After seeing a nutritionist, we visited the next professional on our feeding disorder journey…
An OT is one who helps with daily livings skills (i.e. feeding, dressing, toileting). Our son had seen an OT in his younger years due to sensory red flags I had noted. His whole body sensitivities had gone away, but his oral sensitivity remained. Our son was only eating crunchy carbs and he was four years old.
Four year old Bryan, and I met our OT for an evaluation. I filled out a sensory profile learning that our son was a “sensory seeker.” He craves input…he likes to be very physically active, and the oral sensation follows that suit. Answering many questions, I then watched at the OT had our son do different cognitive and physical tasks. Eating included.
I was able to sit in to observe, comfort, and cheer Bryan on as we did the evaluation. Most pediatric therapist allow parents to be present during evaluations. During treatment there are times the therapist needs to have the child 1:1 in order for therapy to be more successful.
The thing that sticks out most in my memory of the evaluation was the “happy plate” that Mrs. A had for Bryan to place new foods on. It was a cartoon like man where he placed blueberries for eyes, etc. It was cheery. It was cute. I had not thought of reverting to the fun side of food for our four year old.
The un-fun side of the evaluation was when I held Bryan in my lap and Mrs. A placed a cube of Colby Jack cheese into his little hand. He cried and reacted as if he was being burned by the cheese. Wow! I didn’t realize his aversion to new textures of food was this severe. He was positively terrified. I was too for different mom reasons.
The mom reasons of terror:
1. Our son really has a food phobia.
2. Our older son loves Colby Jack cheese…how can our second son be terrified of it?
3. OT is going to be a challenge.
4. Tears mean sadness. I feel badly for pressuring our son to push through fear.
5. I’m an anxious person. Our son Bryan is too.
6. He is going to need a lot of therapy. How much is this going to cost our family?
7. We are going to have to do OT on a weekly basis. That is a big time commitment. Do I take him out of school?
The mom terror fades, and we bravely do what is “best for our children.” We did OT for about seven months. Bryan made roller coaster gains and back pedaled. His anxiety eventually built to a level that Mrs. A, my husband, and I agreed it was time for a break. I read books, researched online, and joined Facebook support groups. Below is a list of these:
1. French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon, a book I reviewed, applied, and enjoyed from our local library.
2. Facebook’s Group: Speech Pathologists and Feeding Therapy (a closed group, but ask to join).
3. Facebook’s Feeding Disorders Community
4. Facebook’s Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) in Children
6. Pinterest, Search for what you wish, and check out my Kids Eat Healthy board
7. Getting to Yum by Karen Le Billon, I am currently reading this one…bought a used one from Amazon. Best book I’ve found thus far for realistic info on helping your child eat more at home.
I pray your child eats well at home. But, if he or she does not eat well there is an OT waiting near by with a happy plate. Ask your pediatrician for an evaluation. Hold your kid if he cries. Hug her if she freaks out. And know this…you are a good mom. You are a good dad. You are a good friend if you realize that eating does not come easily for everyone.