Autistic teen doesn’t eat, but sure can bake

Shuhaila Saidon (left) and her son, Muhammad Daniel Mohd Idham, hold up cookies baked by Daniel.

PETALING JAYA: Although a little thin, Muhammad Daniel Mohd Idham looks like any other 17-year-old, but there’s something very different about him – he has never eaten solid food in his life.

Daniel suffers from an eating disorder brought about by his autism, which was diagnosed when he was seven years old.

His mother, Shuhaila Saidon, said her son refused to eat solid food and would only consume liquids such as milk or juices and food that has been blended in liquid form.

FMT met Daniel and Shuhaila at the Autism Youth Bazaar, an initiative by Autism Cafe Project (ACP) founder Mohd Adli Yahya and the daughter of former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Nori Abdullah, who is behind We Rock The Spectrum (WRTS).

Speaking to FMT, Shuhaila said when Daniel was three years old, her friends had noticed there was something different about him.

However, at that time, she did not know what to do about it.

“It was only when he was seven that Dr Kamsiah Mohd Ismail, from the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), diagnosed his problem,” she said.

Daniel’s eating disorder is the reason why Shuhaila encourages her son to bake cookies.

“We wanted him to learn that eating is something that everyone has to do and that it is a joy to eat,” she said.

“It’s a form of therapy. He still hasn’t been able to eat but I have not given up hope.”

When asked whether she had received any negative comments from the public, Shuhaila said there were some who had accused her of using her son to make a profit.

“It used to affect me but I don’t pay attention to that kind of talk any more. The most important thing to me is my son.”

Muhammad Daniel Mohd Idham bakes delicious cookies, such as the chocolate chip cookies which he has named ‘Dark Handsome Cookies’.

FMT sampled some of Daniel’s cookies which were delicious, especially the chocolate chip cookies which Daniel calls “Dark Handsome Cookies”.

Shuhaila said Daniel hoped to own a cookie franchise one day.

“He wants his cookies to be as famous as Famous Amos.”

Those living in the Klang Valley who are interested in buying Daniel’s cookies can do so by calling Shuhaila at 019-2933739.

Mall hosts bazaar selling products by autistic youth