Mum worries coronavirus lockdown means autistic daughter won't be able to eat

A mum fears her autistic daughter could run out of food during the coronavirus crisis – because she only eats the bread sticks from Dairylea Dunkers.

Alicia-Mae Jones, 12, only eats this snack and gets through 18 packs every day.

Mum Stacey Smith, 33, forks out £120 a week – or £6,200 a year – on the item.

But she now worried her health could suffer as supermarkets introduce buying limits.

Stacey, from Worcester, has to rely on friends and family to pick up the £2.25 packs whenever they can as she is self-isolating with Alicia-Mae, who has a range of health problems.

She said: ‘It really is a nightmare situation.

‘At the minute we are okay but it’s not going to continue forever. We don’t know how long this lockdown is going to be for.

‘That’s my concern and what I worry about, I need to buy bulk, in case they stop stocking or limit buying further.’

Currently, the mum spends the same amount on Dairylea Dunkers as she does on her monthly rent.

She is worried for the future for Alicia-Mae who only eats the breadstick, not the cheese in the box.

Stacey added: ‘Friends and family, when they go shopping, pick up the two allowed. They try to explain the situation to staff but the supermarkets don’t allow you to get anymore’.

Alicia-Mae suffered from gastroschisis at birth – a bowel condition in newborn babies.

She was also diagnosed with visual impairment at six months old, autism at two and then with liquid on the brain at four, which required a shunt to clear.

It puts her at risk of contracting coronavirus, meaning full-time mum Stacey has to self-isolate to protect her daughter.

Stacey said that the issues around Alicia’s eating started at around 12 months old when they tried to move her onto solid foods.

‘The dietician told us to try dry food and let her feed herself, with the breadsticks being the only thing she stuck too.

‘Anything and everything we piled on her plate, carrot sticks, vegetables, she wouldn’t have. It would all get thrown to the side.

‘She doesn’t have crisps, chocolate, cake, ice cream, so it’s not like she solely eats bad food.

‘The dietician has said to leave her without food for days if she refuses to eat anything else. She has gone three days without eating before.’

Alicia-Mae also takes vitamin drops to keep herself healthy.

Despite doing her best, Stacey has received lots of criticism for Alicia-Mae’s eating habits.

‘I’ve been a single parent for 12 years. I have done this on my own. She has so many medical issues, so it’s not an easy job.

‘Every meal that I eat, I plate up for her as well. I don’t just give up. If she doesn’t eat it, I won’t force her as she has a multitude of medical issues and that’s not her fault.’

A spokesperson for Mondelez, which manufactures Dairylea Dunkers, said: ‘We are seeing strong demand for our products.

‘All our colleagues are working round the clock to help make sure that the shelves are stocked and consumers such as Alicia-Mae and her family can continue to enjoy the much-loved brands we produce.’

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