Kind Aaron swal­lows his fears for fruit chal­lenge

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - KAREN BRIT­TON

ABOY with autism who finds it un­bear­able to eat fruit due to his con­di­tion ate a dif­fer­ent piece ev­ery day in aid of the char­ity which helps him.

When Aaron Don­nelly, 11, of Ull­swa­ter, Mac­cles­field, re­fuses to eat his fruit and veg, it’s not just be­cause he’s a ‘fussy eater’.

For Aaron, his autism means it can be dis­tress­ing to him to eat cer­tain foods.

He has height­ened senses and the tex­ture, taste and smell of fruit, veg and other foods can be un­bear­able to him.

He has spe­cial milk­shakes to get the nutri­tion he needs.

But Aaron, who also has ADHD and at­tends Wal­ton Hall Spe­cial School, faced his fear of fruit and took on the chal­lenge of eat­ing a dif­fer­ent piece ev­ery day for two weeks to buy a pool ta­ble for char­ity Space4Autism which sup­ports chil­dren with autism and their fam­i­lies.

Aaron at­tends the Mac­cles­field char­ity to go to so­cial clubs.

Aaron is still col­lect­ing money and if he raises enough will pay for a coach to take the fam­i­lies to the zoo too.

Aaron, who does vol­un­teer gar­den­ing for peo­ple in Mac­cles­field through the Rally Round or­gan­i­sa­tion, said: “The chal­lenge was re­ally dif­fi­cult for me as I strug­gle with foods like fruit. I knew it was go­ing to be re­ally hard but I wanted to buy a pool ta­ble for my club.”

Aaron did a sim­i­lar eat­ing chal­lenge last year with veg­eta­bles in aid of Space4Autism.

His mum Mirelle, 44, a Space4Autism vol­un­teer who is mar­ried to John and is also mum to Jodie, 19, Caitlin, 16, and Ash­ton, six, said: “Part of Aaron’s con­di­tion is that he has prob­lems with tex­tures and ev­ery­thing is more height­ened.

“When Aaron eats cer­tain foods like fruit it’s a sen­sory over­load and can go right through him. He goes tense and has to swal­low quickly as it’s un­bear- able for him.

“Aaron has a very limited diet and is un­der­weight. We’ve got to the point where he can eat eight peas but that’s a big thing for him.

“It’s the same for smells and touch too. I can’t cud­dle him ex­cept when I’ve asked his per­mis­sion and he feels com­fort­able.

“If Aaron eats or touches the wrong thing, in the worst cases he would have melt­downs and be scream­ing and rolling on the floor,

“This chal­lenge was all his idea as he re­ally wanted to do some­thing to help the char­ity. I’m so proud of him.”

Do­nate at just­giv­ing. com/mirelle-don­nelly.

Matt Rat­cliffe

●● Aaron Don­nelly has been eat­ing fruit ev­ery day to raise cash for Space4Autism

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