\nMeet our son Jace. Jace has autism and is 15 years old. If you know a person with Autism, you know that people on the spectrum can range from low functioning (very dependent and requires a lot of help) to Savant syndrome, which is someone with significant mental disabilities demonstrates certain abilities far in excess of average, even approaching genius. The Autism spectrum is very broad and Jace is somewhere in the middle.\nJace speaks in full sentences, interacts with his family and is somewhat social. He eats a healthy diet, is growing tall and becoming a young man. There are a lot of things that Jace isn’t able to do that his peers are doing. He isn’t able to read or write, understand the concept of time nor do his own laundry. He doesn’t know his address or phone number and he’ll never live on his own or drive a car. He probably won’t experience being in-love or relationships in the way that his family does. He will forever be dependent upon society, but one thing that Jace is able to do is make people laugh.\nJace tells elaborate make-believe stories and often blurt out quotes from Despicable Me out of nowhere: ”I’m Vector… King Crime!!!!” (and many other quotes from movies)\nWhile standing in line at a grocery store, he will blurt out random facts that make me burst out laughing such as “Broccoli is a vegetable!!”\nJace has a fond appreciation of girl’s long hair and thinks it’s like a horses’ mane. When he was little, he would pet hair like the mane of the horses he used to ride. It’s taken years to make him understand personal boundaries.\nJace participates in special needs basketball games, puts the ball through the hoop (underhand) and screams “Jacey just won the game!”\n\nThis chapter in our life with an Autistic child looks quite different than it did 8 years ago. We learned early on that this was our life and as parents and siblings, it is our family’s responsibility to make sure that Jace can thrive on his own as much as possible. 8 years ago, our family was very concerned. Jace wasn’t growing properly, had extremely low energy and wasn’t sleeping well. He was cranky most of the time and would have frequent outbursts, especially out in public, out of his element. Jace couldn’t communicate like his siblings which frustrated him a lot and he would melt down. His diet was part of the problem as he had severe texture issues and would only eat about 5-6 foods. Jace was eating foods that we aren’t particularly proud of, but we didn’t have much of a choice or he would refuse to eat. We were just trying to put food in his belly, we didn’t have the luxury of controlling his diet. The thing with autism is that it always wins. Many children with autism don’t recognize emotions or feelings such as hunger, coldness or warmth. Jace would rather not eat a new food and “win” than give in. He would starve himself without understanding the effect of not eating. Autism sees no boundaries, so we have to help him recognize them. That’s not a simple education and can take years.\nWe started thinking about the food he does like that we could influence. One food Jace was fond of was pancakes. Our family was starting to have a keener sense of nutrition, trying to eat more protein and less processed carbs. Jace was thriving on sugar and was only eating about 2-8g of protein per day and we knew we had to do something. We knew there was an opportunity to do better than the pancake mix found at our local grocery store. We started feeding Jace pancakes that were fortified with protein and noticed an almost immediate difference in his energy and mood. It wasn’t just Jace though, we noticed a difference in all of our children. At that moment, we dedicated ourselves to creating a clean, protein-packed, high-fiber pancake mix for our family.\nWe started packing cold pancakes as snacks on hikes, school lunches and in the fridge for breakfast. With new found energy, we saw simple behavior changes in Jace that prompted us to try new, similar foods. His mood and energy changed from grumpy, stubborn and tired to happy and energetic, allowing his perspective to change on trying new foods. Over the course of 2-1\/2 years, Jace learned to eat almost anything his family ate. It was a very slow migration, but he went from consuming sugary muffins, pop tarts and apple juice to salmon and rice, fruits and veggies. Those pancakes changed Jace’s life and that’s when we decided to help other parents out there with same nutritional challenges as our family once faced. That’s when FlapJacked was born.\nFlapJacked was the pioneer of Protein Pancakes, but for a cause other than hitting your macros. (Though we are very fond of hitting our macros.) FlapJacked was born out of love and a need. We continue on our FlapJacked journey in hopes that we can inspire and help many other people in their quest for good nutrition for themselves or their families, regardless of their situation. We do what we do because we care. We do what we do because of Autism.\nIs it hard to raise and a teenager with Autism? It certainly isn't easy, but Jace has taught each of us just a little more patience, respect, and compassion. There are no answers, there is no cure, but new findings and information continue to help us understand Autism. If you know someone or a family that has a child\/adult with Autism, we encourage you to be mindful, supportive and understanding. It's touched our lives deeply and is the reason that we started FlapJacked. If you are interested in helping out or donating to the cause, we have listed our favorite not-for profit organizations here with some advice on finding the right organization for you and your needs.\nThank you so much for your support in our mission!\n~Jennifer \u0026amp; David Bacon\nIf you missed part one of Jace’s story, click here to read further.