FROM JEANNIE: One of the first problem issues with my son, Carson, which set off the developmental alarm bells with the doctors, was A MAJOR FEEDING PROBLEM. By the age of one y.o., when children are supposed to be starting to gobble yogurt, oatmeal, applesauce, etc, Carson was practically eating nothing. All he wanted was his bottle, in which he had been getting pre-digested protein formula (per Celiac disease, although not yet specifically diagnosed at that stage) and Cheerios. Whenever I tried to give him “normal” foods, he backed away, turned his head and did whatever he could to avoid getting it in his mouth. Even mild smells and textures produced a strong gag response too. IF YOU LOOK UP THE DEFINITION OF FOOD AVERSION (a sensory integration issue), CARSON WAS THE TEXTBOOK EXAMPLE.
First we followed the Doctor’s advice and took him to the OT dept at a big local hospital. All they really tried to teach us was to force feed him. AND LET ME TELL YOU…..IT DID NOT WORK AT ALL! So, for another year and a half or so, until we found the Son-Rise Program, we sort of limped along in frustration, anxiety, pressure, fear and misery.
However, after discovering the Son-Rise Program here is what we did. Honestly….next to nothing. WE WAITED until he showed signs of readiness, addressing other issues in the meantime, then proceeded AT HIS OWN PACE. We let him be our teacher and show us the way. And lo and behold, after a time of letting go of it, he started to get more and more interested!
At that pt, we just focused on what worked. So if he liked dry crunchies, we tried every dry crunchy thing out there we could find….but only mild flavors at first, gradually building up….and I do mean GRADUALLY. Any time we tried to push, he pushed back and we lost momentum. SLOW AND STEADY DEFINITELY WAS THE WAY. If we saw him looking at what someone else was eating, we offered him a little try, but did not react or push if he said no. And if he tried, of course we CELEBRATED! But not too big though, because the whole idea was to NOT MAKE TOO BIG A DEAL OUT OF IT.
Also, I always fixed his plate in an interesting or fun design, like a mandala or a smile face or creating numbers or letters. And I would cut the food into fun and varying shapes to make it appealing. Or use plates with colors or characters he liked such as Thomas and Blue’s Clues. PLUS, VERY IMPORTANTLY, I CUT EVERYTHING VERY SMALL…otherwise he would gag, or simply not even try it. Since he also had motor issues as well, I wanted to take that out of the equation, as far as eating was concerned, so he could JUST EAT! NO UTENSILS FOR A LONG TIME EITHER.…we tried, but it was just an interference. We are really just getting good at utensils now, at 9 y.o., but we WAITED until HE wanted to do it.
Now, Carson is not a great eater, but he is a GOOD EATER. He eats adequately, healthfully, and maintains a healthy weight. He is on the GF diet only (per blood tests) and loves pizza, spaghetti w/tomato sauce, mac n cheese, grilled cheese, potato chips, apples, grapes, juice, pineapple, corn, raw peppers/carrots/celery/spinach/lettuce, pancakes with real maple syrup only!, plain muffins, a couple kinds of dry cereal (no milk – eats with fingers), colby/mild cheddar/provolone/mozzarella/asiago cheeses, oh yeah and french fries with plenty of ketchup!
A LONG, LONG, LOOOOOONNNGGG WAY FROM ONLY FORMULA AND CHEERIOS!!
BE PATIENT… FOLLOW THE CHILD’S LEAD…. BREATHE….RELAX….TRUST….BELIEVE!!!