This weekend I am at an Autism Conference, learning as much as I can about Autism Research. Today I watched a video from a very highly respected medical center showing their methods on how to get a child who did not want to eat to eat.
A beautiful 4 year old boy was strapped into a high chair, someone was standing behind him holding down his arms so that he could not push the food away. Another therapist was in-front of him holding his jaw open and placed a fork with a bit of food on it right in-front of his lips. They said that they do not force him to eat, they just wait like that until he takes a bite. It took this boy 45 minutes before he took the first bite, when he takes the bite they check to make sure he has swallowed it.
During this time no one spoke to him, the whole thing was done in silence and the therapists wore plastic gloves.
The professor reported with great glee how this method worked as the boy is now eating whatever is presented to him.
But the question has to be at what cost? Sure he ate, but did he have a choice? Did he eat because he was too sacred not to? Would you ever trust a person who did that to you? How can you build a relationship with someone you cannot trust? Would you like a person who did that to you?
Here at the Autism Treatment Center of America we entice children to eat new foods with fun, love and whole bunch of laughter. When a child takes their first bite of a new food (and they do regularly) we know that they did it because they wanted to, not because they had to. And most importantly the trust between the Son-Rise Program therapist/parent and child is never broken. Having our children trust us IS the most important part of the therapy, without trust there is no relationship.