I’ve spent hours upon hours tracking & analyzing my autistic son Jordan’s food consumption manually. If you’re a fellow special needs parent like myself, you know how limited our time is. I thought to myself, there has to be an easier way to do this and after a brief search, I found my new organizational best friend, the Birdhouse for Autism App.
With Birdhouse, it takes seconds to record any food your child consumes. You can enter it from your home computer, your tablet, or your smartphone. Anytime. Anywhere!
Here’s how to use Birdhouse to keep great food records:
– Add a new Activity to your Birdhouse timeline
– Select Food as your type
– Enter the details of the most recent food consumed
– Post Activity to save
As you use Birdhouse more and more, it remembers previous foods you’ve entered. You simply have to type the first few letters, and the previously remembered foods pop up for your selection, making it ever faster.
Wow, that means more time to spend with your little one!
Are there certain foods that your child eats every single day? If your child is a picky eater like mine, then that’s a big YES! You can schedule foods to show up automatically on your activity timeline based on the frequency you select. Now how’s that for saving some additional time?
Here’s how to schedule foods:
From your personal computer, Click More from the menu bar
– Select Food as your type
– Select Add to Food
– Enter the details of the food and the frequency schedule you desire
– Select Save
The data export function is another aspect of Birdhouse I find immensely helpful with Jordan’s food tracking and analyzing. Most of Jordan’s doctors want updates on his food consumption. Previously, I would have to photocopy all of his messy handwritten food logs for each of his doctors. With Birdhouse, all you have to do is export the data and you’re done! You have legible detailed activity timelines for you and all of your child’s doctors to analyze.
Here’s how to export your data:
– From your personal computer, on the bottom of the Activities Page, select Export Activities.
Now let’s get real. I want to share with you a personal story about how tracking Jordan’s food consumption with Birdhouse has directly helped us. My son is a very picky eater, so his diet is very limited. We also restrict his diet to Gluten Free/Casein Free. Once in a great while during food therapy, he will pick up a new food, and his most recent new food was bacon. During the same timeframe Jordan started eating bacon, he started having terrible meltdowns and new aggressive behaviors. (We’ll talk about meltdown tracking another time!!!) Like usual, we started playing the 20 questions game: Is this just the terrible two’s? Is he sick? Is one of his medical conditions flaring up? Did we start a new supplement or medication? Is he just too tired? Or could it possibly be the new food? There were so many factors to consider and filter through.
Looking for answers, I exported the last two weeks of his activity timeline data. The only thing that stood out as unusual was that he was eating bacon now, so I immediately stopping feeding him bacon. Later that week we took Jordan for an appointment with his Immunologist & Allergist doctor. We requested in-office allergy testing based on the meltdowns and corresponding diet change. Lo and behold, it was confirmed that Jordan is allergic to pork.
Without tracking all of Jordan’s food consumption and other activities with Birdhouse, we wouldn’t have identified this food allergy as quickly as we did.