Just wanted to pass along a few tips from the feeding specialist Tyler has been seeing. I will also put the info in the feeding therapy section of the page.
1. Take foods out of original containers. Put in tuuperware or other neutral containers. This helps your child transition to different brands or flavors of amiliar foods.
2. Meals and snacks should be eaten in the same place and at regular times
3. Have a mealtime routine. Have your child help you prepare the food and set the table. Everyone should wash before the meal. This helps your child to anticipate what’s coming and get ready to eat.
4. Eat with your child. children learn from watching how you eat. Talk about what you’re eating. Mention how it feels (crunchy, smooth, etc.), tasts (sweet, etc.) and looks. Talk about how you are eating (I’m biting off a piece with my front teeth and using my tongue to push it on to my really big teeth in the back. Then I can chew it.) Exaggerate your movements to show him what to do.
5. Don’t talk to your child/ask him question if he’s already eating. We never want to interrupt or distract a child who’s eating.
6. Your child should have three foods on his plate at a time–a protein, a starch an a fruit or vegetable. If he cannot tolerate a food on his plate, move it away from him but keep it on the table. If he still cannot tolerate it, cover it with a napkin.
7. Try to keep meals as stress free as possible. Stress causes our brains to release adrenaline and adrenaline reduces hunger. Ideas on how to keep positive environment will come next week.
8. Save sweet foods for the end of a meal or a bedtime snack. Sweetness cuts appetite.
Well, that is all I have for now. More to come from our visit next week.
For the longest time, Tyler has been a very picky eater. Although as a baby he would eat different things the transition to table food was a nightmare. Tyler would often refuse to eat and around 3 years of age he would begin gauging over anything that had a strong sense of smell. Because Tyler would eat many different type of textures and there really wasn’t any one category he wouldn’t eat (i.e. creamy, chewy, crunchy, etc.) many professionals felt there wasn’t a “real” problem. But, for me…there was. It would kill me that the thought of food for him would bring on such anxiety. And, if I am being totally honest—during the early stages of his life we were so concerned about what he was eating (i.e., veggies, fruits) we would combine so many things into one type of food it would often not taste very good. So…that had to stop. I had to find away for Tyler to have his anxiety reduced and enjoy meals again. I had him evaluated by a feeding therapist in Manhattan over the summer (09). And, not surprises because Tyler had sensory issues, the thought of putting the unknown in his mouth would bring on much anxiety. Because Tyler has low tone his gauge reflex is very sensitive…making it very easy for him to vomit if something is foreign to him. I received a very in-depth analysis from this therapist which included many different techniques to desensitized Tyler mouth, therefore an unknown texture would bother him less. Well, she recommended about 15 techniques to help this. Which includes working with toothettes, chewing exercises, vibration tools or toothbrush, and candle and horn blowing. Each of these categories had about 3-4 recommended exercises. Now, I didn’t have to do them all they were more like ideas to help desensitize. Then there are techniques to desensitize his strong sense of smell and anxiety. But, because we moved shortly after that to LI I needed to find someone here to continue the work. So I ask the therapist for a recommendation and here we are…Fast forward to now, I have decided to pay a feeding therapist privately to continue the work that was being done in the city. Good news is, Tyler’s sensitivity in his mouth has reduced significantly. However he does still have a lot of anxiety if we are eating something new or strong smell. So, the therapist here is working to reduce those things. How they do this is very interesting. They work with a program called the SOS stages of feeding approach (I have a copy of it if anyone is interested-very easy to implement at home). This gets Tyler comfortable with his food. There are many different steps about 25 and I have to tell you my all time favorite one is “play with your food.” Yes, how many times have we been told and have told our kids…”don’t play with your food.” Well, it is not true. If you have a child with feeding issues they are supposed to touch, smell, and play with whatever they are uncomfortable with. Once they do that you implement the beginning stages of having them put it to there mouth. So, first time could be kiss the food (touch to lips), second time would be hug the food (tap with teeth). Then when the comfort is there which could be more than 15 times love the food (take a bite). Yes, it is time consuming but it has worked. Also, I recently purchased this game (yes, now we are playing games at the table, I am breaking all the rules) which is a plate with multiple sections and a spinner. I serve Tyler 2 things he loves to eat, two that he may eat, and one he won’t eat. He spins the wheel and it tells him where he needs to take a bite. If it lands on the thing he won’t eat…then we start the kiss, hug, love technique. Since we have started this therapy and it has only been since January we have expanded Tyler’s options and his comfort with eating at the table. So you can imagine how excited we are!!! Now she has added the ideas to desensitize him which as of now includes this little bottles with Q-tips sticking out of them. He puts his nose in it and there are strong scents (all good though) like lemon, vanilla, etc. Seems to be working so I hope we keep moving in the right direction. I will post more as things progress.
Also, I have received many interesting articles, the SOS therapy approach, and other techniques from his therapist. If anyone if interested send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get a copy to you.