Make sure you read Feeding Therapy: We are finally ready if you haven’t already.
We packed up the lunch bag with foods our son was comfortable with and foods that he wasn’t comfortable with, put on our shoes, and drove to our feeding therapy consult with Autumn. Our son was excited and I was nervous.
I had shown our son pictures of Miss Autumn on the Advanced Institute for Development and Learning Facebook page and when she came into the waiting room I just smiled and said look Miss Autumn is here to talk to us. Our little man was so excited and eagerly followed her through the therapy areas and into her therapy room. Her room is equipped with several booster seats for various age children, a table, a tv, and some seats for parents. She turned and smiled at K and asked if he would like to choose some toys to play with while she chatted with us. He was thrilled to find 4 fascinating cars and happily climbed into the booster seat to play while the adults chatted.
After we went through his medical history, birthing history, challenges that we perceived, Autumn worked with K. Although she was really going through the Beckman Oral Motor evaluation, he thought they were playing games. High five to Autumn for her creative play! He showed her how to chew using a Tri-Chew and play hide and seek in his mouth with an Oral Motor Probe. He was grinning away.
Next we pulled out all of the food we brought and he got to have snack time. She observed his chewing patterns, his behavior, continued to talk with us, and encouraged him to snack. She noticed that he wasn’t using rotary chewing and was instead primarily using a vertical chewing pattern. Next time you put something in your mouth try chewing it by just opening and closing your jaw – that is vertical chewing. He was also showing signs of low muscle tone in his cheeks and lower jaw.
If the muscles of the mouth aren’t working well children aren’t inclined to eat the foods that require those muscles because it is too hard. Now we have a plan – strengthen the muscles, learn some good patterns for eating, and overcome the behavioral anxiety about food.
Our kiddo was still enthusiastic and was eager to try the pattern of eating Autumn introduced – take one bite of each food and then a sip of water. This allows all foods on the plate to be consumed and the food that causes anxiety becomes just a tiny blip on the screen. Take one bite and move back to a preferred food.
In the next post on our journey I will let you know how this “turn taking” with the food goes at home. He was excited in Autumn’s office, but we all know that children can change their mind at home. Make sure you check back for updates!