
As for you, it sounds like parents are changing the daily discipline and education plan to help them, not you. There is no plan here. This is very confusing for any kid and especially a young child with autism. I would talk to the parents and tell them the difficulties you are having and if they do not have a consistent discipline and education plan with this kid, and everyone uses the same methods and same plan, then quit. You cannot help them if they will not work with you. Good luck and keep us posted on your future.
miss pat