After a bad case of acid reflux as an infant, the 4-year-old has been afraid of food ever since.
What would you do if your child just refused to eat or drink? A British couple is living this nightmare, as their 4-year-old boy, who also suffers from autism, has not eaten since he was an infant. Kevin and Catherine Harrison of Carlton, Nottingham, in England have been trying for years to get their son, Daniel, to eat something, or even drink a glass of milk. But after having a terrible case of acid reflux as a baby, Daniel developed a phobia about solid food and must be fed through a tube in his stomach.
“We just couldn’t get him to eat,” Kevin, 41, said on the Today show. “He’d bang his head, he’d hurt himself, and at that point we knew something was drastically, drastically wrong.” Kevin and Catherine took him to numerous specialists, but none could help and, as years went on, still Daniel wouldn’t eat.
“When you can’t [feed him],” said Catherine, 37, “and you know there’s no physical reason why he shouldn’t be doing it, you feel that you’re failing as a parent.”
But now the couple may have found hope, in the form of a special clinic in Graz, Austria. The University Hospital has helped several children over the years conquer similar phobias and get them on the road to actually eating solid food. The couple has now begun the process of raising the $20,000 they will need to put Daniel in the rehabilitation program there.
“Daniel is a great little boy and his autism can be managed,” Kevin told London’s Daily Mail, “but how is he meant to function in adulthood without being able to eat. Our local Public Health Trust (PCT) have refused to offer us any funding and even for things like help with travel costs we have been told we can’t get help because we are working.”
The family dreams of being able to sit down at the dinner table together and eat a normal meal. “As a dad sitting with my boy at a table with all his feeding tubes and machines I know what it feels like to have people looking at him,” says Kevin. “Catherine and I worry about what would happen if something happened to us, we want Daniel to be able to eat and feed himself.”