Ham Steaks and Independence – Life Inside a Spectrum Family

Ham Steaks and Independence – Life Inside a Spectrum Family

I walked by my kitchen sink Thursday morning and spotted the usual item lying within it: a frozen ham steak. I smiled and kept walking. A little later I went back and snapped a pic.

While many may look at this piece of meat and see just that, a piece of delicious pork, I see more…way more.

Early on, we found that schedules were an important component in helping Aaron stay on track and feel secure. We found schedules that worked for us, and kept them. I often laugh now when I think about the fact that I cooked the same meals in the same order for over 20 years! It may have seemed insane to some, but it’s the little details that add a sense of peace in an autism household.

                                          Yummy ham steak!

As Aaron started to get older, my hubby, Paul, and I began to teach him “real life” skills. Cooking was one of those skills. We taught him how to cook basic meals, like the ones I cooked every week – chicken, spaghetti and porkchops. Thursday nights became know as “Manager’s Choice” as Aaron got older and could tolerate change a bit more. On those nights, dinner was a surprise.

Ham steaks became a “Manager’s Choice” favorite over time. Aaron even asked to start cooking it from time to time. He was already cooking spaghetti for us weekly, so why not? We were and still are in awe of his willingness to try new adventures as he’s gotten older.

Well, to be honest, the rest of Team Pruden tired of ham steaks. In the past few years, Paul and I have been “dating” on Thursday nights. Our other son, Bryant, declared he couldn’t eat another piece of ham. But Aaron shared he loved ham steaks and would continue cooking them for himself. So every time we go grocery shopping, we make sure Aaron has his ham steaks.

Sometimes Paul and I talk about Aaron living on his own. We imagine him on Thursday nights, standing over his stove cooking a ham steak. I’m smiling now as I think about it.

                                       Aaron cooking spaghetti for dinner.

Children on the autism spectrum one day become adults on the autism spectrum. Preparing them as much as we are able, to be as independent as they can be, is one of the most loving gifts we can give our children. Observe your baby. See what they are capable of doing. Gather your village and prepare him/her for life. And don’t be afraid 💙

Peace and blessings,


Spread the love