Parents of twin sons with autism face challenges when children won't eat solid food

LAKE WORTH, Fla - "Jaden do you want pizza, yes or no," Candi Spitz asks her six-year-old son.

"Where do you want to eat Brendan," she asks his twin brother.

Every meal, every morsel is cause for celebration for Candi and her husband Daniel, the parents of twin boys with autism.

"This right here is a miracle," she says.  "The first time he allowed food to go near his face was two weeks ago."

Jaden touched virtually no solid food until then. Brendan only began eating solid food last year.

"I always talk about the two week window when we lost every skill we had, every day it was a skill. It started with eating. We thought they were becoming picky eaters and then they stopped talking, and playing and eye contact," said Candi.

That was at 18 months old. The scramble for food, for nutrition never stopped.

"This is what he lived on for the last five years; 24-hours-a-day. two packages a day," she said pointing to
cinnamon rice cakes that could only be ordered online, and a special juice. Jaden would touch nothing else.

"Its a protein apple juice. it cannot be sent to school. It's considered a medicine," she said.

Trips to Disney World and other places were a logistical challenge.

"Not only did Jaden eat only Quaker rice cakes and Doritos, but if there is a chip missing from a rice cake or it has to be perfectly round or he won't eat it," said Daniel Spitz.

They tried everything, but hospital trips because of dehydration and nutritional problems were frequent.

"And here I'm being told in the hospital if you don't do something about this we are going to install a feeding tube," said Candi.

But the Spitz's kept at it, keeping a pantry full of food always on hand and introducing it ever so slowly to the twins.

"I keep everything at their levels, anything they could possibly think they might want," she said.

"That gives us all the hope in the world when we never thought he would eat," said Daniel.

They have hope, faith and perseverance, and often it is tested as Jaden recently stopped eating again and is back to only drinking protein apple juice.

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